We talk a lot about guilt, shame, motivation behind our actions and we can really begin to understand how those feelings all link together. I was reading a devotion this morning from Greg Laurie and wanted to share about the truths in his message. Here is Greg’s devotion, and then at the end I will wrap it together with what some our discussions have been.
Why a Conscience Is Good
You never will stop sinning as long as you are breathing. Even if you are a Christian, you will sin. But there is a difference between being a sinner and living in a pattern of sin. And if you are a true Christian, you will not live in a pattern of sin.
As 1 John 3 says, “Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God” (verse 9).
If you, as a Christian, start to move in the wrong direction and are contemplating doing something sinful, you come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The fact that you are aware it is wrong and that you should not be doing it is a good sign. And if you end up doing what you know is wrong and feel deep guilt about it, then that, too, is a good sign. It means the alarm on your conscience is working.
It is like a smoke alarm that alerts you to danger or the need to change the battery.
That is how our conscience works. It tells us what we are doing is wrong.
The time to be concerned is when you can contemplate a sin and don’t feel any conviction and when you can go through with the sin and don’t feel any guilt. That means your alarm isn’t working or has been disabled, or you don’t even have one anymore.
Maybe you have sensed God’s disciplining hand in your life. Maybe you have been convicted, or you are feeling guilt. Rejoice! It means your conscience is working. If God deals with you when you go astray, then it is an indication that you are His child.
Summary sentence: Your conscience is like a smoke alarm warning you of danger.
Copyright © 2012 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
That point of practicing sin is very pointed. We understand what practice is. That is where we do a certain thing and try to get better at it. Whether is is shooting free throws, jump shots, bowling or even checking out porn on the internet. What I mean is that many times our sinful nature pollutes our life and we get the internal conviction from the Holy Spirit, but then we attempt to use our best practices by attempting to minimize the guilt and shame.
In our lives we have done this by learning to hide what we are doing from others. We don’t want the guilt and shame and our answer is to hide it. What we need to realize is that when we scheme to hide better, to avoid being caught, we are actually practicing our sin. We are not attempting to change our sinful ways, but practicing to not get caught.
This does not have to be about porn, or drugs or alcohol. This can be about finances, spending money. It can be about eating, it can be about anything that gets between you and God. I had a season in my life when I had a credit card that my wife did not know about. It was an easy way for me to get what I wanted and not have to be honest about my expenses. I would make sure that I got the bill from the mail before she did and I would pay the bill online and all was good. Or so I thought. The pressure and anxiety that built each month as I worried about getting to the mailbox that day before she did was mounting. What would the conversation be like if she got the bill and opened it. Oh my, that would not be good. What I had to do was own up to my sinful ways. What I was doing was not right. It was sinful. My motivations and behaviors were not fruitful in creating a better man. My actions and behaviors were actually degenerating my character and integrity.
The question comes up, how are you dealing with your sin? You know what your sin is. If you don’t, ask your spouse or accountability partner. What actions are you taking to allow God to transform you? One of the most powerful scriptures in the bible, that we are all familiar with, is Romans 12:2:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The world wants to encourage us to live life here, in this world, as if it is heaven. We are not suppose to deny self. We are to live life to the fullest. Well, if you have not figured it out yet. The fullness that God wants to give you and me is not of this world. It is a peace and joy that is from Him, but robbed from us by this world.
Your challenge is, think about where you are spending your energy and time. Are you investing in ways to minimize your guilt and shame? Are you medicating or avoiding reality to pretend the issue is not there? Please, I urge you to get with someone and begin the journey to a happy healthy life. Don’t waste your years here in labor yoked up to the world. You have so much more to experience. I hope this message helped, I know it was beneficial for me. Hope to see you soon, let me know your victories and how your doing. You are not alone, we are all in this battle together.