I read of a police officer in the state of Utah who, once while on patrol, noticed that his own driver’s license had expired. Embarrassed at having caught himself, he pulled out his ticket book and wrote himself a ticket. He presented it to the judge and the judge fined him. Before leaving the court room the judge asked him why he wrote himself a ticket. The judge said, “You could have renewed your license and no one would have known you had been driving with an expired license.” The young officer replied, “How could I give a ticket to everyone else, if I didn’t cite myself.”
What about when you do wrong and no one knows about it, but you? Is there an “inner voice” telling you what is right and wrong? You have heard the expression, “Let your conscience be your guide.” Often that is not the best policy to follow.
God has created us as moral beings. He has given each of us a “built in” moral conscience.
There are several words used in the New Testament to characterize the different conditions in which the conscience can be found.
The apostle Paul wrote to the young Timothy and said, “The purpose of my instructions is that all the Christians there would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.” A good conscience is also described by Paul in his second letter to Timothy by the word pure. “I thank God whom I serve with a pure conscience . . .” The good and pure conscience is one that is healthy and sensitive to the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. It points us in the right direction and keeps us on course.
The apostle also shares with young Titus that the good, pure conscience can be defiled, “To those who are defiled . . . even their mind and conscience are defiled.” The word defiled means polluted, which makes it important what we put into our minds. A defiled conscience can be the result of a polluted mind and can be easily deceived to the point of being hardened to what is right and moral.
A good, pure conscience is safe to rely on. However, a conscience polluted by wrong thinking is unsafe. In Scripture, when God tells us to renew our minds—it means change the way we think.
Our conscience stays clean by carefully choosing how we think (are we critical and judgmental?), by choosing what we think about (things that are decent and scripturally true), and by focusing our attention on God’s plans for our lives (instead of what we think is best for us).
God honors and blesses a good, pure conscience.
Prayer: Lord I know You love me and want good for me. Help me to put good, moral, pure things into my mind that I might have a good, pure conscience.