Conviction and Sacrifice

As we go through life, we all learn our own sense of morality. It’s a code that’s given to us through our parents at first then through our own experiences. They form whatever our foundation is and how we walk through life. During this time we develop convictions about things like God, or spirit, science, some like magic and some people come to the conclusion that there isn’t a God or a spirit. In fact on all sides of this there is conviction so deep that it will never be penetrated by any other thought on the matter.

So what is conviction and can we have real conviction without sacrifice? If so what kind of sacrifice are we willing to pay for our convictions? If we have sacrifice, does that mean our convictions are right and good and true?

This particular ideology is the driving force behind many believers of all different faiths. As human beings we fast to show our convictions, we take on pain, we help the poor, blow up buildings and even start wars over our convictions; over our ability to say I’m right you’re wrong, my way or no way. Our convictions, our belief, our God, our anger, our pain, our sacrifice says it’s so.

What are we to do when the sacrifice out weighs the conviction? What if the conviction is wrong and where are we to turn for the answers?

It may not seem like a very big problem for the everyday Christian walking around in the small town or visiting the local grocery store. After all, we aren’t living in fear and we aren’t being challenged for our convictions and beliefs. No, that’s happening across the world. That will never happen here. The problem with that kind of thinking is that it leaves us unprepared for our own convictions and beliefs to be challenged. If we are unprepared to say to the world, I AM A CHRISTIAN I LOVE JESUS, then we are weak in our own convictions because to the world, we are not sacrificing anything. Instead, we are complacent in all that we do. Sometimes we forget that the only one with the truest conviction is Jesus. We may say it, but are we living in Christ when we do things like spread rumors? Are we living it when we open our mouths without thinking? Are we doing it when we allow disservice to others while we stand by and watch?

It is in the small everyday sacrifices we make that show our belief in our faith, our love for Jesus and our understanding that though we may not be perfect, we at least do our best. In a time when it is politically incorrect to be a Christian, I pray in public before I eat my meal. I pray before every meal so it seems fitting that I should pray when we eat out. Is that a huge sacrifice? Some would say no, others would say yes. We are too afraid to say I am a Christian. Oh we better not tell anyone what we believe we might be yelled at. To that I say so what. That doesn’t mean we look down on other people for their faith or even lack of faith. We pray…to God. We leave the door open in a manner of love so that fear doesn’t stop others from hearing the word of God.

John 3:16-17 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

In our conviction, it is so important to understand the true nature of what those two verses are saying. God saved us through his son. He didn’t do it to condemn the world…no, he did it because he loves us so that we may love through one another through our actions. The Bible says to love one another, and God gave us the best example he could, his son Jesus Christ.

That is the door we are leaving open with our convictions and sacrifice. We can not force any one person to believe as we do, but we can let them experience God’s love for themselves through us as long as we do not allow fear to rule over us and our actions.

How do we allow God to shine through us without worry or fear taking over? The strangest thing is that for a while, as a Christian I had a hard time with this one. It wasn’t that I was ashamed of being a Christian. It was that I was afraid I would be placed in the category of fanatic or zealot if I allowed my faith to show. I allowed fear to out weigh my conviction and therefore was a weak Christian in the eyes of not only God but to myself as well. Facing this took me down several different paths. I studied many different faiths that were deemed politically correct but ultimately my heart and soul belonged to God. The Bible gave me the answers I needed to be a strong Christian. The Bible gave me the Armor of God.

What is the armor of God and what will it do to make me stronger and no longer afraid?

Ephesians 6:10-20

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

After reading the verses a non believer in Christ might think one of two things, either Christians are calling for war or we just contradicted ourselves. And that is understandable until you take a look at the last two verses of God’s Armor.

Ephesians  6:19 and 20 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me to that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Guys, the armor of God is prayer and understanding of the WORD of GOD. It is prayer that we may make the sacrifices we feel God is asking for. After all, he sacrificed his son, so shouldn’t we in our own convictions, PRAY everyday and thank him for that? Should we not be thankful for the  people in our lives and shouldn’t we pray for the strength to show our love through our actions and our faith in our convictions by saying I am a Christian? Doesn’t this make sense?

For those who would still sit and read this and say you’re still trying to cause me trouble and judging me, or what about the hate spread by some Christians? What about …

Yes, many things can be placed at the end of that sentence. I leave you with this to ponder.

1 Corinthians 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor, and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I have nothing.

Remember, to be a Christian is to love even your enemies.

May God bless us in all the ways we are supposed to live, may your prayer be your shield and may many blessings come to you.