I encourage you to develop biblical convictions in place of personal preferences
While the conscience is our internal moral and spiritual warning mechanism gifted by God, He has also granted mankind the ability to consciously prioritise beliefs. We call the strongest of these beliefs convictions. Once again, there are two levels of conviction, the natural, and the Holy Spirit energised. Today we shall consider our natural responsibility to grow convictions.
Christians can be surprisingly vulnerable when it comes to confusing natural conscience with personal convictions, not to mention the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. So, it’s important to have some degree of clarity about these three distinctive facets of Christian living. We have the responsibility to both train our consciences and determine our strongest moral and spiritual beliefs.
By convictions, I’m referring to “the state of being convinced,” or a “fixed and strong belief.” Therefore, by biblical convictions, I mean convictions established from what the Bible actually says and illustrates. To be clear, conviction stands opposed to doubt, assumption, personal preference, and scepticism. These biblical convictions serve as the absolute index for spiritual and moral values in our lives; fuelling our conscience and behaviour.
We can’t deny that we’re capable of doing either a good or bad job of this. We educate our conscience and determine our strongest convictions based on acceptance of the literal truth of God’s Word, or not. There are no other options.
If we consider that our understanding of life, mankind, and eternity is superior to God’s understanding; then we will obviously promote our feelings and opinions to the highest ranking. On the other hand, if we yield to the Lord’s infinite superiority, we will adopt His truths, His moral purity, and His behavioural integrity to the highest ruling position in our lives.
Our 3 Step Response
First, as children of God, we agree with God when He says; “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways… For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). We simply think different to God! Therein lies our greatest and most costly weakness!
Second, as children of God, we choose to trust in the Lord with all our heart, and not to lean on our own understanding. In all our ways we seek to acknowledge him, looking to Him to make straight our paths (derived from Proverbs 3:5-6).
Third, as children of God, we want for ourselves the same as Jesus prayed for His disciples. That God will “Sanctify them (us) in the truth; (acknowledging that) your word is truth” (John 17:17). This step is the death wish to self-opinion being authoritative in our thinking. Rather, God’s written Word takes the ruling seat.
From these three steps of faith we establish the basis for developing biblical convictions.
We agree that; “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We believe in the absoluteness of the unseen realities God tells us about.
We agree that; “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof (conviction), for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). We believe that God’s written Word is the absolute template for all our convictions, for the correcting changes required to make us think like God, and for our education in living a righteous life as Jesus Christ did.
Today, I especially want to encourage you to surrender your convictions to God. Choose to let Him be God of your beliefs and the subsequent changed behaviours that must follow. In so doing, God will be glorified, you will be blessed, and others will be encouraged by your courageous faith.