“What shall I do then with Jesus called Christ?” Pilate asked. They all answered “crucify him”. (Matt. 27:22)
We live in a world where everything we do tend to be influenced by the societal norms. The propensity to dance to the tune of the society seems to be so compelling, thus suppressing our conviction from acting according to our will. The pressure of what people will say, how people will react to our actions constrains us from exercising our sense of independence in making certain decisions in life.
In the above Scripture quotation, we see how after Pilate examined Jesus and found Him guiltless and innocent of the accusation brought against Him was convinced that he didn’t deserve to die. But for fear of how the people who pressed for his crucifixion will react if he freed Him asked for their opinion of what to do with Jesus.
The response he got was an overwhelming chorus answer of “crucify him”. In verse 23 he asked again “Why”? What crime has he committed?. Still they shouted all the louder “crucify him”. With that, Pilate had no choice but to wash off his hand, and released Barabbas to them, and handed over Jesus to be crucified. What a pity! Pilate reserved the right to have exercised his authority in freeing Jesus having been convinced of His innocency. But he declined as a result of fear of the reaction of the people.
Jesus opened the eye of a certain man who was born blind, when his parents were questioned about the miracle, they refused to say that it was Jesus that opened his eyes even though they knew it. The Bible says that their refusal to mention Jesus as the one that gave sight to their son was because the Jews had already decided to excommunicate anyone who acknowledge Jesus as the Christ from the Synagogue. (John 9:22).
They were afraid of the Jews – that is the problem. This is the reason people don’t live their conviction – the fear what people will say. Dr. Myles Munroe says that the opposite of conviction is compromise. That’s accurately true. When people don’t live their conviction, they end up compromising.
I personally have met with people in the course of door to door evangelism who after being convicted in their spirit of the need to accept Jesus as their Savior will give one excuse or the other not to. I remember vividly a particular man in his late thirties I preached to, he listened keenly to the gospel, and I sensed that he was deeply touched by the message. But when I asked if he will accept Jesus as his Lord and personal Savior, he told me that his parents are practicing Muslims so he will not abandon the religion he was born into.
Many people are convinced of certain right thing they’re supposed to do, but because of external influence or pressure, they rather choose to betray their conscience and please the public (Close associates, friends, family members, relatives, colleagues etc).
Is there any lofty thing God has impressed upon your heart to do? Go ahead ahead and obey Him. God rewards complete obedience.
This is wrong. God hates it. He wants people to be themselves, to be free from societal pressure. God sent king Saul to go and totally destroy the Amalekites, and not spare anything. But he went and capture their king alive, and also brought back some good looking animals, according to him to sacrifice to the Lord. That got him into trouble with God because he did not fully obey Him. (This story is found in 1Samuel 15:1-22). Pay particular attention to verses 20,21. It is most likely that the people he went to war with influenced his inability to obey God’s explicit instruction.
Let’s live our conviction, and not allow others dictate to us or influence us to act against our conviction. Our Lord Jesus Christ lived His conviction. He knew He was in the world to die for sinners and purchase salvation for them. So even when His close disciple, Peter attempted to talk Him out of it, He rebuked him. (Matt. 16:21-23).
Revd. A. U. Akpan is the President of Faith Activation Global Ministries, Lagos, Nigeria, in divine partnership with The Ministry of the Word.