Grateful for Rob Ketterling and allowing our pastoral team to preach this weekend at River Valley Church. I had a great time preaching about the power of the Word of God in a disciple’s life. As Christians we battle between faith and feelings, authority and apathy, obedience and convenience, etc. Particularly one contrast that is notable in most disciples is conviction versus opinion. Convictions are part of the Christian life. Jesus came to bring conviction to help us live and love as His followers (John 16:8). Opinions are part of a human beings life. So much information produces so much opinion about so many things. That’s why differentiating between conviction and opinion is so important.
Conviction is defined as a “strong persuasion or belief.” It’s the state of being convinced. It comes from the Latin word, “to conquer.” Contrast that to opinions. Webster’s says opinions, “lack certainty.” Put it in a metaphor: opinions are the scrawny guys in the gladiator ring of mind. They aren’t sure of their victory, have minimal weaponry and have no grit for the fight. Think Korg from Thor, “ I'm kind of like the leader in here. I'm made of rocks, as you can see. But don't let that intimidate you. You don't need to be afraid…
I'm kind of like the leader in here. I'm made of rocks, as you can see. But don't let that intimidate you. You don't need to be afraid…I tried to start a revolution... but I didn't print enough pamphlets so hardly anyone turned up. Except for my mum and her boyfriend….” Opinions are Korg’s in your brain. Convictions are conquering warriors in your brain. They have the weapons, the strength and the power to win the battle of the mind to help you make the decision necessary for your life to align with the life of Jesus. At the center of your values, passions and actions is conviction. Conviction gives you the strength to accomplish “the impossible” regardless of what others think. I guess you could say that conviction is the “muscle tissue” of your beliefs. Every fiber of your being is in alignment to the movement of your beliefs making. Opinion is the evidence of what they believe but conviction is the evidence of what YOU believe. Conviction transforms you from having a good idea to becoming a good example for others to follow. No matter where you find yourself in life, what changes people and the world around is your example and not your opinion. A disciple chooses to build their life on convictions instead of opinions.
The Difference Between Convictions and Opinions:
Opinions fuel judgement but convictions fuel guidance
That’s the difference between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation and shame will always tell you who you aren’t. Conviction will always tell you who you are. That’s why shame is a “counterfeit conviction.” Plain and simple. Shame remind you that “you aren’t enough” but Jesus always reminds us that “He is enough.” Condemnation says you are a bad person and attacks your identity and God’s identity. But conviction reminds you that you are still good (“a child of God”) and that God is good. Opinions can confuse identity but convictions always confirm identity. Choose to attach our identity to something that cannot be taken away. Connect your identity to something (your faith, your cause, your family, etc.) that can’t be stolen by others. Your identity should never depend on the opinion of another person alone. That’s why social media comments or popularity are not reliable or sustainable. I love that Mary chose the one thing that couldn't be taken from her and that was her connection to Jesus.
But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:42
Opinions cause you to drift but convictions anchor you to truth.
When your “convictions” change on a whim, people will begin to lose their trust in you. They’ll never know where you stand. That’s the great thing about convictions.They tell others what you believe and what you won’t tolerate. It’s also why convictions are crucial. By changing your convictions based on what others believe, you have a harder time standing firm. Doubts flood in and you have a difficult time making the hard choices in life. You seek answers from others, not because you’re looking for the right path but because you want the approval of others.
Convictions are like those bumps on the road when you are road tripping. The journey is long. The landscape begins to get boring. The scenery begins to all “look and feel the same.” You get bored. You get lazy. You get sleepy. When the journey is long, the scenery is dull and the destination is knowhere in sight, that’s when we drift. And suddenly, in the midst of your monotony, you hear that sound:
You are jolted away, get your bearings, adjust to your surroundings, get back into your lane and continue forward. Once drifting, lethargic and unconcerned, now attentive, awake and alive to get to where you need to go. Conviction is that “VER-VER” in your spirit that causes you to take notice of what is being said, heard and believed. It compels you to adjust your thoughts, insights and beliefs back onto the “narrow road” of faith that’s found in Jesus.
You can follow people’s opinion about your life or you can follow God’s direction for your life
It makes all the difference between surviving and thriving. CONVICTION will make you courageous and opinion will make you complacent. When you are complacent, you can become sedated enough to miss opportunities right in front of you. Convictions gives you the shot in the arm to wake up and see what’s in front of you so you don’t miss it. Like Redbox. When you spot a “Red Box” in your city, it becomes a cheap entertainment oasis in your neighborhood. Frequent trips to this cheap and convenient media hotspot is a gamechanger. But it could have been a “blue box.” Not red. Blockbuster was once one of the most well-recognized movie brands in the 90’s. At its peak back in 2004, the company consisted of approximately 60,000 employees and 9,000 stores that generated revenues of $5.9 billion.
Back in the year 2000 Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix, approached former Blockbuster CEO John Antioco and asked for $50 million in return for the ownership of his company. Antioco however, viewed Netflix as a “very small niche business” and promptly ended the negotiations. Andy Stanley says vision is “a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be.” Conviction helps you stay on track with the vision God is calling you to. Conviction gives you direction to choose what is valuable over what is comfortable. Blockbuster had man opinions: Netflix wasn’t valuable, Netflix was “just a dvd mailing service, Netflix wasn’t going to anywhere. The company now has a market value of $67 billion. In other words, opinions make you digress and convictions help you progress. Opinions make you digress but convictions help you progress. Don't let other people's opinions chip away at your confidence. They may not sabotage your confidence Right away but it will chip away at it. The young leader has to do their best to not be ruled by what other people think but instead be ruled by what God thinks. You'll get opinion from everywhere. THE OPINIONS OF WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT YOU IS NOT MATCH FOR THE MIND OF CHRIST IN YOU. That mind comes from confiding in God, trusting in God with your calling and your future. The danger is once something is chipped away at it enough, it has potential to be discarded. But God says this:
"Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised (Hebrews 10:35-36)