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Acts 2:37-38; 41-42 (ESV)
“When they heard this, they came under deep conviction and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: ‘Brothers, what must we do?’ ‘Repent,’ Peter said to them, ‘and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…’ So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.”
How many of us have felt conviction from the Holy Spirit because of a sermon or someone’s testimony? Conviction means “a firm or fixed belief.” Convictions from God should lead us to change our physical and/or emotional behavior. In this passage, we can see three stages to responding to convictions from God.
The first stage is acknowledging that we feel God speaking to us. In this passage, a group gathered around the apostles after the Holy Spirit came upon them and the apostles were praising God in various languages. The crowd listened to Peter’s words and many began to feel convicted that Jesus Christ could save them from their sins and death. There are times when we try to run from the conviction that we feel. But we must open our hearts to God’s teachings and humbly acknowledge when the Lord points out the parts of our lives that do not line up with His plan for us.
The second stage is seeking guidance regarding what to do next when we feel convicted by God. People in the crowd turned to Peter and asked him what they should do. It is important to surround yourself with wise and mature followers of Christ who you can turn to when you feel conviction. They can help you understand what the Lord is saying and direct you to resources and pray with you. It is also important to confide in someone else about your convictions to help you remain accountable.
The final stage is acting on your convictions. The crowd asked Peter what to do next. And Peter told them to be baptized and to start living their lives for Christ. And many of them didn’t wait! So don’t procrastinate! If you are convicted to read your Bible more, pick it up today and read it. Start looking and praying for more opportunities to speak to others about Christ, if that is your conviction. Acting on your convictions can mean a lot of hard work, but it will strengthen your walk with God. Isn’t that the most important thing of all?
This week, pray about how you feel God is convicting you. Meditate on His words and let Him motivate you to do what is right and honorable in His sight.
If you wish to pray about committing to a relationship with God and want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian, visit graceministriesusa.org.