Did I ever mention that I was once convicted about I Love Lucy?
Years ago as a young wife and mom, I used to watch I Love Lucy while I was getting lunches prepared for the children. I had 2 children and babysat for 6 others and my husband was in grad school and gone about 12-16 hours a day. My main adult companionship was Lucy!
I’d laugh at her antics and shenanigans. Until one day when the Lord convicted me.
He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm. Prov 13:20
Lucy WAS my companion. She was manipulative, deceptive, bossy, gossipy. Was THIS the kind of woman I wanted to spend 30 minutes every day with? Was she the kind of wife I wanted to become? In biblical terms, she was a fool; was I going to suffer harm by her company?
So God’s conviction to me was to stop watching the show.
Does MY conviction translate to a command for all believers?
We, as a human race, love rules. Rules can be good for society, for families, for individuals. Sometimes God gives us commands (rules) that are for all His children and sometimes He speaks to OUR hearts with a conviction that is dealing with something particular to our growth and sanctification.
I had a friend years ago who went to a conference only to return home and throw out all of his rock music collection. At this conference he was convicted that his music was wrong. It was emotionally linked (for him) to a very worldly and sinful lifestyle that he led prior to coming to Christ. He always found himself struggling harder with sinful temptations after long periods of listening to his music. He then went on to tell everyone else that all rock music was wrong, sinful, and that they should follow his example and toss theirs.
He wasn’t discerning that the Holy Spirit had only been speaking to his heart, rather than to the church at large!
I think we need to be very VERY careful to not go further than the scriptures do when it comes to declaring rules for others. Unfortunately, in our (often youthful) zeal, this is a tendency for us all!
- We want so much to be sold out 100% to Jesus.
- We want to surrender every aspect of our lives to Him.
- We want to walk in obedience to His Word.
That is good and how it should be. In that excitement to follow Him, we can add our own convictions onto the shoulders of others, to burden them with a weight of rules that God did not give. The pharisees and rabbinical leaders did that in Jesus’ day and He certainly lambasted them!
Pressing in to God so we can hear Him speak to us.
The reality is that God often speaks to us by His Spirit and calls us away from things; sometimes for a season, sometimes permanently. There was a point a number of years ago that I stopped watching any movie rated R. I had watched a certain movie and was very convicted afterward that it was not a movie I should have watched. So, as a safeguard until I knew what God was calling me to, I simply set my bar at R rated movies.
Now, it would have been very easy to try an manipulate or guilt others on my standard. After all, if I thought it was bad to watch them, shouldn’t that have been the same for others? Well, you know what? I am not the standard of measure for righteousness. Yeah, shocking, right? 😉
I didn’t look at this decision as a conviction, even. More like a fast. I was fasting from certain movies in order to listen to what God was teaching me about my spiritual life and attitudes. It gave me time to discern the boundaries God was giving to me for my life.
I know there are triggers for me; things which feed my flesh and make it harder to resist temptation.
- Some movies are triggers.
- Some music is a trigger.
- Some things push me to dissatisfaction and coveting.
I have chosen to recognize those triggers and step away from them. But MY triggers are not YOUR triggers. So I shouldn’t attempt to put MY boundaries on YOUR life. In areas where the scripture is silent, we must each huddle up onto the lap of God and press in to His heart and let Him speak deep into our souls. We need to allow Him to guide our lives and prune us where it is most needed. Now, here’s the kicker, we need to let HIM to that in other’s lives as well!
YIKES! You mean I can’t be the Holy Spirit for other people?
Well, I’m sorry to say that we are actually pretty lousy at being the Holy Spirit and He is pretty spectacular at it! And quite frankly, the longer I walk with the Lord, the more I find enough to deal with in my own life. I don’t have time to police yours.
If I’m in a discipling situation, I am quick to share the things God has spoken to my heart that identify triggers that draw me into sin and away from God. But then, instead of telling them that they should take my standards as from God, I encourage them to go back to God Himself for direction. God’s wisdom and insight is so much better than mine (ya think?) and they need HIS guidance, not mine.
Examine your heart and speech to see if there are rules you are laying on others that are your personal convictions rather than God’s commands. Learn to encourage others to follow the Spirit into that deeper walk of faith that we all long for.