I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 2 Timothy 1:3 (NIV)
Do you want to live with a clear conscience? Do you want your prayers to be unhindered? Do you want to live with a thankful heart as you pray for others? Yes, I want all these things. How can I live with a clear conscience? How can my prayers be unhindered? How can I live with a thankful heart as I pray for others? Those are good questions. I want to clear something up before we talk about these questions. What’s that? You are a sinner. There is no doubt about that. I have sinned against you in my thoughts, words and deeds. I have sinned against you by what I have done. I have sinned against you by what I have not done. Not only that, I have sinned in all these ways against others. That true. What is also true is that you have confessed your sins and asked for my forgiveness. You have been forgiven of all your sins and cleansed of all your unrighteousness. Your sins have been washed away by the blood I shed for you on the cross. You are now holy in my sight. You can’t do anything to earn my forgiveness and cleansing. You have received my forgiveness and cleansing as a gift. Is that clear? Yes, that is very clear. That’s good. That needs to be your starting point before we talk about having a clear conscience. I get it.
To have a clear conscience you must do two things. What’s that? You must continue to confess your sins to me and to the people you have sinned against. Are you willing to keep on doing that? Yes, I am. How hard has it been to keep on confessing your sin to me? Sometimes, I have failed to acknowledge my sins. Sometimes, I have even tried to hide my sins. How has that worked out for you? How has your conscience felt as you have hidden your sins? I have had a guilty conscience when I did not acknowledge and confess my sins. Did your guilty conscience hinder your ability to pray? Yes, it did. Did your guilty conscience make it hard to live with a thankful heart that was filled with prayers for others? Yes, it did. So, first you must confess your sins to me and to anyone you have sinned against. I get it. That’s good. What else do I need to do to have a clear conscience? You will need to take steps to make things right with anyone you have sinned against. What kind of steps do I need to take? You tell me. I will need to admit my sin and ask for forgiveness. That’s right. Then I will need to repair what has broken, replace what has been taken or restore what has been lost. I need to make every effort and take every step I can to be reconciled to anyone I have sinned against. That will be every good. Then I will be able to live with a clear conscience. Yes, You will.
Lord, I know you have forgiven me of my sins. I cannot earn or merit my forgiveness. Yet, I know you want me to take steps, when needed, to make things right with others so I can have a clear conscience before you and others. I’ll take those steps with you. Amen
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