Convictions shape our conduct, spur growth
By Dr. Rick Warren
Every day in the business and professional world we see – and sometimes suffer – the consequences of people acting and making decisions without clear, well-thought-out convictions. As someone has said, if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Dictionaries usually define conviction as a fixed or strong belief. In reality, however, conviction is much more than that. Your convictions also include your values, commitments, and motivations. I like the definition of conviction I once heard from Bible teacher Howard Hendricks: ”Abelief is something you will argue about. A conviction is something you will die for!” Convictions determine our conduct. They motivate us to act in certain ways.
When people initially become followers of Jesus, for example, they often do things simply because other Christians suggest or model those behaviors. They pray, read the Bible and attend worship services because they observe and want to emulate the examples of others.
This is reasonable for new believers. Little children learn the same way. However, as we grow and mature, we eventually must develop our own reasons for doing what we do. Those reasons become convictions. Here are some important principles about convictions to remember:
Biblical convictions are essential for spiritual growth and maturity. An irony about our world today is people often have strong convictions about weak issues (things like their favorite sports, clothing and music) while having weak convictions about major issues (the difference between right and wrong).
Try making a list of your spiritual convictions. Are your convictions weak on any major issues? The Bible teaches us, “Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping” (1 Corinthians 16:12-15).
People without convictions are at the mercy of circumstances. If you fail to determine what is important and how you will live, other people will determine it for you.
People without convictions are weak individuals that mindlessly follow the crowd. I believe the apostle Paul was talking about conviction when he said in Romans 12:2, “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your mind from within …”(Phillips translation).
Conviction helps us be diligent in continuing to grow spiritually. Growth requires time and effort. Without convictions about growth, people become discouraged and give up. No one persists with a difficult task unless convinced there is a good reason for doing it. This applies to prayer, studying the Bible, and seeking to live out biblical principles in our everyday life and work.
Knowing what to do (knowledge), why to do it (perspective) and how to do it (skill) are worthless without the conviction to motivate you to actually do it! People who have made the greatest impact on this world, for good or for evil, were those with the strongest, deepest convictions. They were not necessarily the smartest, wealthiest, or best educated, but convictions moved them to move the world.
See you next week!
© 2010, Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved. Adapted from a column by Dr. Rick Warren, the author of numerous books, including the highly acclaimed, The Purpose-Drive Life, which has been translated into many languages and sold throughout the world. It affirms the importance of having a carefully considered, clearly expressed purpose to guide everyday life. It has been named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He also has written The Purpose-Driven Church and The Purpose of Christmas.