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Here's a thought for Oct. 22

October 22, 2010
By the Rev. Bernie Wing

Grace Life Church

'Opinions vs. Convictions'

Opinions are something we all have and normally we are quite sure ours is the right one. We go to great lengths to share our opinions that are usually based on our biases, prejudices, personal preferences, that are influenced and formulated by our past experiences and family environments and upbringing. Opinions are what most arguments are over and not necessarily about factual information or the truth of God's word but our own opinions of what are the facts and our interpretation of the Bible. We all tend to make judgment calls without getting all the facts surrounding the situations.

The three friends of Job seemed quite free to share their opinions on why Job had suffered such great losses. Their opinion was the suffering of Job was because of his past sins. Then a younger man Elihu spoke up to dispute the opinions of the older three with his opinion as to the why. Elihu's opinion is that Job is presently sinning because of his suffering.

Job 32:6 (NKJV)6 "So Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, answered and said: "I am young in years, and you are very old; therefore I was afraid, and dared not declare my opinion to you. 9 Great men are not always wise, nor do the aged always understand justice. 10"Therefore I say, 'Listen to me, I also will declare my opinion. 17 I also will answer my part, I too will declare my opinion."

It has been said that opinions are something we argue over and convictions are something we are willing to die for. The early church had more than just opinions that Jesus Christ was indeed God and Lord over all the earth. They lived as if Jesus had ownership rights to their lives because of the ultimate sacrifice He made on their behalf by dying on the cross in their place to pay the price of death for their sin. They were grateful, thankful, and committed to the point of martyrdom which is what it says in Acts 1:8 "8But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." The word there for witness in the Greek is martus or a martyr. A martyr was and does die for what they believe, have convictions about and are committed to living those convictions out every day. They were more than cultural Christians living by the world's standards but were committed to living according to the Holy Spirit's convictions to a higher standard spoken of in the Sermon on the Mount.

Listen to this challenge by the Prophet Elijah. 1 Kings 18:20-21 (NIV) 20 So Arab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing.

This is my thought and challenge to all of us who consider ourselves witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ in the world around us today. America is in need of a people called by the name of the Lord who are radically different than the rest of the world and distinguished by a manifest presence of God with us and within us. A people living distinguishably different from those who are living according to the popular opinions of the fleshly dominated materialistic, world. That we would live with true convictions worth dying for and not the politically correct and corrupt opinions of what the world says is true and acceptable behaviors.

1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 (NIV 4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. It would seem that to be a Christian is more than knowing about God and believing he exists; but, it is demonstrated by actually following His life and example in every way every day.

This is my prayer for us from Ephesians 4:14016 (NKJV) 14 That we should not longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ -16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

May we all live by our convictions and not opinions of our own or of others. May the Lord bless you and keep you from stumbling to shine as bright lights in an ever darkening world.



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