1 Timothy 1:3-7 (KJV)

3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

 

God gave every person the capacity to discern right from wrong.

For each person, this gift–known as a conscience–is programmed with a distinct belief set and, therefore, functions differently from everyone else’s. From the moment we begin processing instructions and warnings, our conscience is developing a code of conduct by which we will live.

Whether the authority figures in your life offered sound life principles and fair consequences or provided little guidance of real value, your conscience collected the data.

As children grow to adulthood, they pay attention to the words and actions of others.

Both positive and negative results are added to the program. People who disappoint us teach just as much as those who impress. The programming continues throughout life, so every situation we encounter has the capacity to affect our decisions and actions.

The conscience is a flexible tool; it can absorb new data and adjust a person’s values and perspective.

That’s good news for those who begin with poor programming but find valuable biblical guidance later on. Yet flexibility is potentially bad news for those who expose themselves repeatedly to falsehood and vain philosophies.

If they ignore wisdom and truth, they will assimilate the deceptive viewpoints of modern culture.

The conscience isn’t a wholly reliable resource, but it’s a tool of the One who is completely trustworthy. The Holy Spirit works in conjunction with our inborn moral compass.

He gives direction when the conscience blares a warning and interprets God’s Word when the conscience is hurting.

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