Belief Series Part 3: How To Be Fully Persuaded
This is the third part of a series I’m doing on belief. So far we have discussed the importance of our beliefs and how to let God deal with them. The next topic I’d like to discuss is being fully persuaded. As you let God into your life He will lead you from just putting one foot in so to speak, to jumping all the way in. He’ll lead you from just going to church on Sunday to having a real relationship with Him on a daily basis.
I’m not trying to make anybody feel bad if they are at the point where they just spend time with God on Sunday during church, or even if God is not a part of their life at all. I’m just saying there is another level that I think many don’t even think about and/or are afraid of. I know the typical thing a lot of pastors say is that God won’t send you to Africa if you start to let Him in your life. Forget Africa, I just didn’t want my life to be boring and basically suck. That’s what I thought the Christian life was like before I really knew what it was about. I saw a bunch of people with long faces trying their hardest to resist temptations and bitterness about why other people could enjoy their lives but they couldn’t. But God knew the objections I had and He was more than capable of overcoming them, not so He could have another slave worker but so that He could befriend me and enjoy fellowship together.
As we define faith, we see persuasion being talked about. Here are the Strong’s and Thayer’s definitions:
- Strong’s – a persuasion, the character of one who can be relied upon, to make friends of, to win one’s favor, gain one’s good will,
- Thayer’s – to unite, to bring one together with another one
Now let’s define persuasion:
- Webster’s definition – the act of influencing the mind by arguments and reasoning. The state of being convinced by others arguments.
And full persuasion as it pertains to Christianity:
- The influence of God completely convincing you of your right standing with Him and His heart towards you.
Faith is a noun by the way, which if you recall is a person, place or thing. Bob Woods has a great series on faith, in which he described faith more specifically as a place. He said it’s a position you end up in by being fully persuaded, which I thought was great. To elaborate on this, Greg Henry has described faith as the revelation of God’s heart towards man. So if you connect these two together, I think the position Bob was mentioning that you end up in by being fully persuaded is God’s heart. Faith isn’t something we do, it’s comes to do something to you.Faith is a place, a position you end up in by being fully persuaded. ~ Bob Woods Click To Tweet Faith is the revelation of God’s heart towards man. ~ Greg Henry Click To Tweet
The question is though, how do you end up being fully persuaded? Quite simply, God’s grace. His gentle, calming influence that convinces us to trust Him. He knows the burden is all on Him to persuade us of His goodness and He enjoys doing this. He knows the power of His truth is able to persuade us to believe what He believes. The only thing that can stop His influence upon us is us. He gives us free will to choose if we want to let Him in our life. That’s why it’s so important that the view we have of God is that of a likeable God. As you start to like something, it influences you and starts to enter into your life. An example of this in my life is golf. I used to think golf was for losers and pretty boys. Then my friends started playing golf in the park behind my house as a kid. It took me a little bit of time, but my friends eventually influenced me to try it and I realized I really liked it. From then on, golf entered my life. Simalarly, God comes in the person of Jesus to influence you of His thoughts towards you. As you see how well He thinks of you, it draws you closer to Him and He eventually enters into your life if you keep hearing that message. As long as we let Him in, it’s like those Geico commercials but instead of it saying “it’s what you do”, in this instance it would say “it’s what He does.” That’s who He is. That’s what He does. Period. End of story.
So if that’s the case, why don’t we see more people being persuaded or having faith in God? Well, in my opinion, most people are reluctant to let Him in their lives because they don’t know Him and they don’t trust Him…that’s it. They don’t make themselves available to be persuaded by God’s goodness. Most people have a wrong impression of God, which prevents them from trusting Him. This is one of the biggest reasons why I write this blog; to help people overcome their misconceptions about God. There are two main things that I think can get in way of God persuaded us. One, a misconception of the value God places on you. Two, a misunderstanding of why God wants to persuade you in the first place. These both fall under the category of the enemy persuading us of lies.
If the devil can’t keep you from believing in God, then he will at least try to keep you from enjoying your life. He will plant lies in your head about the integrity of God. He’ll try to put you under the law so you feel condemned and that God is unreasonable. He’ll start trying to get you to compare yourself with others. He’ll do whatever he can to try to keep you from going to God because he knows if you understand the truth about who God is and how He sees you then the union that results from that is very problematic for him. That’s when you become dangerous. I’ve heard Graham Cooke say the most intimidating thing about you to the devil is your intimacy with God.The most intimidating thing about you to the devil is your intimacy with God. ~ Graham Cooke Click To Tweet
It’s very hard to be persuaded by someone who you think devalues you though. Think about a boss who treats his employees poorly trying to convince them to do something. They may end up doing it, but only because they feel like they have to in order to keep their job. If they could afford to, they probably wouldn’t be working for that person. In the Christian context, again we have free will. God is gentlemen. He doesn’t force us to do anything. Many look at their circumstances to determine the value God places on them, which leads them to believe God devalues them. The proper place to look to determine your worth is the cross. The way to see how much something is worth is to see how much someone will pay for it. God was willing to give His only Son for you. I’ll get more into the value God places on you and His beliefs about you in my next blog.
If you understand the value God places on you, but still aren’t willing to let Him in, it might also be because you have a misconception about why He is trying to persuade you in the first place. This is common because of the performance-based society we live in and the popularity of religion. Christianity is about what God has done for man but religion makes it about what man has do for God. Religion places heavy burdens on people which breeds guilt, condemnation and fear resulting in a ministry of separation not reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). The real reason God wants to persuade you to trust Him is because He adores you. You take His breath away. He wants someone to share His life with. He doesn’t have any other ulterior motives. He’s not trying to get more workers or get you to do anything other than enjoy the life He has created you for. The problem is people think they can have that quality of life without God. They look to money, material things, sex, etc. to try to fill that God-sized void in their life not realizing that God is the only one that will bring them the contentment they are looking for.
One last thing I want to talk about regarding being fully persuaded is that of being double-minded. James said let not a double-minded man think He will receive anything from God. Remember, being fully persuaded in the Christian context is the influence of God to completely convince you of your right standing with Him and His heart towards you. If you’re not fully persuaded, it’s not that God is holding back from you, but you are not in a position to receive. If you don’t believe what God believes about you and His intentions towards you, what happens is you go off and try to fulfill the desires of your heart in your own strength, ability and wisdom. It’s like someone trying to give something to you but because your hands are clenched from trying to do things in your own power, you can’t receive it.
Well that does it for this week. Next week we’ll be talking more about the value God places on you and what He believes about you. After that, I am excited to announce my next guest blogger will be Cindy Quarles. She was the director of the Bible school I went to and is like a spiritual mother to me. Check out her ministry at www.unveiled.love in the meantime. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings.