Athanasius, of Alexandria, was a 3rd century theologian who fearlessly opposed the teachings of Arius, who declared that Christ was not the eternal Son of God, but a subordinate being.
After being hounded through five exiles, Athanasius was finally summoned before emperor Theodosius, who demanded he cease his opposition to Arius. The emperor reproved him and asked, “Do you not realize that all the world is against you?” To which Athanasius quickly replied….
“Then I am against all the world.”
The Bible says that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Athanasius was a man of conviction who would not compromise his faith. Deny his faith. Or allow political pressure to silence his faith.
The important things of life are not things. They are unseen. They are spiritual. Moral. Ethical. Like the roots of a tree embedded deep into the ground, they reach deep into the soul. Into the heart of an individual.
Dictionaries usually define “conviction” as a fixed or strong belief.” I like the definition of conviction by Howard Hendricks: “A belief is something you will argue about. A conviction is something you will die for!”
As we continue our 2023 theme, Sowing Seeds for Spiritual Growth, today we consider conviction, which is vital to our spiritual maturity.
The apostle Paul was a man of deep conviction. His preaching and teaching was rooted in his deep faith. He reminded the Thessalonian brethren of this fact when he wrote, “the gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thess.1:5).
Paul’s willingness to suffer severe persecution, physically, mentally and emotionally was due to his convictions. He encouraged the young preacher Timothy accordingly. “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Tim. 1:12).
In a time of prosperity and ease in our country as well as an ecumenical spirit that allows anyone to believe whatever they choose no matter how bizarre, we need pastors, preachers and parents to stand strong with convictions that are Bible based and Christ centered. There may be times when we’re told the whole world is against us. Yet, conviction calls for a principled response to stand against the world.
Furthermore, within the realm of scriptural precepts, we may hold to certain personal convictions in our application of faith and practice. Romans 14 provides that allowance. Paul, however, reminds us, “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves” (Rom. 14:22).
Being conviction-driven,” explained Ken Blanchard, ‘means doing the right things for the right reasons. Beliefs and convictions provide the boundaries and direction that people want and need in order to perform well.”
A person without convictions is susceptible to worldly influences, carnal enticements, and doctrinal error. When we are maturing spiritually, the Bible offers this promise. “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).
Your convictions are based on your values. Are your values Biblically driven? Do your values honor God? Do they benefit and bless others? Do they deal with moral and ethical choices honestly? Do they provide your life with meaning, purpose, and significance? Do they transcend this life?
If you can answer “yes” to all the above questions, you are probably developing deep convictions about the important issues in life.
If you find that your convictions lack root, begin today to sow seeds of faith that will grow your convictions.
E. Stanley Jones was right when he quipped, “If you don’t make up your mind, your unmade mind will unmake you.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
4 responses to “Growing in Conviction”
Isa 7:9- if you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.
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Very well written and wonderfully challenging point! Thanks
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