Thursday, June 23, 2011

Should I be concerned about my conscience?

Sometimes we believers easily dismiss the issue of our conscience because we know that it can be hardened [seared-I Tim. 4:2] and reshaped into something not reliable. The conscience can be ignored through shipwrecking the faith [I Tim. 1:19-20]. Yet Paul the apostle exhibited a great concern for his own conscience. He instructed Timothy to hold a good conscience as he stood firm in the faith. Paul taught that church leadership must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience [ I Tim. 3:9]. Yet for Paul it become more personal. He substantiated his own ministry by his conscience: "I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience" [II Tim. 1:3]. In Acts 23:1 Paul courageously took his stand before the Sanhedrin and while looking them straight in the eye, he declared: "My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day." In the next chapter [Acts 24:16] Paul while standing before Governor Felix confidently proclaimed: "So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. To the Romans Paul voiced his amazing affirmation of love for his people Israel as genuine because he spoke it with a clear conscience: "I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying--my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit."
H. L. Mencken defined conscience as "the inner voice which warns us that somebody may be looking." Mencken missed something here. A godly man with a good conscience will do the will of God in spite of who is or is not watching and in spite of what people may or may not say.
It was David that prayed in Psalm 139 for God to search his heart and try it that there would be found no wicked way in him. He went on to pray that God would lead him in the way everlasting. The conviction of the Holy Spirit coupled with a tender conscience is a powerful force for godly living in an age of "hardened" consciences.
Have you prayed lately for a searching of the heart so that your conscience is clear? Is there something in your family life, or church relationships or vocational habits that is violating your conscience? Are you ready to "come clean"? Think it through!

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