Living with Conviction by Pastor Daniel McDonald
Often when we hear the word “conviction” or “convict” our minds may bounce to our favorite crime show or James Bond movie. Yet, what do we think about when we think of what conviction is and what it actually means? The term conviction is defined contemporarily as “a firmly held belief or opinion” or “a formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense, made by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law.” Each of these definitions respectfully defines what conviction is and how it is thought about today.
With this in mind, we can begin to think about what conviction is in terms of Scripture and in the Christian life. John 16:8 states “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” Christ has come in order that we may live according to our faith in Him, as well as through the convictions that he has shown us in our sin and our disconnection with the things concerning heaven. As Christians, we are called to be a people of faith, as is stated in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” What is our hope placed in and where is our conviction?
Growing up, we would hear in school about the IQ (intelligence quotient) test. Some of us may have been taken a little further and learned about the EQ (emotional quotient) test as well. In recent years, there have also been studies and even books written on these subjects. However, we are missing one and that is convictional intelligence. You can also probably guess which of these three I excel best at (or not!). Dr. Al Mohler describes convictional intelligence as “the product of learning the Christian faith, diving deeply into biblical truth, and discovering how to think like a Christian.” Convictional intelligence is important not just to the person who has been appointed within Christian leadership, but also to the everyday Christian who is walking and navigating their faith.
Of course, our emotions and our intelligence have a strong impact on who we are and how we think and act. But do your convictions and the way you view your faith leave an impact on others just as your intellect and your emotions do? Our convictions ought to be what drive us to be who we are and what we stand up for. While our emotions and our intellectual prowess aid in that as well, our convictions are at the forefront of who we are and how we conceptualize the world and all things in it. Are you living with conviction?