We can get opinions from anyone, but only convictions from God truly matter.
As Christians we battle between faith and feelings, authority and apathy, obedience and convenience, etc. One particular contrast that is notable in most disciples is conviction versus opinion. Convictions are part of the Christian life. Jesus came to bring conviction to help us live and love as his followers (John 16:8). Opinions are also part of being human. All the information we receive daily produces so many opinions about so many things. That’s why differentiating between conviction and opinion is so important.
Conviction is defined as a “strong persuasion or belief.” It’s the state of being convinced. It comes from the Latin word translated “to conquer.” Contrast that to opinions. Webster’s says opinions “lack certainty.” Opinions are the scrawny guys in the gladiator ring of the mind. They aren’t sure of their victory, have minimal weaponry and have no grit for the fight. Think the character Korg from the movie Thor: Ragnarok who said, “I’m kind of like the leader in here. I’m made of rocks, as you can see. But don’t let that intimidate you. You don’t need to be afraid … I tried to start a revolution … but I didn’t print enough pamphlets so hardly anyone turned up. Except for my mum and her boyfriend.”
Opinions are the Korgs in your brain. Convictions are conquering warriors in your brain. They have the weapons, the strength and the power to win the battle of the mind to help you make the decisions necessary to make your life align with the life of Jesus. At the center of your values, passions and actions is conviction. Conviction gives you the strength to accomplish the impossible regardless of what others think.
Conviction is the muscle tissue of your beliefs. Every fiber of your being is in alignment to the movement of your beliefs. Opinion is the evidence of what others believe, but conviction is the evidence of what you believe. Conviction transforms you from having a good idea to becoming a good example for others to follow. No matter where you find yourself in life, what changes the people and the world around you is your example and not your opinion. A disciple chooses to build their life on convictions instead of opinions.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONVICTIONS AND OPINIONS:
Opinions Fuel Judgment, Convictions Fuel Guidance
That’s the difference between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation and shame will always tell you who you aren’t. Conviction will always tell you who you are. That’s why shame is a counterfeit conviction. Plain and simple. Shame tells you that you aren’t enough, but Jesus always reminds us that he is enough. Condemnation says you are a bad person and attacks your identity and God’s identity. But conviction reminds you that you are still a child of God and that God is good.
Opinions can confuse identity, but convictions always confirm identity. Choose to attach our identity to something that cannot be taken away. Connect your identity to something (your faith, your cause, your family, etc.) that can’t be stolen by others. Your identity should never depend on the opinion of another person alone. That’s why social media comments or popularity are not reliable or sustainable. I love that Mary (Martha’s sister) chose the one thing that couldn’t be taken from her, and that was her connection to Jesus.
“But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her. ” —Luke 10:42
Opinions Cause You to Drift, Convictions Anchor You to Truth
When your opinions change on a whim, people will begin to lose their trust in you. They’ll never know where you stand. That’s the great thing about convictions. They tell others what you believe and what you won’t tolerate. It’s also why convictions are crucial. if you change your convictions based on what others believe, you will have a harder time standing firm. Doubts flood in and you have a difficult time making the hard choices in life. You seek answers from others, not because you’re looking for the right path, but because you want the approval of others.
Convictions are like those bumps on the road when you are road tripping. The journey is long. The landscape begins to get boring. The scenery begins to all look and feel the same. You get bored. You get lazy. You get sleepy. When the journey is long, the scenery is dull and the destination is nowhere in sight. That’s when we drift. And suddenly, in the midst of your monotony, you hear that sound of the rumble strips on the shoulder of the road.
You are jolted awake, get your bearings, adjust to your surroundings, get back into your lane and continue forward. Once drifting, lethargic and unconcerned, now attentive, awake and alive to get to where you need to go. Convictions are the rumble strips in your spirit that cause you to take notice of what is being said, heard and believed. They compel you to adjust your thoughts, insights and beliefs back onto the narrow road of faith that’s found in Jesus.
You can follow people’s opinions about your life, or you can follow God’s direction for your life.
This makes all the difference between simply surviving and truly thriving. Convictions will make you courageous and opinions will make you complacent. When you are complacent, you can become sedated enough to miss opportunities right in front of you. Convictions give you the shot in the arm to wake up and see what’s in front of you so you don’t miss it.
Opinions make you digress and convictions help you progress. Don’t let other people’s opinions chip away at your confidence. The young leader has to do their best not to be ruled by what other people think, but instead by what God thinks. You’ll get opinions from everyone, but the opinions of others are no match for the mind of Christ in you. That mind comes from confiding in God, and trusting him with your calling and your future.
“Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” —Hebrews 10:35–36