How do we work toward a clean conscience? Simply this: in your relationship with God or others, confess with an open heart to all the work that needs to be done. First adore God to re-establish an honest heart connection, and then confess any blemish on your soul. This requires awareness and being vulnerable to your intuition; bare your heart and listen to the Holy Spirit in your conscience.
We must take this first step at obeying our conscience from God. This requires strength through submission and faith. And this also requires prayer and meditation on God’s Word. Once we do, we’ll begin to see anew! After, joy will come over your soul! Stepping toward purity through heartfelt confession is an act of feeling the grace of God. This is what it means to step into the light of God.
The Bible tells us plainly that our conscience can be cleansed through the blood of Christ. Jesus satisfied the Old Law by His blood. Perfectly. He paid for all your sin. Forever. So,
How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14
Jesus’ death removed the power of sin upon us. No longer do we have to live in dysfunctional mindsets, dysfunctional heart patterns of longing for things other than God’s fullness, or resorting to finding fulfillment through manipulation and fear. Perhaps we don’t even see this as dysfunctional, perhaps as a necessity to get a little bit of love to fill the void.
But I say, how much more will His blood remove the pollution of sin and guilt upon our minds with such grace so as to serve God clearly and plainly? A clean conscience is provided and enabled through Jesus. We can claim it. We can ask for it. The truth of what Jesus did for us in Hebrews 9:14 is but one part of the riches and fullness of Christ that we can have! But at the very least, let us be free of guilt and rid of shame, cleansed and of sound mind.
The Path To Healing
We can ask the Holy Spirit for a clean conscience. But, there often needs to be a human process for us to walk through so as to enable the Spirit to cleanse us more fully. This process involves knowing truth to bring about conviction and separation from our guilt. Next, surrendering our pride and heart to God in confession puts us in right relationship with Him through humility and dependence. We need to be brutally honest about our life. Focusing on God gets our focus off our sin onto the delight of the Lord. Knowing what a clean conscience looks like through the example of David is powerful in strengthening our relationship with God and how we ought to be. And letting God convict and judge our hearts helps us be ever-teachable and growth oriented through God’s kindness and pure righteousness. We can grieve and ask for forgiveness and move onto living with a cleaner heart.
In summary, the process we must walk through is:
1. Awareness through the Law
2. Surrender to break from our own justifications
3. Faith in God’s goodness to confess our sin to be cleansed
4. Gain self control through keeping our eyes on God
5. Study the example of David and Saul, who demonstrated a comparison of two hearts and consciences before God
6. God best judges our hearts. It is not by our own justification, but His that purifies us. Bring our hearts before God to reveal and cleanse any disorder. In this, we know the kindness and righteousness of God.
7. Be humble and walk through the process in teachability and a mindset of growth. Be honest. Grieve for our mistakes. Walk through forgiveness. And be clean.
Let’s dive in.
How do we become aware of sin? Why, it is through the Word of God and an accountable relationship with God! Without this, our convictions will never hold, no matter how hard we try, even if we have godly friends. Romans 3:19-20 says:
Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19-20
Romans 7 continues on to tell of how the apostle Paul does the very things he hates because he has had to die in accordance with the law. To be aware of sin is to struggle because sin was born in reaction to the Law and it separates us from God and from that Law. As we struggle in this tension, let us not harden our heart through self effort.
2. Strength Through Surrender
Bringing our sin into the light requires strength because we need to willfully break through our own justifications, our own ego, our own pride, and our own greed. At our core, we desire to be self sufficient because it is there we have security in ourselves. Our ego was originally formed to protect us and give us a sense of self. It takes strength to fight this very instinct at a heart level and truly get to a place of surrender and dependence on God. How difficult is it to truly confess, to truly be broken, to truly cry out?
Often we feel anger or frustration when we are really struggling. But below that is a lot of pain and often feelings of shame. The act of bringing anger out safely can help diffuse some of the deeper emotions, but this is just a small part of truly walking in the light. There is much more that needs to be broken than just our emotions. All of us needs to be broken. Breaking requires love and vulnerability, honesty and integrity, humility and surrender. It is strength to trust in the process.
