– James H. Aughey
Doesn’t Feel Right
It’s hard to explain, but when I am deciding whether to do something or not, I sometimes have doubts or feel that it isn’t right. When my conscience bothers me about doing something or before I make a decision to do something, I can either listen to it or I can ignore it, but if I ignore it, I stand a better chance of doing something that God says is sin. Knowing my own heart, I can talk myself into doing things that I know are not right by trying to rationalize it (everyone else is doing it), but if I ignore my conscience, I am likely suppressing what God is trying to tell me.
Time to Run
Animals have the instinct they call “fright or flight,” meaning their fear will freeze them into a moment of indecision which could harm them (deer in the headlights), or they will run. When you feel tempted, get out of there, if possible, but if not, start praying for God’s Spirit to help you overcome this temptation. Even the fact that you’re troubled about something is a voice from your conscience that something is not right. Here’s what James suggests we do; “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). There are two things that are noted here. We must submit to God, meaning we must obey God, and we must resist the Devil, and when we do these two things, “he will flee from [us].”
At times, God will speak to us through the conscience of other believers. Maybe they’ll see that something’s not right, and they might come to you and express their concerns, so God may use others to come along side of us to speak words of concern. Jesus teaches us that “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matt 18:15), so, as hard as it is, we must remember that “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Prov 27:6a) and “Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts” (Prov 20:30). They may even come from our friends or family.
Brought to Repentance
God speaks to us through His Word, and through His Son, Jesus Christ (Heb 1:2), but also through our conscience, but our conscience alone cannot show us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. “He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). Jesus said, “it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). I can’t convict anyone of sin. I can only tell them what God thinks about it, but the Spirit of God can reveal the Son of God and why we all desperately need Him.
The Father calls, the Spirit convicts, and the Son, saves. Of course, there is much more to it than this, but all Three Persons in the Trinity work co-operatively in our salvation. God uses the Spirit to speak to our conscience or through the conscience of others, but God alone is the One Who brings us to repentance and faith (John 6:44, 65; 2nd Tim 2:25).