Avoiding Shipwreck


If we submit our conscience to the Holy Spirit, we will find safe harbor when storms threaten our faith.

1 Timothy 1:18-20

The apostle Paul wanted his young charge Timothy to grasp the basics of keeping the faith. So he wrote about two men who ignored their conscience at great peril. Their example shows that without an understanding of what this gift from God is, we run the risk of capsizing our faith.

Many people mistakenly think of the conscience as God’s voice instead of God’s gift. We were created with an “inner monitor” that acts as a moral compass for life; it points to a standard of right and wrong that can guide our decisions. But the conscience, like everything else in us, is fallen and in need of redemption. Depending on how it has been programmed, our conscience can nudge us in the wrong direction.

Paul himself is an illustration of this. His formal education as a Pharisee had taught him that Christians were a threat to God and the Jewish faith. His conscience had been programmed to see killing them as service to the Lord. So he passionately hunted down believers without tripping an alarm on his moral compass. Only after the risen Christ met him on the way to Damascus was his conscience transformed and his life altered.

Unless we let the Lord redeem us fully, our decisions can prove as destructive as if we ignored our “monitoring system” altogether. By understanding the divine gift of conscience, we stand a better chance of staying on course and away from trouble. What’s more, if we submit our conscience to the Holy Spirit, we will find safe harbor when storms threaten our faith or future.


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