Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #99 --- Convictions
Quotations on Convictions
Back of every effect there must first be a requisite course. There is a cause for every failure and every success, a cause for every defect and every triumph. Were I asked the question, What is the essential and primary requisite to all true success in life? I would answer, the possession of right convictions. These do as certainly go before all true success in life, as that substance precedes the shadow.
The lesson of all history is, that the successes of men and women, in all the walks of life, have been according to the character and degree of their convictions.
Worthy life convictions are always the result of investigation. And hence the deep meaning of all education. Beasts act from instinct, men act from reason. Conviction is not instinct, but is always the product of earnest individual investigation. Faithful, persistent toil must be the price paid by everyone who aspires to the possession of intelligent, strong convictions. Mental laziness, more than all things else, explains the indecision and fickleness to be seen on every hand. Many prefer to pin their faith to the apron strings of the few, and trust their destinies largely to the behests of others, than to pay the price for intelligent, unfailing convictions. Right convictions, with respect to life's character and conduct, become the backbone of every hope and aim and prospect and purpose in life.
Lack of worthy convictions explains why men have no individuality of character; why they go in gangs like dumb driven cattle; why they change oftener than the moon; why they one day shout, "Hosannah to the Lord of hosts," and the next day shout, "Away with Him; crucify Him." Such people have no real convictions, and hence can have no individuality. They are like so many bluebirds waiting for their mouths to be filled by anybody and everything.
Such lives surely seem of little value. How much do they honor God? Of what profit are they to man? And, yet, this great suffering world is thronged with lives that seem almost totally aimless and useless. ...
No man is an educated man, however many diplomas he may have, if his training has not resulted in the drawing out of his own individuality. Any attempt to be educated otherwise thwarts the very aim of education and fills the world with misfits and failures. The jellyfish looks like a vegetable, but moves like an animal, a flabby mold of jelly, without any bony structure, principally consisting of a mouth and stomach. There are human jellyfish who live without either a life choice or a life work. Some of them are heirs to wealth and are ashamed to labor. Some of them are heirs to laziness and will not work. They float along with the popular current, living to eat and to drink, with little heart or brains, knowing nothing of life's dignity and power, growing like a vegetable, eating like an animal, aptly characterized as "boneless, muscleless, simple gristle and soft at that."
Men are not mere machines to be run by the will of superiors. God's plan is just the opposite. "Every man must give an account of himself unto God." ...
Not only is the possession of right convictions necessary in order to individuality, but the avowal of such convictions is equally necessary to honesty. There are those in the worldŠ who, if they have convictions, never avow them. They are never on any side of the question. They are always "on the fence." ...
The man on the fence sits, absolutely self-satisfied and complacent, while the powers of falsehood and darkness are all in battle array against the powers of truth and righteousness. Your man on the fence inveighs loudly against anything that squints of fanaticism. He would have you remember that there are two sides, and that one is as good as another, if not better. He believes in moderation. He wishes it understood that he is broadminded. Well, what of this man on the fence? He is a travesty on true manhood. True men are made out of different metal. Palaces are not made out of straw. Noble and enduring pictures are not made out of mud. Nightingales do not come from toads. It takes something more than a human biped to make a noble jurist, or a lofty statesman, or a far seeing teacher, or a Christ honoring [man]. Going before all these, one must first of all be a man. ...
What keeps men from the open and brave avowal of their convictions? One pitiable cause is the fear of man, or, to put it more plainly, real cowardice. Because of this men are belying their convictions and consciously marching under the black banner of falsehood. The inordinate greed for money is another cause. ... For money men claw each other as vicious beasts, and stand on precipices that overhang the bottomless abyss, and play with the flashes of divine judgment, and lend their souls to deeds of eternal infamy.
There are others whose life convictions are sadly perverted, because they fall into the vortex of social outlawry, and yield life's highest aims and noblest energies to the latest fashions. ...
Another potent cause for the stifling of right convictions is the inordinate desire of many for promotion to office, mainly for the sake of office. Questions that go to the very foundation of our civil and religious life are certainly being too lightly regarded by many office seekers and office holders. ... If good men sit at home and simply complain that things of state did not go as they ought, then, in the faithful words of another, ours is not a government mastered; it is a government betrayed by intelligence. It is not the victory of the slums; it is the surrender of the schools. It is not that bad men are politically shrewd; it is that good men are politically infidels and cowards.
