Have you ever looked closely at a diamond? Nothing quite compares to its dazzling beauty, sheer elegance and fiery brilliance! It is the hardest natural substance on earth. It is, in fact, 40 times harder than a sapphire or a ruby, the next hardest minerals. Only another diamond can scratch a diamond.
A diamond is the greatest conductor of heat, is transparent over the greatest number of wavelengths, has the highest melting point (4,090 degrees Celsius—2 1⁄2 times greater than that of steel!) and has a refractive index greater than any naturally occurring gemstone—giving it its characteristic fire and brilliance. Diamonds are among the rarest and costliest of gemstones.
But you may ask: What magical substance is a diamond made of? Ironically, just about the same substance found in one of the softest of all minerals—the graphite in the lead of your pencil! Diamonds are pure crystalline carbon formed 200 kilometers deep within the earth millions of years ago. The elemental forces of heat and pressure transformed the carbon into diamond in the cauldron of boiling magma that lay deep below the surface of the earth. The volcanic mass in which this crystallization took place then thrust upwards and broke through the earth’s surface to cool in kimberlite pipes. It is in these pipes that most diamonds are found today.
The diamond derives its name from the Greek adamao or adamas, which means “unconquerable” or “invincible.”
The diamond’s “Four Cs”
But what determines the value of a diamond? In 1939, De Beers, the world’s leading diamond company, popularized the “Four Cs”: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat.
Cut refers to the angles and proportions of a diamond. A diamond’s cut is what gives it sparkle and fire. The better the proportions, the better the diamond is able to handle light, creating more sparkle and brilliance.
Color refers to the degree to which the diamond is colorless. The majority of diamonds range from those with barely perceptible yellow and brownish tints up to the very rare pinks, blues and greens, which are known as fancies. The best color for a diamond, however, is colorless.
Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions in a diamond. Most diamonds contain tiny inclusions or feather-like spots or imperfections, not discernible to the naked eye. The fewer and smaller they are, the less likely they are to interfere with the passage of light through the diamond, and therefore the more rare and beautiful it will be.
Carat refers to the weight of a diamond. One carat is divided into 100 points so that a diamond of 75 points weighs .75 carats (1 carat equals 200 milligrams). Two diamonds of equal weight can have very different values, depending on their cut, clarity and color.
The “Four Cs” of God’s jewels
In the Bible, God calls us His jewels (Malachi 3:17). I would like to share with you the “Four Cs” of a spiritual diamond—what we should be striving to be as true Christians. These Four Cs are Conviction, Commitment, Courage and Character. They are all important—they all build upon each other.
Conviction is the degree to which one knows and believes the Word of God.
Conviction is being absolutely certain of what you believe. In Hebrews 11:6, we read: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” We must believe! We must be fully persuaded! We must not leave room for even a little doubt! That is conviction!
“If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king”
Such was the conviction Daniel’s three friends had when they were confronted about their refusal to bow down before King Nebuchadnezzar’s idol. They said, “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king” (Daniel 3:17). They had faith—they knew their God and fully trusted in His power to save them!
Now where does this faith come from? Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We must anchor our beliefs solidly on the unchanging authoritative Word of God, the foundation and wellspring of truth (John 17:17). This is what will give us the same faith that the patriarch Abraham had. In Romans 4:20-21, we read that “he did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” That is what conviction is—being fully convinced!
Do you recall what Joseph did and said when he was being seduced by Potiphar’s wife? What made him strong enough to resist? Conviction! In Genesis 39:7-9, we read: “And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’” There it is! Joseph called a spade a spade. He knew what was right and what was wrong! And he took action—he got out of there!
To deepen our conviction, we need to study and meditate on the words of God. Without conviction, we cannot move on and possess the second quality of a spiritual diamond.
Commitment is the degree to which one consistently acts on that knowledge and belief.
Here’s another way of understanding commitment—commitment is making a firm decision way in advance of the circumstance you will be faced with. It means binding yourself to a certain course of action, based on the truth of your conviction.
Let’s look at an example from the Bible of one who had commitment. Read Daniel 1:8: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
He purposed in his heart—he made up his mind—he made a firm decision and bound himself to that certain course of action! That is commitment!
Elijah on Mount Carmel
Do you remember the showdown of the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel? Elijah called for commitment! He said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).
We need to take a stand and be decisive. But we cannot do that if we do not have sufficient conviction. And conviction comes from faith, and faith comes from hearing—and heeding—the Word of God! Unless we have this kind of conviction, we will be compromising left and right. But if we drink in and meditate on what God says in His Word, we will be able to say, along with Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
Courage is the degree to which one is able to persevere in the face of trial or difficulty.
Unless we have conviction and commitment, we will not have courage—the strength and boldness to stand by our commitment no matter the cost. Why were Daniel’s three friends bold enough to risk death in a fiery furnace heated seven times? Conviction. Commitment. Courage. How about Joseph? For doing the right thing, he lost in one day his job, his freedom and his “good reputation.” He was willing to go to prison and to suffer ridicule and abuse because he was convicted, committed and courageous.
Look at all the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 beginning in verse 30. Why were they able to risk so much? Why were they able to face danger without flinching? Why did Daniel still pray even after knowing that the law was signed authorizing the death of all who prayed? Why did the apostles still preach Jesus as the Christ even after being arrested, beaten and thrown into prison? Conviction. Commitment. Courage.
Today, we easily become afraid at the thought of losing our recognition in school, the acceptance of our peers and perhaps our job security. We are not even threatened with death and torture like these heroes of faith were. Notice what was said of them in Hebrews 11:38: “Of whom the world was not worthy.” Why? Because they were spiritual diamonds. Only God knew their true worth.
Character is the degree to which one is conformed to the image of God’s perfect Son, Jesus Christ.
This is what God is forming in us all along. Picture these Four Cs as levels of a pyramid. The base is conviction, followed by commitment and courage. The capstone is character.
Character is the only thing we can take with us into eternity. Not our houses, our clothes, our appliances or our cars. And character is so precious because even God cannot create it by fiat! Just imagine several robots walking around following and obeying God saying, “Yes, Master!” just because they were programmed to do so. God is not interested in robots, but in children—in sons and daughters—who follow and obey God because they love Him!
No wonder God calls His people His jewels: “‘They shall be Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him’” (Malachi 3:17).
There is a Russian proverb that says, “A gem is not polished except by friction.” None of us enjoy the grinding and the heat and the pressure of the trials and difficulties of everyday life. But it’s precisely those very things—the heat, the pressure, the grinding, the cutting and the polishing—that transform ordinary carbon into a precious glittering diamond! The rest who despise the process remain the graphite to be made into cheap lead pencils.
None of us enjoy the grinding and the heat and the pressure of the trials and difficulties of everyday life.
We need to submit to God, the Master Craftsman, to develop in us the Four Cs of a spiritual diamond: conviction, commitment, courage and character. When the process is complete, we will be more brilliant than a diamond. As Daniel 12:3 states, our destiny is to be more brilliant than even the stars shining in the heavens forever and ever! One day we shall become spiritual diamonds—God’s most precious jewels! God can then exclaim: “This is my beloved son [or daughter], in whom I am well pleased!”
Let’s all strive to be spiritual diamonds of unshakable conviction, unwavering commitment, unflinching courage and Christlike character! For a diamond... is forever!