Recalibrating Our Conscience

Recalibrating Our Conscience

The “conscience” is our awareness or consciousness of what we believe is right and wrong. Recalibrating our conscience has to do with our better aligning it with the standard of God’s holy word so that it more accurately functions in a way that glorifies Him (1 Timothy 1:5). The conscience is a gift from our Creator and ought to be used in a way that pleases Him!

Here’s the attitude I’m talking about. “My conscience is yours, Lord. Let me know what stays, goes, grows and what’s missing in order to better love and please You” (Psalm 139:23-24). All of us likely have held as a matter of conscience a view that we would later change. Peter did, and he was an apostle! (cf. Acts 10 & 11; Acts 15; Gal. 2:11-14). So did Paul (Acts 23:1; 24:16). And so should every individual who desires to “conform” more to Christ (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Here’s 5 PRINCIPLES to help in recalibrating our consciences.

1. The “Master Principle” – God is our Lord and Savior and out of love and trust we want to train our conscience to increasingly submit to Him and His word. Simply put: “Your will be done” (Matthew 26:42). A person can make an idol out of either a weak or a strong conscience! (cf. Ezekiel 14:4; Matthew 6:21). The Great Commandment is to love God with “all” (Matthew 22:36-40).

2. The “Salt & Light Principle” – Matthew 5:13-16 is true of God’s people not just in living in this world, but in relationship with other Christians too. We all should thoughtfully and wisely consider the power of our influence. See Philippians 4:9 and 1 Corinthians 11:1.

3. The “Body Principle” – The church is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:21-23). It’s a family, a community – and its health, love and closeness matter. Does my view and practice in a particular matter of conscience build up or hurt the church? See 1 Corinthians 8:1; 10:33; Romans 14:15. We ALL should think more about the way our consciences can hurt the bride of Christ. Members are answerable to the HEAD! How we treat the bride (the church) is NOT something the Groom (Jesus) takes lightly!

4. The “Process Principle” – Conforming more to Christ takes time as we feast our eyes and hearts on Jesus and His word. See Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 1:9-11; 2 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 5:11-14. None of us have fully arrived at the goal of being like Jesus! Like Paul, we press on (Philippians 3:12-16). Some have an overly sensitive conscience in a matter that will be brought to greater freedom in Christ through growth (cf. Galatians 5:1 ff). Others will sharpen a dulled or under-sensitive conscience to be more in tune with God’s will.

5. The “Expectation Principle” – We tend to be far more patient with some people and far less with others than God is. There definitely is a place for the practice of “all long-suffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2), but there’s also a legitimate time for saying, “by reason of time you ought to be” (Hebrews 5:11-14). May leaders in the church especially see the place and need for BOTH and for being wise. And may all of us be God-honoring but realistic in our expectations.

-Mike Vestal


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