Fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
—1 Timothy 1:18-19
The apostle Paul said, “Fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith” (1 Timothy 1:18-19). Just like an airliner has internal systems to warn the pilot when the plane is too low or in danger of stalling, God has placed in each of us a spiritual warning system called a conscience. The conscience sounds the alarm whenever we veer off God’s intended path for our lives.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have ignored their conscience for so long that they have developed a hardened conscience. I refer to it as leprosy of the soul. Leprosy is a disease that destroys the nerve endings so that a person can no longer feel pain. You see, physical pain is a gift from God. It alerts us when something is wrong. But a person who has leprosy cannot feel pain, so he might step on a hot coal and not know he’s burning his feet or grab something sharp and not feel it cutting his hand. Pain is a gift from God that warns us of danger. In the same way, we have an internal warning system that alerts us to spiritual danger. But when we say no to God often enough, we destroy those spiritual nerve endings. How does God reactivate the conscience of someone whose heart has grown cold toward Him? We will answer that question this week.
We have been learning how to live a life that matters, through the story of Joseph. In Genesis 41, Joseph is the governor of Egypt. Finally, he can look back and see how God used all the events in his life to work together for good. Now Joseph enters into a time of tranquility, not only because he’s been delivered from prison to Pharaoh’s house but because he hasn’t allowed bitterness to harden his conscience. For 22 years, he has learned how to listen to the voice of God.
Interestingly, during the same 22 years, the consciences of Joseph’s brothers in Canaan had become increasingly hard as they denied their sin against their brother. So in Genesis 41 and 42, we find a contrast between Joseph’s clear conscience and his brothers’ guilty consciences. We will see this week that a clear conscience provides us peace even in the midst of turmoil around us, but a guilty conscience gives us turmoil in the midst of peace.
A clear conscience is the knowledge that neither God nor anyone else can accuse us of a wrong we have not attempted to make right. Do you have a clear conscience before God? Is there any sin that you have not turned away from? Do you have a clear conscience toward other people? A clear conscience is not a luxury; it’s a necessity to win at the Christian life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Value of a Clear Conscience” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.