“Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and can’t really get rid of it.” ― C.S.Lewis.
In cartoons, the conscience is often portrayed as an angel on someone’s shoulder trying to steer a character away from temptation, which was represented by a small devil on the other shoulder. When you think about it, it is not an entirely inaccurate representation.
In reality, the conscience is a universal gift of God. It distinguishes between right and wrong and urges us to do that which we recognize to be right. It also restrains us from doing what we recognize to be wrong. God has given every person a conscience to guard and guide them. This is not the same as the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit only dwells in those who have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation.
However, once we are followers of Christ, the Spirit then works through the conscience to remind us that some attitudes, thoughts, words, and actions don’t fit our new identity in Christ. The more committed we are to Him, the stronger and louder our conscience will be. The conscience is a powerful weapon in the battle for our minds. It is also an effective tool to prevent strongholds from taking hold.
When Paul wrote to Timothy, who was the pastor of the church in Ephesus, he told him to “…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 NASB). This is a warning to us that spiritual harm befalls those who are convicted by their conscience and reject its prompting. God gave us the conscience for our help and protection, but if you ignore it all the time, eventually it will become so hardened that it no longer works.
The conscience is an awesome thing that God put within us to help us live a holy and righteous life. It, along with the Holy Spirit, identifies whatever is wrong and should be avoided. Knowing that God loves us, is always working on our behalf, and has our best interests at heart should motivate us to listen and obey the promptings of our conscience. We may not always understand why the Lord is forbidding us to go a certain direction, but we can trust Him and His Word as the final authority for our lives because He is always right about every situation we encounter.
- Do you see your conscience as an effective tool?
- How can we ensure our conscience is working as God intended it to work?