Your Conviction Is My Conviction
I love people. I love people, a lot. But not enough to inform them that they may be a little off. Sometimes, not enough to share my convictions about a particular matter. And thus, I may compromise.
One of the first things I “learned”—heard, when I first came to Christ, was “your convictions are not my convictions,” and vice versa. It was a statement that I had heard so much, I almost even took it as scripture; you know, maybe Paul in one of the letters to Corinth or something, slipped in:
Thou foolish Corinthians, what has caused you to falter? Know ye not that, that which is burdened on me, is for me alone. And that which is burdened on you, is for you alone? Please, carry and mind your own.
3 Corinthians 1:1 NONE
Honestly, the statement might even have scriptural root (Romans 14:22), but not enough for it to stand as a biblical code
It’s a sad, sad case that one of the most regurgitated bible verse in modern Christendom is John 15:13 “No greater love exist than this, for one to lay down his life for a friend,” yet this act is almost only limited to driving up to upper, Upper-Marlboro to scoop a friend for a function; sharing a little of my chipotle bowl; and eventually taking a minute to pray for someone, who asked you to pray for them some time ago—eh, that’s besides my point. We’re a generation, along with the church in Galatians, that rests on what we do or have done. Don’t get me wrong, going out of my way to do something for a brother or sister in Christ is good, and should be done more often but so should honouring their walks.
Jesus preaches “there is no greater love than this, for a man to lay down his life for a friend,” and goes on to actively live it out. Jesus said to anyone who wanted to be his disciple: deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Him. Jesus was so Jesus that He never went without exemplifying, to the extreme, any of the things He taught. Jesus literally had to “deny” Himself [His will and God-being capabilities] (Luke 22:42), “pick up His Cross” (John 19:17), and well—He followed Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:1) and the Father (John 5:19), so He paved a path for us to follow. Yet, His desire wasn’t that we’d become
One thing I did take in stride when I came to Christ—actually, this was my first favorite verse: Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Very early on in my Christian walk, I, like many other young believers, adopted an understanding of “dying to yourself.” It’s the expressive statement of what Jesus meant by “deny yourself.” It’s essentially putting away ALL of You for ALL of Him—and expressively, the next believer.
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Acts 4:32 “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”
We are given this notion that, “It’s not about me anymore. It’s about Jesus, and my brothers and sisters in Him.” However, the notion doesn’t always remain in effect, as we passively make the statement, our hearts actively stray from it. We are often about “me, myself, and I...okay, sometimes you, Jesus...ehhh...and maybe once in a while, you too” (*points to you*); we do things that aren’t plainly defined as wrong, but don’t glorify God nor yield good fruit. If that be the case, we have to chop it off like gangrene. (cc: JGivens verse from “Same Team”) No, SERIOUSLY, cut off anything in your life that doesn’t produce good fruit, nor glorify God. (Matthew 7:19).
Matthew 16:25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.
When you’ve made the choice to pause from you, and live for Him, you’ll soon realize, that Jesus gave us a very quintessential law in Mark 12:31: “love your neighbor as you love yourself;” His prayer was for us to be as one (John 17), and Paul teaches us that in being one, we must bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). So that leads me to believe that there remains a very elegant focus in the bible: unity amongst the brethren. But why is unity such an issue for us? Why is it such a problem for the world? My proposed answer: we’re not willing give goodly and godly compromise.
Yes. Compromise. You can perceive that’s almost all Jesus did on Earth; goodly and godly compromise. He compromised Him being God, the Creator of this Universe, to dwell amongst His creation, as one of them. He compromised Him being a righteous, blameless, perfect human being, to die on the cross for us unrighteous, sinful, and imperfect humans. Yep, Jesus compromised a great deal. Aren’t we to do the same? I mean, we do profess “I want to be like You, Jesus,” all day long.
Notice I’ve added “goodly” and “godly” to compromise. Compromise is a word that has polarizing connotations:
Jummy compromised his integrity, as he joined his friends in smoking.
Jummy compromised his pride, as he washed the feet of his friends.
