No substitutions

While speaking with a friend the conversation rapidly veered to current events in his life. And a question came up. An honest question. “How do you manage yourself when what you see does not align with what you believe?” What he was really asking was along the lines of: Have you ever been in this situation? Is it even “christian like” to feel this way? Am I doing something wrong? Is this even real? Is it right for me to feel this way? I know you have made these questions many times.

This undoubtedly makes me think about two important concepts: character and conviction. For 30 years, I have tried to live a life that will reflect my convictions; my character has followed suit. And time after time, event after event, I have always been tested on my character and in my convictions. And just as my friend questioned his circumstances, so have I. It is an everyday theme. Sometimes it is very easy, but sometimes the picture is not all too clear. Sometimes I’ve conquered and sometimes I’ve been defeated.

We live in a world that is constantly pushing the limits and questioning everything that we stand for. It is simpler to live by emotions than to live by conviction. Living by emotions, and letting the environment and circumstances dictate our path is simpler, not easier. The emotion will always question your conviction, and assault your character, and it will do it almost every time, subtlely. You know in things like, a broken down car twice in a week. Or visit to the hospital for the third time in the month with your children, all the while when you have determined in your heart to believe the promises you have read. Or… you get the point, life.

Life happens and we need help. Emotions won’t do it, conviction and character will. The conviction that God’s word is true and the character to be obedient to what He says. So every time I’m confronted with my own humanity, I remember the words that Jesus said: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” So I press on and believe that every thing around me will pass, will change and will end, but His Words will remain. And I find comfort that even when I might not understand all that is going on around me, His Word gives me guidance and hope, that no matter what my eyes might see, the promises and truths penned in the good book are more real than what I see. It’s a struggle for all of us, but it can be done. The one that gave us his word as an anchor, also said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” And having this conviction that yes troubles are real, but final victory is inevitable is a conviction that I am willing to live for. And through this journey many things will happen, but the important one is that convictions are strengthen and our character is developed. In the end, emotions wither and die, convictions and character blossom and bring life.

The journey is all about the process. Embrace your convictions, develop your character and accept no substitutions.

“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”

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© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2012
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


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