The Bible is very clear on certain issues regarding sin, and in other areas not so much. We have a reality not addressed very often that happens in the lives of followers of Jesus, personal conviction.
I believe that many of us fall into the trap of believing that our personal convictions should be the convictions of everyone else. The reality is not always clear cut. Take John the Baptist as an example. This man lived as a Nazarite in the Wilderness and helped launch the Ministry of Jesus. There are certain things a Nazarite is called to do, that the ‘general public’ does not need to adhere to. You can find the extensive call of the Nazarite in Numbers 6, but some of those things are to never go near a dead body, never cut your hair, never consume alcohol…does that mean whoever cuts their hair is a sinner? Absolutely not! But what it does mean, if a person called into a Nazarite Vow does, they need to start over…there are usually conditions to personal convictions.
John the Baptist shared His personal convictions with the world! He shared himself. Never once did he demand that people do exactly as He does…but He did come with something that was not a personal conviction, rather a Law from Heaven:
1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” – Mat 3:1-2 NKJV
But how can I say that is a Law from Heaven? Because we see just a few short verses later, Jesus proclaim the same thing:
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Mat 4:17 NKJV
There are some things that there must be no compromise for the Body of Christ…The 10 Commandments are a good starting place! Would you not consider the 10 Commandments part of the Law? And then there are personal convictions of which the Lord specifically calls or speaks. It is not a special law that if others do not get, they will be living in sin…but it is a law or command for the one who receives it.
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do [it], to him it is sin. – Jas 4:17 NKJV
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. – Jas 4:17 NLT
Here is the bottom line:
- If God speaks to you something you should do or not do, you should follow through
- Unless God clearly states to share it, do not force it upon others
- Rarely are personal convictions for the Body of Christ at large
- If your personal conviction sounds like something already in the Bible, you will want to follow through, but also consider sharing it with others.
Always Ask God to reveal whether He has given you a personal conviction or if He is reminding you of something He has already made clear in His Word. And whatever you do, be obedient to Him, Always.