Whilst it is credibly argued that there are more important spiritual possessions than conscience, I see conscience as the pivot point where the Holy Spirit convicts us; where we respond in either obedience or disobedience. The problem subsists in the rejection of conscience, where we plough on our merry own way, despite what God is saying through our consciences. And this is the effect:
“By rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith...”
— 1 Timothy 1:19 (NRSV).
Protecting the Vessel of Conscience
We are all vessels and within us is another level of vessels; our humanness is designed to hold and contain things—information, beliefs, values, etc. Conscience is one of those things within us that holds important material.
The Analogy of a Finely Tuned Instrument
Like a finely tuned instrument is the conscience well-versed in obedience.
It wouldn’t be much good if our faith was like a Stradivarius violin, yet we let the conscience slip, which would be like playing such a beautiful instrument out of tune. To do such a thing would be a blight on any musical accompaniment. Why would we commit to playing such a fine violin that wasn’t ready to be played?
Likewise, our faith in Christ Jesus is the most special of all possessions we could lay claim to having. Yet, if we loosen the strings of our conscience, to the point where God no longer gets through to us in terms of our sin, we get out of tune on the song of our sanctification. We blaspheme God, with some intention, in our manner of living.
Christ did not die such that we should blaspheme the faith by neglecting our most prized gift: our salvation. We may be saved but we are to continually submit to the Spirit’s sanctification. This is only possible if we maintain our consciences such that we forego our flesh and continually submit to God.
We need to remain tuned to God.
Protecting the vessel of our conscience is about asking, again and again, that God would search us and find any part of us that is wanting. Our role is to listen to the Spirit and to act on any information that accuses us of wrongdoing at the level of our moral warehouse.
This is the most important task of any Christian.
How we maintain our repentance is how we maintain a link to the glorification of God. We only have credibility for Jesus when we worship in Spirit and in truth. We only have credibility for Jesus when we may be humbled; where we might give way to others in love. We only have credibility for Jesus when we are other than the world by our practice of justice, mercy, and humility.
Good conscience is the key in our growth with God. We must be intentionally connected to the Holy Spirit that we would obey the delicate whispers of the Divine. The conscience is our most important spiritual possession. By the practice of obedience we keep our consciences tuned.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.