Bill started a new series called Kingdoms – a study of the book of Daniel. Two weeks in and it is already a strong word for us all. I invite you to read through the book of Daniel and catch up with us. You can watch the sermons on www.svbc.cc
Daniel was a teenager when the Babylonians took him into captivity. Chapter 1:8 says, “Daniel purposed in his heart not to be defiled…” Convictions! No one can make you change what is in your heart unless you allow it! They might take everything you hold dear, but they can never take what is in your heart. Convictions keep us grounded when pushed, steadfast when challenged, and unwavering when tested! I live by the convictions of my heart.
Opinions and convictions sometimes get mixed up in their meaning. I heard it said, “Opinions are what you hold but convictions are what hold you.” An opinion is a strongly held belief based on personal preference, background, interpretation, past experiences and emotion. It is also notable to say opinions can change over time. Based on that, you may even call into question my definition of opinions!
Convictions, on the other hand, are seen to have a much stronger foundation built not only on experience but also on research and facts gathered from values, morality, and faith. I like what www.bibletools.orgsays about this, “Conviction is a product of the relationship with God. It is not something that suddenly inspires a person to stand up for God; rather, conviction is the product—the fruit—of a relationship. The relationship about which we are concerned is our relationship with God. Conviction, then, is not something that we have in a flash but a quality that builds through the experiences we have with God, in making Him the center of our lives.”
Our opinions, as defined above, could be vastly different. There are many things I have no opinion on at all. For example, I don’t care if you recycle or not! I don’t. There, I said it! I don’t litter though. I have no feelings whatsoever about endangered animals. I don’t wish for them to become extinct, but I don’t crusade to save them. I figure God has got that. I don’t care if you wear white before Easter or after Labor Day (what is Labor Day again?)… Brown eggs or white? …Caged or free-range? I literally have no strong feelings one way or another. One sports team over another? One sport over another? No sports? I don’t really care. If we decide to keep sports it’s ok with me because people I love enjoy it, so I am fine with it either way. Santa or no Santa? Eeehhh- who’s got the energy?
My granddaughter, Jude has lost 2 teeth recently and asked me the other day in passing, “Is the Tooth Fairy real?” I asked her, “What do you think?” She paused briefly then replied, “I wish she were real but I think it’s just my mom and dad leaving me money and a note, am I right? I again asked her, “What do you think?” She flatly said, “I think it’s mom and dad.” I nodded and we both smiled. I said, “but pretend and imagination is fun, isn’t it? She leaned over picking up her magic wand, then straightening her crown she smiled at me showing her two missing teeth and sighed, “Yes, Nawny, it is.”
There are likely many more things I do have strong opinions on than not(just ask Bill and my kids). I like the beauty and weather on the west coast better than the east coast. I love all things tropical and believe the coconut is dropped straight from heaven. I have strong opinions on what constitutes good Mexican food. I never have nor will I ever eat raw meat. I believe people should be kind and respectful of each other. As a purist, I believe Disneyland will always be better than Disneyworld. I rarely pay retail, and when I do I regret it. I am an American patriot and I don’t like it when people make me feel passé for saying so. I don’t want anyone to call me “Hun” at the checkout line. I hate it when people are disloyal to their friends. Let’s all learn what the truth is and then tell the truth, even if you have to admit you’ve been wrong! I want younger people to respect those with wisdom who have gone before them. I want older people to lay off judging younger people about tattoos, and not eating at chain food restaurants. Let it go! Encourage don’t discourage. Be positive instead of negative. Say yes more than you say no. Relationships are always more important than rules. I believe you should tell the people you love that you, do indeed, love them … what are you saving those words for? Later??
Finally, but most importantly, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through him. It is not only my opinion but also my deep conviction. My relationship with Jesus is my very reason for living. Jesus supersedes all my other preferences making them null and void if compared. It is my calling to love people and live my life for Jesus and give him all the glory. I believe my life should be a reflection of his in my words and actions.
Like Daniel, at a young age, “I have purposed in my heart to not be defiled by this world.” I choose Jesus over the things of this world. These are truly the convictions of my heart that hold me steady. I am constantly learning how to stand firm and proclaim the truth while still extending grace. The world needs the love of Jesus and for us to show it. Because He first loved us, we are able to love one another. It is with deep conviction and passion that I live my life for Jesus, and you can’t ever talk me out of it!
“Convictions are those things for which you would be willing to die; all else is preference.” www.learnthebible.org