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Personal Conviction

David must have looked a strange sight when he stood in Saul's apparel, with Saul's helmet of brass on his head, with a coat of mail, and Saul's sword at his side. It is small wonder that he said, "I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them". So David put them off.

But what did he take instead? His own staff, his own scrip or shepherd's bag, his own sling, and five smooth stones chosen by his own hand from the torrent bed. These he knew quite well; they were weapons he could use with dexterity and confidence, for he had proved them on many occasions. His sober confidence and quiet trust were centred in his God, so he said, "This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand ... for the battle is the LORD'S".

Unproved armour held no appeal for David, even though it was the king's. Similarly, it is no use the young Christian relying on another's armour. The convictions of parents, Christian friends, Sunday School teachers, Bible Class leaders or Camp workers will not suffice in the day of testing and battle. This is not to condemn loyalty which is a very desirable quality, but loyalty is not enough - it must be based on inward, conscious belief.

Psalm 45.1 states the ideal, "My heart overfloweth with a goodly matter: I speak the things which I have made touching the king". The poem was not written by another and copied by the writer, neither were certain phrases or sayings culled from another's poem. No! it was all his very own composition.

Young people need to get their own positive convictions, based on the Word of God and guided by the Holy Spirit. We need to search out our own 'positive reasons for our present position and teaching. Of course, this presupposes a sanctification of Christ as Lord in the heart and it will result in our being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh a reason concerning the hope that is in us yet with meekness and fear: having a good conscience (1 Peter 3. 15, 16). And don't forget the good conscience!

A wordy battle is sometimes very attractive to the young student. Indeed, some young folk revel in an argument with "them that are without". But the value of these tussles is open to question. Yet it is vitally necessary that we be prepared to state wisely and graciously what God has so kindly revealed of Himself to us. "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer each one" (Colossians 4.5, 6).