Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- February 27, 2011
“So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” Acts 24:16
A clear conscience contributes to a good night’s rest. It is necessary to live at peace with God and man. A clear conscience is not final; rather it is an ongoing work. Therefore, make a conscious effort to keep a clear conscience. It is a test of honesty between God and yourself. Are you being truthful with respect to how you act in comparison to what you say you believe?
If not, there will be a conflict that holds you back from experiencing God and life to its fullest. It is the fruit of a murky conscience. If not cleared up, there may very well be relational, spiritual, emotional, financial, and even physical consequences. There is a high price to pay for an unclear conscience.
What exactly is a clear conscience? A clear conscience means there is nothing between you and God or between you and another person. As best as you know, you have updated your relational account both with God or another person. There are no sins of commission that need to be dealt with, and there are no sins of omission that are outstanding.
Another contributor to conscience clutter can be money. For example, you may be unable to pay your bills. Therefore, you may need to sell your home and use the equity in the house to come clean with your creditors. Rather than drown in debt, sell the house God has given you and thus receive His lifesaver of a clear conscience. Do not fight your own pride and ego. Trust God. Your obedience to what is right will pave the way for something better over the long run.
Moreover, what value can you place on a clear conscience? It is one of the most valued assets you can own next to your salvation and your relational equity with others. So, how can you cultivate a clear conscience? One key contributor to a clear conscience is the confession of and repentance from sin. You are prayed up, confessed up and cleaned up. In other words, no sin is dominating or controlling your life.
This is why accountability is critical. You may be harboring sin and not know it. You may be living in a state of denial. Anger, resentment and bitterness can be masked very well. Left unattended you can spiral down into the depths of depression. This is where a community of caring friends can help you through this time of conscience conflict.
Your wounded heart has never quite been healed by the grace of God. Your forgiveness toward one another is not complete and continual. But, when you slow down enough to be honest with yourself, this unforgiveness eats away at your conscience. Though you were the victim, you have remained a victim. And, even worse, you have become a victimizer.
You will make victims of others unless you break this chain of wounded living. Victims need not stay there in perpetuity. A person with a victim mentality always has something gnawing at their psyche. Their conscience cannot rest because they have not forgiven. Jesus taught profoundly, “Unless you forgive others your father in heaven will not forgive you.”
Forgiveness is the linchpin of a clear conscience. Your own forgiveness and your forgiveness of others are necessary to enjoy a clear conscience. Also, be aware of false guilt. This is a trick of the enemy to bog you down in the mire of self-imposed standards that are either unrealistic or unnecessary. Let your Holy Spirit-controlled conscience be your guide. A conscience that “marinates” in the Spirit’s influence will be free and clear.
Taken from Dose 44 in the 90-day devotional book Infusion.
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