Acts 23:1 NKJV
At the Mark Twain memorial in Hartford, Connecticut, you will find these words framed: “Always do right. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest. Truly yours, Mark Twain, New York, February 16, 1901.” When your conscience is programmed and governed by God’s Word, it will lead you to do the right thing every time. And it’s created by the first lessons you learn about right and wrong; which is why as a parent, you have the most important job in the world.
If you’re never taught those lessons, you fail to develop a conscience. If you’re taught them poorly or incompletely, you develop a stunted conscience. If you override your conscience and refuse to obey its inner voice, you develop a hardened conscience, and over time, you will live your life as if you don’t have one at all. You’ll compromise, cover up, and cut corners to get what you want.
You can’t see a conscience or autopsy one, but you can hear it whispering in your mind and feel it tugging at your heart. And those are the whispers and tugs you must respond to in order to walk in the blessing of God. Paul said two important things about his conscience: (1) “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Ac 24:16 NKJV). (2) “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”
Above all, don’t neglect your conscience – it is either healthy or becoming unhealthy. And as it goes, so goes your character, your reputation, and the quality of your life.
Soul food: Num 11-13; Mark 5:31-43; Ps 2; Prov 10:30-32
Romans 9:1 AMP
Paul wrote: ‘My conscience testifies with me [enlightened and prompted] by the Holy Spirit.’ When the Holy Spirit speaks to your conscience, two things happen. 1) He illuminates your heart with the truth. 2) He prompts you about what to do, because some things might be ‘right’ for others but ‘wrong’ for you. God has a particular plan for each of us and He doesn’t want us to be negatively influenced or to stray away from His path, so it’s important to follow His guidance.
Here are some Scriptures to think about when it comes to keeping our consciences clear: ‘I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people’ (Acts 24:16 NLT). ‘Keeping your faith [leaning completely on God with absolute trust and confidence in His guidance] and having a good conscience; for some [people] have rejected [their moral compass] and have made a shipwreck of their faith’ (1 Timothy 1:19 AMP). ‘They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience’ (1 Timothy 3:9 NIV). ‘Keep praying for us, for we are convinced that we have a good conscience, seeking to conduct ourselves honourably [that is, with moral courage and personal integrity] in all things’ (Hebrews 13:18 AMP). ‘The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a genuine faith’ (1 Timothy 1:5 NLT).
As redeemed children of God, if we sin wilfully and don’t repent, we lose your sense of peace and joy. So let’s make the effort to keep our consciences clear and allow ourselves to be influenced by God.
Gen 17-19; Matt 17:14-27; Ps 40:9-17; Prov 6:6-8
Romans 9:1 AMPC
Paul writes: “My conscience [enlightened and prompted] by the Holy Spirit bearing witness with me.” Note that when the Holy Spirit speaks to your conscience, two things happen. First, He illuminates your heart with the truth. Second, He prompts you about what to do. Some things may be “right” for others and be “wrong” for you. Why? Because God has a particular plan for your life and He doesn’t want you to be negatively influenced, or even derailed.
Read the following Scriptures and consider them prayerfully: “Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men” (Acts 24:16 AMPC). “Holding fast to faith (that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence) and having a good (clear) conscience. By rejecting and thrusting from them [their conscience], some individuals have made shipwreck of their faith” (1 Timothy 1:19 AMPC). “They must possess the mystic secret of the faith [Christian truth as hidden from ungodly men] with a clear conscience” (1 Timothy 3:9 AMPC). “For we are convinced that we have a good (clear) conscience, that we want to walk uprightly and live a noble life, acting honorably and in complete honesty in all things” (Hebrews 13:18 AMPC).
As a redeemed child of God, when you sin willfully and don’t repent, you lose your sense of peace and joy and become uncomfortable in your own skin. So the word for you today is – keep your conscience clear.
Soul food: Gen 17-19; Matt 17:14-27; Ps 40:9-17; Prov 6:6-8
1 Corinthians 12:11 NCV
The Bible says, ‘There are different kinds of gifts, but they are all from the same Spirit’ (v.4 NCV). The word ‘gifts’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘charis’, which literally means grace. That means we can’t earn, qualify for, work for, or deserve a spiritual gift. The Holy Spirit ‘decides what to give each person.’ We don’t receive our spiritual gifts through study, practice, or inheritance. They’re not even highly developed natural talents. They are characteristics and attributes given by grace, which enable us to carry out God’s will in God’s way.
We’re not designed to serve God by just drawing on our own strength and abilities, but by depending on the power of the Holy Spirit within us. It can help to picture a gloved hand. A glove on its own can’t really do anything useful. It’s only when there’s a hand inside the glove that it can really fulfil its purpose. We’re like the glove – we can’t accomplish much by ourselves. But when we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, He can move us and enable us to accomplish what God wants us to do.
When we think about the plans God has for us, we might worry that we won’t meet His standards. But the truth is that He doesn’t expect us to be perfect. If we were, He wouldn’t have needed to send Jesus to secure our salvation. Jesus told His disciples, ‘If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5 NIV). We need to allow the Spirit to work within us, lean on God’s power, and keep our hearts completely open to Him.
Isa 8-11; Matt 9:1-13; Ps 89:38-52; Prov 3:1-2
Joel 2:28 NLT
World champion boxer George Foreman was raised in a Christian home, and eventually he came back to his roots – but not before he tried the world of gangs, drugs, and violence. Recognizing not only his physical prowess, but also his potential, a friend suggested he join a local gym to work out his aggression in a more constructive way. That led to his becoming a world heavyweight champion boxer, and making millions of dollars. But the career of a world champion boxer is relatively short, and eventually Foreman, aging and overweight, reached the place where the only fights he could get paid just a few thousand dollars. He desperately needed to lose weight and get back in shape. A friend introduced him to a healthy diet, and part of his new eating regimen involved using a little grill. One day Foreman’s wife suggested that instead of simply using the grill for himself, he should put his name on it and others would buy it. And they did! Over 100 million George Foreman grills have been sold, and people are still buying them. Think about it. George Foreman made more money with his little grill than he made as a prizefighter. The Bible says that when the Holy Spirit empowers them, “your old men will dream dreams.” So regardless of your age, it’s not too late for you. Just get down on your knees today and pray, “Lord, all that I have and all that I am, I give fully to You. Use me as You see fit.” And when He answers, be prepared for Him to take you in a whole new direction.
Soul food: Jer 31-32; Luke 5:27-39; Ps 122; Prov 15:10-14