Yesterday morning was brutally cold. It didn't bother me much until I had to get out and put gas in my car. For a few moments, I stood still and experienced the feel of a below zero wind child. It made me want to give away my hat and gloves. I had just seen a young man walking on the street wearing what looked like a lightweight leather jacket not buttoned up. He had nothing on his hands or head. Truthfully, he was giving the impression that says, "Coats are for wimps." I'm thinking he probably won't accept them, but if was still out when we left the gas station, I wanted to offer them. Apparently he didn't have far to walk, just into one of the nearby businesses. Having just stood in the cold with a warm coat, zipped to the top and wearing a hat and gloves, I knew he was in no way protected from what he was facing.
This made me think about a different "environment." That is the "environment" of a thousand temptations to turn away from God little by little or to accept small compromises that eventually cause a person to drift disastrously off course. There's nothing new under the sun. Temptation or pressures to compromise aren’t new. However, the amount of such pressures and temptations seem more ominous now. That being true it begs the question of what sort of protection we need to walk into this environment that can so quickly cool passion for God. What do we need to not just protect from "spiritual frostbite" but also help us thrive? The answer: conviction. Al Mohler defines conviction as:
A belief of which we are thoroughly convinced. I don’t mean that we are merely persuaded that something is true, but rather that we are convinced this truth is essential and life-changing. We live out of this truth and are willing to die for it.
Mohler, Albert. Conviction to Lead
There's a great distance between casually saying, “Of course, I believe in God,” of, “Of course I believe the Bible,” and being convinced that it is true, willing to live out of that truth and willing to die for it. But such conviction is required to withstand the cold wind blowing against real faith.
Sunday I begin a series called "What Do We Need to Endure?" Through the series we will explore how this kind of conviction is developed. The series comes from the first 5 chapters of the book of Exodus, containing some of the most well known stories in the Bible but which also contain uncanny insights into current struggles.