Not a popular word these days. Conviction draws lines. Some will agree and many will not. I am not talking about being a divisive person. I am recognizig the fact that strongly held beliefs by their very nature differentiate people from each other. They make some people stand out in an area where others do not. Conviction embraces self-differentiation…recognizing that not everyone else will share your strongly held beliefs and values and that their lack of agreement doesn’t lessen the degree of your conviction.
Conviction is the recognition of what is absolute. You truly know what it is and what it is not. That means convictions are uncompromisable. In our culture today fewer and fewer people operate out of uncompromisables. Not everything people say is a conviction is truly that. There is a difference in a strong belief or feeling and a conviction. If justice is a conviction then you would be doing something about those experiencing injustice…getting angry at news of injustice does not a conviction make. Conviction was the difference in opening an apple product and a PC. The apple product felt like you were opening a piece of art where every single detail was put perfectly in place so much so that you almost hated to disturb the packaging. Opening a PC was an attempt to get all the junk in the trash as fast as possible to find the product under all the Styrofoam, cartons, plastic wrap and tie downs.
Conviction is not only absolute…It is immutable (doesn’t change over time). True conviction will be just as true and just as strong ten days from now as it will be ten years from now. It doesn’t matter who agrees or who doesn’t for a conviction to be a conviction.
It is more important than ever that in a world of compromise that we become uncompromising on what is truly true and what is truly right. It is more important than ever that we understand who we are and not be afraid to be different. When you live by conviction there will be people who are jealous enough of your certainty to try to bring you down. It will be tempting to compromise but don’t do it.
What is it that you believe strongly enough to call a conviction? What keeps you holding on to it regardless of what anyone else says, does or thinks?
Matt, the problem is that there are some things that are truly true (Jesus as the Son of God and savior of mankind) and some things that we think are true. Conviction should change with truth and not decide what is truth. The Pharisees, like Paul, had convictions that Jesus was a fraud and a blasphemer and those that followed, but Paul had to learn a new truth. The same with those in Acts 2 who were convicted with the truth, but thought they had the truth.
There is a fine line between stubbornness and conviction in our thinking in that that which we really believe is conviction is really stubbornness. Conviction doesn’t show we are unchangeable, but rather pliable to God’s will. Unfortunately changing of thoughts and direction is looked down upon and is seen as though we are not steadfast in our convictions, but it can actually be an example of our convictions.
Amen to that. That isn’t a conservative thing. That is a human thing to hold onto conviction despite consistent biblical evidence to the contrary. We can’t be convicted on all points down to minutia. That would degrade our understanding of what a conviction is. I am talking about the “big rocks” here…the ones that go in the jar first before other things get in the way. These are our non-negotiables. Instead I often see among some progressive Christians a hesitation to embrace doctrinal conviction for the very abuses you allude to.