Indecisive. Irresolute. Unstable. Uncertain. Doubtful. Double-minded. Vacillating between one perspective and another; discontented in his/her heart and mind.
In the midst of all these… where lies conviction?
Conviction in belief… conviction in standards… conviction in the way we live our lives.
Where lies our contentment if we have no conviction?
“…He must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” James 1:6-8
Conviction is the natural product of intense study and self-examination. Conviction settles a thing in our hearts and minds to be right, good, true or real.
It has been said that belief is the death of intelligence. And in many ways, this is true. A firm belief- or conviction- in any one thing will ordinarily close the doors to any other options, no matter right or wrong.
If we believe in any one thing, is it right to never again question our wisdom in choosing/living out that belief and stop our ears from hearing and our eyes from seeing other perspectives or ways of life… thus the death of intelligence? Or is it more profitable to know our heart’s conviction and gently widen our horizons, being challenged by beliefs other than ours?
The former may result in a stagnation of the conviction which was once so full of life-giving sustenance. If we never again take the time to ask ourselves why we do the things we do, those beliefs cannot but decay in our own minds.
If we do measure them time and again they are apt to stay pure in our hearts and become cultivated over the years into a deeper, broader belief and wisdom because we have put them to the test, challenged our spirits, and accepted the fact that, like it or not, we are not always right.
Small or large, conviction lies within each of us, producing difference of opinion and variation of attitude. Without it, we will waver. We will hesitate. We will falter and eventually fail.
We must possess conviction. It is not our bondage; it is our freedom.
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:16-17
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25