When I was in seventh grade, the school tried to scare us to death about using alcohol. We saw a film about a party where students danced and listened to music. One guy invited his friends to the back room for drinks, and another guy passed out. They couldn't revive him, so they called the ambulance. The paramedics rushed to the hospital where someone called the parents. Mom was crying. Dad was crying. The doctors stuck needles in his veins and tubes up his nose. The moral of the movie was "Don't drink alcohol or they'll stick needles in your veins, tubes up your nose, and your parents will cry." We were convinced that none of us would ever drink alcohol if that's what they were going to do to us. We even stayed clear of the water fountain, I think, the rest of that day. Then they brought in another film, whose plot was basically the same, but the moral this time was "Don't take drugs." Another time, we got to look at and touch the lung of some poor soul who had smoked all his life. The object was, "If you smoke, your lung will look like this, and kids will touch it." We were convinced there in the seventh grade that we would never ever smoke cigarettes. Another movie is still shown today in driver-education courses. It makes slasher films look like they are PG or G. Photographers have filmed the scenes of car wrecks before the paramedics get there. From accident after accident, there are shots of crushed cars and mangled bodies. I thought the moral of that movie was, "Don't ever get in a car." We seventh graders were convinced that under no circumstances would we ever drink, smoke, take drugs, or drive recklessly, if at all. Yet, soon after we entered high school, most of my friends were smoking. Just about everybody was drinking, and I lost several of my friends to drug overdoses. How could we be convinced that something was deadly, unhealthy, and unwise, yet not act on our beliefs? Today many of you are involved in things that a year or two ago you never dreamed you would do.... What happened to my friends in the seventh grade also happens to us. We have preferences. Yet we have very few convictions.

source: Andy Stanley, Preference vs. Conviction tags: Holiness, Temptation, Conviction