How To Avoid A Guilty Conscience

We’ve all done something before that we felt was wrong. In the moment there’s this tug of war that happens and we often feel stuck, not sure which side of our conscience to please. Sometimes we feel like Kronk in “The Emperor’s New Groove.” emperors-new-groove-kronk-and-shoulder-angel

Man I love that movie.

First lets ask “What is our conscience?” Webster defines it as, “an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.” Oswald Chambers has a similar take on the word:

Conscience is that ability within me that attaches itself to the highest standard I know, and then continually reminds me of what that standard demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either toward God or toward what we regard as the highest standard. This explains why conscience is different in different people.

God created man with a conscience as his self-judging faculty. Because God has written his law on man’s heart (Romans 2:15), man knows the basic standard of right and wrong. When he violates that standard, his conscience produces guilt, which acts as the mind’s security system that produces fear, guilt, shame, and doubt as warnings of threats to the soul’s well-being.

So, how do we avoid a guilty conscience? Well, for starters, stop sinning. As ideal and yet difficult as that sounds we do know that God’s word points us in the right direction. Hebrews 10:22: “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

By drawing near and obeying God we can prevail against sin and temptation thus ridding us of a guilty conscience. When a believer does God’s will he enjoys the affirmation, assurance, peace, and joy of a good conscience.

This, of course, begs the age-old question, “What is God’s will?” 1 Peter 2:16-17 lays out pretty clearly for us to “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” Peter answers our question just before that in verse 15: “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

What does Peter mean by “Put to silence the ignorance of foolish people”? That we live our lives to such a standard and level of holiness that we keep our conscience clean and at the same time bring glory to God. 12Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

The ultimate goal of God’s will is for us to glorify Him and bring his name glory. We fulfill that by acting in obedience in accordance to His word and commands for our lives.

We avoid a guilty conscience by drawing near to God, living our lives free of unrepentant sin and abiding in Him.

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Give Me Liberty, Give Me Christ

Today’s post is inspired by the May 6th entry in Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest”. You may have heard me talking about this book before. It still amazes me how relevant to today’s culture Chambers’ writing was even a hundred years ago. It just goes to show that there is nothing new under the sun. Sin is nothing new, we’ve just found new ways to do it.

Anyways, the May 6th entry was entitled “Liberty and the Standards of Jesus” in which Chambers addresses the unbeliever’s need to follow Jesus and not just a written code:

A spiritually-minded person will never come to you with the demand—’Believe this and that’; a spiritually-minded person will demand that you align your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One whom the Bible reveals.”

In John 5 Jesus is addressing the Jewish leaders of His time who were demanding to know by what authority He spoke. The issue was that they were trying to earn their salvation through the Law and living by a set of “do’s and don’ts”. Verses 39-40 say:

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

If we try to plug-in those same faulty principles while sharing the gospel, how will we ever see fruit? What makes the gospel so attractive to unbelievers is not a bunch of rules to follow but the freedom that Christ gives us from our slavery to sin and it’s consequences.

We are the liberated in Christ.

“There is only one true liberty–the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.”

We must constantly remember how God dealt with us when we came to Christ—with patience and gentleness. In doing so, so we must also render that same treatment to those with whom we share the gospel. Yet we must “never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, ‘Go…and make disciples…’ (Matthew 28:19), not, ‘Make converts to your own thoughts and opinions.”

The gospel is truth.

The gospel is freedom in Christ.

The gospel is liberty.

Without it we have death. To change the context but better voice Patrick Henry’s appeal from an unbeliever’s standpoint,

“Give me liberty, Give me Christ!”

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P.S. My band Harp and Lyre wrote a song addressing legalism in the church. It’s called “Believe, Divide, and Find Yourself Alone.” Watch it here

 

The Secret Tuning

The secret of a servant’s life is that he stays in tune with God all the time. 

I read that yesterday in Oswald Chamber’s “My Utmost For His Highest”. If you don’t have that book you need to go snag it right away. It’s been an invaluable resource for my daily walk.

So what does that mean to “stay in tune with God”? I use this saying a lot with my Junior and Senior fellas on Wednesday nights.

Anybody who’s ever played music in a band or orchestra knows what it’s like to play out of tune. For me it’s like biting into a Sonic burger and realizing they didn’t get my “no onion” memo. I swear every franchise across the nation has my mug plastered up on their wall with the words, “This guy LOVES onions. ESPECIALLY diced onions. Pack it full!” Seriously. Every. Dang. Time.

With Harp we’d be jamming along and suddenly exchange that sour “Is that you?” face with each other. Obviously the “Is that you” face could mean a variety of different things but with music it most commonly means, “Check your tuning before you wreck this song.”

Kinda funny if you think about it though. If you’re not in tune with God, with His will and purpose, you’re gonna notice. More often than not we ask God, “Hey, where are you going with this? We’re supposed to be going this way, remember?”

But God always works His own agenda. And praise God for it.

Otherwise we’d be flying solo, literally. No musician wants to drop his pick just before the big solo, break a string or even worse, tear into it so out of tune that it comes out sounding like Nickelback.

Trust me, you don’t want that.

When we don’t trust God, when we go our own way, we put tension on those strings and bend our will away from being in tune with Him.

He’s got an ultimate plan for your life. It may not be what you have in mind but trust that He is sovereign and everything He works out is ultimately for your good.

That is the secret of a servant’s life, that he stays in tune with God all the time.

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“As for me, I will declare this forever…”

I read a lot of interesting stuff today. One of my favorite books is “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. Today he spoke about grieving the Spirit of God when we don’t allow Him to put us into a right-standing relationship before God. He also asks a bunch of heart-pounding questions followed up by a hardcore challenge:

“Am I fully prepared to allow God to grip me by His power and do a work in me that is truly worthy of Himself? Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me-sanctification is God’s idea of what He wants to do for me. But He has to get me into the state of mind and spirit where I will allow Him to sanctify my completely, whatever the cost.”(see 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

Journaling is something I have majorly sucked at my whole life so hopefully this blog will help to share my thoughts and ask good questions for feedback as well. I also ran across this verse today in Psalm 75:

“As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob.” (Psalm 75:9)

If you truly want to gain knowledge, you have GOT to search it out and find it for yourself. We can’t just rely on being spoon fed our whole lives.

 

The LORD is faithful and He WILL deliver. Stay tuned for more thoughts.

So long and choose your Path wisely. Clay W.

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