(Matthew 16:24) – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
We are studying five primary goals of the Christian life, taking each goal in three steps of natural progression: knowledge (head), conviction (heart), and action (hands). All five goals are:
- Living Like Christ
- Proclaiming Christ
- Serving Like Christ
- Worshipping Christ
- Fellowship in Christ
In this lesson we are looking at how to turn our knowledge of the Christ-like life, and make it our conviction. We want to move if from our head to our hearts. Let’s look at three points:
- First, a person’s heart must be open to accepting the knowledge of God as personally applicable, exposing sin and building character.
- Be committed to the supremacy of this knowledge over their own, or the world’s.
- The conviction to allow God’s Word to shape all aspects: motives, attitudes, behavior, worldview.
It is useless, even destructive to accumulate knowledge about the Christian life and NOT have it descend 18 inches to your heart. There is a very true saying that “most people have just enough Bible in them to be miserable out in the world, and just enough world in them to be miserable around Christians”. As Believers we must learn and discipline ourselves to take the knowledge of God and make it the conviction of our life.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. (NKJV)
This requires an open, teachable heart. Don’t read by that too quickly. Most people do NOT have a teachable heart. Through complacency, laziness, apathy or ignorance the difficult task of making Godly knowledge personal is easy to neglect. If I had to guess from experience I would say that worldliness is the biggest culprit. In other words, if we enacted most of what we learn as Christians, we would have to give up too much of our time, emotion, impulse and resources that are currently spent indulging our flesh in worldly pleasure, recreation and ambition. Of course I say “give up” when the real truth is we only truly “give up” our life when we give it to “the world”. We keep it, invest it and lay up treasure in heaven when we “give up” our being to our pursuit of Christ (Luke 17:33).
It is not enough to simply learn and know what God says. We must have the attitude that personally applies to us. One thing I say often is “find out what the Bible says, and change your life accordingly”. That could sum up the mechanics of the daily Christian life pretty nicely. The “change” part concerns having an open teachable heart. Change is both allowing Scripture to identify and expose sin in our life, and build up Godly character traits.
We all trust someone or something. Most people trust themselves.
In order to be truly convicted we must also have total trust that God’s Word is worthy of supremacy in our life. We all trust something or someone. Most people trust themselves and their own intellect/wisdom/desires. As Christ-followers, we learn to trust God and His Revealed Word as far superior to any alternative. We come to accept by default and without question that the Bible and Godly wisdom are transcendent and superior to human or personal wisdom/understanding.
Is this simply “blind faith”? Hardly. We have overwhelming reason to trust God, trust His Word and have 100% confidence in our choice to depend totally on Him. If you find yourself unable to articulate these reasons, there is a book I would recommend to everyone. It should be required reading: “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist” by Geisler and Turek.
(Note: parents, if you have kids headed to college, you should REQUIRE them to read this book. 75% of all college students question, deny or renounce their faith in college because of the rabid anti-God, anti-Christian propaganda and pressure that college academia inflicts on them. Here are starry eyed, immature minds with precious little REAL knowledge of their faith and the Bible who get PUMMELED by professors, atheists, liberals and evolutionists for 4 years. I PAY my kids to read and study this book before going to college. It covers in logical, step by step order (without using the Bible) why God exists, why the Bible is authentic, why Jesus is real, and why Darwinian evolution is not only a completely unsupported joke, but in reality it is a RELIGION. It is my opinion that you make a serious mistake not preparing your college students to be able to fend off this attack. Oh, and if you think that going to a “Christian” college protects them from this, THINK AGAIN. The questioning of the simple accuracy and inerrancy of Scripture is only marginally better on average at Christian schools. You ignore this reality at your child’s peril. This book gives a logical, easy to understand layout of the evidence for our faith in God, again, without relying on the Bible as it’s ‘proof’.)
Rather than being some glazed-over, wide-eyed robot, trusting God’s Word as our supreme source of “life instruction” frees us to live a guilt-free, relaxed and contented life. I don’t care what other people think about my sold-out devotion to God’s ways. In the end, there is only ONE Person that we all are accountable too: God. So who cares if people say “God is your crutch” or “you don’t think for yourself…”. Besides being categorically wrong, those statements betray a total lack of understanding and wisdom.
As well as having a teachable heart and the commitment to the supremacy of God’sWord in our life, we must be willing to allow that knowledge to shape every aspect of our life and being: attitudes, motives, worldview and behavior.
Hebrews 4:12 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. (NKJV)
So along with not lying, we must be allow God’s Word to permeate us with honesty and integrity in all ways. Along with not committing adultery we must allow God’s Word to tranform our minds and heart into purity and modesty. Along with not getting drunk, we allow God’s Word to teach us how to be kind, loving, gentle and servant-minded.
We also allow God’s Word to shape our worldview. Your worldview is your basic beliefs about foundational issues: origins, after life, the basic nature of man. So we believe the universe was created by God rather than “there was nothing, and then ‘bang’ there was something” (which is patently absurd and truly blind faith). We believe that man lives once, dies once, and has an appointment with God where his eternal destiny will be determined rather than man evolved from monkey’s and is no better than animals who die and cease to exist. Nor do we believe (or accept, or find ‘common ground’) the host of other religious views about the origin of life, and reality of the next life.
I touched on a worldview yesterday. Human wisdom (modern psychology) says that man is basically good, and instead of “sin” we have chemical imbalances, genetics, moral relativism and environmental influences. God’s Word teaches us that man has inherited a sinful nature, is predisposed to sin, in fact, is a slave to sin, and can only be freed from it through salvation in Christ. These are mutually exclusive foundational beliefs though many (most?) “Christian therapists and counselors” try to mix them. It reminds of the “theistic evolution” position: God created the universe then used evolution to “make it happen”. This is the coward’s position in my opinion because you don’t have to choose either side. Regardless, it is a silly and completely incompatible view. It is equally silly for Christians to be trained in (and then implement) the theories of Freud and Jung then dress it all up in Christian vocabulary.
Worldviews are important and every person has them whether you realize it or not. Our worldview is our “lens and filter” through we consciously, and often subconsciously, interpret our life and the world. So it is important to have a teachable heart, committed to God’s Word so it can shape our worldview.
Gaining the knowledge of God (head), having the conviction and commitment to let it totally mold and change us as individuals (heart) leaves us with the question we will answer tomorrow: how do you make it happen? (hands; action)
Lord God, help us to take the knowledge we gain about Christ and move it into our hearts. Help to us grow in conviction and commitment allowing You to change us, mold us and transform us into the image of Your dear Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?