Convictions are what drive us; they are the fuel, which fuel that propels us forward. For example the conviction to be responsible to ones family is what wakes a person up each day and sends them to work, even on days that they would rather do something else. Convictions that drive us to do the right thing each day are good convictions, but the convictions, which lead us astray, and replace our faith in God’s provision, and grace, are considered negative convictions. Some of these negative convictions are “superstitions”, “attracting attention for a selfish ego”, “unwillingness to accept change”, “and exclusively negative” (Sackett, 2012).
Superstitions can seem innocent, and of no consequence at first, such as when a sports figure refuses to change his socks during the playoffs, or they may do some type of repeated ritual, such as rubbing a lucky coin before each game. These superstitions however can have a negative effect as stated by Maranise (2013) “Should an athlete perform poorly in his respective sport, he may fault a failed outcome from the performance of their superstition as the cause for poor performance rather than…accepting the poor performance as their own” (p. 84).
Superstitions such as this can also have a negative effect on the spiritual life of a Christian, by placing faith in a superstition, such as wearing a lucky charm for protection and good luck, instead of putting their faith, and trust in God and his word, which could them to blame a bad situation on the failed superstition, instead on their poor decision that took them out of God’s protection. I personally have not put faith in a lucky charm, or consider myself superstitious, but I do know some Christians who are, and the trust that they put in their lucky charm, or superstition, is stronger than their faith in God’s protection.
The cure for superstition, which comes from fear, is found in Philippians 4: 6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made to God” (NKJV). People who attract attention for selfish ego, are trying to promote, and bring glory to themself, when in fact the glory belongs to God as 1Corinthians 29-31 says “that no flesh should glory in His presence. (30) But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God-and righteousness…(31) that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord”(NJKV).
When Christians do ministry for the purpose of putting the spotlight on them instead of bringing glory to the Lord, they are doing it to satisfy their selfish ego. This type of behavior needs to be avoided because it does the opposite of what we are put in ministry to do, which is to point to Jesus, as He told us in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”(NKJV). If a Christian is selfishly doing ministry to satisfy their ego, then the people do not see Jesus in it, and therefore it is useless in the kingdom of heaven.
I have had to evaluate my own motivations when involved in ministry in years past, for example we were performing an Easter production at church, and I wanted a certain role to play, but couldn’t get the part, as I prayed about it I realized that I was seeking the prominence of the part for myself, and not to bring glory to God through the part. Being unwilling to accept change is symptomatic of someone who wants their way, and Does not allow room for another’s opinion, or taste.
This is especially damaging to the church, because it can prevent growth. An example that my church experienced was when a new pastor came in, and he immediately noticed that the church has not had a makeover since founded in 1964. He wanted to upgrade the pews, and carpeting, along with the drapes, and he immediately caught pushback from a few elder women in the church. Despite their objections he had well enough votes to proceed, and did a great job modernizing the sanctuary, the younger members loved it.
This unwillingness to accept change does not come from a spirit of love, but rather is an act of the flesh, but the Bible tells us in Galatians 5: 16 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”(NKJV). I have a craving for change, and I pray that I keep that when I am an elder in the church; having witnessed the stubbornness in not being willing to change, left me determined not to ever allow myself to get that rigid. Convictions that are exclusively negative, create problems that are ordinarily not there, and mostly do not exist.
People with negative convictions are looking for trouble, even if they have to imagine it happening without any need for evidence as Garth (2015) noted, “Negative people expect worst-case scenarios. They typically ruminate on imagined situations like, This presentation is going to end in disaster…”(p. 1). This type of conviction does not operate through faith, and is not pleasing to God, and will never initiate any new endeavors that God may be leading them too. This is caused by a sheer lack of faith.
Philippians 4:13 tells us “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”(NKJV). Negativity says, “I can not do anything”. I have had my struggles with negativity, I really believed that nothing was going to turn out good, and actually expected disaster, and often found myself facilitating it, but after I started growing in faith through reading my Bible, fasting, and lots of prayer, I have overcome negativity These negative conviction types are designed to only harm the individual, and the church, in whole.
We, as Christians, need to be ever watchful for these types of convictions, because they will destroy God’s plan for your life. By constant prayer, diligent Bible study, and a humble spirit, we will detect these traps, and not allow them to invade our lives, or the church.