Convenience or Conviction?
Serving the Lord is never a matter of mere convenience. It cannot be. It is always a matter of conviction. Being a faithful Christian is, very often, an inconvenient thing to be. The actions of Jesus were never determined by what was convenient, but by His Father’s will. It was not convenient for Him to leave heaven and come to this earth, to suffer and die, but He did; and He did it for us. He did it because He loves us. He did it to save us.
It was not convenient for Paul to be imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, and martyred. Persecution has never been convenient in any of its forms. It was never convenient for early Christians to be forced to meet in secret, risking their lives so that they could assemble on the Lord’s Day. Why were those people willing to persistently endure, though, under such circumstances? They had conviction.
When a thing is convenient, it’s comfortable, it’s easy, it doesn’t cause a person to go out of his way. A person who is trying to serve God out of convenience will be hindered by any inconvenience or discomfort. He is like Felix, who heard Paul preach “concerning the faith in Christ.” He must have believed Paul’s words, because he was “afraid.” You don’t fear something you don’t believe is real. But he told Paul: “‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you’” (Acts 24:24–25 NKJV). That was very different from the reaction of the Philippian jailor when he heard Paul preach. Even though it was well past midnight (Acts 16:25), “immediately he and all his family were baptized’ (v. 33). What made the difference? Both men believed what they heard, but the Jailor was convicted; Felix was not.
If a person has conviction about something, he has a firm and unmovable belief in it. He is absolutely convinced and his sense of right and wrong is so deeply impacted by it that he cannot bring himself to behave or act contrary to it. He is sure it would be a terrible mistake to do so. This is the way that we must feel about the Gospel. It must be our unwavering, uncompromising, steadfast conviction that what God says is always right, and then act accordingly.