Bible Reading: Titus 1:15-2:1
Nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are defiled. Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. Titus 1:15-16
THE SCENE: Glamorous Los Angeles, California.
The place: The Academy Awards ceremony at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where an Oscar is being handed out for best actor in a motion picture.
Thunderous applause breaks out as Howard Handsome wins the award for Best Actor. He climbs the steps to the platform, takes the Oscar, kisses it, and raises it over his head in victory.
“Thank you, Hollywood, for this fabulous tribute,” Howard intones as the commotion dies. “I’d like to thank my fellow actors whom I treated like dirt as we worked together on this film; my director; my live-in girlfriend, Susie Stunning; and, most of all (Howard pauses for dramatic effect), I’d like to thank God for making all this happen.”
Stop action! Wait a minute! What’s wrong with this picture? A man who has just admitted to mean-spiritedness, lying, and immorality is thanking God for making all this happen? I don’t think so. God does want to be part of our life, but he doesn’t want to be part of our sin.
Statements like those made by the fictitious Howard Handsome are sometimes made by people who want to justify their actions by trying to put God’s seal of approval on them. Sometimes they’re made by people who have totally lost touch with their conscience because of the overwhelming number of bad decisions they’ve made. “They are despicable and disobedient,” the Bible says, “worthless for doing anything good” (Titus 1:16).
Of course, movie stars and sports figures are not the only ones whose consciences can become dull and useless. That can happen with anyone’s conscience. If you deny your conscience often enough and suppress its warnings, you could someday come to the point where you can no longer tell the difference between right and wrong.
That doesn’t have to happen, though. The way to prevent it is to listen to God when he pricks your conscience. Obey him when he convicts you. Repent when you know you’ve done something wrong, and you’ll keep your conscience clean-and sharp! Then you can say with Paul, “I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and everyone else” (Acts 24:16).
REFLECT: What kinds of things do people do to dull their consciences? When was the last time you felt a pang of conscience? Did you heed its warning or ignore it? How can you be more sensitive to your conscience in the future?
PRAY: “Lord, keep my eyes open and my conscience sharp. I don’t want to fall in the way of sin and live a life unworthy of you.”