7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Kings 23:31–25:30
Acts 22:17–23:10
Psalm 2:1-12
Proverbs 18:13

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Acts 23:1 (NLT): “Gazing intently at the high council, Paul began: ‘Brothers, I have always lived before God with a clear conscience!’”

Reflections from Scripture:

Our conscience has been given to us by God. While everyone has a conscience, the Jesus-follower benefits from this internal mechanism that makes us aware when we have done something wrong. 

However, we also need to realize that our conscience is malleable and works best when thoroughly informed by the Scripture and submitted to the Holy Spirit. Our conscience can lead us incorrectly if we don’t train it with regular Bible study, Bible memorization, and meditating on Scripture. Ideally, we will cultivate a conscience that works hand-in-hand with the Holy Spirit to tell us when we have disobeyed God’s Word.

Interestingly, Acts 23:1 isn’t the only time Paul said that he always lived with a clear conscience. Listen to these other instances:

Acts 24:16 (NLT): “Because of this, I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.”

2 Corinthians 1:12 (NLT): “We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.”

2 Timothy 1:3 (NLT): “Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.”

Paul passionately studied God’s Word, cultivated a biblically-informed conscience, and then complied with God’s standard (in his actions, words, motives, etc.) so that he kept a clear conscience. When he sinned and broke God’s law, he quickly confessed it to the Lord, received forgiveness, and regained a clear conscience.

How is your conscience, my friend? Are you spending much time in your Bible? Are you studying your Bible so intently that you are getting it into your mind and heart? Are you training your conscience to know right and wrong as defined by the Bible? Are you striving to live in obedience to God’s Word as you depend upon the Holy Spirit to live with a clear conscience? When you disobey the Lord, do you quickly confess it to Him, receive His forgiveness, and regain a clear conscience?

Friend, this isn’t a small matter. God has given us our conscience, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible so that we have the tools to live a godly life. One day, sooner than we may realize, we’re going to stand before Jesus and give an account for how we lived. So, cultivate a biblical and clear conscience.

Romans 2:15-16 (NLT): “They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.”

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I don’t think about the Day of Judgment as much as I should. The Bible tells me that I will stand before You one day and give an account of how I lived the one life You died to give me. Help me to cultivate a biblically-informed conscience and strive to keep it clear. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash