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Archive for May 21st, 2012

Conscience

May 21st, 2012

Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear.” 1 Timothy 1:19 NLT

It is folly to mentally approve what your heart disapproves.

My thoughts and comments today are about “conscience.”

Who has never been tempted with doing wrong? But be advised, temptation imposes turmoil between reconciling right and wrong – a vain attempt to justify what you want to do with what you know is right to do. Torment results when you try to mentally approve what your heart disapproves. You were created to love and obey God; when you will not, you experience an uncomfortable, emotional and spiritual dissonance you cannot reconcile apart from God.

In matters of one’s eternal soul, a loving God leaves nothing to chance. Inside every heart there is the God-given capacity to hear His still small voice.I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah 31:33 NKJV. In the arena of right and wrong, that is your conscience. God is faithful. The prophet Isaiah said to wayward Israel, ”Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:21 NIV. Ignoring your conscience imposes a growing pain felt in your soul’s discomfort. Violating one’s conscience incites troubling inner turmoil from which you do not find relief. Only repentance, obedience, and God’s grace can restore an untroubled conscience.

You ignore God’s voice in your heart to your own discomfort, even peril. Paul’s fatherly advice to young Timothy and the Bible’s loving instruction to you is, “Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” 1 Timothy 1:19 NLT. Tragic pictures come to mind from the single word, “shipwrecked” – shattered lives, hurting families, damaged reputations, and haunting regret.

On January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground on Italy’s Tuscan coast. Hours later the ship capsized in the dark of night. The report was, “More than 4,000 passengers and crew were able to abandon ship under chaotic circumstances, though thirty-two passengers and crew perished in the tragedy . . the ship’s captain was in the wrong when he directed the Concordia too close on an unauthorized sail-by . .” “Unauthorized” . . where trouble always seems to begin, but not end. Moral, relational, and spiritual shipwrecks harm yourself and innocent people, in ways you cannot foresee.

King David ignored his conscience and tragic consequences ensued, in his life and the lives of others. See Psalm 32:1-5 NLT/51:1-4 NIV. Joseph followed his conscience, resisting Potiphar’s wife and reasoning, “How then can I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” Genesis 49:9 NIV. The Bible gave wise instruction when Paul wrote, “Always keep your conscience clear.” How you do that is usually the question. God’s answer is simple, “Cling tightly to your faith in Christ.” The simple way to avoid doing the wrong thing is by always choosing to do the right thing. Choose to do what is right and pleasing to God, what is true to God’s Word and character. Read Psalm 139:23-24 NLT.

These words are as true today as when written centuries ago, “He will easily be content and at peace, whose conscience is pure.” Thomas a Kempis, 14th Century Catholic Monk. Truth is timeless. The Bible describes people, “who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong and then do what is right.” Hebrews 5:14 NLT. Your conscience needs to be sanctified daily by the truth found in God’s Word. Be mature in Christ; life works best that way. See Acts 24:16 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you learn to listen to God in a sanctified heart.

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