Probably the greatest reason of all for the non-avowal of men's convictions is the thought of the susceptibility of conduct to ridicule. There may be and often is a vast difference between physical courage and moral courage. Issues arise when men had better die than be silent. Many men are like Samson, shorn of their locks, because truth and principle have been betrayed through their cowardly silence. They shrank from the open and brave avowal of their convictions when conscience and truth and earth and heaven demanded such avowal. Now they are nerveless, palsied, their power gone, for they have failed at the secret tribunal of their own hearts in the sight of Almighty God.
There is a right way to avow your convictions. Your model is not the little whippersnapper of a reformer who sets himself up as Jupiter and begins to hurl thunderbolts at creation. There is a way for men to avow their convictions without a semblance of egotism or presumption. Only have fellowship always with the truth, and see that your convictions align with her wishes, and your voice will have a ring about it that will be invincible. ...
In these trying days of policy and fusion and compromise, it is of eternal import that your convictions all come from Him who is the light of the world. Count all things else as refused compared with the excellency of Jesus Christ. Falsehood can only be routed by truth, and truth must not be wrapped up in bed asleep, but it must be wrapped up in men of living convictions. There can be no compromise in matters of principle or duty. Truth abhors compromise as light abhors darkness. Her kingdom is always advanced by affirmation, never by evasion. It is your sacred right to have your own moral convictions. It is your sacred obligation to be true to them at whatever cost.
Fidelity to right convictions if the crowning glory of human existence. If a man does not have such fidelity, he can never be a kingly man. The greatest battle you shall ever wage is the one in your own heart. There you shall fail or win. If you fail there, you have failed utterly. Napoleon and Alexander both failed in the battle with their own hearts and died like dogs in the ditch. ...
The complete life cannot leave out the acceptance of Jesus Christ as a personal Savior, and loving obedience to Him as the soul's rightful Master. With the heart to believe in Jesus Christ, to live always as in His holy presence, to talk to Him through the blessed medium of prayer, to walk with Him in practical holiness, this is at last the only really successful life that can be lived by any man. Infidelity, irreligion and immorality do always walk this earth in company. Let the landmarks of religious conviction be broken down, and all barriers which restrain men from wrong doing and self-destruction shall at once begin to disappear. Any man, it matters not what his gifts and position, who puts away his personal and obedient faith in God, casts overboard his compass and chart, rudder and anchor, and before such man there is nothing but darkness. The two supreme questions, therefore, for every human soul, are these: "What do I think of Jesus," and "What will I do with Him." The noblest possible deed to any human nature, is the right answer to these two questions. It will make your lives complete and your destinies eternally blessed.
Fix your hearts on Him who is the soul's sufficient hope and the only true inspiration for rightly meeting the intricate questions and momentous duties of human life. And so trusting in Him while you tarry here, and faithfully striving to do His will, you may at the close of your earthly pilgrimage have His glory rest upon your every face, and may your welcome unto Him be such as to make you glad forever.
---George W. Truett, Austin Daily Statesman, Austin, Texas, June 6, 1904.
What is a conviction? It is an idea or ideal of right which you are not willing to let go, even where you may derive temporary advantage by doing so, and for which you are willing to sacrifice, if need be, rather than let it go. ... Convictions are what make the difference between men. There is no strength of character without convictions.
And then there is that matter of meeting responsibility. Few traits of character are more needed nowadays than a willingness to accept responsibility and the courage to carry it on. ... The best way of cultivating this necessary quality is not only not to shirk, but also to plunge into the midst of responsibility with a determination to carry it on to honest success. ... It is only through the acceptance of responsibility that character can come to us. The shirker is the perpetually immature. He will never be full grown. We must get the habit of lifting and not bearing down. Every time we undertake to do a thing there is a struggle involved.
---Milton Bennion, Juvenile Instructor, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 1915.
Surface living cannot last for long in the moral and spiritual realm. The Christian who attempts to live shallowly and superficially will soon fall away. He cannot endure the heat of the day, the penetrating rays of temptations, and the thorns and thistles of obstacles.
If life is to be strong, it must be rooted and grounded in deep convictions, and possessed by great loyalties and high aims. It must be sound at the center, operating from pure motives, clean thinking, and holy affections, with no chaotic and unredeemed areas.
We are delivered from surface living when we live in communion with God, when His purpose and will is our highest delight, when truth and right is rooted deep in the soul of Christian love. The real strength of life, stability and resistance to wrong, come by total abandonment to the Christian way.
