“For this reason 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 what I have committed to Him until that Day.” 2 Timothy 1:12

Some of us are harder to persuade than others. In fact, quite a few of us are downright stubborn.

I think that one of the reasons men tend to be stubborn is that once we have figured out something to our satisfaction then that is that and it is time to move on, end of discussion. That would be a fine attribute if life did not continue to throw us curve balls.

Our reasoning goes something like this: Almost every decision we make we view as a general maxim that can be applied to an infinite number of scenarios. After all, isn’t it logical that good decisions are hard to come by and therefore we figure that each decision can be used as an anchor in multiple contexts?

We persuade ourselves that there is no more learning to be had and we are completely comfortable with our choice. This makes it rather difficult for someone to dissuade us from our self-satisfying, pat answer. The antidote is always a healthy dose of humility when our favorite conclusions are challenged at a future time.

Webster’s says that the word persuade comes from the root idea of “to influence, to incite.” It gives the meaning of persuade as “To influence by argument, advice, entreaty or expostulation; to draw or incline the will to a determination by presenting motives to the mind. To convince by argument, or reasons offered; or to convince by reasons suggested by reflection or deliberation, or by evidence presented in any manner to the mind.”

The Greek word most often translated persuade is the word peitho. In its active sense it means “to apply persuasion, to prevail upon or win over, to bring about a change of mind by the influence of reason or moral considerations.” In the passive sense it closely resembles assurance; it means “to be fully persuaded” (Vine’s).

Scripturally speaking, the idea of persuasion is very human. Persuasion comes as a result of argument, with incontrovertible facts logically applied to bring about a change of mind and heart. In order to be persuaded there needs to be a willingness to hear, and in spiritual matters, there needs to be the work of the Holy Spirit, quickening and enabling the human heart to comprehend and embrace God’s judgment in place of ours.

The Greek word appears in the Gospels in the context of men persuading men, apart from anything of God’s grace. Matthew 27:20 and 28:14 both have to do with the narrative of events surrounding the Savior’s death, burial, and resurrection. In both places the Jewish religious leadership exerted their influence for dishonorable purposes. But then in Luke 16:31, in our Savior’s recounting of the “Rich Man and Lazarus,” as the rich man pleads with Abraham to send someone to earth to warn his brothers not to end up in the fires of Hell, our Lord quotes Abraham: “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” This is the plight of every unsaved individual when it comes to the Gospel; there is no soul-salvation persuasion without the direct intervention of God.

The need for the Spirit’s intervention to bring salvation is seen in the interchange between Paul and King Agrippa found in Acts 26:20: “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” Paul applied Scripture, logic, and appeal to the facts of the resurrection, yet Agrippa did not believe. Sad words, indeed.

When the Spirit of God does intervene, He uses Scripture, logic, and appeal to prepare people for their conversion, as He did with the Thessalonians in Acts 17: “Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead…and some of them were persuaded….” This is probably what God did in bringing you to Himself. Someone shared the Gospel with you and applied it to your soul’s need. The Holy Spirit opened your heart and you believed—you were persuaded!

For the Christian, the need for persuasion does not end at salvation, but it is an ongoing work of God in your heart as you grow in Him. There are spiritual realities the Bible identifies about which you must be persuaded.

2 Timothy 1:12 talks about divine keeping power. Paul’s challenge to Timothy to be persuaded in the absolute power of God starts with the example of his godly heritage in verse 5. Persuasion of divine power defeats fear by the Spirit’s gifts of power, love and a sound mind. Verses 9–11 show that God has done so much for His saints that He will leave nothing to chance. Therefore, as Paul says, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day!” God’s keeping power is guarding, protecting, and preserving you. Your entire life and welfare are in His hands.

We all need a deeper persuasion of God’s keeping power (Romans 4:21), the certainty of His divine promises (Hebrews 11:13), and His inseparable love (Romans 8:38f). Trust and obey.