For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6
Roy L. Smith said, “No man is ever more than four steps from God: conviction, repentance, consecration and faith.” Smith is spot on. Without these four steps there can be no intimacy with Christ. All four steps are necessary. If you take only two steps, you won’t have a spiritual breakthrough. Even if you take steps one, two, and four; or steps one, two, and three; if you don’t take all four steps you won’t succeed.
Let’s consider each step.
Step one. Conviction is the persuasion that you’d be doing the right thing if you pursued an intimate relationship with Christ. It’s when you ask yourself, “Do I really want Christ to be my best friend?” Ask that question now. Say to yourself, “What do I really want? Is it self-sufficiency, or is it Christ?” Don’t rush with the answer. Think it through, examine your heart. For it’s only when you’re fully convicted that you want an intimate relationship with Christ that you’re ready to move onto the next step.
Step two. Acting on your conviction, you must repent. Repentance is turning around and facing God. It’s saying, “Lord I’m sorry for having been self-sufficient,” or, “Lord I’m sorry for having kept you at arm’s length,” or “Lord I’m sorry for my sin,” or “Lord I’m sorry for all of the above.” That’s repentance. It’s refusing to have any more to do with whatever’s been an obstacle between you and God. It’s saying, “I’m done with that! I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I’m not going to continue doing it anymore.”
Conviction and repentance. Only two steps remain.
Step three. The third step to intimacy with Christ is consecration. Consecration is when you declare your devotion to Christ. It’s saying, “Lord, from here on out there’s only one way, and that’s going to be your way. I love you Lord. Nothing else matters. With your strength I’m going to live for you, and for you alone. Help me to imitate you. Help me to be holy.”
Conviction, repentance, consecration. One step to go.
Step four. Faith. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1. It’s complete trust and confidence in Christ. It’s saying, “When it comes to Christ I’m dead to doubts, dumb to discouragements and blind to impossibilities” Anonymous.
That’s all there is to it. If you honestly and earnestly take these four steps then the intimacy you want with Christ will be yours. Now you must continue to abide in that intimacy. And how do you do that? It takes four steps – conviction, repentance, consecration, and faith.