Pray [for] the determination to make [your] heart as fertile soil to receive the good seed of [God s] Truth and Righteousness.
---Duane White, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, Fla., Aug. 16, 1959.
We need convictions about right and wrong. ... Having little conviction is a real danger, but having conviction without love is also an insidious peril. ... Conviction without love can become mean and devastating. If often becomes encrusted selfishness ignorantly held as divine truth. It has burned godly men at the stake. It has imprisoned free men of God. Conviction without love can become a fire out of control. It is like a raging stream without levee. ...
Conviction must always be nurtured in love. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 6:14.) Love is patient and kind . . . it is not arrogant or rude. (1 Corinthians 13:5.) Conviction must be Spirit-inspired, and the working of the Spirit results in patience, kindness, gentleness and understanding. (Galatians 5:22.)
---John D. Edens, Religious Herald, Richmond, Va., June 30, 1955.
It is the lesson of all history that the success of men and women in all walks of life has been according to the character and degree of their convictions.
Whatever convictions you may have must of necessity be personal. Your conviction is yours. Into the warp and woof of your life this great dominating element must needs be woven until it is a part of your very being.
Conviction is not instinct, but is the product of earnest, individual investigation.
The above statements are axiomatic. Mental laziness is the cause of the mushroom growth of the cults, and the blind acceptance of political and religious foolery which has cursed humanity in every century.
The Christian, to be effective, must be gripped with a powerful conviction that cannot be thrust aside without doing violence to the whole personality.
---Oliver G. Wilson, The Wesleyan Methodist, Syracuse, N.Y., Jan. 11, 1956.
It is not enough to pay Jesus a compliment. We must confess Him before men. We must have a conviction in our hearts that He is the eternal Christ.
The world needs fewer opinions of Jesus and more convictions of the Christ. A man thinks an opinion, but he feels a conviction. One may buy opinions by the armful, but convictions cannot be bought at any price. You may have a thousand opinions of Jesus and remain a non-Christian, but if you have one real conviction of the Christ you will not stop until you have confessed Him as Lord and Savior. The great need of the present age is for soul-gripping convictions of the reality of the crucified and risen Lord. Paul had an opinion of Jesus and went on persecuting Christians, but on the Damascus road his opinion was displaced by a conviction of the Christ, and from then on until his death he preached Christ the way of eternal life.
Christ demands the loyalty and love of His disciples. When one has a conviction of the Christ, then love and loyalty become spontaneous. It is an uphill business to get love and loyalty from people who have no conviction of Christ. Before Christ sent His disciples to convert the world He had them baptized with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and endured not only with power but with a conviction that sent them forth to die for their Lord.
---William M. Woodfin, Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pa., April 8, 1933.
The man who backs up on his moral convictions always lands in the mire.
---Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec. 11, 1924.
Everything in this world that is worthwhile costs us a battle. It doesn t make any difference what line of life we may choose to pursue, we had just as well put it down in the beginning as later on that we have battles to fight if victories are won. Often that which is of the greatest value to us costs us the greatest battle, and anything that would help us in the battle of life is the thing to which we ought to give some serious thought and attention. ... There are no great battles fought or victories won without conviction.
Conviction is the divine touch of God upon the soul of every human being to inspire that individual to higher planes of living, and to lift them into greatest fields of usefulness. If we allow conviction to be sneered at or jeered at or smothered out of life, we never can hope to be the winner. Men and women who have done things in the past that are worthwhile have been men and women with conviction. ...
The courage of [our] conviction [is] a necessary thing if we are goingŠ to win. When we have the courage of our conviction, it will no doubt bring us opposition. ... Let us not become discouraged. ... If we stop because somebody says stop, we will always stay stopped. The names of men and women that stand out on the pages of history have been men and women who have had the courage of their conviction.
---Frank Mathis, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 13, 1951.
There is ever a strength in the man of one firm purpose. There is greater future for the person with one firm conviction. Sometimes that strength and purpose is found in the study of a master mind until the mind with its convictions is born anew in the life of the follower. ...
Men and woman have developed their latent powers in drawing apart from disturbing influences and giving a portion of their lives to the growth of their own personal endowments. It requires determination and real will power today to make time for ourselves. The tendencies all run toward an amalgamation of ideas, convictions, hopes and standards with those of our time. In this we all become one drab color without the charm or strength ofŠ personal convictions. It is what we win for ourselves in belief and habit that is of determining value.
