Summary: There is a difference between a conviction and a preference. A preference is a very strong belief, held with great strength, but a belief that you will change under the right circumstances. A conviction is a belief that you will not change.



MARCH 19, 2006

Pastor Herson Gonzalez

Without a plan for change, all we will do is talk about changing all our lives, but we will stay the same. All of the singing and the praying and the preaching and the shouting in the world will not change you without a PLAN!

How many of us Love the Lord today? Ever ask yourself how you could love God so much but just keep hurting Him?

1. Mind = Repentance

2. Convictions = Faith & Love

3. Expectations of the Future

4. Activity

5. Conduct

6. Effort

7. Life

Battle Is Your Calling

When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.


There is a difference between a conviction and a preference. A preference is a very strong belief, held with great strength. A preference is a strong belief, but a belief that you will change under the right circumstances. Circumstances such as:

1) Peer pressure; if your beliefs are such that other people stand with you before you will stand, your beliefs are preferences, not convictions,

2) Family pressure

3) Lawsuits

4) Jail

5) Threat of death; would you die for your beliefs?

A conviction is a belief that you will not change. Why? A man believes that his God requires it of him.

Preferences aren’t lead by the Holy Spirit, Convictions are. A conviction is not something that you discover; it is something that you purpose in your heart.

Convictions on the inside will always show up on the outside, in a person’s lifestyle.

To violate a conviction would be a sin.

Preferences become weak when faced with extreme crisis.

Conviction makes you do things that aren’t always popular

Story of Naomi, Ruth & Orpa

Naomi and her husband left Bethlhem with their two sons. The husband dies. The boys marry to girls from the land of Moab; Ruth and Orpa.

The two sons die and Naomi must return home unsure of her own future so she tells the girls to go back to their mother’s house.

Ruth 1:14

14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, …

Orpa’s Preference was to stay with her mother-in-law. We know this by the tears she sheds. But her husband died before she could have children. There was nothing in it for her to stay with Naomi. So in the end she gave her a kiss and left her. A preference crumbles in crisis.

…but Ruth clung to her.

Underneath the water of preferences lies the solid ground of conviction.

“I know that the Law says I have every right to leave you… I know you can’t give me another husband. I know it makes more sense for me to leave you all by yourself to die …but my convictions force me to stay with you.”

“You gave me your son and now he is dead. Your Husband is dead… Orpa just left you…who will care for you Naomi if I leave you now?”

15 And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”

16 But Ruth said:

“ Entreat me not to leave you,

Or to turn back from following after you;

For wherever you go, I will go;

And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;

Your people shall be my people,

And your God, my God.

17 Where you die, I will die,

And there will I be buried.

The LORD do so to me, and more also,

If anything but death parts you and me.”

When it comes down to it, it is not about what I want, it is about the convictions that I have chosen to be the moral compass of my entire life.

I don’t do what I want to do. I do what I know is right. That is a life of conviction and that is the life we must chose to live.

1 Cor. 10:23

"Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive.

Preference = Like

Convictions = Love

John 21:15

15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[c] do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[d] do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep”

I want to you see that Jesus refers to him not as Peter (Rock) but as Simon (tree that is easily moved by the wind.) Peter’s actions lost him the name that Jesus gave him momentarily. In an attempted to restore him back into Peter (ROCK) Jesus begins His interrogation of him.

In the Greek, there are three words for our word love. The first is Eros which is a physical love, and is where we get our word erotic from. We can compare it to lust.

The second kind of love is known as Phileo; which means brotherly love. We can compare it to the word “like”.

The final kind of love is known as Agape love, and this is the unconditional, self-sacrificing love. It means the complete devotion to someone.

Here in the text, Jesus says, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me.” And the word He uses for love there is the word Agape.

Well, Peter responded in an honest fashion. He knew that his actions didn’t match that kind of devotion, and that he wasn’t quite there; so Peter responds by saying, “Lord, you know that I love you.” But the word he uses for love there is Phileo. So to paraphrase this text, “Peter, do you love Me 100%, more than anything else?” “Lord, you know I like you.”

Honesty about the strength and health of the relationship is important, but how often are we truly honest about our condition? Ask a person how they are doing and rarely will you get an honest response.

Let me ask you, how is it with your soul this evening? Is it “fine”? Don’t pretend your relationship with Christ is fine when it’s not. And let me tell you, it’s okay to admit that. If you go to an AA meeting, the first step they will tell you is necessary in recovery is to first admit the problem; to be honest about it. And here within this church, this is the place to say that.

The church is not a pretty place of fine people; it’s a place of dirty, hurting people in need of grace and assistance. And we come together to help each other grow in the faith and grow closer to God, but we need to admit that we need that help.

We are living according to preference instead of conviction.

“Do you Agape Me?” No, I’m not there yet, but I want to be. I want to be there, but I have a lack of desire, I still feel attached to doing wrong, and I need help.” And when we do that, God says, “Good, now we can work on fixing it.” 3 times Peter had failed,

Peter answers… Jesus you know I only LIKE you. To which Jesus replies… “Feed My lambs.”

I know you don’t love me the way I love you, but what I need you to know Peter is that I can accept your weaker love for me. I can still feed my lambs!

Second time Jesus asks “Simon do you Agape me?” “Do you love me unconditionally, would you give your life for me, are you willing to be beaten and persecuted for my name sake?”

“Jesus you know that you and me are tight and that I would do ALMOST anything for you… you know I LIKE you!” “My preference is to do all of those things but my convictions are just not that strong right now.”

Jesus tells him… it’s Okay! I can live with that. I can’t ask you to love me the way I love you right now but listen to me clearly Simon… Tend My sheep

There is still a place for you in ministry Peter, even though you have an inferior love… I know your conviction is not where I want it to be but there is still work to be done.

Christ’s 3rd question changes. This time Jesus asks him.

“Simon, do you at least Phileo me? Do you at least LIKE me?

Peter answers, “You know all things!”

“Feed My sheep”

32 years of Peter’s life goes by. Peter lives the rest of his life Feeding the lambs, Tending to sheep and feeding his sheep.

He was at his house and there is a strong knock at the door.

When Peter answers it, it is the soldiers that have come to kill him.

They ask him if he is Peter the disciple of Jesus? Just then I can imagine Peter telling them… give me a moment.

He falls to his knees and he cries out to Jesus and tells him. “Do you remember when you asked me if I agape you 32 years ago? Jesus smiles and says “Yes I remember” Peter says “I would like another chance to answer that question.” So Jesus says… “Peter, do you agape me? Would you give your life for me and sacrifice everything for the sake of my name?”

Peter stand to his feet, goes back to the door where the Soldiers were waiting to arrest him and he says… “I AM PETER DISCIPLE OF JESUS THE CHRIST” and as they begin to beat him and tie his hands… he looked toward heaven and said… “JESUS… I AGAPE YOU!!!”

My convictions have developed now. “Feed My sheep”