Yesterday I blogged about how we should handle it when other people exercise their liberty differently than we do. The first principle we saw as that there will be differences. We are not all going to exercise our liberty in the same way. Understanding that is the starting point.
This leads us to the principle for today.
Be confident in your own convictions.
Over the last few years I’ve begun to wonder if the reason we fuss about issues of liberty so much is that we are not completely certain that we are right. This uncertainty gives us a feeling of inadequacy. Every time someone has a different conviction than we do, we perceive it as a shot against us. This inevitably leads to us shooting back. How do we deal with this? We need to be solidly convinced that we are right in what we are or are not doing.
“One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.” Romans 14:5 (NKJV)
“But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.” Romans 14:23 (NKJV)
Paul’s main point in these verses is that we need to be certain about our own personal convictions. If I am certain that God wants me to do or not do a certain thing that is all that matters. It shouldn’t matter if you agree with me or not. Knowing that I am where God wants me to be and that I am doing what God wants me to do gives me the confidence to deal with someone who feels differently than I do about a particular issue.
Several years ago I was talking with a group of older pastors about how to deal with differences in convictions, and one of them said, “Fellas, you can believe whatever you want about these things, but I’ve prayed about mine so I know I’m right.” What he was saying was that he was sure enough in his personal convictions that he wasn’t threatened if we had different ones. When we are confident that we have the convictions that God wants us to have, we are not threatened by those who differ from us.
Are you confident that you are exercising your liberty in the ways that God wants you to? If so, what kind of confidence does this give you around those who exercise their liberty differently that you do? If not, what do you need to do?