“But if I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness because I go to My Father and you see me no more; of judgement, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16: 5 – 11)


In this scripture Jesus contemplates the future arrival of the Holy Spirit (the indwelling of God that exists within the heart of every believer; sent to mankind after Christ’s ascension into heaven.) According to the Lord, this powerful spiritual entity convicts the world of sin. What then is conviction? Conviction is the recognition of guilt and subsequent expression of remorse that accompanies any evil act or ungodly behavior. Although conviction is emotionally taxing, when experienced by a believer, this shameful imposition is far more helpful than harmful. God uses conviction to shape and mold our behavior. Guilt then leads us to abandon sin and embrace repentance; thus making us more like our Creator.

Sociology professor Anthony Campolo recalls a deeply moving incident that happened in a Christian junior high camp where he served. One of the campers, a boy with spastic paralysis, was the object of heartless ridicule. When he would ask a question, the boys would deliberately answer in a halting, mimicking way. One night his cabin group chose him to lead the devotions before the entire camp. It was one more effort to have some “fun” at his expense. Unashamedly the spastic boy stood up, and in his strained, slurred manner—each word coming with enormous effort—he expressed a simple phrase, “Jesus loves me—and I love Jesus!” That was all. Conviction immediately fell upon those junior high students. Many of them began to cry. Revival had gripped the camp. Years afterward, Campolo still meets men in the ministry who came to Christ because of that testimony.

Like those young campers, God is still using conviction to create conversions and to strengthen and edify those who already believe. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the lines between right and wrong are no longer blurry; they have been redrawn; making God’s will easier to understand and obey. When we do something sinful or unjust, we are chastised by the Lord; corrected and driven to repentance and purification. Like any good Father, He is training us; molding and shaping us into a more ideal image; the image of His perfect Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. May we always seek after the Lord and never ignore our convictions.

“Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that we might recognize and experience the convictions that You have placed upon our hearts. Give us a willingness to change and the ability to understand Your will and to be transformed by it. If we have grown dull or become stubborn, may we rediscover a passion for accomplishing Your will. You truly are an awesome and amazing God. To You belongs all the glory and honor. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.” God bless all of you!

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