I had a facebook conversation with my friend, Marah, today about personal convictions. Much of our discussion has stayed with me throughout this afternoon and evening... my heart is pondering this much and more.
Personal convictions... does the same Holy Spirit actually convict some without convicting others about a particular thing? I think so. Not sure how or why but I really think so. I have no scientific evidence, just personal experience.
For instance, I can still think back nine years to the time when I knew I was under conviction to homeschool my kids. I could feel His stirring very distinctly in my heart. At the same time, a friend was sure I was not following God's will by keeping my kids home. She actually told me, "I don't think God is calling you to homeschool. The Bible tells us to be salt and light in the world. If you school your kids at home, you are in direct disobedience to God and His Word!" Ouch! I still remember the days of personal struggle after that conversation. I knew what the Spirit was whispering to my heart and I also heard what my friend boldly stated. In the end, I knew I had to follow His leading, regardless of her opinion. All these years later, I have doubted myself and my ability often but I have never doubted His conviction in my heart.
Amazingly enough, though I knew He convicted me to school my kids at home, I also know of friends and family who have been equally convicted to send their children to school. These people have sought God's will, searched the scriptures for themselves and spent time on their knees in obedience to the conviction of their heart. They may doubt themselves but they don't doubt His conviction in sending their kids to school. Amazingly, the same Holy Spirit that led me to homeschool, led them to send their children to school.
As I sit here, I can think of several personal convictions that I have that I don't share with other brothers and sisters in Christ... for instance, I feel very convicted that magic is wrong. Therefore, we have removed all books and movies in our home that have magic in them (including Disney, Narnia and Lord of the Rings). I can remember the struggle of that in my heart and the physical relief I felt when the last of the books and movies left our house. Very few people share this personal conviction with me and yet, I'm confident the Holy Spirit has commanded that I don't have magic in my house.
As I've been ruminating on my facebook conversation with Marah, I'm coming to the conclusion that personal convictions are just that... personal. So often, I think we look to others for the confirmation of the Spirit's convicting in our heart. If they are convicted as well, then we must be on the right track. If they aren't convicted as we are, we either doubt the Spirit's call in our heart or we try to be the Spirit and convict them ourselves. Either way, we lose sight of the term... personal conviction.
I've come to the conclusion that I am glad that the God I serve convicts different people differently and I have no idea how or why. I don't want to serve a God I can figure out!