June 7, 2018
Paul: “I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way…so I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” Acts24:14,16
What we worship can be identified by what our conscience says more than what our mouth says.
For the first 40 years of my life, I was a Cleveland Browns football fan… (yes, I’m secure enough to admit it!). It hasn’t been a pleasant experience over the years, watching bad seasons and bad mistakes keep them from getting to a Super Bowl. But I watched, I rooted, I bought the hat & shirts, I did what a typical football fan would do in rooting for their favorite team (within reason).
When we moved to San Francisco, it became easy to start following the 49ers. I had always liked them, but also enjoyed seeing a team that regularly competed for playoff spots. When an old friend started talking to me years later about the Browns team, I was clueless as to the roster or the results, and it became obvious my allegiance had changed. While I could say I rooted for the Browns, my conscience and my behavior said otherwise.
Paul was facing a hostile crowd of judges, all looking for justification to convict him, yet Paul was unashamed to speak of his devotion to God and worship of Jesus. It mattered more to Paul that his conscience was clear before God than to be accepted by men. That’s because Paul didn’t worship his own life, Paul worshipped God. The proof of what he worshipped was seen in the commitment of his conscience to God.
Most national survey groups say that 60-80% of Americans claim to be Christians. But the volume of regular worshippers, or those who profess to read the Bible regularly, or those who give a percentage of their income to God’s Kingdom are MUCH less than that number. The significant difference shows a disconnect between what we claim to worship and what we actually worship. How much MORE would our conscience show the disconnect.
Praise God that He is a merciful and forgiving God. But that still leaves us with an unclean conscience to fix. What change is necessary to make your conscience match your words? How about making that change, so that when you are challenged, you can speak with a clear conscience about your devotion to Jesus.
Don’t be a closet fan of Jesus, be a clear conscience follower of Him. Make your words and behaviors match.