In reading through T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution this week, I came across this statement: "conviction does not equal obedience." The more I re-read that statement I am positive that I knew and understood that before, but I think as teachers of Scripture and truth that we often take that for granted.
For example you finish teaching or preaching somewhere and many people come up and tell you how convicting your teaching was. If you are like me you naturally feel good that through your preaching the Holy Spirit pointed out some things in their life that called for conviction. But many of you are probably also like me in that you move on under the assumption that they will respond to their conviction.
The truth is that many if not most people that become convicted by something do not immediately respond with obedience. This may easily be one of the core aspects that is wrong with our churches today as people feel convicted, but through our discipleship or lack thereof we have never taught them obedience.
We must disciple our people in such a way that as they feel conviction come upon them we help them to immediately walk in obedience. Because we all know that if you give it long enough then conviction will wear off and sometimes rather quickly.
Although this post is not about small groups this is a great place to put a plug in for the importance of small groups. I imagine that most preachers and teachers hear on a weekly basis from those who are convicted by something that was taught or proclaimed, but the truth is that in most cases you do not know that person that well to begin with. If you have an individual that is involved with a small group who also comes under the same the conviction then obedience is much more likely as you can direct that person to share this conviction with their group as a way of confession and repentance and seek their help in walking in obedience.
So the next time that someone tells you that what you proclaimed was convicting to them, stop and ask them how they are going to respond in obedience immediately.