If you start a list, every person could probably come up with hundreds of items that together form what they feel is right ND wrong, a blueprint of how they walk with God according to their conscience. Here’s the rub: every single person on this planet has a different list. If we asked enough questions, we would find differences in everyone’s personal convictions. The question then becomes, what is the proper place of personal convictions in the Christian walk and in the church?
And how do we handle interacting with our brothers and sisters in Christ who have differing personal convictions?which actually means everybody, since everybody has differing personal convictions? There are four convictions that should be voided though. Convictions that are little more than superstitions, convictions that attract attention for a selfish ego, convictions generated by an unwillingness to accept change, and convictions that are negative.
Convictions that are little more than superstitions are based on blind fate, while our God is “personal and reasonable” Nonstop, J. , 1996) An example given by Johnston is that of the Greeks worshipping to a god whose statue a goat had crossed paths with. This is foolish, and should be avoided. 1 Timothy 417 “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;”. Convictions that attract attention for a selfish ego are based on when the focus is on us. We need to always praise Him and give all the glory to God. We don’t put the focus on ourselves. Timothy 3:2-4 “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”. Convictions generated by an unwillingness to accept change are based on those that hide behind the wall of tradition. You need to be able to accept positive change. Johnston states “To accept such a mind-set is to thwart our growth and to bring about an inevitable, traumatic collision with reality. Convictions that are exclusively negative are based on sheer duty that we grow distaste for. (Johnston, J. , 1996) We should enjoy and embrace our convictions. Why stand by something that you do not care for? It brings about negativity. We need to avoid these types of convictions. They can bring about a negative effect on the convictions that we should hold true to ourselves. Convictions that are self-defeating and God-dishonoring do not help us in our elk with God. They can break down the convictions that do help in our walk.
You can avoid these convictions by refraining from compromise, and by staying obedient to God. John 15:19 (NET) states; “If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason, the world hates you. ” We need to not compromise our true convictions for worldly gain, and we must stay obedient to God. The true reward lies in His Kingdom. Matthew 6:33 (NET) states; “But above all pursue His Kingdom and seditiousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Justine and Trash Davis, authors of the book “Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good Enough” write in the article ‘The Difference between Conviction and Shame” that; “Conviction is a prompting by the Holy Spirit that something you are choosing in your life isn’t right and you need to repent (turn back to God) for it. Shame is brought on by the Enemy for a sin that you have already been forgiven of, and convinces you that you didn’t deserve that forgiveness, and there is still a price to pay. ” We need repentance in our lives, and not shame.
Out of these four convictions, the one I am guilty of woo old be the conviction regarding unwillingness to accept change. For me the emotion associated with the word change is pure anxiety. Losing control is not an option embrace and any type of change, regardless of the size, makes me uneasy. I enjoy knowing what will happen, when it will happen, and to what degree it will happen. One of my personal convictions would be kindness. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”. In summary, negative convictions will bring about negative consequences.