Have you ever thought to yourself, “I could never do that!” or “That’s not right!” Perhaps you can recall a time when you changed your mind concerning a particular plan because something told you not to.

What is that something we all reference from time to time? What is it that warns us beforehand; causes us to feel guilt; or convicts us when we’re wrong?

IT is our CONSCIENCE – the sense of what is right and wrong that governs our thoughts and actions, urging us to do what is right rather than wrong. The conscience is the inner prompting whose purpose is to not only alarm but correctly instruct us according to the standards of God.

For those that have chosen the narrow path, the conscience plays a far greater role than just making one aware of what is ethical.  It is the inner feeling or voice upon which we strongly depend to hold us accountable to choose what God deems as virtuous. But it isn’t innate or inherent.

Although everyone has a conscience, it is not infallible. But you could’ve guessed that! It’s a fallible, unregenerated conscience that allows one to do the very things we say we could never do. Truth is, we are all born in sin, and therefore shaped in iniquity. Before becoming a disciple of Christ, we, too, suffered from a fallible, weak conscience. But, just as our mindsets have to be changed once we come to God, so must the conscience – which is tied to our soul. The conscience must be retaught – cleansed. It is through teaching, and the application of doctrine that our conscience is strengthened (1 Tim 1:5).

God desires to cleanse our conscience, but we must submit to the process. In order for our conscience to progress from weak to spiritually strong, we must:

(1) Submit to the entire counsel of God (Ps 119: 9-11, 2 Tim 3:13-17, Ps 119: 101-109);

(2) Always be ready to receive correction and constructive criticism regardless of who it comes through (Prv 13:1, Prv 15:5, Prv 15:10, Prv 15:12, Prv 15:31-32);

(3) Admit when we are wrong and do not attempt to protect our image (2 Sam 12:1-15);

(4) Have a heart of forgiveness – pardoning those who do wrong by us (Mt 18:21-35);

(5) Change our associations (Prv 12:26, Prv 22:24-45, 1Cor 15:33-34); and

(6) Repent without excuses or justifications. This means rectifying the situation and remembering what happened so you don’t repeat it (Ps 51).

The job of the enemy is to defile, sear, callous your conscience as to weaken its effectiveness. The fourth chapter of First Timothy says that the enemy will use a deceiving or lying spirit to move people off course by searing their conscience to the truth they used to know and support. Once the conscience becomes weak, the spirit of God can no longer guide us according to the Spirit of God. We become comfortable with that which God considers immoral; eventually losing that which brings conviction and the fear that keeps us from sinning.

The change, however, won’t happen overnight. Apostasy CREEPS in. Once the conscience is seared, we gradually drift from what we once knew as truth – often recognizing but never having the conviction that comes with a strong conscience to remain true to that you once knew.

With every decision, every boundary pushed, apostasy creeps in. Just as a thief becomes comfortable with his sin or the justification for his sin, so will those who continue to override the promptings of God or justify the things that they once knew were displeasing to the Father. Paul says, in Titus 1:15, “The people profess to know God but in their works deny him”. This means that there are many that will testify of God, His power, and even their Christian status, but to look at their lives in action, you would never know that they ever really knew HIM. Their conscience, now drifted from truth and possibly seared, no longer has enough strength to sway their thoughts and actions in the way of righteous.

The goal of every believer, follower, disciple of Christ should be to keep his or her conscience pure. For without the conscience, what then is our guide? To do so, we must remain FAT – Faithful, Available/Accountable, and Teachable – doing what is necessary for maintaining a clean (not necessarily a clear) conscience.

by Pastor Tavares Robinson