Keep a clear conscience so that those who speak evil of your good life in Christ will be made ashamed. [1Peter 3:16 NCV]
When I think about the word conscience I am reminded of how James told us that sinning is knowing the right thing to do and not doing it. Obeying our conscience is all about doing what we "know" we should do. And not doing things we "know" we should not do. It is that simple. Yet it is that hard.
In the seventh chapter of Romans, Paul puts it this way: "I do not understand what I do; for I don't do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate." There is a part of us that really wants to follow our conscience but we seem to lack the inner strength to make that happen. So simple yet so really hard.
In the end, I think that it is a process of painfully slow transformation. We so resonate with Paul's struggle with his conscience and his inability to change. Yet while we struggle, we embrace Paul's followup message when he says "there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus."
I am weak Lord. I struggle to obey my conscience. Help me to remember that you do not condemn me.