“Holding on in Faith and a Good Conscience”
I Timothy 1:3-7, 18-20
The Holy Spirit dwells within every believer at the moment of conversion. But the conscience is not just God’s Spirit, it is a part of our humanity given to both believers and non-believers. It is the inner ability that tests and judges our thoughts and actions our ideas of right and wrong. It is affected by sin and needs to be protected and cultivated in order to keep us focused on God. A healthy conscience serves as a moral compass. But it does have limitations-because of the nature of sin and because we are not naturally pulled to God’s will but to our desires and indulgences. We cannot just follow a compass, we push it where we want it to go and then recalculate where we are moving towards.
The primary function of our conscience is to serve as a course deviation monitor. It tells us when our thinking or actions are off course and causes us to wrestle with our choices and motives. Thus the conscience needs to be sensitive to God’s Spirit and truth. We need to actively maintain a healthy conscience. 1) Needs to be cleansed; we need to renew our acknowledgement of guilt and receive forgiveness; 2) needs instruction—to know Scripture and Christ’s teachings; 3) to be carefully protected-to share your faith with gentleness and respect
Life would be simpler if all we needed to do was choose our destination, set an automatic pilot, and then sit back and enjoy the ride. But it doesn’t happen this way. We chose our destination, either intentionally or not. Life consists of millions of chices that either keep us on the right path or take us in another direction. God has given us the conscience but it is limited so let us care for it.
REFLECTION: Jiminy Cricket’s song “Give a Little Whistle” focuses on letting the conscience being one’s guide. Do you ever think in term’s of your conscience as your guidance system for your life? Do you care for it and what your mind really comes in contact with? Or do you sort of float day to day wondering how to deal with the next challenge without and conscious or conscience thinking? For those who believe, God is the One who is the guide but our conscience can help us only if we carefully cleanse, protect and instruct who we are and what we are called to be. Just what is your conscience telling you ?
Wonderful God you give us mind, heart, and soul and we often do not even recognize these gifts are from you. Help us to be aware and enable our conscience to know who you are and can be as we live this earthly life. Call upon us as we strive to navigate through this life and prepare ourselves to walk with you. Show us your way O God . Amen,
This reflection is based upon some ideas offered by Gary Inrig in his book, True North: Discovering God’s Way in a Changing World, Discovery House Publishers, 2002; ch.5