A conviction as used in this post refers to a firmly help belief or opinion. Synonyms for a conviction are belief, opinion, view, thought, persuasion, idea, position, and stance. This is not be confused with the other definition of conviction which is a sense of guilt and shame leading to repentance.
Many of us would say we have a conviction of conscience that causes us to hesitate about participating in some actions. Sure, there are many instances in which conviction by the conscience or Holy Spirit is very proper. But I also believe that there are instances in which we try to get around the principles and commands of Scripture by distracting ourselves from the truth and claiming to be seeking the Holy Spirit on the matter.
Please read and analyze the following sentences:
- “I think I’m going to kill that guy. He deserves it. Besides, I don’t have any conviction not to kill him.”
- “My husband and I have not felt convicted about wearing a head veiling.”
- “I’m not sure anymore if Noah really did build an ark. I’m going to keep praying about it, and if I’m convicted that it’s true, then I’ll be fine with it.”
- “Our one friend decided not to come over and go swimming with us in the pool. When the girls asked where he was, we had to explain that he has a conviction about mixed bathing.”
- “That young lady chooses to only wear full, modest dresses, even though others wear t-shirts and jeans skirts. I guess she has a conviction about not wearing that stuff.”
Some of these sentences sound crazy and absurd. Some of these sentences, or similar ones, are heard fairly often. Yet there is something in common between all of them. Can you see what it is?
Examples 1 and 3 are somewhat unusual to hear. I used this one to make a point. Obviously, if the Bible clearly says not to kill anyone, then do not kill anyone. Don’t wait around and pray about it and see what the Spirit will tell you. Everything the Spirit tells you is always in parallel with Scripture or principles found therein. The agent of conviction is the Holy Spirit and the means of conviction is either the Word of God or God’s general revelation of His demands through nature and people’s inborn consciousness of a sense of right and wrong (Rom. 1:18–20; 2:15). Of course it’s wrong to kill; of course Noah and his family built an ark. Each is stated in God’s Word.
Example 2 goes right along with examples 1 and 3. Don’t try to argue it. The most common arguments against this act of obedience look very foolish when properly researched. If you are interested in the real early church view of the head covering, please read the booklet or listen to the audio message by David Bercot entitled “What the Early Christians Believed about the Head Covering.” What you find in culture, history, archaeology, and in the Bible is truth which requires obedience. Using the term conviction about wearing or not wearing the head covering is blasphemy.
Example 4 goes along with example 5, but is perhaps even touchier. Where in the Bible does it address a situation like this? You may be saying, suppose the girls and boys are both dressed modestly. Water, or wet clothes, almost always contradicts properly covering the body. Both males and females could be fully dressed, but even then clothing intensely clings to bodily form and lighter colors even become transparent. (One instance where water and mixed crowds are necessary is in baptism, but I have always witnessed on this sacred occasion that each participant dresses very modestly in anticipation of this problem.) Also, immodesty in groups of males only or in groups of females only is equally as wrong. Example 4 is not a matter of conviction alone, but rather a matter of obedience based on clear Scriptural principles, of which the Holy Spirit convicts you.
Example 5 is a classic. The young woman chooses to wear full, modest dresses even though others around her are wearing other types of clothing. This one could be discussed indefinitely, but I want to make one simple point. Before you assume that I am stating that one is more right than the other and t-shirt wearers are going to Hell, allow me to make my point and then get out of here. The fact is that this young lady quite simply, with all sincerity of heart in her relationship of surrender to almighty God, chooses to clothe her body with modesty, knowing what Scripture clearly says. She understands the penalties her actions could have on another’s eternal destiny. She passionately wants no less than to see Christ’s beauty in her and lead others to Him, not lead men to the attention of her female body with desire for the flesh. And may I conclude by saying that this young lady is stunningly beautiful in the eyes of God and those seeking after Him.
If you have any discussion comments or corrections that need addressed feel free to share a comment or email me.