The Energy of Your Conviction
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that [who] loved us. – Romans 8: 37
In September of 1935, a Californian by the name of Tilly Lewis opened a tomato canning factory which her advisers had warned her would never get off the ground. They had two reasons for their doubt: (1) agriculturalists thought that Italian tomatoes would not grow successfully in California and (2) the manager, being a woman, could never acquire the financial backing needed to open a major canning operation. Despite other's pessimism, in that year Tilly Lewis got the money, and her factory was in full operation, cooking for the first time beautiful California-grown Italian tomatoes. Her idea had taken concrete form, and now she would be able to prove what she had known all along.
But early in the processing plant's operation - at a very critical moment - the new steam boilers which were cooking the ripe tomatoes broke down. Something mechanical had gone wrong. The steam was going down. For a moment Tilly was frantic. Here she had spent many dedicated years getting ready for this event and then, beyond her control, her dream seemed to be shattering. After her initial panic, Tilly told all the workers to remain at their posts, that she would be back. She then went for a walk by herself out into an open area where she sat down and got quiet. After sitting a few minutes, Tilly faintly detected a locomotive whistle in the wind. She ran back to the building, got on a telephone and called the locomotive offices in that area of California. Within two hours, arrangements had been made and a locomotive engine was sitting on a side track pumping steam into the boilers, and the tomatoes began cooking again. In 1973, according to the record, this corporation begun by Tilly Lewis did forty million dollars’ worth of business. Tilly Lewis had the energy to carry through on her conviction. In other words, she had the perseverance to stick with her idea or plan and she has been rewarded abundantly for it.
According to his biographers, Thomas Edison was a completely apathetic student. What then made him America's most versatile and successful inventor? The energy of his conviction. He became stimulated by ideas and possibilities, and he worked on them until he reached a conclusion to his ideas.
Albert Einstein was also a backward student with very little formal education. What made him such an intellectual explosion? Henry Ford had only a few years in a one-room public school. What made him a success? Al Smith was a four-term governor of the state of New York who also ran for the presidency of the United States, yet he never went beyond the seventh grade. Ezra Cornell, founder of Cornell University and also the organizer and originator of the Western Union Telegraph Company, never graduated from any school whatsoever. George Bernard Shaw, one of the world's great modern writers, only went through the fifth grade. Did you know that Grandma Moses never took one lesson in painting?
We know that every effect has a cause, so there has to be an explanation why these people became outstandingly successful. George Fox, the founder of the Quaker sect, admitted that he was inferior to others in every personal aspect except for one: the energy to carry through on his conviction. He was fully persuaded of the endeavor which he pursued. As I have looked at the lives of people, I have seen that it has always been the energy to back up and carry out their convictions that has made their lives successful and outstanding.
If success had depended upon formal education, then there is no explanation for an Edison, an Einstein, a Henry Ford, an Al Smith, an Ezra Cornell, a George Bernard Shaw, a Grandma Moses and many others. But their success did not stem from just knowledge or raw ability. Their achievements were the result of steadfastly applying principles that can be found in God's Word. In short, they believed to the extent of acting on their beliefs. And, furthermore, they not only acted, they persevered with their various endeavors.
There is a record in Romans which will set some of these great truths in our lives from God's Word by giving us the example of Abraham.
Romans 4: 18-21
Who [Abraham] against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
And being not weak in faith [believing], he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old [he was 99], neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb [she was 90]:
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith [believing], giving glory to God;
And being fully persuaded that, what he [God] had promised, he [God] was able also to perform.
There is the reason for the success of Abraham. He was fully persuaded. Abraham held fast to God's Word - he "staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief." Even though it had not come to pass by the time Abraham was 99 and Sara 90, he did not lose his confidence in God's Word. He was absolutely sure that God would carry out His promise. That unwavering certainty is what brought about the greatness of Abraham to the end that he is credited as the father of all those who believe. What a tremendous credit to receive.
