always let your conscience be your guide?

Today I read from 1 Corinthians 4. Verses 1-4 say this:

So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s secrets. Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. What about me? Have I been faithful? Well, it matters very little what you or anyone else thinks. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that isn’t what matters. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

I often hear people say things like, “follow your heart” or “just do what seems right to you”. It part of society’s mantra that anything goes and everything is acceptable if it pleases you. The idea is that your conscience will guide you down the correct path in life.

I also talk to a lot of students who are clearly influenced by their peers. Some will do whatever it takes to be accepted. They will let go of any morals they hold and run away from any kind of integrity to gain a new friend or find new approval. This even happens in a “positive” way. I’ve seen people try to do all the right things to fit in with the church crowd. They say all the right things and they do all the right actions, but something about it seems hollow and skin deep.

Paul’s comments here are profound because they cut to the core of these issues. He answers his rhetorical question by saying that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. This may sound like obvious instruction, but there’s something more here. No one’s opinion matters, including his own.

I think this is where things break down for most of us. We can understand that seeking only God’s approval is important, but we never quite let go of our own self-approval. I think we need to be in a constant state of letting go of our own perspective. Paul says, “my conscience is clear, but that isn’t what matters.” Having a clear conscience isn’t the point or the goal of our faith, that would be pleasing ourself. Instead, the goal of our faith is pleasing God and following Him.

Of course, to do this, we need to be in regular relationship with God. We’ve got to know Him to understand how to please Him. But until we spend more time developing Godly desires in our life, our conscience is going to be too busy fulfilling our own selfish desires for us to really live this out.

Author: erik

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