Christians Need To Have Convictions

August 22, 2015

                Christians Need To Have Convictions

If you have ever been shocked by electricity, I’m sure you don’t need to be told to be careful around bare wires. Touching a bare wire is just something you don’t do. It is the same way with moral convictions. We are thoroughly convinced of their importance. They are beliefs that we don’t easily violate.

A Christian without convictions isn’t easily deceived. He isn’t easily tempted to do wrong. He doesn’t make decisions without giving serious thought to whether it is right or wrong. When he is faced with the temptation to do something wrong he doesn’t spend time debating about whether he should do it. He just says, “No, I don’t do that,” and moves on.

Firm convictions rest on sound reasoning. Perhaps a new Christian might say, “I don’t do that because I have observed that other Christians don’t do it.” That isn’t sufficient. He needs to be convinced in his own mind about what is right and wrong. Only then will it be a firm conviction. Perhaps he hears that good Christians get married instead of just living together. As time goes on he sees that Christians have good reason for their convictions about marriage.

There are two foundations that sustain firm convictions. First of all, we observe that those with strong convictions have a happy, successful life because they don’t make as many foolish decisions. It is a matter of discernment to see that immoral behavior has a negative result and that acts of virtue have a positive result.

For genuine Christians, firm convictions also rest on what the Bible says. They are convinced that the Bible is divine revelation and they want to respect and please God because they love him. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15)

More and more people in our day are without firm convictions because they are told that there are no absolute moral standards. Some years ago we heard about “situation ethics.” By that, they were saying that it depends on the situation. Sometimes what is right is wrong and sometimes what is wrong is right. That leaves us in confusion. Many in our day are saying that Christians are too judgmental. They say also that Christianity puts too many restrictions on people. They insist that we should have liberty to make our own decisions about right and wrong. What is right for one is wrong for another, and vice versa. That also leaves society in confusion.

Having convictions enables us to have integrity. In case you aren’t sure what integrity is, let me explain. The word means to be complete; not lacking in any essential part. For example, let’s say that a house wife has a blender. It looks clean and almost new. It runs. The only problem is that the rubber gasket is broken. Without it, it is useless. If we are lacking in some attribute of character it hurts our testimony and we are passed over when a search is made for someone to fill an important position. We may have a number of good qualities, but if we are lacking in one that is important, we are disqualified. The more good qualities we have, the more qualified we are.

It would be impossible to make a list of all the convictions we should have. There are both negative and positive convictions. Some are basic, like honesty. Under honesty one could add a number of sub convictions. As we mature in life, we need to keep adding convictions as we see the need for them.

Parents who want the best for their children need to be diligent in teaching their children to have convictions. They may not call them convictions, but when they catch their children telling a lie, they need to be quick to teach them that it’s wrong. The same is true of other moral qualities. As children mature they need to develop their own convictions and not just refrain from doing wrong because they fear they will be punished for it.

The Bible teaches submission. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” In I Peter 5:5 we read, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” The obedient Christian has made submission to the will of God one of his convictions. In so doing, a multitude of other does and don’t are included. Some like to call that legalism. If it is done from the heart, it isn’t legalistic. To the one who doesn’t love God, and desire to please him, it may appear to be legalistic.

What controls your behavior? Is it the fear of punishment? Is it the desire to be praised? If we have convictions, our conscience will control our behavior. Our minds are programed to do what our conscience tells us we should or shouldn’t do. That makes us consistent in our behavior. We do what we should, almost without thinking about it.

Don’t be without convictions. You need them as much as you need clothes on your back. Your life will be richer and more productive with them.

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