Convictions can be costly. Standing by one’s convictions and/or keeping one’s word often offers an awkward opportunity to prove one’s sincerity.

I have a friend whose example of commitment to his convictions cost him dearly. He was the coach of a D1 football team. As he neared retirement he promised one of his assistant coaches that if he would stay with him five more years he would retire and recommend him as his successor. Five years later he won two successive national championships and had the best recruiting class he had ever had. He recounted this and said, “I didn’t want to retire, but I gave him my word so I did.” He then quoted. “If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” (Numbers 30:2)

Though he did not want to retire he kept his word and retired. 

Following is the story of another example of unrelenting commitment:

For months Eric Liddell trained with his heart set on winning the 100-meter race in the 1924 Olympics. Most sportswriters predicted he would win. At the games, however, Liddell learned that the 100-meter race was scheduled to be run on a Sunday. This posed a major problem for him, because he didn’t believe he could honor God by running on the Lord’s Day. He bowed out of the race, and his fans were stunned. Some who had praised him in the past, now called him a fool. He came under intense pressure to change his mind, but he stood firm. Then a runner dropped out of the 400-meter race, which was scheduled on a weekday, and Liddell was offered the opportunity to fill the slot. This was not really “his race.” The distance was four times as long as the one he’d diligently trained for. Even so, he crossed the finish line as victor and set a new record of 47.6 seconds in the process. He earned an Olympic gold medal and made an uncompromising stand for his faith, and his story was told in the Academy Award-winning movie Chariots of Fire. But Eric Liddell has an even greater claim to fame. He went on to become a missionary in China, where he died in a P.O.W. camp in 1945. He’s like Jephthah, who said, “I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it”. The lesson that comes through loud and clear from this man’s life is—stand by your convictions, and God will honor you.