A conviction is a firmly held belief. It is something that a person is fully convinced of within their own conscience and they would risk everything to stand by them.
A compromise is the act of submitting your preferences to something even if you disagree.
A Man of Conviction
In the book of Esther, we read about a man who was firm in his convictions. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, refused to bow down to an official named Haman – possibly due to a deeply held religious conviction. When Mordecai’s actions led to Haman authoring a decree to exterminate the Jewish people in eleven months, he still maintained his conviction even though he knew the plan Haman was executing.
Why did Mordecai hold out? Why did he not just simply bow the knee? Because, regardless of how others perceived of his actions, Mordecai was convinced in his conscience before the Lord that succumbing to the social pressure of his day would be wrong. Thus, he was willing to suffer the consequences to maintain a pure conscience.
By way of application, we must be very careful not to label preferences as convictions because often times it is really just a matter of whether or not we will compromise on the issues at hand. That being said, if situations do arise in the years ahead and we have purposed in our hearts that we must not succumb to the social pressures of our day, then let us, as God’s people, not waiver. Rather, let us be firm in our convictions and stand strong no matter what amount of suffering may come our way.
However, let us also be wise and discerning in what we label as convictions. After all, we do not have it all together and we must distinguish between the two: convictions and preferences. It is worth us taking the time to study God’s Word and determine the difference between negotiables and non-negotiables. Some of our preferences may be deeply held and near and dear to our hearts, but it is important that we recognize them for what they are [i.e. preferences] and thus be willing to humbly compromise on those issues of lesser importance in order to maintain unity in our local churches and also obedience to Christ who has called us to submit to our governing officials.