Pride: To indulge pride;
to take pride;
to value one’s self ;
to gratify self-esteem.*
Conviction: The act of convincing,
or compelling one to admit the
truth of a charge;the act of
convincing of sinor sinfulness;
the state of being convinced or
convicted by conscience; the state of being sensible of guilt; as, the convictions of a sinner may be temporary, or lasting and efficacious. By conviction, as sinner is brought to repentance. Men often sin against the conviction of their own consciences.*
-a belief or opinion that is held firmly
Now, you may be wondering what my reasons are for choosing stubborness/pride verses conviction. How are they alike? How do they compare with each other? These questions are what I hope to answer in a moment.
From my personal experience, pride has been one of the hardest sins of the flesh to tackle. So many smaller transgressions and offences have the root of pride attached to it. Some examples are:
1. Bossiness (assuming you know better than those you are bossing)
2. Being critical of others (pointing out the fault of others gives the attitude of, “I’m not that bad!”)*
4. Self pity/ “Low Esteem” (A “Poor Me” mentality puts all the attention on- guess who!)
…And I could go on! Even giving a false sense of humility, is pride.
One aspect of pride I want to mention specifically here, is stubbornness.
Unreasonably obstinate; inflexibly fixed in opinion; not to be moved or persuaded by reasons; inflexible.
Stubbornness is a form of pride as well. I know it may seem a little far fetched, but think about it for a moment. Re-read the definition of stubbornness above. What does it say? “…Obstinate,… fixed in opinion, not to be moved…, inflexible”.
Can you now see how this is a form of pride? What do all of these words proclaim? To me it seems they all ring the bell of self. The party “Me, Myself, and I” love stubbornness, because it is focused on self, in a twisted sort of way. When you are stuck in your “Opinion”, what is your silent proclamation? You are right You know best. Since you're correct, everyone else must be wrong. “I’m not going to change my opinion because it’s mine and it’s the right one!” But there’s a slight catch here. There is a very fine line between Stubbornness and Conviction; This is the reason I must discuss them both in the same post.
I say without hesitation that stubbornness is pride, but I think that many might make the mistake of confusing stubbornness with conviction.
When you are convicted of something by God, you need to stand firm in that conviction as long as you know God spoke to you and it is biblically sound. (God would never ask you to go against his word, the Bible) Conviction is remaining steadfast and strong in your belief. You may be able to see now the reason stubbornness and conviction can be easily confused with one another.
What are some ways that we can be stubborn? In the Bible, stubbornness gives the assumption that you are hard of heart, or as 2 Chronicles says: “Stiff-necked”.
2 Chronicles 30:8 "Now be ye not stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you."
Psalms 75:5 "Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck."
Psalms 95:8 "Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:"
If you have the attitude of stubbornness, that means you have a hardened heart. Christ wants us to be moldable, so that he can shape us into the person He wants us to be. We are to be teachable; a character trait that a hard heart full of stubbornness simply abhors.
Isaiah 64:8, KJV "But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and
thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand."
Jeremiah 18:6, KJV "O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?
saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand,
so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel."
I would now like to move on to the topic of conviction.
To put it simply, conviction is: -a belief or opinion that is held firmly-
Are you being stubborn to hold fast to a conviction? Let me give you a couple scenarios, to set the comparison of stubbornness verses conviction correctly.
An old lady in her 80’s stood in front of her house. The roof and porch were leaking as it was pouring rain outside; the thunderclaps threatening to shake apart the dilapidated home.
A young man stood on the porch as well, facing the defiant woman looking at him, her arms were crossed.
“Mom, please consider what I‘m saying!” The young man asked. “Look around you. Your door is coming off the hinges, the stairs are fallen, the floor is cracked,“ He then paused as he moved out from under the dripping water on the porch roof. “Two of the windows in the attic are broken, You’ve been sleeping on the couch because the roof leaks above your bed- Come to think of it, the couch doesn’t look like it’s in very good shape either. There are so many problems with this house it's beyond fixing. There is too many things that you need help with. I can help you if you'd let me!”
“I’m not leaving this house son! It took a lot of work to get it, and I’m not going to let it go, just because you don’t like my housekeeping!”
“Mom, you and Dad have owned this house since I was 7, and I’m going to miss it too, but if you stay here any longer, there’s not going to be anything left to remember it by anyways! Please just come live with me. ”
The young man reached for his Mother’s hand. The stubborn lady quickly pulled away and put her hands on her hips.
“I’m not leaving young man and there is nothing you can do, or say, that will make me change my mind!”
“Mom, be reasonable!” The young man pleaded.
“I am being reasonable, now leave me alone!”
"Mom, I just want to help..."
An old lady in her 80’s stood in the doorway to her house. The two men dressed in suits stood there as well, stiffly holding what looked to be a black book; their bikes leaning against the house beside them.
The young man spoke up, facing the lady looking back at him, her arms were crossed.
“Mrs. Richards, please consider what I‘m saying! If you cast off all the words of the book of Mormon, your salvation is greatly at stake!”
He then paused as he took a step forward, assuming he would be invited inside. “If we could just have a little bit of your time-”
The lady moved in front of the door, making it clear that these young men were not welcome into her home, as she spoke.
“I believe in Jesus Christ, and that he is the son of God who died for my sins and rose the third day. I am saved by his grace, not just by works, or the good I do here on earth. The Bible is my light in this world, complete in every way-.”
“Ma’am, I can understand that it may be hard to see your faith a little differently, or admit that you might have been a slightly wrong in your doctrine, but if you hold on fast to an incomplete faith and follow an insufficient guide, you will be regretful at the end of your life and pay the consequences! Please just let me speak to you for a moment. ”
The young man reached for his Mormon bible and held it out to the her. The determined lady quickly stepped away from the front of her porch, and put her hands on her hips.
“I’ve already let you say enough young man. Good -Day.” She added as she began to close the door.
“Ma’am, be reasonable!” The young man pleaded.
Here is a quote that might be helpful. It is speaking mainly of courage, but it mentions conviction as well.
"If you have courage, you will influence people based on your convictions. If you lack courage, you will influence people based on your comfort zones"
It is very important for Christians to hold strong onto their convictions. As you travel on this journey called life, read and follow God‘s word, always be listening for his still small voice, trust that God’s will is better than our own small plans, study the Bible so you are ready to stand up for your faith and stand fast on your convictions.
I don’t want to go off on a whole different subject but I think it’s important to mention that you should not be judgmental of other people’s convictions. Don’t always be looking at how others respond to or treat situations differently than you, and point out why you think they are wrong. If you feel it is important enough, talk to the person privately, but we should try hard not to make fun of, or say bad things to others about their personal convictions. Some things are to be left between they and God.
In conclusion, stand fast on your convictions, and don’t back down. Listening to what other’s have to say is not lack of conviction, just don’t be swayed too easily if you believe that God has told you something; and pray that he opens up your heart and show’s you if you are wrong.
Do not act unteachable and stubborn though. Be open and teachable to what the Lord has to show you. It is a fatal mistake for those who think they have it all together. The people that have this mindset will be the first to fall low in shame.