“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.”—Acts 4:13
Is your belief system so ingrained that it guards you against temptation? If so, then certain issues have already been settled in your heart. Think about how beneficial that is: When you face certain situations in which you must choose whether to obey God, you don’t have to struggle. Why? Because that decision has already been made.
A settled mindset makes decisions easy because you don’t have to debate the pros and cons of submitting to temptation. Because your mind is already committed to obeying God, it won’t matter whether yielding is more convenient or profitable.
We find this in the example of Peter and John. Threats would not stop them from doing what the Lord had commanded. That’s the kind of commitment we should have when living according to our convictions.
When you are committed to living by your convictions, God will both strengthen you to stand firm and comfort you in any suffering that results.
Have a group of your friends or coworkers ever wanted to cut corners or participate in a sinful activity—and you were the only one saying no? When the godly voice is outnumbered, it can be challenging to speak up for righteousness.
We all have convictions that define who we are and determine our lifestyle and choices. We may like to think that these are a private matter, but in reality, they are constantly on display for all to see. As believers in Christ we live them out each day with our words and actions.
Since our convictions have a powerful influence, we should examine what ours are saying about us. Are they leading us to a righteous life in accordance with God’s will, or are they so weak that our life is dominated by the old fleshly nature?
Today we live in a society that is convinced there are no absolute moral truths. It not only considers the Bible outdated and irrelevant to contemporary problems but also sees each person as free to decide what is right. As a result, our culture is ungodly, immoral, violent, and self-centered. How are we as Christians supposed to live in such an environment?
We need look no further than the example of a teenage boy named Daniel, who had the courage to stand for his convictions in the midst of the depraved atmosphere of Babylon. Despite his immersion in Babylonian culture, he committed to following the Lord faithfully, even if doing so would cost him his life. The issue of diet may seem trivial to us, but Jewish people of his day believed eating meat that had been offered to idols was an abomination to God.
In the modern Western world, we may find it hard to relate to Daniel’s example. Few of us are willing to take such a bold stand even though we have no fear of losing our life. It’s the threat of rejection, ridicule, or being seen as narrow-minded or judgmental that keeps us silent. Or worse, it may be that we don’t have any strong convictions because we haven’t let God’s Word develop them within us. Ignorance of Scripture may let us live comfortably in a sinful culture, but it will never please the Lord.
God is looking for people like Daniel—followers of Christ who will stand by their convictions, regardless of threats or the temptation to compromise for the sake of profit or acceptance. Are you such a person?