When I was younger, a mentor shared a cliché with me. “Opinions are like armpits. Everyone’s got a couple, and they both stink.”
The cliché might be crude, but he was trying to make a point with me. Just because you think or believe something doesn’t make it valuable.
Our modern culture has swung far to the other side. Personal beliefs and convictions are the ultimate truth. Everyone has their own truth. At least, that’s our modern standard.
It doesn’t matter how they conflict with reason, logic, or other individual truths; we must submit to a host of individual truths.
However, we need to acknowledge two realities. First, individual truths aren’t biblical or absolute truth. We need real and absolute truth to build our lives upon, or else we devolve into a society of anxiety and fear, which can be easily manipulated.
Second, this doesn’t mean our personal convictions are important. We live and make all types of decisions based on our personal beliefs and values.
Whether this has to do with our spiritual walk, education, career, family, or our next meal, our personal feelings and convictions guide our lives. And those actions have positive and negative impacts.
How do we reconcile these two realities? How do we know our personal convictions are based on biblical truth?
What Are Personal Convictions?
Convictions are deeply held beliefs, principles, or values that guide and shape our thoughts, actions, and decisions.
These beliefs are often rooted in personal experiences, moral or ethical frameworks, religious or philosophical perspectives, and cultural influences. Convictions play a significant role in shaping identity, character, and worldview.
Convictions are core beliefs that represent fundamental truths or principles we hold dear. These beliefs form the foundation of our moral and ethical framework.
Convictions are characterized by their strength and certainty. They are not mere opinions that can change easily; instead, they are deeply ingrained and unwavering beliefs that withstand challenges and doubts.
Our behavior and decision-making are directly impacted by our convictions. For example, a person with a conviction against harming animals is likely to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle.
Convictions can stem from various sources. Many people derive their convictions from religious teachings and scriptures. For example, a belief in the sanctity of life may be rooted in religious teachings against killing.
Family values and upbringing play a significant role in shaping convictions. Children often inherit and internalize the convictions of their parents or caregivers.
Personal experiences, especially impactful or transformative ones, can lead to the formation of convictions. Surviving a life-threatening situation, for instance, might result in a conviction to live life to the fullest.
Education and exposure to different ideas and perspectives can influence the development of convictions. Acquiring knowledge in areas such as ethics, philosophy, or social justice can lead to the adoption of certain convictions.
Cultural norms, societal values, and historical context also shape convictions. What is considered morally acceptable or unacceptable in a particular culture can significantly impact an individual’s convictions.
Convictions can extend beyond personal morality to include social and political beliefs. These convictions inform our stance on issues such as human rights, environmental protection, or political ideologies.
Convictions are an integral part of our identity. They help define who an individual is and how they relate to the world around them. We often find a sense of purpose and meaning in their convictions.
While convictions are typically deeply held, we may reassess and change our convictions over time, especially in response to new information, experiences, or personal growth. Such changes can be gradual or result from a profound shift in perspective.
Further, the Bible talks about the importance of our conscience, a personal and internal guide for truth and morality. This conscience is given to us by God and connected to personal convictions.
What Are Bible Verses about the Importance of Our Personal Convictions?
The Bible contains several verses that emphasize the importance of personal convictions and the role of one’s conscience in guiding moral and ethical decisions.
These verses highlight the significance of maintaining a clear and upright conscience in matters of faith and conduct.
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:22-23).
This passage underscores the idea that personal convictions should align with one’s faith and that acting against one’s conscience can lead to sin.
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5).
Here, the importance of a good conscience is highlighted as it contributes to genuine love and faith.
So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man (Acts 24:16).
The Apostle Paul’s commitment to maintaining a clear conscience before both God and people is evident in this verse.
Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander (1 Peter 3:16).
This verse highlights the connection between a clear conscience and a life of good behavior in Christ.
This verse encourages reliance on God rather than relying solely on one’s personal convictions or understanding. Here, we see a relationship between our personal convictions informed and guided by God’s revelation to keep us on the right path.
Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace (2 Corinthians 1:12).
The Apostle Paul emphasizes the role of a clear conscience in conducting oneself with integrity and godly sincerity, and this verse further shows us how his conscience wasn’t informed by the world or its ways but by God’s grace.
How Does the Bible Warn Us about Our Personal Convictions and Conscience?
The Bible offers warnings and cautions regarding personal convictions and the human conscience to guide believers in their moral and ethical decision-making.
Our conscience has been given by God, but because we are bound to sin and selfish desires, our conscience and personal convictions aren’t perfect and infallible.
The Bible warns that the human heart can be deceptive and prone to wickedness. as well as Say Yes: How God-Sized Dreams Take Flight.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
We would do well to consider how biblical patterns might inform our contemporary actions. Read James Spencer’s full article here.
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