I sat in the movie theater with my head down.
You can know that if in the first five minutes of a movie it’s swearing at you or assaulting your eyes with immorality, that it’s just not going to get any better.
I should have known better, but I had wanted to hang out with friends so I went.
I should have left the theater, but I didn’t. I just sat there with my head down for most of the movie, vowing to not do this again.
When a few weeks later my friends asked if I wanted to go see a movie, I replied, “No, I no longer wish to go to movie theaters, but thank you.”
I knew my conviction wouldn’t be popular, but keeping my heart in right standing with God was more important.
Choosing to hold convictions that others may not understand is sometimes a hard and lonely road. But there are 4 things we must understand about personal convictions:
1. Sometimes they are temporary. In Numbers 6 we see the requirements for a Nazarite vow. A Nazarite vow had a beginning and end. During that time the person was not allowed to drink wine, grape juice, eat grapes or even raisins. They couldn’t be near a dead person, and they could not cut their hair, or even trim it. But when the vow had come to an end they were free from these requirements.
There may be a time when God will ask you to give up a certain activity in order to free your heart so you can be more dedicated to Him. This doesn’t mean that you will have to forfeit that activity forever, it just means that for a certain time you need to give Him more room in your life. Perhaps it has a stronger hold on your heart than it should, or perhaps it takes up time that God wants you to dedicate to Him.
2. They are personal, not for everyone. We see that the Nazarite vow wasn’t a vow that the entire nation of Israel took and the requirements for the vow were not required of everyone, only of those who chose to take the vow.
We must be careful that if God has laid a certain conviction on our hearts that we don’t become judgmental of those who don’t hold that same conviction. Yes, there are certain standards all believers should have; there are things the Word of God tells everyone to flee from, but in those areas where we can’t find chapter and verse, we must conclude that it is a personal conviction and it should remain personal between us and God.
3. Some people will not understand us. I imagine that there must have been those who – despite knowing the requirements of a Nazarite vow – still felt hurt when one who had taken the vow refused to attend the funeral for their relative or parent.
There will be those who will know about your personal conviction and on the surface may even agree with your decision, but when it affects them personally would almost want you to violate it for them. They may not understand the importance of your devotion to what God has told you.
4. Violating a personal conviction is sin. “Others may, I can’t”. It was a phrase that I grew up rehearsing. I knew that there were certain standards our family kept that were meant only for us. It wasn’t a sin that others didn’t keep those standards, but for us it was. Why?
When God asks us to abstain from a certain activity and we vow to do that, we enter into a covenant of devotion to Him. To violate that personal conviction is to disobey the Lord’s command and to break our vow to Him. That is sin!
Likewise, to pressure a fellow brother or sister to violate a personal conviction they hold is literally pressuring them to sin.
Has God been speaking to your heart to enter into a new level of devotion and consecration? Is He calling you to raise your personal standards? Is He asking you to give Him more time so you can draw nearer to Him?
Don’t turn a deaf ear to His voice.
Perhaps this is a season, perhaps this will be a lifelong commitment, as the Levites were consecrated for a lifetime; but one thing is certain, there is nothing on earth that can ever compare with the satisfaction of knowing that we are in the very center of God’s will for our lives!
Dear sister in Christ, what are you carrying around inside of you? Do you need to find a place to dump the worthless waste you’re carrying around?