Inspired by “Beach Bike Bandit” by CoastalRise
A loud fog-horn blared behind me and joined a police officer’s flashing lights. His cruiser was nearly touching my bumper. He angrily motioned for me to get over. With a car ahead of me, and other cars on my right, I had no place to go. My heart bolted and fear crammed its way into my mind. I frantically pulled over into the grass and the officer whizzed right on by me, screaming at me as he passed. A few seconds later I saw him get out of his vehicle, jerk on a vest with an orange florescent tape and begin calmly talking to another officer at the intersection. He was in a big hurry to assist the other officer direct traffic at a stop-light that motorists were treating like a 4-way stop. There was no emergency. Though relief flooded my mind, my heart still pounded in my chest. I’d done nothing wrong, but my mind replayed the scene over and over. It is a scary thing to see flashing lights in my rear view mirror. It’s scary because I don’t expect to see them. I try my best to obey the laws of the road. So when an officer blasts a siren or horn behind me, I immediately question what I’ve done.
The Bible says in Acts 24:16, “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” What does it mean “to keep my conscience clear”? You can think of nothing wrong between you and God. There is nothing wrong between you and anyone else. You are not angry and no one is angry at you. You hold no grudges and no one holds a grudge towards you. You have no guilt. You have lived up to your word; kept your commitments. You’ve been truthful and honest. But what if you’ve done something wrong and are feeling guilty for doing that wrong?
In Psalm 51:3, David knew the hounding of a bad conscience when he said, “My sin is ever before me.” The bondage of guilt consumed him; it can consume us. Guilt holds us tighter than any shackles of iron. No torture the poets describe can match the fierce unutterable pain of a bad conscience. We know we’ve sinned and yet many times we do nothing about it. We hold onto it and let it strangle us and keep us imprisoned, unable to move forward. The Bible says we are all guilty before a holy God. And all the psychological counseling in the world cannot relieve a person of that guilt. You can pretend it’s not there or find someone else to blame for your problems, but the only real and effective way to remove guilt is to get to the root of the problem and deal with it.
Guilt can be good. It can be God’s warning system to alert us to a problem. When I am beginning to do something wrong, guilt kicks in. It says, “Stop! Red alert! Don’t go any further. This is a bad thing.” Guilt is there to remind us we are crossing the line, and we should not go any further. But guilt also reminds us that when we do something wrong, we need to confess it to God and acknowledge the problem. By doing this we are now letting God deal with the guilt and the sin, instead of letting it fester and continue to consume our lives. Though there are still consequences for our actions, once we’ve given it to God, if we truly are sorry and repentant, God promises us that our sins are forgiven. Our guilt is gone, we’re made free in Christ. Through Christ we are released from the guilt of our sin. We are given a clear conscience for the sin in our life because Jesus has paid the penalty for our sin.
The trials of life are easier to face when you have a clear conscience. When Satan, and life blares angry horns of accusation, you can know that you are free in Christ. The criticisms are easier to face. Paul wrote that he exercised himself to have a clear conscience. He knew he was free even though he was chained to guards, even though he was surrounded by prison walls. He held onto that conscience, void of offence as he lived out his ministry. He also lived in a way that kept his conscience clear toward man.
Do you have a guilty conscience? Maybe God is telling you something. Don’t let it fester in your soul, give it to God and let Him do the rest. “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.” Job 23:10-11
Tim Ewing is the founder of Kindred Concert Ministries. You can learn more about Kindred by going to www.facebook.com/kindredconcerts or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
CoastalRise is a six piece contemporary Christian group based out of Phoenixville, PA. “Beach Bike Bandit” is from their sophomore release “Call of the Sea” which can purchased on iTunes, CD Baby, or from their website. For more information on CoastalRise visit their website at: www.coastalrise.com
Want to read other devotionals written by Tim? Go to: https://www.facebook.com/notes/kindred-concerts-for-christ/kindreds-devotional-series/463516160364310