Growing Spiritually 4 of 6: The Truth About Convictions

Growing Spiritually 4 of 6: The Truth About Convictions

When we are sharing our biblical based convictions are we sharing them to be correct, to compare which can be a byproduct of pride (e.g I am doing this, and they are not), or because we love people and want to help them on their journey with Christ? (Recommended text to read: 1 Corinthians 13:4-11). Unfortunately, I've been guilty of the first two when I was spiritually immature. Since then, the Holy Spirit kindly showed me that I am not him, meaning it's not my responsibility to convict sinners of their sins or believers of their sin. I cannot save people! For greater details read the post: The first lesson that I learned as a Pastor.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Galatians 6:1-5 

Yesterday, I was going to watch a video from a well-known pastor and the sermon was about faith. However, I had this strong conviction not to watch the video. If I were an immature Christian I would assume that the pastor is not a man of God. However, after maturing spiritually, I've learned not to assume. There can be many reasons why the Holy Spirit did not want me to watch the video and the reasons may very well not have anything to do with the pastor or ministry, below are some examples:
  • I am currently in a trial, maybe somehow the sermon can bring doubt.
  • Something that is said in the sermon could  cause me to reflect on my current circumstances instead of God (nothing to do with the pastor).
  • The Holy Spirit doesn't want me to watch it now, but perhaps I can watch it later.
Imagine if I would have shared the personal, individual conviction that was given to me, for me only, by the Holy Spirit with other believers and not have understood that I should not assume. I could of ruined an innocent pastor's reputation based upon a personal conviction not meant to be a corporate conviction.

Like we often do now a days, the church in Rome and Corinth were disputing about personal convictions. For example, whether or not they should celebrate religious holidays, whether or not they should eat different food types that were traditionally sacrificed to idols, and whether or not they should eat food types that under the law of Moses would have defiled him. After reading Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8 (scroll down), I asked myself is there a difference between a corporate conviction and an individual conviction? We are going to answer this question in this teaching post but first let's read about personal convictions that some of my family and friends have.

I recently met my new bff lol (she doesn't know it yet, but she is.... hey, girl) and we spoke about some of her convictions and it got me thinking about prior conversations that I've had with other believers about their convictions. I began to ask God for clarity on what was shared. What I've realized is that some stuff that my friends are convicted about, I am not convicted about and vice versa. For example, last year November, a friend of mine felt very convicted about whether or not women should lead in ministry, speak in church, and wear head veils. Her conviction did not make me convicted but it did lead me to ask God that question, watch the video below for the answer.

My paternal side of the family are Presbyterian and they believe women should not wear pants. Click here to read all about it! As you can tell believers have convictions that are biblical based, that other believers may not have. I do believe that there is an individual conviction, and also a corporate conviction. I believe that the individual convictions are tailored by the Holy Spirit based upon God's plan for our lives, our family, and where we are spiritually. I also, believe that individual convictions are also tailored by us, based upon the flesh which is problematic. Let's see what the bible says about this!

PAUSE: Take a second to read Romans 14, 2 Timothy 2, and 1 Corinthians 8 below, and then we will discuss it further.

Romans 14 New International Version (NIV) The Weak and the Strong
1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. 19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. 22 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. 23 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.

Key points:
  • Verse 1 - This is a matter of spiritual maturity, and not necessarily sin
  • Verse 4 - Why are we judging our sisters and brothers about things they do that are not sinful.
  • Verse 4 - Let the Holy Spirit do his thing. Jesus is able to make those who are spiritually immature stand and remain standing.
  • Verse 15 - Let love be the motive
  • Verse 17 - Kingdom living is about the internal and not the external. One can externally appear one way, but do they have righteousness, peace and joy inwardly?
  • Verse 22 - Personal convictions should be kept to ourselves, unless the Holy Spirit moves us to share. If he does it'll bring peace and clarity not confusion. 
2 Timothy 2 New International Version (NIV) The Appeal Renewed
1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Key points:
  • Verse 4 - Focus on the Holy Spirit leading. Those who are mature spiritually have a different focus then those who are not. Our focus is to please God.
  • Verse 19 -21 Click here to read the post: Gold, Silver, Wood & Clay
1 Corinthians 8 New International Version (NIV) Concerning Food Sacrificed to Idols
1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God. 4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. 7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

Key points:
  • Verse 1 - Love without knowledge can be pride
  • Verse 4 - For those who are spiritually mature, eating food types traditionally sacrificed to idols is nothing.
  • Verse 8 - Food doesn't bring us close to God.
  • Verse 12 - We can sin against our brothers and sisters in Christ when we project convictions on them that are not given by the Holy Spirit and they are not spiritually mature enough to be led by the Holy Spirit.
By reading these verses we can conclude that there is a difference between individual convictions and corporate convictions. Let's discuss three corporate convictions that the bible says we should all have.
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