The following is a guest post by Tyler Recker.
There is often degrees of conviction that we move through while going from talk to action. I’ve found that first we get convicted about something to the point of feeling really weird/bad/guilty when we go ahead and do that anyway. Then eventually there’s another level where we are convicted so stoutly that we go from an internal conviction to actually living it out with skin in the game.
The internal conviction that never moves outward is really no conviction at all, but just some therapeutic mind candy to help us feel better about ourself, and simultaneously quench the Holy Spirit.
However, worse than that is the vocalized conviction that doesn’t find itself being lived out.
I’ve expressed before my ongoing struggle to forsake a life of comfort surrounded by like-minded people in favor of the Kingdom life sent on mission to the world that Jesus beckons all of his followers to. Likewise, I’ve struggled recently to get past complaining about the rampant, sinful, unbiblical individualism that the suburban church too often gets caught up in to actually living a life that promotes the community of the Kingdom.
I’ve done this before. The talk but not live thing.
When I was in high school, I wrote this real swell article in the school newspaper on how downloading music illegally was actually stealing and how copying CD’s that you don’t own was also stealing. It was called “Pirates of The Pentium” which I thought was real clever spin on “Pirates of the Caribbean” using the word “pentium” which I knew had something to do with computers.
It was full of good points about how I didn’t feel bad that the practice was cutting in on the income of Metallica and Britney Spears, but how that didn’t really matter. Also, I spoke about how most of us wouldn’t walk out of Best Buy with a CD slid into our hoodie, but we didn’t mind downloading music illegally.
But if you looked at my computer, I had over 1,200 songs on there that I didn’t own.
Talk is cheap if we can’t live out our convictions.
A lot of people will say that we don’t really change until it hurts more to stay the same than it does to change. A couple weeks ago when I was really wrestling through the misery of the comfortable suburban life I saw myself settling into, I think I moved into the zone where staying lame hurt more than breaking the cycle and moving out into a life of community and mission.
So, I’ve got a list of 7-8 concrete, practical things that I’m going to do to intersect my life more with nonbelievers with the purpose of advancing the Gospel. Also, we have some concrete plans to live more in community. Some are personal, some are for both Leah and I.
And we’re doing more than just making lists. We’ve got a pretty good jump on actually living those out.
-We baked up some cheesecakes for our neighbors and delivered them during Christmas as a way of meeting them and trying to fight against the current of isolationism of suburban neighborhoods.
-I’ve taken hobbies that I enjoy and been intentional about doing those things with nonbelievers instead of just believers.
-We’ve been intentional about trying to meet new people within our local body and get past superficial conversation of football, weather, the economy and politics and move on to things that matter like the Gospel and where Jesus has brought them from and where Jesus is leading them to.
But the truth is we’ve still got a few more scary, good ideas on our list that we’ve not been ready to go forward with yet. Still some convictions that we haven’t lived out yet…
And I don’t say any of this to brag. My depravity is far too deep and too evident to brag like I’m something. I say all of this to say this…
The joy of living a life according to convictions is much greater than the fleeting happiness of living a life according to comfort.
It’s much easier to sleep at night, to ride alone in my truck, and to go on walks with the Holy Spirit knowing that I’m not blatantly convicted one way while living another.