Friday, November 1, 2013

A Defiled Conscience

Chuckle:  Father: "You have four Ds and a C on your report card!"  Son: "I know. I think I concentrated too much on one subject." 
Quote:  "Most of us follow our conscience as we follow a wheelbarrow. We push it in front of us in the direction we want to go." --Billy Graham
    "Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are defiled" (Titus 1:15 NLT).
The human conscience intrigues me.  The word "conscience" describes an inner sense of right and wrong; a feeling that guides us away from doing bad things and persuades us to do the right things.  For example, "His conscience bothered him after he told a lie."  The question I want us to consider here is, how do our consciences become sufficiently trained to be reliable as a guide for righteous living? 
The definition of "conscience' that I gave in the first paragraph does not take into account the proposition that some consciences are corrupted and are not reliable as a guide for discerning right and wrong.  This is evident when evil people do terrible things without guilt or remorse.  Their lack of conscience causes them to do evil things without regretting their actions.  "He that loses his conscience has nothing else worth keeping." --Isaac Walton
When addressing false teachers in the last days, Paul writes, "They will follow lying spirits and teachings that come from demons. These teachers are hypocrites and liars. They pretend to be religious, but their consciences are dead (seared)"  (1 Timothy 4:1-2 NLT).  In our first passage, Paul deals with the consciences of the corrupt and unbelieving.  But Christians are also subject to having their consciences hijacked and corrupted by the evil one so that they become his instruments of destruction in our lives and Christ's church. 
I have witnessed professing "Christians" who were guilty of hateful and destructive actions toward other believers, and again they showed no regret or remorse.  It was as if they thought their actions were acceptable to God, and even directed by God.  But we know God is never the author of such actions or discord.  Obviously, it is God's Word and the indwelling Holy Spirit that trains and sensitizes our consciences to guide us into righteous living.  But when we drift away and stop praying and meditating on God's Word, Satan will begin to convince us that the world's way is better than God's way; and the voice of our consciences will become weaker and weaker and our sensitivity to right and wrong will gradually diminish. 
I believe every born again believer has at least a rudimentary spiritual conscience.  That still small voice within us is our spiritual conscience.  As we grow spiritually, God continues to sensitize our consciences -- a work in progress over a lifetime.  This progress is dependent upon our willingness to allow Him access to the innermost depths of our hearts and minds.  If we focus on filling our minds with godly thoughts and precepts, God will fine-tune our consciences and make us increasingly sensitive to His will for our lives.

Love, Jerry & Dotse