Budget your time. Draw apart from others a part of each week and come to know yourselves. Make time for companionship with God. In quiet meditation with Him and His word you will find added and refreshing power.
---John Edward Carver, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, Aug. 18, 1930.
How often we meet people who boast of having the courage of their convictions. With what fatuous pride they make this statement. And I must admit that it seems impressive until one begins to think. Are convictions valuable in themselves or does it not depend upon the character of these convictions, upon their nature, their truth, or their influence, as to whether they should be made part of one's moral assets or be promptly thrown into the rubbish basket or one's mental luggage.
There is much misplaced courage of every kind in the world. Much of it is noisy and blatant and the result of a great ego. Many deeds which are performed are inspired by those coveted columns of publicity or by that enviable place in the press referred to as a headline. On the other hand, real courage is one of the most admirable and stirring qualities which we recognize. Thus, convictions which are honest and soul inspiring are good to hear about, and the man or woman that voices them before an antagonistic audience is entitled to admiration and to applause. To proclaim verity which is against contemporaneous public opinion; to voice a sentiment, which strips the face of truth, to denounce hypocrisy and to pronounce honesty often requires no inconsiderable amount of bravery--especially when social standing, general popularity and necessary employment may be jeopardized.
But before we risk any of these things, before we pride ourselves upon that courage which makes us speak rather than to preserve that silence which we are so often advised is golden, let us be very sure that our convictions are worthy of the courage of which we boast. In the first place, are they convictions or merely slogan expressions which we have encouraged ourselves to regard as beliefs? Have we taken the trouble of investigating the roots from which they spring? Have we made them part of us through observation, experience and a prayerful desire to know what is truth and thereafter to be loyal and vigorous in our support of it? Have we any reason to be sure we are right before we scream out our confidence upon the housetops? Perhaps, a little more humanity as regards one's convictions might not be so bad after all. To be modest and reserved at times requires, perhaps, even a higher grade of courage than to strut and shout and proclaim ourselves to be the heroes of the world.
---Elisabeth Marbury, Delineator, New York, N.Y., April 1928.
You can never persuade others beyond your own convictions.
---Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., May 23, 1909.
The man who is afraid to express a righteous conviction needs to be sent back to the factory for a backbone.
---J.B. Cranfill, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 3, 1898.
Convictions are not worth much unless there is a courage for expression.
---John J. Hurt, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 17, 1971.
The measure of a man is the height of his ideals, the depths of his convictions, and the breadth of his interests and sympathies.
---Earl Riney, Church Management, Cleveland, Ohio, June 1943.
It is always hard for a man without convictions to understand the man who has some.
---Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., Jan. 1, 1942.
Blessed is the man who can adjust to a new set of circumstances without surrendering his convictions.
---Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., Feb. 19, 1942.
Some people will rush to the defense of their prejudices more quickly than they will defend their convictions.
---Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., Aug. 12, 1943.
Every man needs to inspect his convictions from time to time lest they degenerate into prejudices.
---Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., May 29, 1947.
A positive conviction without accurate information is a dangerous thing.
---Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., June 5, 1947.
We are strong when we can stand ridicule for the sake of convictions.
---Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 27, 1933.
A man should fear when he becomes liberal at the expense of his convictions.
---Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Aug. 1, 1935.
Too many people are demanding that other people shall pay for their convictions.
---Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., March 6, 1947.
Do not imagine your lack of convictions is an attitude of tolerance.
---Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., March 2, 1933.
In human life nothing else is half so important as fidelity to your honest convictions. There is absolutely no other way of growing strong and gaining nobility. ... In religion one great thing is required of us and that is fidelity to convictions. ... It means first freedom to follow the truth. No man has an adequate religion who has not looked the facts of the universe asŠ it appears to him squarely in the face and harmonized as best he could his inward life with these outward facts.
---Frank Fay Eddy, Salt Lake Herald, Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 29, 1906.
For his convictions a man will face the fiercest storms of opposition and abuse and will keep his lonely way in spite of friends desertion.
True to his convictions, a man will do a thing which is hard to do than to die; he will live a brave and strong life. And so, in spite of all these trials, or because of them, convictions are the choicest jewels of a strong life s character. ... Convictions furnish the motives and at the same time the impelling power which accomplishes the deeds of life.
---Ransom P. Nichols, Salt Lake Herald-Republican, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 27, 1912.