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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Sixty-Third (Conviction)

I'm sure you've noticed there are a lot of changes happening in the world today. From the voting out of a House Speaker, something that's never actually succeeded before and even only attempted once previously in the history of our nation, to a Ukraine/Russia war that's dragged on with no clear idea if anyone's winning or losing, to a war with Israel 50 years to the day from the last one they had, there's a lot of movement in the physical realm. Those whose eyes are closed see the world going downhill and look to man for a solution, but we understand this is just the physical manifestation of a spiritual battle that requires Yeshua to succeed.

When your spiritual eyes are closed, it's impossible for you to see and recognize the truth. The only thing you have to go on are others whose eyes are also closed, or worse, those that know exactly what's going on but are purposely putting out a false message. You can see closed-eyed people from a mile away because they lack conviction. They do things like post in social media their support of Israel, yet when they receive comments against them, they take it down. They go out in person, demonstrating their support for terrorists like Hamas, yet they cover their faces so they won't be recognized. Isn't it interesting how Ukraine gets attacked and invaded and gets overwhelming support, yet Israel has more barbaric attacks against them and there are still people supporting the terrorists that attacked them?

When you change your view of right and wrong, or even just your stance on a particular topic, based on what your friends or the public says or does, you lack conviction on whatever that thing is. For some things that's no big deal, although there is something to be said about "sticking to your guns," as long as it's not done foolishly. You should never lack conviction when it comes to the truth, or what's right, however.

Conviction is an interesting word. While some versions of scripture have it in certain verses, the word didn't come about until the mid 15th century. Its usage at that time was one solely relating to the legal aspect of being convicted of a crime. It wasn't until the 1800s that it started being used in reference to holding fast to one's beliefs.

Regardless of its origin, Yeshua requires us to have conviction (Revelation 3:15-16), just like He did throughout His ministry and even through His death. In fact, in some versions of scripture, this word is used to define faith: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not being seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Yeshua was hosted by Pharisees on occasion, and despite being surrounded by those with a certain viewpoint and religious beliefs, He still healed on the Sabbath (Luke 14:1-4). He did not change who He was or what He was here for just because people didn't agree or tried to shame Him and judge Him for it. He even stood up for a sinful woman while in a Pharisee's house because it was the right thing to do, rather than going along with what the Pharisee said (Luke 7:36-50). And then He forgave her! Blasphemy in the eyes of the Pharisees!

You know, one of the biggest proofs of the truth of Yeshua is how most of the apostles died. Their conviction of Yeshua being our Savior was so strong, they took it to their grave. Stephen, for example, was stoned to death (Acts 7:54-60). With every stone that hit him, he had the opportunity to recant and forsake the truth. And anyone without conviction, without being absolutely sure they know the truth, would have. He was so sure, he even requested forgiveness for his murderers with his dying breath. Not only did he know the truth and have conviction of it, he embodied the same compassion Yeshua had, knowing those killing him were blinded by evil.

There was conviction prior to Yeshua as well. One of the best examples is Job, who had his life devastated by the working of Satan, yet still praised YHWH (Job 1:20-22). And then, of course, is Abraham, who was so convicted of the truth and power of YHWH he was willing to sacrifice his son at YHWH's command (Genesis 22:10). Any hesitation, any lack of conviction by him, and we wouldn't be where we are today.

On a personal note, Sara Gene and I wouldn't be where we are in our marriage today without conviction. Being told my repentance was fake, without conviction of the truth of scripture we likely would not be married any longer. With verses saying YHWH hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and Yeshua's words that divorce was never intended from the beginning (Matthew 19:8), we fought to restore our marriage and it's now even stronger than before. It was not just about the divorce though, either. That type of event is hugely impacting to everyone involved, especially the kids, so when things got rocky as we worked through it, conviction that YHWH would take care of us no matter which way it ended up kept us strong and hopeful rather than discouraged and depressed.

Although earlier we talked about political and societal stances in terms of having conviction, it all roots in the conviction of the truth of the Word. This is what we have to help us gain the conviction we need in order to face events in our life and be strong. The only way to be convicted to the point of becoming a martyr for the truth of Yeshua is through scripture and a personal relationship with Him. You have to know, without a doubt, the truth that YHWH exists, Yeshua is His Son, and they both love you so much they orchestrated a plan spanning thousands of years, involving self-sacrifice, to ensure they provide the opportunity for you to live with them, in person, for eternity.

The last thing we'll touch on is that you may have tracked all the proofs that have come out over the decades of the truth of scripture. Everything from finding clay tablets confirming the biblical record to scientific evidence proving the basis for Yeshua's words. The latest I saw was a discovery that during sex there is a genetic transfer that occurs, and that genetic material from the other individual gets incorporated into that person's body. This discovery proves the truth that in biblical marriage, which is sex, the two actually become one flesh (Matthew 19:4-6). These discoveries, or proofs, made by man do not create conviction though, they only bolster the conviction someone already has. This is because the natural mind explains away these proofs but the spiritual mind sees the truth behind them (1 Corinthians 2:14-16).

So, be convicted in the Word. Know that He will clothe you like the lilies of the field (Matthew 6:28-30) and feed you like the birds of the air (Matthew 6:26). Yeshua is real, He loves you, and He wants you to be with Him forever!

Shabbat shalom and YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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