Convictions can come through different means. A lot of times we just have convictions based on what we’ve been exposed to, the mindset and thinking we grow up with. In Papua New Guinea they have all sorts of superstitions and beliefs simply because that’s what they were taught. They haven’t heard anything different, and so they believe it.
A conviction is something you have firm belief in; something you believe is true, or the right thing to do. There are all kinds of convictions. My mom and dad recently came across some kind of documentary on the moon saying the whole man-on-the-moon thing was faked. “Huh? Fake?” I’d never heard that idea before. I always thought men had landed on the moon. And maybe they did. I don’t know. But now my conviction is shaken, because I haven’t really researched it. After all, how I was supposed to know? I just believed what I’d been taught about it in school. We usually just believe what we hear, until new knowledge comes along and shakes our conviction.
So we have to be careful with how we get convictions, because a lot of the time we can get a conviction simply based on someone else’s belief, what they’re teaching or preaching. Other times convictions are formed just from our own thinking. What we think sounds good or what we feel is right. But we can’t go just by our feelings or even our own judgment. We can’t just say, “Well, it feels okay. I think I’m free to do that.” But we need to go to Jesus with everything and say, “Lord, teach me, show me. I love You. I want to please You. What does Your word say?” He’s given us His word. He’s given us His Holy Spirit, and we’re to go to Him with an open, teachable, flexible, pliable heart, and say, “Lord, please direct me. Direct my path.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)NKJV The Lord wants our convictions to come from Him, the Spirit of God working in our heart. We should hold our convictions with humility, realizing that it may need to be adjusted. Because as we’re learning, as we grow in our understanding of God and His ways, our convictions are shaped and changed or strengthened, and they become more and more as God would have them. They become more conformed to God’s character. So we must keep our hearts very tender to His Spirit. “Keep your heart with all diligence” (Proverbs 4:23)NKJV in how your convictions are formed.
Let’s look a little more at how convictions are formed, and how the Lord deals with them. In Ephesians 5, starting in verse eight, we read, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10)NKJV I like how this translation puts it—“finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.” (Ephesians 5:10-13)NKJV
So Paul says, “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” Your heart’s been renewed. The Spirit of God has come into you. He’s given you light and understanding. He’s opened your eyes. And now we’re to walk forward in the light that God gives us. “Finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” I like this scripture because it shows how our life is to be this journey of seeking God and finding out how we can please Him more, how we can glorify Him more, how we can express our love to Him more. And as we grow and understand God’s heart and nature, we become shaped more and more into His likeness and what pleases Him. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)NKJV Our goal should be seeking out how we can better please the Lord.