A Clear Conscience
August 2, 2022
I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. Acts 24:16 NIV
You can’t have integrity without a clear conscience. They go hand in hand.
Paul was a consistent example of that. Because he faithfully followed Jesus, the Jews who wanted to stomp out the faith of the followers of the Risen Jesus saw him as a major thorn in their flesh—not because he did wrong things, but because of the clarity of his faith and life. The
high priest Ananias and his lawyer Tertullus came with other elders with charges to present in their case against Paul to Felix, the Roman governor. They accused him of being a troublemaker, leading a cult called Nazarenes. They said they even caught him in the act of trying to desecrate the Temple.
When Felix gave Paul an opportunity to speak, Paul stated clearly that he had never done any of the things they said and that they would be unable to prove their accusations. Then he said with great candor, “But I admit that I follow the Way, which they call a cult. I worship the God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the prophets. I have the same hope in God that these men have, that he will raise both the righteous and the unrighteous. Because of this, I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.” Acts 24:12-16 NLT
Your conscience gives you the ability to evaluate your own thoughts and desires, to discern what is right and wrong, and to distinguish between what is good and what is best. To have a clear conscience means that you can evaluate yourself inside and out in all those areas and be certain that you have not done anything that would stain or strain your relationship with God, who knows everything, or people if they knew.
Last night we had terrible storms and tornado watches. After a tornado watch alarm sounded on my phone at 1:20 a.m. and woke me from a deep sleep, my schnauzer Barkley and I spent a few hours sheltered in the basement. As much as I hated missing sleep, I certainly was grateful for the alarm. The alarm is potentially lifesaving. That’s the way a healthy conscience works. If we do as Paul did and strive to maintain a clear conscience, our conscience will act like the phone alarm. It will stay quiet when you should be asleep, and it will wake you up when you are in danger. When you are on the right path, a good conscience will be at peace (Colossians 3:15). But when you are tempted toward the wrong path, a good conscience will sound the alarm. It will protect your life.
A person with a desire to live with integrity with God and people will be as Paul—living with gratitude for a healthy conscience, working with God to keep it clear.
- God, sound the alarm loudly to me when I am in danger. I commit to obey. Amen.