Do you remember when you were just a child? Do you remember when you wanted that cookie, or perhaps that candy bar? The only problem was, your mom told you…don’t touch that cookie/candy jar. Well if you were like most kids, when nobody was around, you looked once, maybe twice, and you decided, I’m going in.
Without hearing an audible voice, the voice of your body (craving that item) was speaking very loud to you. At the same time, another voice, the voice of your conscience, was also speaking loud, howbeit not audible, to obey what your mom told you. This is a little childhood example of how we can learn to either heed or ignore the voice of our conscience.
We are spirit beings, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Our body has a voice…feelings are the voice of our body. Our soul (mind, will and emotions) has a voice…reason and logic are the voice of our soul. Our spirit has a voice…our conscience is the voice of our spirit. Yes, I’m referring to our human spirit and not the Holy Spirit.
While none of the above voices are heard audibly with our natural ears, they speak very loudly. Decisions are made daily by either listening to, or ignoring our conscience. Our conscience is our early warning system…it’s our spirit speaking and telling us to either go, wait, or stop.
The Apostle Paul, by the leading of the Holy Spirit said in Acts 24:16, “Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward man”. The New International Version says “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man”.
So what’s the big deal about having a clear conscience. Well the word conscience defined means, “the distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, prompting to do the former and shun the latter, commending one and condemning the other”.
A second meaning of the root word is “a co-knowing, or a knowing with”. This definition tells us that we have a knowing on the inside of us, our inner man, the man of the spirit.
Romans 8:16 says “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. God does not speak to our intellect or mind, He doesn’t speak to our feelings or body. He communicates to our human spirit. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our born again human spirit.
If we have developed a habit of ignoring or not heeding the voice of our spirit…we are dulling our ability to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
This single action results in a suppressing of our early warning system…our conscience. The more we ignore and not heed our conscience the easier it is to stop paying attention to “distinguishing between what’s morally good and bad”.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to keep our hearts tender before the Lord. “Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” Eph. 4:32. The more we ignore our conscience, we create friction in our spirit. Friction causes calluses. If you have ever seen someone with calluses on their hands. They can take a knife and cut the calluses and have no feeling as they cut into the callous. There lies the danger of not heeding our conscience…we lose feelings.
Just as a hand with constant friction develops calluses, a heart that ignores the voice of its conscience will eventually become so dull, it loses feeling. That means they have lost the ability to respond to their conscience. The Bible speaks of a seared conscience. That’s a conscience that has been “cauterized” or has lost all sensitivity. It speaks of a conscience or heart where the tenderness is gone.
I want to encourage you to heed your conscience. When you have that sense that something is not right…pay attention to it. Stop what you’re doing and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into the truth. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will “show you things to come” John 16:13.
His blood has redeemed us, His love has been shed abroad in our hearts, so let’s allow Him to help us have a conscience that’s “void of offence” towards God, and towards man.
By Pastor James Everette