Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 2, 2017

your clearest mirror and strongest counsel

Convincing another person of anything can be an effort in futility. Issues of incredible importance to me often barely hit the radar screen of others in my world. How could that be when my positions are so valid (at least in my mind)?! In reality, I am comfortable with diversity of thought and appreciate that many come from different life perspectives. But one area of life where I do struggle is in convincing others on issues of faith (which is the life that really matters). I struggle because I know God’s Word changes lives and applying His truth is the key to a joyful journey. I get discouraged when I see so little passion for a fully devoted life. But I won’t seek to convince you that God can change you dramatically.

In examining a statement by Benjamin Franklin, I began to see more clearly the weakness in my thinking on convincing. “People are best convinced by reasons they themselves discover.” I cannot transfer my relationship with Christ to another, nor can you. It is possible for others to see a brand of Christianity in my life that works, and God can certainly use me to influence them on their journey. But to think that others will be convinced just because they hear me say words like “prayer works,” or “you can tithe and trust God with your money,” or “give thanks in everything” is pretty fruitless.  Those words of wisdom may be sound (and sound spiritual), but most Christ-followers struggle with living them. I know they are true, but I won’t try to convince you.

Benjamin Franklin suggests that individuals are convinced by reasons they personally discover, and life has taught me that I am not the great convincer. So how do I (we) deal with this when in the most critical of issues — issues like life, death and eternity — it is imperative for everyone to be convinced of the truth?  I believe the answer is to acknowledge we have not been created, or called, to be the great convincer.  A true believer’s purpose is to reflect our Creator and live a life that points others to Him. I am comfortable that God can use any Christ-follower as an ambassador in representing Him. However, it is the Spirit who will draw those who don’t know Him to salvation. I am also certain that any Christ-follower who has ears to hear and eyes that are open to His Word will be convinced of God’s will and design … and be radically changed. The Great Convincer uses His Great Word in the process!

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:12-13 (NKJV)

Just this morning in my quiet time, I was profoundly struck by the passage above. I have read it countless times, but today it was fresh. God’s Word is living and powerful. If anyone wants to be convinced about God’s design and direction for them, there is no better place to visit. In studying the verses, a simple but profound logic challenged me. In the Life Application Commentary on Hebrews, we find these words:

“The Bible, opened to you through the work of the Holy Spirit, is your clearest mirror and strongest counsel. Read the Bible and see for yourself. Study the Bible and learn about yourself and God. Apply the Bible and change your life.”

Our hope for eternity is found only in Christ. Joyful living is possible for Christ-followers. Will you open your heart to the reality that God has a design for your life? He has provided us with His Word and through it we can discover all that is needed for life and Godliness. My role is to simply point everyone to the place where they can discover what the One and only True Convincer has for us.

Give time to the Word and be Convinced and changed!

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