Imagine for a moment that you and I are friends and have a fairly long history together. Based on this history, you trust me and typically believe what I say. Assume I have approached you about a business idea that I say will be very profitable for anyone involved. Would you believe me? What if I followed up with a request for you to invest your life savings in this business idea? What now? How would you respond?
I am going to take a stab and say that you would believe me if I told you that this business idea will work. I think you would look at our history together and accept as truth my assessment of the opportunity. I don’t think that is too much of a stretch.
However, I will also bet that your decision to invest your entire life savings with me would be a more difficult choice. While you might believe that the business idea is a good one, I am betting it would take a lot of evidence to convince you to let go of your life savings. Am I right?
Beliefs vs. Convictions
The problem with this whole scenario is that it is played out every day in our lives. Most of us have beliefs of some kind. As someone who is reading this content, you likely have many beliefs regarding God. If asked, you would probably share your beliefs and how you arrived at them. If pressed, you might even be able to defend them with logic.
Unfortunately, these beliefs are too often not deeply held enough to cause action in the face of danger or threat of loss. Too many Christians these days can discuss their beliefs, but rarely go so far as to call them convictions. This is reflected in our general lack of willingness to suffer for the beliefs.
Let’s look at an example in Scripture. In Daniel 3:1-30, we see a very clear example of this idea of beliefs versus convictions. In this story, Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar built a golden statue which stood 90 feet tall. He then made it law that whenever the music played for everyone to hear, the people of his kingdom were required to fall down and worship the statue. This law also applied to the Jews that had been taken to Babylon from Israel. The punishment for breaking this law was to be thrown into the fiery furnace.
Actions Born of Conviction
Very quickly, some members of the king’s staff approached him and accused three Jews of breaking this new law. These three Jews, known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, had refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. They are brought before the king and told again that they must bow before the statue or face certain death.
Again they refused. Here is their response:
If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.
While most all of the Jews brought to Babylon from Israel could be described as believing in God, it is fairly clear that their beliefs were not strong enough to drive their actions. In fact, in verse 7 we see it is probable that the rest of them bowed down to the statue. The three Jews mentioned above were singled out because they refused to comply. What is the difference?
It is my belief, based on their response to the king, that these three men held convictions that caused them to act boldly. They did not just believe in God. They were CONVINCED that God could save them if it was His will. They were also CONVINCED that even if He chose not to save them, they were still to be obedient in refusing to bow down to another god.
In applying this story to our lives and businesses, I understand that we are unlikely to face a choice between life and death in this country (at least not in the immediate future). But that actually makes our actions (or lack of) even more disturbing!
Aligning Actions with Beliefs
Why is it that as Christians in business, we still make decisions on a daily basis that seemingly contradict our professed beliefs? Why do we say we believe the Bible and what it says about eternal rewards while at the same time focusing all of our attention on the rewards we can gather today? Why are we willing to sacrifice our beliefs regarding eternity for our comfort and leisure today?
We need to commit ourselves to whatever it takes to transform our beliefs into convictions. We need to spend more time in communication with God so that we are more firmly convinced of His promises to us. We need to be willing to step up and follow the example Scripture gives us for taking actions based on our convictions.
Take a personal inventory over the next few days. Begin identifying decisions you are making that do not fully align with your beliefs. Don’t ignore the small ones just because they do not seem significant enough to have much impact. It is those very decisions that lead us down a path to the bigger ones. In this case, I urge you to sweat the small stuff!
Let’s begin doing our part to live out our convictions in the marketplace every day. Let’s set ourselves apart from the norm and lead by example. Show the world your convictions and see what God will do. He is faithful!
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