The great things of this world are available to men and women who know how to operate one of God's laws, namely the law of "believing equals receiving." And this law includes: “believing equals action." Great accomplishments are not necessarily just for people with great intellectual ability; they are attainable by men and women who believe to receive. It doesn't hurt to have a few brains, but it doesn't help unless one operates this universal law of believing. Many operate the law of believing without even having a knowledge of God's Word, for this law of believing works for saint and sinner alike. But for those who haven't been operating and therefore benefiting from the law of positive believing, a knowledge of it from God's Word can open the door to change course and set sail on a new, better way.
Like Abraham, Jesus Christ must also have been fully persuaded. To cite one example, the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John gives an account of the disciples becoming very concerned about their master because he wasn't eating when they thought he should be hungry.
John 4: 31-34
In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
God had sent Jesus Christ and he was to do God's work. Now to do God's work, with singleness of mind, Jesus must have been fully persuaded. The account of Jesus in John 4 continues.
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. -- John 4: 35
This clearly demonstrates the difference in people. Some people see the outreach of God's Word sometime in the future. We must see it in the immediate present. Followers said to Jesus, "Four months yet till harvest." But Jesus knew that the important "crop" was ripe at that very moment. The disciples didn't perceive this because they were not yet fully persuaded. They had not begun generating energy for their conviction. They were not utterly convinced and committed to their cause. They were still mentally assenting but not acting on their conviction.
"Lift up your eyes" Jesus Christ said. That's the message to the Church of the Body today. Get your eyes up. Don't look at the things of the world with all of its confusion and negatives. These will limit you. Look at God and the things of God. Get your vision elevated and then carry through on your conviction. The rationalists will say, "Four months till harvest." God says, "Now is the time; today is the day of salvation. Open up your spiritual eyes." Get your vision up to where God is magnetically drawing you with the Lord Jesus Christ in all his glory and power. "For the fields are white already to harvest."
Now, you've got to get fully persuaded that you are what the Word of God says you are and that you have what the Word of God says you have. Then you can do what the Word of God says you can do. You must be convinced before you can accomplish your goals.
You and I have only one responsibility to God and that is to live for Him with all the energy and ability that we have. As sons we are to walk fully persuaded in what He has made us. If God redeemed us, if God saved and filled us, and if God gave us everything He says He gave us in the Word, the least we can do is to commit ourselves fully to Him. Then He will supply each and every need.
Take therefore no thought [have no anxiety] for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. -- Matthew 6: 34
In other words, don't get anxious about tomorrow. You just walk with the greatness of that full commitment today, and tomorrow will take care of itself when it comes. We can only live now. This is the moment. The past moment you can't relive. The one still coming you can't live yet. You are living one moment at a time. When we begin to become fully persuaded moment by moment, we'll make it through each day living the more abundant life.
Someone once said, "I think and I think and I think, and all I ever get is a pain in my thinker." You can get like that about God and His Word. You think you have a theological system all worked out except that it seemingly doesn't work. You can rationalize God's Word into fruitlessness. The greatness of God in our lives is brought to pass not by our intelligence, but in our commitment - being fully persuaded and belonging to Him. Thus, the primary ingredient is belief. Each individual will go as far as his believing takes him. A great example was the Apostle Paul.
II Timothy 1: 11 and 12
Wherefore I am [was] appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
For the which cause [the cause of the gospel of the grace of God] I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Literal translation according to usage of 1: 12b:
I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded [fully persuaded beyond a shadow of a doubt] that He [God] is able to keep my deposit which He has committed [given] unto me against [until] that day. -- II Timothy 1: 12b
This accurate translation is given in the margins of the 1881 and 1901 Revised Versions. What a tremendous record from God's Word. To be fully persuaded is to know that even if you were in the midst of hell itself, God will keep that deposit which He gave to you. And that deposit is the revelation of the mystery, that it is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Paul was fully persuaded and, consequently, fully committed. That is why his ministry lives in the epistles. That is also the reason God's work is carried out today. Because men and women like us are fully persuaded and have the assurance that God will keep that which He has promised. Being fully convinced, Paul was able to carry through and convince others of the saving grace and power of Christ Jesus. That is why you too should become fully persuaded of the integrity and accuracy of the revelation addressed to the Church of the Body. Become fully persuaded, then you will have energy to carry out your conviction and reap the harvest that is ripe.