I can, and likely will, bamboozle you with a plethora of scriptures, but you’ve seen enough so far. God desires that we would be one and together glorify Him in that one. But to do so, it requires for us to surrender—compromise—our self-fulfilling will and desires to God, and for the edification of the body. This will then allow us to bear one another’s burden, and fulfill the law of Christ.
It’s easy to point scripture declaring our freedom in Christ. But Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. The convictions we receive from Holy Spirit are often tailored to ourselves personally but ultimately for growth within our spheres of influence. Bill Johnson once said, “Your breakthroughs are not just for yourself, but for the next person.” I believe that principle is the same concerning many of the convictions we have. I’ve personally been convicted of wearing too-skinny pants, listening to particular (most...if not all) secular music, drinking, smoking, partying, watching particular movies and TV shows, etc. Some of the stuff I’ve been convicted of, aren’t necessarily unlawful—but God beckons I follow these convictions.
Matthew 11:15 “Whoever has ears, let him hear.”
If I am to honour God, by following these convictions, I better live them so fully out...that they seem as if they’re written on my flesh. I better live these convictions so fully out, that when I’m offered a drink, in the midst of my Christian brethren, I deny. And if I remain in that company, I better so fully live out these convictions that I explain why. Many of us receive convictions because we’ve struggled with these things or perhaps once tasted and realized “God hasn’t called me into this.”
It might sound killjoy-ish, but sharing my stance on a matter is much better than me compromising what God has paved for me, where I’d stumble and fall short. To me, it’s compromising my cool versus compromising my divine impression from God. One might be the more appealing, but the other, of course, is the most beneficial. But it’s hard. It’s hard to stand for what you’re for and not about, in the company of other believers, who for the most part, are like-minded. I don’t have a definite answer as to how to do so, but I have a couple of friends who do a good job of “suggesting” their convictions, it’s almost rather annoying...but it works.
The opposite, or, corresponding side of that coin is receiving that conviction and honouring it. Swallow that pride! Swallow it! Swallow it! That’s almost all I can say, because it’s so hard! This is the very reason that this dauntingly dauntless piece was crafted: honour one another’s convictions, as if your own. A sister of mine once shared how whenever someone would share their burdens with her, she’d bare them so much, that she began to ache with empathy for that person. She’d adopt that burden, and lift it with that person. Given, all the person is likely looking for, is someone to pray for them. But like Christ, my sister takes it an inch further, and actually aches, mourns, and joys with the person as they together carry that burden.
Jesus, Himself, was so willing to submit, that He even honoured the customs of the Pharisees as shown in Mark 12:15 and Matthew 17:27, just so that they wouldn’t stumble. It’s seldom said, but God bless Simon of Cyrene, who aided our Lord Jesus Christ in carrying His cross (Matthew 27:32). Just as that Simon did, so also should we do: respect, honour, and aid one another’s struggles. God forbid a friend of mine tells me they’ve struggled with drinking before Christ, and I’m found, by them, even looking at liquor. God forbid someone tells me how much they struggle with pornography, and I sit with them to watch a movie that has any inch of sensuality or sexual immorality.
Matthew 18:6 If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
This walk with, for, and after Christ is not easy, and often times isn’t fun. Often times, we are urged via convictions from God, and even from or for our brethren, to do or not do something—those convictions aren’t fun, and may even often seem repetitive and unfulfilling but, I, rather Paul, say this:
Romans 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
Recall that these convictions handed to us whether by God or a member of the body are not to hinder or limit us. Nor are they to disengage us from individuality. But rather to align us, in unison, with the standard that God has given us, which is Jesus Christ. If these convictions don’t help me conform into the image of Christ, than taking them on is pointless; but for those which do, how selfish and stupid would it be for me not to uphold them and share them with others? An awesome man of God, Kevin Muchiri says, “Although we are custom made, the things that do not please our Father are not custom but standard, and should be the same for every believer.” So I pray that God softens our hearts, and that we hearken our ears to Him and one another, to hear as the Spirit speaks, knowing that every Word from God is a gift, to be cherished and honoured, and not only heard, but done. In Jesus’s name, Amen.