UNWAVERING The Courage of your Convictions (Week 3)
Week1 here: UNWAVERING IN THE STORM http://bible.com/events/7203610
Week2 here UNWAVERING KINDNESS OF GOD http://bible.com/events/7206100
Sam Walton (the founder of Walmart did not become a billionaire because he was a genius (although he was without question smart, shrewd, and astute). “The real explanation for his success was that he had the courage of his convictions” . That means to act on one's beliefs despite danger or disapproval. It means that you have the confidence to do what you believe is true, even though the circumstances may not be conducive to that. I believe this is a time for us to have the courage of our convictions. Believing in God’s prophetic promises.
Example: Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes,
The courage part is: not ashamed. (moves to the action of preaching)
The conviction part is: gospel is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes
Paul stood up in the midst of hopelessness, in the middle of a hurricane, on a ship in a stormy sea and said to everyone:
Acts 27:22-26 (CSB) I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of any of your lives, but only of the ship. For last night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. It is necessary for you to appear before Caesar. And indeed, God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.’ So take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me. But we have to run aground on some island.”
When you have conviction, you can share your courage
Acts 27:29-21 (CSB) Then, fearing we might run aground on the rocks, the sailors dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight to come. Some sailors tried to escape from the ship; they had let down the skiff into the sea, pretending that they were going to put out anchors from the bow. Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved. “
Get better and stay on board or get bitter and go overboard
1/Find unity and agreement in what God has spoken - thats where he commands His blessing
2/Wait on His timing and direction
3/ Lookout for others, not just yourself
We can’t choose our circumstances but we can choose our conviction
What are you feasting on in the middle of the storm?
Recap from last week last week
When there is nowhere to go, and only a winter to face, there will a be a fire to warm us, and the Kindness of God to Experience
There will be people ahead of you to build a fire. God will send them. And
We should do everything we can to add to the fire so that others can experience the kindness of God
Paul went to get some wood for the fire and a poisonous viper latched on to his hand, (so the local’s thought he was a murder and this was fate) but he simply shook it off into the fire, and then they thought he was a god - which by the way is a good reason not to find your security in peoples of opinions of you because one minute you are a murderer and then you are a hero!
Here was Paul in what must have seemed like an unnecessary and inconvenient delay, a disastrous detour, storms, starvation, shipwrecks and snakebites.
What you see as a disastrous detour, may be a divine redirection
Because God used Paul to miraculously heal everyone who was sick on the island, starting with the father of the island chief- a person of great influence,
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
Voyage of the dawn treader
What if God orchestrates a divine redirection and uses YOU?!
I was reminded that last year in September, Oct, November we preach a lot about transition, and if I look back now, I see that was a preparation for this. We spoke about
Find a bigger YES behind the NO! Believing for more than before Speak life in the season that you are in because How we do now sets up what comes next That we would be people who, Look beyond, have a Deep Urgency, are Courageous Enough, have Crazy Faith that God will do it, carry a Different Spirit, hold Fearless Confidence, are Gracefully Honest and Fully Optimistic and most of all Point to Jesus
This is a season of preparation for something extraordinary,
Paul heard the word of God and believed (conviction) and he spoke it to others and acted according to it (courage). So come storm, starvation, stress, shipwreck and snakebite - he believed what God said so much that it played out in his actions.
He didn’t spend time asking why is this happening, he just got on with living according to what he believed!
For me that means finding conviction about the things that I know in my head (for example many verses), and letting them drop into my heart, so that they play out in the way I approach life.
Another way to say this is what gets in our head, gets into our heart, and gets displayed in our life.
We may not be able to control or change our circumstances, but we CAN change what we let into our head,
1/Helmet of Salvation (Eph 6) called helmet of our salvation - and it’s there for the protection of our minds
2/Renewing of the mind by the Holy Spirit
Romans 12:2 says Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind
Conform is to change from the outside in. Forces & pressures from the outside that try to mould us to the culture and circumstance - this was like sailors, prisoners in the storm & shipwreck. When we conform to the storm, the storm gets in us
But Transform is to change from the inside out that begins with a renewing of the mind, When we transform we can be in storm but the storm is not in us
The most important thing right now, is to hear the word of God, let it become a CONVICTION allow it to drop into your heart, and let it begin to inform and transform the way that you approach life.
One of the greatest tactics the enemy uses in these seasons, is to get us to believe the lie God has forgotten you. If we don’t find and speak truth, lies will become a false reality. But the good news is God speaks and he wants to speak to you!
What unhelpful things have got into your head, that have dropped into your heart that are getting displayed in the way you live?
What are the things that have attached themselves to you that are like vipers, and the poison is starting to get in?
Change starts with us taking RESPONSIBILITY for what we have allowed ourselves to believe, for what we have allowed to stay attached To no longer be a VICTIM, But to stand with new conviction and and to say NO MORE
We can’t change our circumstances but we CAN chose our convictions
Here are some unwavering convictions to have courage in that I have been holding on to
(Psalm 23)The Lord is my shepherd; I have what I need. Even when I go through the darkest valley,I fear no danger,for you are with me; You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; (a feast in the storm) you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.
(John 16:33)I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
(Rom 8:28)We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
To repent means to change direction. It is God’s kindness that leads us to a place where we are ready to change direction. I don’t know what you have believed up until this point, what has attached itself to you, but you can make a change today that will change your life forever.
You may not be able to change your circumstances but you can change your convictions
It may mean
-asking God to come and renew your mind
-Laying down some lies that you have believed and replacing them with truth
-Shaking some things off
-It may mean turning from your old ways and asking Jesus to be your saviour
Just take a moment right now to reflect on what that may be for you, perhaps you can write it down, and ask God to help you make the change