June 30, 2012


            People need convictions.  What are convictions?  The dictionary definition for convictions is “fixed or firm beliefs”.

Convictions are like life vests we put on before going out on the lake.  We are at risk without them.    There have been times, when I was fishing in a boat, that I was tempted to take mine off because it hindered me from freely doing what I wanted to do.  I thought “I could manipulate my rod better without it”.  Then I realized it was for my own protection.

It’s true that convictions restrict us from doing some things we would like to do.  The Bible tells us that we should “abstain from fleshly lusts” (I Peter 2:11).  We all have fleshly lusts but, if we have a fixed or firm belief that they are wrong, we won’t yield to them.

There is a difference between restrictions and convictions.  The prodigal son had restrictions when he was at home.  When he arrived in that far country he was free from those restraints.  When he was at home he didn’t have the money to satisfy his fleshly lusts.  If he would have, he would have been quickly and sternly rebuked by his father.  He came back home ruined and in disgrace because he left without convictions.  Restrictions are imposed upon us, but convictions are restraints we put upon ourselves.

In our world there are some powerful forces working to destroy the moral foundation of our society.  That’s why so many are so strongly opposed to the Ten Commandments.  The Ten Commandments offer us moral absolutes.  “Thou shalt not…”  Why shouldn’t you do it?  Because, if you do, you will hurt yourself or others around you.  Isn’t that a good enough reason?

Many young people go away to college and find themselves in a situation much like the prodigal son in the far country.  I’m thankful the good Lord kept me from some temptations when I passed that way.  I was without restrictions, but I didn’t have convictions.  The philosophy that we should have no moral restraints is sometimes called “value education” or “situation ethics”.  If there are no moral absolutes it’s awful hard to have fixed or firm beliefs.  Our young people are being told, “If you feel right about doing it, then it’s alright for you to do it”.  That advice breaks down when a distraught young man comes into a classroom with a gun and opens fire on the teachers and students.  What if he felt right about doing it?  The scientific explanation is that he has a mental disorder and needs psychological attention.  That’s the explanation that’s often given for other types of abnormal behavior.

We are told today that everyone should be free to choose his own lifestyle.  That’s true with some very definite limitations.  My lifestyle affects those around me.  Here is a man who has no convictions against social drinking.  He has the good fortune of meeting a man who has considerable knowledge of a subject of special interest to him.  He says, “Lets go have a few beers and talk about it”.  The man he met isn’t in the habit of drinking beer, but he has no convictions against it either.  The result is that those few beers his friend bought for him triggered an appetite for more that he couldn’t control and he became an alcoholic.  How much better it would have been if his friend had offered to buy him coffee.

A married man falls into infidelity because there are women without convictions.  If a man starts showing affection to a woman with convictions, one of her first questions will be “Are you married?” If he says “Yes but…” that should be all she needs to know before saying, “In that case I have no interest in developing a relationship with you”.

In spite of our prosperity, we live in a world plagued with social evils.  It’s time we stopped to ask ourselves; “What are we doing wrong?”  We need to get back to moral absolutes.  We need to have convictions.  You need to have convictions.  They are for your protection and wellbeing.

I’m convinced that you need convictions, but there is something you need even more.  It’s a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  It begins by repenting of your sins and trusting fully in the finished sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Genuine Christians have convictions.  They spring from their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus said “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).   If we truly love him we have a desire to please him.  Colossians 1:10 says, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”  Because of our love for him, we don’t find his commandments to be grievous, as it says in I John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous”.   If you have the proper relationship with Christ you will have convictions.

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