Acts 24:10-23


            We all have a conscience.  It is the moral compass, the intangible guidance system, and the sense we cannot always explain which is constantly with us giving us insight beyond mere facts and objectivity.  Without a conscience we are bereft and aimless in this world.  But paying attention to the conscience and allowing it to do its vital work in our lives will serve us quite well.  It is the constant angel on our shoulder, directing us to better things and the good life.
             When we allow the conscience to dictate a course forward, we are neither influenced toward inaction in the face of stress, nor spurred to sinful activity and words when in trouble.  The conscience tempers our inbred fight-or-flight syndrome so that we engage properly in each adverse situation.  The Apostle Paul, when standing trial before Governor Felix, gave testimony to his Christian faith.  Paul gave a cogent apologetic for his life and ministry not because he was trying to get off the hook or because he thought it was his duty, but because of his conscience:  “I always strive to keep my conscience clear before man and God.”
             I will suggest to you that the reason Paul was able to accomplish so much in his life without fear, and his effective engagement with others came from his God-given inner resource of the conscience.  I cannot help but think:  What if I shared this same concern as Paul to always have my conscience clear before both God and others?  What if sought to make decisions and live my life continually in conversation with my conscience?  What if my church all did this?  What if everyone did this?  We would be in much better world, for sure.
             Gracious God, you really do provide everything we need for life and godliness in this world.  Help me to keep my conscience clear and tender toward your will so that others might experience through me the life-giving message of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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