Over the last week, I have been in Sydney, Australia at the Hillsong Conference. An awesome time of worship, sermons, fellowship with 25000+ Christians, holidaying with friends. A time of growing closer to Christ, deeper in understanding. As with most conferences I go to, obviously also, not without conviction.
Those who know me well will know I have a passion for mission and naturally flowing from that, for social justice. If you were to ask me, I would tell you what I sponsor, for which companies and for what cause. As it is, I already sponsor a child through Compassion in India.
Well, Compassion Australia was there at the conference. There is something about the company, the work they do and the stories they share that brings me to tears. They shared this video:
Conviction hey. The fact that its children gets me even more. I went away from the video thinking “you know, I think I’ll just ignore this feeling – I already do enough”.
Later that week, I stood there, in that tent, praying and deliberating and struggling with what I should do. The nagging feeling does not go away. Do you commit on top of everything else you already sponsor and the child you already sponsor? Do you just do it?
It’s not easy to ignore the nudging of the Holy Spirit. It’s even harder to ignore Him when you are fully aware that you have spent a lot of money on clothing, food and expenses during the week. In frustration at myself at my own inaction, conviction on my spending and broken heart at the need, I know and will always know what needs to be done.
Compassion led by conviction prevails.
The thing that hurts my heart the most is children who have been waiting for sponsorship for a long time and it frustrates me to no end that these children haven’t been sponsored for so long. The first child I sponsored, Longthong who has since moved from the program was waiting for over 500 days for a sponsor. My first question to Compassion when he moved from the program was this: “who has been waiting the longest?” So I sponsor a child from India. My first thought at coming to sponsor a second child here at this conference: “who has been waiting the longest?”
Had a look through the first marquee. 320 days. 300 days. 340 days. 340 days. All far too many days for children to wait unsponsored. No one to write to them. No stranger across the world to care and pray for them. In the second marquee, I came across this: “I have been waiting more then 420 days”. A young boy from South America. Longest waiting, for over a year. So I now sponsor a child from Bolivia.
What is it going to take for our convictions to become action? We are compelled by the Spirit to step out and act yet we so often and so dangerously ignore His nudging. Even when it hurts, even when it is dangerous, even when we feel we may not be able to do it, to ignore convictions is to ignore the passions, desires and understanding given to us by God.
When we ignore our convictions, children won’t get sponsored, the unreached won’t be reached with the gospel, slavery won’t be destroyed, our neighbours won’t know Christ and we won’t grow deeper in understanding, faith and authenticity in our relationship with Jesus. We won’t read the word, pray, serve.
My prayer and hope as a follower of Christ that we would do what needs to be done. That we would step out in faith and act on convictions. I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit gives conviction to us for a reason, not only to see the lost reached and hope restored but for our good and for His immeasurable glory.