I remember summers when I was growing up –
Swimming, bodysurfing, reading, playing the radio, and…
…getting a tan!
Yup, not “politically correct” to say that, in these days of SPF 50 and skin cancer scares.
But, it’s true – I was a real “sun worshiper!”
That first day in the sun usually meant a sunburn – ouch! Bring out the Noxema cream or SeaBreeze – the only two things that seemed to take out the sting!
Did that keep me from going out in the sun the next day? NOPE!
And before I knew it, that sunburn didn’t hurt so much. As my skin got tougher, it didn’t notice the effects of the sun. I could sit in the sun for longer and longer periods of time – without the burn. I got USED to it.
Unfortunately, it can be the same way with our conscience.
Today’s “Bible Pick ‘Ems” speaks to this:
“Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” (1 Timothy 1:19)
I’ve learned this lesson the hard way a few times in my life, I’m sorry to say.
At first, doing something wrong really makes you feel bad. Guilt tears at your heart, and you feel remorse. Like that first day of sunburn. It hurts…
But, if you choose to IGNORE that feeling, (if you go out in the sun again, so to speak) – your conscience begins to harden. Just a little bit. And before you know it, your conscience doesn’t feel the sting of your sin as much. Then it doesn’t feel it at all.
Each time we deliberately ignore our conscience, we are hardening our hearts. Over time, we will lose our capacity to tell right from wrong. We will choose to do the sinful thing intentionally, and we will not feel bad…
But Paul reminds us of a terrible truth – if we do this, we will shipwreck our faith.
Paul knew something about shipwrecks. He experienced them more than once.
When I think of shipwrecks, I think of the Titanic. A huge, beautiful, unsinkable ship. And yet, a glancing blow off an iceberg sank it. Something that seemed small and inconsequential, started an inevitable chain of events that led to disaster.
There are no such things as “small” sins. The “little ones” are the dangerous ones. I am reminded of this phrase from Scripture – “the little foxes that ruin the vineyards.” We must be on guard – we must CLING to our faith like a life preserver – because IT IS a life preserver, in every sense of the word.
How can you keep your conscience clear?
Treasure your faith in Christ more than anything else. Do what is right.
As you walk with God, He will speak to you through your conscience. He will give you His wisdom – He will show you what is right and wrong.
Act on those inner tugs…
Stay out of the "sun" – and remain in the SON!!
"When in doubt, search God out!"