As Chet outlined FAITHFULNESS for us this past Sunday, his comment that our “faithfulness should be determined by convictions and not by conditions “ really rang true.
You see, when I was a kid, our dinner table was quite an event. Every night, as we devoured tons of southern fried comfort food, my dad would pick a different topic and we would all discuss it. It might be a current event or maybe something that he pulled out of history. Each of us took a position and that position had better been informed or you might get creamed!
I think that early training in “debate” has helped me in my Christian walk. Once I came to Christ in saving faith, it was pretty obvious that I ought to be able to “defend” my faith and be clear about what I held dear. So, I started developing a set of Biblical convictions and scriptural truths that I could “hang my hat on.”
If you and I want to be found faithful, we do need to live our lives “fenced in” by our convictions and not tossed about at the whim of every current issue. So, how do we do that?
I might suggest two practical exercises that might help. First, take a piece of paper and divide it into two sections. Along the top, label the first column “Personal Convictions” and the second “Biblical Convictions.”
As you start to fill in the first box, you will realize that personal convictions are often a reflection of our background and training. They are important but deeply affected by the way we were taught, the experiences we enjoyed and the people who mentored us. They are valuable for sure, but make sure and note that they are subjective in nature.
Some examples might be our use of alcohol, our preferences for educating our children, choices of entertainment and even political views.
As you begin to fill in the second box, you will soon realize that there is only one source for the convictions listed there. The scriptures are the objective source. As we all continue to be “people of the Book,” enjoying our brand-new Bibles, we will be able to discern all those convictions.
These Biblical convictions will center around theology. They will firm up what you believe the scriptures teach about the nature of God, the depravity of man, the atonement, our sanctification and the return of Christ.
So, here is my second practical suggestion. Take a look at some of the ancient creeds that the church has held to for centuries. For example, take a look at the Apostles Creed. Do those statements reflect your convictions? Can you restate them I plain English? Are you ready to defend them?
Since our faithfulness is determined by our convictions, it might be a great time for us all to fill in box number 2!