Ideas, Attitudes and the Root System of Conviction
Discipleship & spiritual formation
Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus....
Philippians 2:5 (CSB)
Ideas really matter. Assumptions and values are the root system feeding every idea, and they are just below the surface, not always obvious in our thinking. Be assured, however, that those assumptions and values are there. Recently, I was enjoying a really robust conversation with one of our pastors, and in the exchange of ideas, he asked me for my biblical support for a statement I had just asserted related to prejudice & racism. The question caused me to pause. It was a good reminder and was freshly startling to assess where my conviction was coming from and if it was firmly grounded in the scriptures. I loved the exchange of ideas we were able to have.
In Converge Great Lakes, we embrace the central authority of the Bible as our final and supreme authority in all matters. It is to be the "root system" for all of our ideas, convictions, and ultimately the behaviors flowing from those ideas. At any point in any discussion, we must be able to pause and ask the question: "Is this idea, conviction, or assumption biblical?" To develop a cohesive biblical worldview that helps us understand and interpret reality, we need to have a healthy and cohesive connection to the scriptures and the narrative God is weaving from beginning to end.
My kids often give me a hard time as I try to shape this belief into their thinking. When debating today’s young people, they will begin a sentence with “I feel...”, and I love to remind my kids that most of the time they use the word “feel” when they mean the word “think.”
“I feel that is a dumb idea and we should not say that.”
“I feel like wearing a mask is no big deal.”
“I feel like people just don’t understand what is happening around them.”
In American culture these days, “feeling” is the bedrock compelling argument that cannot be challenged. However, every feeling grows out of an assumption, value, or idea intersecting with reality. The challenge each of us must embrace daily is if we are thinking and acting in a way that is consistently biblical. This is especially crucial as we guide and shepherd our people in the navigation of CoVid19, racial tensions, protesting and all the ensuing complexities which follow.
Many times I believe that our patriotic, western, and American independence are more central in our convictions than the guiding scriptures. As a pastor I would say to my people, “You should never say I know what the Bible says, but…” because whatever follows the “but” is going to betray a conviction which is NOT rooted in scriptural authority.
“I know what the Bible says about divorce, but….”
“I know what the scriptures say about drunkenness, but….”
“I know what the Bible says about forgiving those who hurt you, but….”
All of our ideas and all of our convictions are to be anchored in the authority of God’s word and deeply connected to its authority. Where those ideas or values contradict the scriptures, may we adopt and change those ideas so they line up with the scriptures. This is the only way we will love and look like Jesus.
Toward that end, I would encourage you to ask both yourself and your congregants the following questions:
Are my ideas and convictions firmly rooted in the Bible and if so, what passages guide my thinking?
Are the feelings I have in these difficult times flowing from a deep conviction anchored in the scriptures?
As I speak, could I imagine Jesus speaking similarly in the power of God’s Spirit if he were in my situation?
When I respond to the current pressures, how will lost people see and interpret my actions, and will they ultimately point to the sufficiency of Christ in all circumstances?
Converge Great Lakes pastors, may we adopt the same attitude of Jesus in these days, and in the process, take every thought captive by the power of His Spirit. Only then will we be able to interact with our culture and point to Jesus no matter the circumstance.
Ken Nabi, Regional President
Ken Nabi has served as the Regional President for Converge Great Lakes since 2016. He earned a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist before enjoying 21 years as a pastor at Community Church of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Ken is a strategic leader focusing on movements and reproducible systems. Community Church of Fond du Lac planted five churches during his tenure, and those churches helped plant seven more churches.