Sighted on the Boundless webzine: Rachel Starr Thomson writes about living by conviction. Here’s where the word “conviction” isn’t used sloppily. Conviction is being convinced, and only conviction from trustworthy and true sources is an honourable thing: all other convictions are worth a whole lot of nothing.
It simply doesn’t suffice to live by simply going with the flow: it may seem the way most responsive to reality, but in fact it merely leaves us on the level of surface appearances, making it easy to fall prey to Satan’s deceptions, for always he uses the corruption of things to deceive all who would rather live by the truth. For some of us, this is the danger of being skittish about “theory” and purporting to “stick to the practical basics”: being naïve to Satan’s tricks. Indeed, what Jesus said was not to judge by mere appearances but to make correct judgements:
Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.” (Jn. 7.21–24)
He never condemned making judgements, because it’s impossible to live without judging – not to mention that judging that it’s bad to judge, well, is itself a judgement. To live by true conviction, however, as we strive to enter the rest of God’s kingdom, we need a standard of judgement: the holy Scripture.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Heb. 4.12–13)
We’re all exposed to God, but what a frightful thing that is for the darkness of our hearts! But we can rejoice in the gospel that He came to embody and to proclaim, and to inaugurate on earth the kingdom that it signified. That different people may interpret God’s holy word differently doesn’t cut us off from having to rely on Christ as our wonderful Counselor, our mighty God, our everlasting Father and our Prince of Peace. Through Scripture we can know God’s heart. And what better heart, what heart more loving, more truthful, more glorious to live with than God’s?