My little guy has been feeling left out lately, so he got his portrait done today. He’s happy, even though it is only in black and white. In My Utmost for His Highest, the theme has been forming habits and will be for the next couple of days. Developing bad habits is easy, it’s basically taking the path of least resistance. Good habits require discipline–oh how I hate that word–really! In the case of our conscience’s the discipline is learning to focus and listen.
Again, Oswald Chambers puts it in a way I never would have thought of;
God’s commands to us are actually given to the life of His Son in us. Consequently, to our human nature in which God’s Son has been formed (See Galatians 4:19). . . .Conscience is that ability within me that attaches itself to the highest standard I know, and then continually reminds me of what that standard demands that I do. It is the eye of the soul which looks out either toward God or toward what we regard as the highest standard.
Interesting, right? I thought it was because it helped explain the Biblical concept of “living in the Spirit” or having the “law written on our hearts.” It also helps clarify why in Romans 14, Paul takes us all away from keeping the “letter of the law,” where we all live under the same rule of what to eat and when to worship, and puts it into a relational thing with God. “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, (this implies that living under the same Law–in the case of the people Paul is talking to here, they are Jews so it’s the 10-commandments–causes us to judge each other, and compare ourselves against each other.) but rather this–not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that NOTHING IS UNCLEAN IN ITSELF; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. (In other words, their “conscience” is bothering them) . . . .The faith which you have, have as your OWN CONVICTION before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. (In other words, if your conscience is clear, do that thing or eat that thing and live happy before God–He has approved you.) But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Romans 14: 13, 14, 22, 23)
Wow! That’s a mouthful, so-to-speak, and for many, the whole “nothing is unclean” thing is beyond their understanding. Paul here is trying to free us all to live individually before God, in connection with God and allowing God to direct us–individually–through our conscience, through His still small voice, or whispers, or by His Spirit, however you want to put it. Coming from a “law-abiding” background this is HUGE! When I really think about it, living under the Law is actually taking the path of least resistance–it tells us what to do in black and white and completely robs us of our opportunity to discipline ourselves to hear our still small voice because we already KNOW what is expected of us. Blasphemy! you might say. Not according to God’s word above–read all of Romans 14, it is clear that it is the “weak” one (law-abiding citizen who has not developed their “ear muscles” to hear God’s voice on their own) who is sinning because he’s not living by faith.
Honestly, when I finally got this concept a few years back, it helped me let a lot of things go regarding myself, as well other people and what they were doing, and freed me to just live my life before God. This freed me to be happy, at peace and more compassionate toward others and allowed me to love those people for who they were and where they were in their own walk with God. I realized that I personally, was NOT a still small voice and it was God’s job, not mine, to deal with others’ situations.
There is soooooo much more I could add to this but I do need to get about my day and I do believe that the Holy Spirit can give you more of what you need to “hear” rather than have me prattle on. In closing, envision Christ in you (as your conscience) and that still small voice of your Heavenly Father communicating to each other. If you’re taking the path of least resistance, be free! Live by the Spirit, with a clear conscience–by faith.