<<influence, strongly encourage>>

Persuasion is aimed at changing another’s attitude or behaviour by using written or spoken words to convey feelings, information or reasoning. It should not to be confused with submission to an authority whose orders are to be obeyed without room for negotiation. There is often more than one way of doing something and we need to respect the viewpoint and method of another without pushing them into our mould. We need to be open to new ideas, and at least consider them, unless they are clearly against the teaching of Scripture.

A person pressured against their will is still of the same opinion even though they may temporarily conform and reluctantly oblige to please another. Thus we should not pressure others; rather present the challenge by giving the facts, outlining the choices and the consequences, then leave them to work through the options, arriving at their own decision, without undue interference or heavy arm tactics. However after planting a seed in their mind we should pray the Holy Spirit will cause it to bring about a change. Perspective and a clear conviction of God's purposes and personal guidance must be taken into account too. The NT believers tried to prevent Paul from going to Jerusalem but he was adamant he would and was prepared to even die there, so they gave up and said, "The Lord's will be done" (Act 21:10-14). The object message from the Holy Spirit soon became reality as Paul was taken captive, yet when he in prison he wrote several letters to the various churches which have been preserved and are of great benefit to us today. These are the books of Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon, whose messages may not have been recorded if he had been free and visited these churches in person.

Paul confidently, clearly and boldly presented the Kingdom of God with the aim to convince others to embrace the gospel. He knew what a remarkable transformation Christ had made in his life and wanted others to experience

Living out the gospel is a powerful witness

it too, including King Agrippa (Act 19:8, 26:28,29, 28:23; 2 Cor 5:11). Our life should confirm the message we are trying to get others to adopt, or else the two-faced standard we portray will not gain many devoted followers. Does my lifestyle match what I try to convince others to become?

Abraham was fully persuaded, being convinced that God was able to do as He had promised (Rom 4:21). Amongst other things Paul was of the sure belief that nothing can separate us from the love of God and He was able to adequately protect that which he had entrusted into divine hands (Rom 8:38,39; 2 Tim 1:12). Am I as fully persuaded?

See also: control, conviction (1), manipulation, prayer (directive), pressure.