On May 17, 2014 Admiral William McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas with a speech the thesis of which was “If you plan to succeed in life, you need to learn the importance now of prioritizing the practice of daily making your own bed.” He wrote a best-selling book on the subject stressing the importance of good habits and consistently giving attention to the little, yet important, tasks of basic blessed living.
That speech, by the way, received 10 million views on YOU TUBE. It evidently resonated with a wide-ranging audience. It reminded me of the basic life principles that followers of Christ need to adhere to in order to live a life well pleasing to their Master. I further thought of the basic Bible convictions that should govern our lives. These could be called convictions as opposed to preferences. How would you define a Biblical conviction? Here is what I came up with: “A firmly established belief or persuasion to which you tenaciously hold, based upon God’s Word, and for which you would die, if needs be, rather than surrender.” Obviously, Making Your Bed is a good life principle but it would not meet the standard of a Biblical conviction if one accepts the definition I have set forth. Martin Luther, when nailing his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, expressed Biblical conviction when he said, “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.” It was for him a Biblical conviction that he would be willing to “to go to the stake” for.
So, what are some of the convictions Christians have held to and at this present hour are holding to so that, if called upon to do so, they would die for rather than surrender? What are your convictions? I have listed some that, God helping, I could not give up even to save my life. You may have others, more or less. Christians world-wide are dying for these Biblical convictions as I write this post and on every day of the year. It is worth having our “pure minds” stirred up to give the subject some consideration knowing that it is not unthinkable, in this present spiritual darkness, that any of us who name His name might be called upon to lay down our life rather than surrender what are our Bible-based convictions. Here are some of mine;
- Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the God-man, is the Way, the Truth and the Life and “no man cometh to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6). There is none other name under heaven whereby man can be eternally saved than His. Salvation, eternal life, is only through Jesus Christ and through Him alone. Paul says that God “also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil.2:9-11) Salvation is in and through Christ alone.
- Whatever the Bible says is so. It is my final authority for faith (belief) and practice (behavior). All scripture, Old and New Testaments, is given by inspiration of God and is profitable. “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no truth in them.” “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (2 Tim.3:16,17; Isa.8:20; Ps.119:105) We may disagree with good men on matters of interpretation, but never on matters of inspiration. God’s Word is forever settled in heaven. Here we must stand; we can do no other, so God help us. Amen.
- The main purpose for my living upon this earth is to glorify God. Not to “find myself;” or to milk every moment for maximum pleasure or to look out for “number one.” But to so live that my life will bring honor, praise and glory to my creator God. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” Rev.4:11 Humanism says that we owe it to ourselves to find happiness-wrong! We owe it to God to live for Him and to glorify His name.
- As a believer, my body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, God’s Spirit, and, therefore, I should glorify God in my body, not defiling it by what I put into it, or by how I use or abuse it. I Cor. 6:20: “For ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit which is God’s.” We should glorify God by being good stewards of this marvelous body so intricately designed for our good here and for His glory. That conviction will govern both our dress and our diet and all other things appertaining to the body. Humanism says “It’s your body; you own it and no one can tell you what you can or cannot do with it; after all, you are only hurting yourself if you abuse it somehow.” Wrong again. As a believer, my body is God’s temple. When I abuse it, I hurt God, hurt myself, hurt other believers including teachers/pastors; and hurt society where I live and where my light is dimmed or hidden by a selfish example.
- The local, New Testament church is the living organism through which God is fulfilling His divine purposes today, and therefore, it is incumbent upon me, a Christian, to be actively involved in the ministry of a local, New Testament assembly of believers, one where the whole counsel of God (the Bible) is taught; one that is engaged in worldwide evangelism in obedience to the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20); one that is burdened for lost souls and is endeavoring to bring souls to salvation through the gospel; and one to which I will be loyal in supporting by my presence, my prayers and my pocketbook. This present hour is crying for local churches that believe the Book, preach the blood and proclaim the Blessed Hope (of His soon coming again).
- That Children are an heritage of the Lord and that, as a parent, it is my awesome responsibility to train up the child that God entrusts to the care of my spouse and me in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is not the school’s responsibility; it is not the church’s responsibility; it is not the State’s responsibility, but it is my responsibility. Period. Ps. 127:3; Prov.22:6; Deut.6:6,7.
- I believe that I am a steward before God of my time, my talents and my “tithes,” and that I will one day personally give an account to Christ of my stewardship of these things. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10)
- I believe that my citizenship is in heaven and that I am only a pilgrim passing through this land of shadows and that, therefore, my affections should be set on things above and not on things of this earth, Col.3:1. “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” I Pet.2:11
We have witnessed in our lifetime a morphing in many instances of what were once held “convictions” into now just preferences. Using certain Bible verses there have been “convictions” about women wearing pants; about eating in restaurants where alcohol is served; about certain hair-dos on “godly” women; about what translation of the Bible is God’s preserved Word for English speaking people, about music and a myriad of other issues. One would not minimize the differences, but it must be acknowledged that often what were once firmly held “convictions” of yesteryear in the Christian community have now become at best preferences and more generally “non-issues” for today. So, take another look at your convictions. Are they Biblical? Would you die for them rather than surrender them? It would do us well, in the light of this present evil age, to reexamine the issues.
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thess. 5:18)