Convictions vs. Preferences
I was actually kinda inspired by Heather to write this post. Every post I read here tends to be a thought-provoking article, which serves to help me to draw the line of distinction between what I firmly believe and what I prefer. With that being said, on to the post!
I’d like to start off with a couple of definitions if I might. For the purpose of this post, I’d like to use a couple different sources.
Conviction is defined by my Pastor, Paul Kingsbury, as “a belief for which we would be prepared to give our life to hold.”
Preference is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “the act, fact, or principle of giving advantages to some over others.”
Some examples of convictions are Salvation by grace through faith alone, baptism after salvation (not as a pre-requisite), and creation in six literal days.
Some examples of preferences would be women wearing skirts/dresses instead of pants, not going to the movie theater, listening to hymns only, or any number of other beliefs.
Oftentimes, I am surprised by the ferocity and tenacity that Christians, who are very dedicated to the cause of Christ, defend and fight for beliefs that are not core principles of our Faith. We need to be careful to differentiate between preferences we hold, and core values that are integral to our beliefs.
For instance, I have been the unfortunate witness to many sincere Christian people who spend their time discussing their preferences with an unsaved person. That person should be hearing the Gospel that brings salvation instead of hearing about why the KJV is the only Word of God for the English language. Yes, I believe 100% that it is the only one, but that is not what that person needs at the moment!
I once worked for a man named Jack Patterson. He ran many different homes for troubled youth as well as adults in need of help. He was constantly in the middle of disputes that people tried to bring him into. His favorite quote was “I Don’t Fight the Brethren!” He did not believe in fighting over petty things.
There is a big difference between allowing people to have different preferences and allowing and condoning sin. Sin is sin. Period. However, I don’t believe we should judge others based on our personal beliefs. If I had the belief that watching TV is not good for me, that is all fine and well. I cross the line when I tell others they cannot watch TV because that is how God led ME. The word “personal” in the phrase “personal preference” is just that. personal. for you. you alone.
The work of the Holy Spirit is an exciting thing to witness in people’s lives. It thrills me each and every time I get the privilege of seeing it. But, if we are not careful, we lessen the impact of this work when we try to take His place. How can we try to convict a person about something that the Holy Ghost has not? Can we force them into compliance? Possibly… But is it lasting spiritual growth? No! Christ does not bless anything He does not initiate. Again, I repeat, I am NOT condoning sin. I am saying that we should let God do His work.
Convicting can only come from God. If it is not convicting, then it is condemnation. We know that condemnation is not of God.
“[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” ~ Romans 8:1
If I can leave you with a brief synopsis of this rambling post, it is this:
1. Stand firm on your convictions.
2. Know what they are, and why YOU believe them.
3. Be flexible in your preferences.
4. Do not judge others based on preferences.
5. Know the difference between the two.
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Andrew Wikel blogs over at Wikeloogle, and is a self-proclaimed Christian geek (meaning he’s pretty tech-savvy)! He blogs about anything ranging from the Christian life, church ministries, to technology and other brainiac stuff (meaning it’s way over my head)! He’s very involved in his local church’s Reformers Unanimous program. Him and I have something very cool in common… a particular individual. My former youth pastor (Pastor King) is now the youth pastor at his church, several states away from me. I encourage you to take a trip over to Andrew’s blog and have a look around. Be sure to let him know you stopped by!
Posted on March 25, 2011, in "Guest Post" March and tagged "Guest Post" March, Christian Living, Conviction, Guest Post, http://wikeloogle.com, Judgemental, KJV, preference, Standards. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.