INTRODUCTIONMost men’s attention focuses upon the outward appearance of conviction. Yet, the Bible is clear that conviction’s initial work does not exhibit itself outwardly. According to Psalm 73:21, Asaph was grieved in his heart and pricked in his reins. No doubt, this work eventually manifested itself outwardly. Yet, conviction began in the heart where only God and the troubled individual could be aware of its work. Unfortunately, men have focused so much attention upon the outward signs of conviction that they fail to recognize the inner working of conviction. Because of this misplaced emphasis, Christianity continues to produce temporary, carnal, and fake conviction, ultimately producing another hypocrite. If the work does not originate within the heart, it is not of God and it is not conviction.
- (For children): When Peter preached to the Jewish nation about the Lord, some were convicted in their heart and wanted to do something about it (Acts 2:5, 36-37, 40-42). God knows if your actions are driven by true heart conviction or some other reason (Matthew 15:7-8; Matthew 6: 2, 5, 16).
- (For everyone): What are some of the outward manifestations that might accompany conviction that have often been mistaken for a true inner work of conviction?
- Why is it so dangerous to mistake an outward emotion or work for the true inner working of conviction? What is the difference between how the two will affect you long-term?
- Ask the Lord to guard you from false conviction.
- Ask God to help you be real with Him and with others.