Unless you’ve been holed up beneath a rock for the past few weeks, you would have come across the news of brexit and it’s subsequent result. The proponents of the leave crusade, voted out with the assurance and belief that a future outside the EU would be best for Britain; such a preconceived idea, but nevertheless, votes were casted with the utter faith of a better future (though I think otherwise, that’s a debate for another time, we’re dealing with something else today). Although that example doesn’t encapsulate the full picture of what conviction does, it gives us a quantum essence of its nature, where people are guided by principles of received informations, processed rightly or wrongly.
As Christians, we’re called to live a righteous life: a life that’s led on the template of Jesus Christ with the radiation of His glorious light; such a lifestyle is virtually impossible, if it doesn’t carry with it, the intricate dogmas involved. We often hear this profound word bandied around, be it after a sermon, revival, concert or whatnot … “Oh I feel so convicted by that, today… God is great,”… And then guess what! We find ourselves back to the same old place of guilt and shame after contradicting the same professed convictions by committing intentional or non-intentional sins – bitterness, lies, malice, anger, hatred, lust, adultery et al. Which begs the question, were we really convicted in the first place or just emotionally swayed? And if we were, how did we lose it?
So what exactly is this intermittent elusive sine-qua-non of righteousness?
Incipiently, leading to salvation; conviction, the work of the Holy spirit, gets us to the point where we see ourselves as guilty, shameful and filled with sin, the way God sees us, and being unable to save ourselves, we turn to Him. They are beliefs procured from close fidelity to the scriptures. Living a surrendered life, the footprint shouldn’t and wouldn’t be fleeting, but deep-rooted and perpetual. In 1 Thessalonians 1:5, the apostle Paul wrote “for the gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy ghost, and in much assurance (conviction), as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.”
New babe born-again Christians would often do things, cause they see others do such, we’ve all been there before; be it street preaching, regular attendance, tithes etc, but as they mature in Christ, the reasons for those activities or any of that nature, develops into convictions. It’s only through the power of the Holy ghost, that true convictions are gained and can be maintained. Sanctification of the Holy spirit.
“I know I left those, underneath the pillows,” one of many phrases uttered, when we lose an item. How come we lose things, so vital to us? Carelessness? Familiarity? How come we lose our convictions, as time passes? There are number if reasons, but what first springs up to mind, is due to not being mindful\watchful, hence compromising, starting with what could be seen as little: reading of the bible habitually (spiritual food), praying, fasting etc; overconfidence and pride playing a detrimental role as well.
- The Sunday routine: convictions would only bear fruits if it’s acted upon, thus if the foundation of it, is derived solely and limited to just every Sunday your favourite minister preaches, and not enhanced upon with a personal daily thirst, the euphoria eventually dies off and it’s back to square 1. A firm and sound personal biblical perspective is essential to maintaining convictions. This “Sunday routine” is a major reason why most are easily led astray by false\adulterated doctrines of the truth. What does the bible say about homosexuality? Marriage? Sex outside of marriage? Etc, not what some pastor says.
- On what ground: the bible says in Mark 4:3,5-6 “Hearken; behold, there went out a sower to sow: (5) and some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: (6) but when the sun was up it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.” It’s great to get convicted, but on what grounds are the seeds been planted on? only you know that. If received within a heart that is prideful and not fully surrendered to God, it will eventually wax cold and it’s meaning polluted.
So how do we maintain convictions that are ingrained with a solid foundation, without becoming receptive to the deception of Satan’s vices and this secular world?
It’s not rocket-science, it involves the scriptures being used as a safety filter to everything that comes into our mind, before reacting towards it. It might sound cliché, but it’s a very essential component in staying clear from the devices that breeds neglect towards God’s word and convictions being compromised. Biblical perspective should take precedent above opinion polls and the likes. The depths of our convictions would determine our conducts and attitudes towards society adjudged values.
Thus an extreme crucial element is the I in depth study of the word of God, it never changes and wouldn’t. A weak view of the scriptures would lead to the acquiescing of secular perspectives, contrary to Godly virtues. Due to political correctness, subjected to ridicules and tagged -bigoted – would be born-again Christians who are firmly biblical based.
Not what society deems ok, but what God’s word says, should be our motto. When it comes down to the crux, there’s no relativity in its truth, accepting the concepts of other religions or secular persuasion, dwindles the absolute truth that the bible ought to convey.
Convictions and faith
The aforementioned are both synonymous with each other. In Hebrews 11:1, it says “now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.” Utter faith in God is intertwined with conviction, involving belief, trust and response. Whatever the situations might be, in your life, believing and trusting God to see you through it, can only occur if there’s a deep rooted conviction about the essence of our faithful Heavenly Father. There are numerous examples in the bible, where convictions were heeded to; Joseph ran away from committing adultery with Potiphar’s wife, risking prison instead. Daniel kept his conviction towards prayer, despite the prospect of the lion’s den, and his faith in God didn’t waver. Are we faithful enough to leave it all to God, and despite difficult times, stick to our convictions, thus not letting any perhaps legitimate distraction, switch our focus away from God?
A person of biblical faith is impacted by the Holy spirit.
There’s biblical conviction and then there’s the personal convictions, that aids with our walk with God. Biblical convictions are the general convictions, that all born-again Christians ought to have: the same, no swerving; we all know that Jesus Christ is God, the 10 commandments, the greatest commandment on worshipping God and love … and the likes. Personal convictions on the other hand, varies from one person to another. Might be as trivial as: one person not eating pork, cause it’s unclean, but the next person does and doesn’t think that’s an issue; some have TVs, others don’t et al. Are those the prerequisites of getting into heaven? No! But to some, it aids in walking the righteous path, without deviating; stick to what helps you.
In gaining personal convictions, beware of pride and self-righteousness. Romans 12:3 “don’t think highly of yourself.” It’s very likely our convictions may be different from others, on various issues; but that doesn’t and shouldn’t equate to thinking of ourselves as better Christians. Therefore beware of false judgement of differences in conviction, judge with discernment not condemnation.
Godly convictions in general: enables us to resist fleshy temptations and negative peer pressure, creates Christ-like thinking and actions, serves as an encouragement to others who perhaps might be struggling with their faith etc. The Holy spirit convicts us and brings out conscience into actions. In keeping our Godly convictions, there should be the renewal of minds in the scriptures. Ephesians 4:14 says “that we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
Howard Hendricks once said, “A belief is something you will argue about. A conviction is something you will die for!”