Tuesday, October 10, 2017

An Overly Active Conscience

Did you ever think about the guilt that the apostle Paul must have struggled with after his remarkable conversion on the road to Damascus? Think of all the words he had spoken against Christ and His disciples; think of all the damage he had done to the new and brave believers in the early church; think of all the pain he had caused to so many people simply because they believed in Jesus.

The Need for a Conscience
Every person has a conscience, or at least had a conscience at one time. A definition of conscience is, "the sense of what is right and wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action." Paul wrote to Titus, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted" (Titus 1:15). We need to work at keeping our conscience clear and pure.

An Overly Active Conscience
An overly active conscience is susceptible to unrealistic expectations. These expectations come from various sources--from within ourselves, from parents, from friends, bosses, co-workers, or even from a distorted understanding of God. With an overly active conscience, we can actually attract unrealistic expectations because we so desperately need approval that we look for ways to earn that approval by trying to do or be what is more than we can do or be.  The need to prove one's worthiness to others remains constant. While we should be concerned, to a point, about the feelings or expectations of others, an exaggerated concern for what others think will put you on the road to burnout, depression, and despair. An overly active conscience is a stern task-master who is only occasionally pacified and immediately requires that you prove your worthiness once again.

Satan loves guilt and wants to convince us that God could never love us again. Maybe God loved us at one time, but not anymore. Why would He ever trust us and take another chance? Physical, emotional, and spiritual deprivation are a result of Satan's attempts to pull this dark veil of guilt over our hearts. God's forgiveness is enough!

Understanding God's Grace
How many songs do you know about grace? How many sermons have you heard about grace? No doubt you've seen the acrostic that attempts to define grace as


Living in Grace
It's a sad truth that many of us never live in that wonderful grace even after we've received it, even though we believe it and sing songs about it. Our daily experience often does not reflect that we have been given this amazing grace.  When we understand that God's grace is lavished upon us and in spite of our unworthiness, our minds can be filled with truth, which eventually drowns out that nagging voice within us that is fueled by an overly active conscience.  Living in grace is ours in Christ, and we should not settle for anything less.

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