To bring our sin in the light requires faith. Faith is belief and confidence in our action. What can we believe? In the unconditional love of God! Where else can we be whole? If we continue to doubt doing anything about our issues then our emotions and sin have power over us because we living in our flesh. Can you get to a place where you can confess your sin before God and release your control in faith? Can you lay yourself down completely until you are at the end of yourself, no longer playing games and thinking you can do it on your own? You should be seeking a complete resolution. You should be restored by God. Faith in the process. Strength to be broken. And awareness to come before the Lord. In this, we can be made clean! Imagine coming before God on our own proactively instead of by painful consequence!
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. John 1:7-9
4. Self Control
Anger, envy, jealousy, discontent…it can all be broken! That does not mean we should not exhibit self-control in the struggle and the process before God. We can first come before God with expectant hearts full of contentment for where we are, instead of resentment of where we are not. A gracious heart is far easier to free than one that is bitter and focused on the flesh rather than the divine.
Next we can use “I feel ___” and “I felt ___ when” statements to avoid triggering our sinful pride that so easily judges, condemns, and blames others. If we come before God as a victim, we externalize our problem when much of our issues reside in our heart. We know this, so why are we hiding from God? While we may have been a victim of circumstances, we are not a victim of our thinking and response of which we have control. Those things we need to own and bring before God. Our thinking patterns and self-talk that we ruminate on need to be exposed in order to bring to light our attitudes, assumptions, and beliefs that they are founded upon. In the end, we’ll find that our eyes are not wholly on God and that is why we are struggling without peace.
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said,“why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31
With our eyes on our selves, we sink into carnality and every kind of evil. But with our eyes and hearts on the Lord, trusting him, we can have peace through all storms. How little faith we have! How we worry, control, and judge.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7
Let God take it all! Be honest! Don’t hide anything! Don’t whitewash anything! Lay everything in the open. Only then you can begin to live in integrity as you banish the darkness and hiding from your heart.
5. King David and King Saul
The story of David and King Saul is rife with conflict and shows men of two different hearts. In 1 Samuel 13:14 the Lord sought out a man after His own heart; God chose David to be king after Saul. What made their hearts so different? David’s heart was formed in the crucible of humility and persecution showing virtues of repentance, honesty, integrity, faith and reliance on God. Saul in contrast was blinded by anger, jealousy, did not repent nor had his eye on God, but rather in rage held contempt for David.
But here was David’s heart toward God even in his persecution. When David had a chance to kill Saul, he said in 1 Samuel 24:12:
May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 1 Samuel 24:12
How righteous! David layed down his pride, layed down his thoughts to fight, and came before God and Saul to show his surrender. He adhered to repenting with his heart. taking care of his own standing with God, trusting that God would take care of the enemy. What if you had such faith, that you could lay your conflict down, knowing that if you take care of you before God, God will take care of the other?
6. A Clean Conscience
The way to a clean conscience is through walking in the light just as David did. How rich and abundant would our conscious be if we were truly humble and clean before God? This can only happen with the Word of God and a personal relationship with Jesus. Even Paul attests:
But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God. 1 Corinthians 4:3-5
The thing about Christianity and God is that our motives and our hearts are what God judges because it is those things God seeks to be surrendered and transformed! What are we thinking? Do we have an innocent mind? How good are we at dispelling negative opinions, concepts, or even breaking apart any concept or emotion to begin anew? Just imagine being surrendered at a thought level to God!
Often when we are struggling with a temptation, we can be in denial and blind to our own motives.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:16
Disorder is a strong word. Disorder is deception. Disorder is where something is wrong. In disorder, we can know something is wrong, but we can’t see it clearly. Maybe we aren’t fully aware, or if we are, we are hiding behind struggling so we don’t have to change. WE are in disorder. Sin is in us! And yet we can just carry on because all of us are generally doing what is right in our heads with the tools that we have. What we are lacking is clear vision and humility that we are wrong to struggle and we should just take action or stop. Thus we need new tools!
7. The Ongoing Process
Humility is a muscle and is the opposite of pride. Teachability is the ability to relearn that which you think you already know. If you aren’t willing to go through the humiliation process, then God will break you with adversity. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. We all have unresolved issues that we have tried to do on our own. We maybe haven’t activated the light, accountability, or obeyed conviction. We are in bondage to sin. What are we thinking? Take care of it! Don’t wait any longer! Focus on our righteousness and tag team God.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. John 1:5-9
Unless we are walking with God, we also can’t have true fellowship. The former must precede the latter. In God, there is no darkness at all! Be purified! Have strength, faith, self control. Read the Word of God. Live in fellowship.
Now go walk! Cleanly. By God’s hand and grace! Have a dance party.