I . . . set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. (Gal. 2:2)

CONVICTION KNOWS NO AGE. It’s a quality small children can possess and their elders should encourage. While growing up in a typical Midwest town, I had the opportunity to attend, at intervals, two separate confirmation classes from different denominations.

Most of what was taught I didn’t disagree with, but when I neared the end of these studies, I asked where the Bible taught about confirmation and its requirement to join the church in this way. I never received an answer, except to say it was according to tradition.

The first time, I even sat with my class on their confirmation Sunday, but I felt no compulsion to go through this exercise with them. Since I had given my life to Christ and become His own some years before, I saw no further need to go through a ceremony unless I knew it was in obedience to an invitation or command in Scripture. I was ten and mildly embarrassed at my teacher’s discomfort.

In Galatians, Paul explained at great length how Christ had convinced him of the gospel and its promise of grace. No invention of humans, it wasn’t subject to their whims. Its truth was so strong in him and his companions that they couldn’t be dissuaded from it to conform to “a different gospel.” They had come too far down the road with Christ to turn aside.

How has the gospel convinced you of your liberty and challenged you to put aside religious peer pressure? How has the Holy Spirit guided your choices?

Act in accordance with what you’re convinced of.

Beth Weikel is the author of the upcoming Hope in the Midst of Loss (May 2015; WPH) about the challenges and suffering of grief.