There is a clear progression in the way a person’s world view develops which, if rightly understood, can serve greatly in their development. This is how the progression works.
- Knowledge – A person is presented with a truth claim. It may or may not be accurate, but the person accepts it as accurate and begins to function as if it is accurate.
- Conviction – Over time as the person lives his or her life with that certain truth claim as a basic foundation, the truth claim becomes a conviction. I use the word conviction to mean something a person feels inwardly compelled to believe or act upon.
- Affection – As a person operates with a certain truth claim over the long haul, they begin to associate themselves with such a claim, thus developing affections for the truth claim.
As a Christian this was my experience with the Gospel (The redemptive plan and person of Jesus Christ) and any number of biblical teachings. At first it was knowledge that previously I had not been exposed to, or did not fully comprehend. Over time it became a conviction as I believed it deeply to be true. Ultimately, it became a sincere affection. So now, the Gospel is something I choose to believe, I am convicted it true and I love and exult in it’s reality.
Understanding this progression will help you to track yourself on a very clear spiritual progression. When you consider the great truths of the bible, can you discern whether you hold them as knowledge, convictions or affections?
This will also help you as you discern how far your children have gone in their understanding of truth. Do they believe? Are they convicted inwardly? Do they love the truth?
As you look at others who hold to a faulty truth claim, it helps to recognize how far they have progressed in such a claim. Do they see it as knowledge (flawed as it may be)? Do they hold it as conviction? Or do they rejoice in it as an affection? Knowing where they fall in these categories will reveal how much work you may have to do to deliver them and reorient their understanding.