“So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.”
What a great verse right here in the middle of Paul’s defense before Felix at Caesarea. So he’s being persecuted for his faith. And in the middle of it, he just says this simple, significant sentence, “I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” A clear conscience, like not trying to hide anything from God, being totally honest before God, with integrity before God, and man, being honest with people around me, to have integrity before people around me, a clear conscience.
Do you long to have a clear conscience before God and others? Pray for God’s help that you may have the integrity Paul displays in Acts 24.
I just want you to think about your life today. Are you living with a clear conscience toward God and man? Are you right before God right now, or are there things that are unconfessed in your life, you’re trying to hide in your life, that you’re pretending like is not a problem, but is a problem? This is why it’s so important for you and me to come before God, just on a daily basis, really, throughout the day, but the beginning, end of the day, at some point for some concentrated time with God, where we just lay our hearts before him and say, “God, is there anything in me that is not pleasing to you? Anything in my thoughts, my desires, my actions, my life right now that is not glorifying to you? I want you to cleanse me, to purify me, to make me Holy, to live with a clean conscious toward God and toward others.”
That’s why Jesus talks about how when you’re offering your gift to the altar, and you remember your brother has something against you, leave your gift there at the altar. Go. Be reconciled to your brother. Then come and offer your gift. The picture is God wants us to live in harmony with those around us. Now obviously, that kind of harmony … Here’s Paul testifying before people who hate him, are imprisoning him. So there are some things that are out of our control, but that’s the point. Paul is saying, “I want to have integrity before all people. I want to be honest, even with what I believe before all people, even if it costs me my life.”
So God, we pray that you would help us, each of us. Help me to live with a clear conscience toward you and others. God, please make us people of integrity. We are so prone to cut corners, to cover over things, even to put forward versions of ourselves that are just not true in order to please others, gain approval before others, or even before you. God, please help us to see ourselves as you see us. God, we pray that you would help us to be honest in our time with you, even right now, maybe even flowing from this prayer, just some time in reflection in each of our lives, that you would uncover areas of our lives where we are not being honest before you, where there are things in our lives that are not pleasing to you.
God, we want to be Holy. We want to walk in purity before you with a clean conscience towards you and toward others. God, we pray that you would expose, open our eyes to ways that we have wronged others. Help us to seek forgiveness where that is the case. Lord, help us to live with love for others, with compassion for others, not with bitterness toward others, not with conflict with others that we can control. God, we pray that you would help us to take pains to have a clear conscience toward you and others. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
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