One of the my most eye-opening experiences of taking Entrusted with a Child’s Heart was the teaching on convictions. Although I was raised in the church and continually sought out opportunities to grow, I had never heard this topic so clearly addressed.
Lessons 2 and 3 explore these in detail. Betsy so succinctly writes,
Be steadfast in regard to biblical convictions.
Be understanding in regard to personal convictions.
Be flexible in regard to personal preferences.
Biblical Convictions: Scriptural truths that grow our faith and are consistently true for all cultures, and all times.
Personal Convictions: Convictions that take into account our many diversities so that we can grow in personal holiness and live together in unity and love as believers, yet not in violation of our consciences.
Personal Preferences: An idea we are probably much more familiar with—they are ideas that are not rooted in Scripture, but reveal areas of preference. This teaching has transformed the way I think about parenting and about the world.
As I listened to Betsy teach, it all made sense, and I’m sure I nodded my head believing the distinction was clear to me. I will never forget the small group discussion that revealed I didn’t understand this concept quite as well as I thought I did!
It was a few weeks after this lesson, and we were discussing screen time boundaries in our home. I was asking how I should handle it when my husband wanted to let my children watch way more TV than I preferred. It was causing some tension because we had previously agreed upon a different standard. It was especially frustrating to me because I had been working hard on providing stimulating, non-screen activities all day long with them. Then my husband would walk in the door and want to watch a show with them. Feeling justified in my frustration, I shared this common situation with my Entrusted small group. The leader looked right at me and said, “You are allowing a personal conviction to trump a biblical conviction. Scripture is clear you are to honor your husband.”
My eyes were opened. How many other hills was I dying on that weren’t as important biblically as I was making them out to be?
I do maintain that healthy screen time boundaries are wise, and this was an area we’ve needed to continually revisit over the years. I realized that my husband and I needed to come to understanding and agreement on this conviction. But if I made every issue seem like it was of BIBLICAL importance, my husband wouldn’t know which issues were the most important to me. He may have felt that I had so many standards (and he’d be right, I’m one of those girls) that it was hard to keep up with all the guidelines.
I believe God loves my strong convictions, but He wants them deeply rooted in His Word. Personal convictions strive for holiness not a legalistic list of do’s and don’t’s. This revelation led me to seek the Lord for what He wanted for our family over what I wanted in a new way. Once I could clearly categorize my hopes for the family, I knew what to stand firm in, what to be flexible in, and above all to show respect for my husband in the process.
Romans 14 lays this out clearly and beautifully! I love verse 22, “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.”
As I mentioned, this guidance has transformed my perspective on so many issues. I sometimes grab on to certain issues without really understanding which category they fall into—and I know I’m not alone.
How about a little practice? I’ll give a topic and you determine which category the topic would fall under (biblical conviction, personal conviction, or personal preference).
If you aren’t sure if one of these is explicitly mentioned in God’s Word, look it up! Sometimes the principle is there even if the precise words are not. Find out! Could there be a better use of your time? Figure out which hills are worth digging your feet in for, and learn where to give a little! Talk through these issues with a godly friend or mentor if you still need clarity.
Here’s our latest Put That Up on My Wall Printable. We hope it encourages you to order your priorities for His Glory.