I’ve been praying over this passage for two weeks. Every word hammered me, testing every facet of who I am. I’m questioning. I’m playing rhetorical-scenario-mind-games with myself.
What does it mean to truly believe in anything?
What does conviction truly mean?
What does it mean to “truly believe” in Jesus?
What is conviction of faith?
Conviction is a firm belief. Belief is a conviction in the truth. Truth is a verifiable indisputable fact. Faith is the belief and loyalty in God. Do you see how conviction, belief, truth, and faith are intertwined?
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
I don’t see any loopholes here. The I AM said, “I AM the truth.”
But our society has made it easy and accommodating to vacillate between truth, half-truth, and no-truth to the point that I wonder if anyone truly knows the truth. The world sells sweet tonic-talk with false messages and promises. The culture pushes hard against believers, mixing faith based words of love to sugarcoat a multitude of offenses. There seems to be no moral truths. This dilemma has caused a rift within us. Truth is the force that stabilizes and centers us. It keeps us focused.
When we begin to doubt, we sway, not knowing right from wrong or east from west. And it affects everything about us. Our emotions. Our physical health. Our mental wholeness. Our self-worth. It feels as if we are a yoyo, going up and down in our convictions with no time to process their implications.
Do you remember the movie, A Few Good Men, and the scene where Colonel Jessep (Jack Nicholson) shouted:
That’s what mainstream culture wants us to think. You can’t handle the truth; so, how about I tell you what it is. The problem is their truth is coming at us from all directions and changing as quickly as it’s delivered. Without a strong conviction of the truth, these words uproot us, begging us to wonder if we can handle the truth.
What Jessep handed the young lawyer was the truth to many-“I don’t want to handle the truth”. Being duped seems to be the new norm. It’s easier to let others think for you and decide what truth and conviction and faith and belief actually are. Maybe it’s easier to live in a preconceived world-bubble in order to keep life neat and orderly because the truth, the real truth, might be more than they can handle.
There’s a little tucked away verse that is appropriate here.
“Later, a great many people from the Gerasene countryside got together
and asked Jesus to leave – too much change, too fast, and they were
scared.” Luke 8:37 (MSG)
Scared? Some translations use the word “fear” Is it fear that draws us away from the truth? Fear of reprisal, maybe persecution. Because that’s what the Bible says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
Truth is the core of who we are. We yearn for it. Truth is the anchor and stabilizing force in our life.
I finally stopped assaulting myself over these questions.. I am a student of the Bible. Getting to know God is my passion. Maybe my question is not if I can handle the truth, but do I know the Truth. That’s the only way I am going to be able to discern the real thing from a falsehood. If I don’t know God’s Word, then those half-truths circulating will begin to etch away at my conviction of belief. My faith.
It takes courage to stand firm on who God is and who God says we are. And to stand firm is what conviction means. If your conviction is not solid, you will be like chaff that blows away in the wind. You will be vulnerable to the distortion of the truth and Satanic attacks. My husband always says, “You’d better stand firm on your beliefs or you’ll fall for anything!” He’s got that right!
There are so many great men in the Bible who resolved not to defile themselves, like Daniel, who stood firm in his conviction to live his faith out by following God and biblical principles. These principles are found in scripture. The more you read the Bible, the more you will see God delivering blessings upon blessings upon His faithful followers.
Think about your conviction of faith.
Do you believe God is who He says He is?
Do you believe God will do what He says He will do?
Do you believe you are who God says you are?
What does the Bible say about these things? Take these treasures to heart. Stand firm. We are in a spiritual battle. Be ready and be prepared. Stand tall in the face of temptation and compromise. Keep God’s Word at the forefront of your being.
To God be all glory!