July 6 - A Clear Conscience
Before Felix at Caesarea, Paul clearly stated his way of life: “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” Earlier, he also told the council the same thing: “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” (23:1) For Paul, the guide to his life was his conscience. He always took extreme care to act according to his own conscience in his relating to God and man. Conscience is a faculty of our human spirit, when we receive Christ as our Savior, we have the Holy Spirit living in our human spirit. The Holy Spirit can then cleanse our conscience so that we may rely on this God-given ability to tell right from wrong.
Immature, carnal Christians make decisions according to the inclination of the flesh, or the body. Through the five senses and our inner needs and wants, many have acted to please their flesh. Paul understood this as he asked the Roman Christians to offer their bodies as living sacrifices. We are not to give in to the demands of the body but are to be directed through our spirit where the Holy Spirit dwells. Whenever the flesh wins, sinning is not far away.
Most Christians use their soul to make decisions. The functions of the soul are thinking, feeling and deciding. They are either rationally inclined or emotionally inclined. Most men use reason for making up their mind and most women use feeling to guide their actions. Of course there are exceptions but using our soul to guide us is dangerous. We may not have all the facts to support our reasoning and our feelings are deceiving at times. We cannot count on reasoning or feeling for our mind must be transformed by renewing, i.e. learning a new way to think.
That leaves the human spirit as the guiding light in all our decisions. A conscience cleansed by the Spirit, becomes a necessity in taking us on the right path. The function of our conscience is to tell us about what is right and what is wrong. It is not the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, it is not our own thinking about what is right and what is wrong because we all have different standards. The safest way is to rely on the Holy Spirit working through our conscience. It must be God-centered instead of human-centered.
So the way of making a decision is to first reject any suggestion from the flesh. Then you acknowledge your reasoning and feeling as not reliable. Bring the matter to the Lord in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to instruct your conscience. When you have a clear and good conscience that is not tainted by sin, you will hear the Holy Spirit and make a decision pleasing to God. How is your decision-making process? Do you just go for the most obvious, or do you think or feel? Learn how to listen to the Holy Spirit through your conscience, begin now to maintain a clear and good conscience.
Ps 145:8-13 1 Chron 2:18-4:4 Acts 24:1-27 Prov 18:16-18