the critical conscience part three
Dismantling the argument.
Undergirding this weak conscience is a stronghold, that is maintained and based upon an argument. An argument that must be fully dismantled.
Part of the overstrict and harsh consciences weaponry is the lie that inattention to the any and all feedback from the conscience could result in the dangers of a seared conscience. (1 Timothy 4v2). The seared conscience is a dead conscience. It has withered and become ineffective because its voice was ignored. The immature conscience falls for the deceptive logic that says “if you ignore the emotion of guilt you will end up with a seared conscience, and then run the real danger of deception”. Thus the undiscerning conscience, lacking judgement is left unable to refute any guilt. This perverse reasoning sees the over scrupulous, hypercritical voice as a ‘safety net’. The logic being it’s better to be overly sensitive, and have a hyperactive tender conscience than have a silent, rarely accusing and dead conscience.
Both the seared conscience and the spoilt conscience are spiritual liabilities. The defiled, harsh, overstrict voice is like a faulty fire detector that constantly misfires, sending false warnings of non existent danger. In the end the sensitive soul is unable to discern the real threat from the false alarm, leaving the person paralysed by both real guilt and false guilt, resulting in the person being unable to enjoy the protection the healthy conscience provides and so responding with genuine repentance.
The mature believer is liberated from the tyranny of being over scrupulous by simply enjoying their freedom in Christ without making the effort to arouse intense scrutiny. It is living without constantly asking questions of the conscience (1 Corinthians 10:25). With faith in God’s ability to lead, and being in possession of a healthy conscience the mature person simply lives. Scrutiny, reflection, introspection, self-question are healthy employed when the healthy conscience sounds a genuine alarm, providing the opportunity for good guilt to lead to adjustment.
Instead of the preoccupation with rule keeping, strict boundaries, and legalism the mature believer is only ensuring that their freedom doesn’t cause a problem to someone with a tender conscience. They understand that accusation is disarmed by the cross, the harsh overstrict voice has no case against them, the case rightly raised by the law been thrown out out.
As a helpful tool to discern if the alarm sounded by the conscience is healthy or over strict is the practice of asking this question, How do you feel when you are done introspecting and listening to the alarm? You can tell if it was the healthy conscience speaking to you by what spirit it leaves you with. When you are finished thinking, what was left? God always brings hope and motivation, He never leaves you demotivated, despairing and heavy. Before you engage with the alarm ask who is talking to me right now? Am I getting heavier and heavier and more hopeless? Or is joy, peace, life and hope being ignited? Even when God is bringing transformation and correction it always brings who He is, He is the God of all hope, life is always attached to His voice.
If you are constantly looking at yourself you are going to get hopeless, your hope isn’t in yourself it’s in the finished work of the cross. Yes it’s good to allow Holy Spirit to show you areas you need to grow in, but that can’t be where you spend most of your time. Most of your time needs to be spent celebrating who you are in Christ, and what Jesus has done.
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