NT Fire Starters – Day 194: Acts 22:22-23:11
READ: Acts 22:22–23:11
THINK: Do you sometimes find yourself at odds with friends or peers, when they seem to be okay with doing something that you simply don’t feel right about? Do you ever wish that the little voice inside you would keep quiet and loosen the restrictions that don’t seem to tie others down? The times when you feel like that are the times you must listen even more intently to that inner voice–your conscience–which is really a God-given awareness of right and wrong. While having a strong conscience may at times feel like you’re on a short leash, it can also keep you closer to God, His standard, and His purpose for your life. If you choose to resist you conscience, God will give you slack, and it may feel like freedom at first. But in the process you’ll stretch and weaken your conscience, making you less sensitive to God’s voice and direction. Eventually, you may be like those whose consciences don’t seem to bother them. Don’t regret having a strong conscience, which allows the Holy Spirit to keep you in line with God’s intentions and give you the assurance of God’s presence regardless of the circumstances.
RESPOND: Why was the crowd so offended by what Paul had just said? What is your conscience and what does it do for you? (See 23:1 note.) Why was Paul able to have a clear conscience? Is your conscience a fool-proof guide that’s always right? Why or why not? How can your conscience become weak and insensitive? How can you keep your conscience clear and clean? In what way was Paul gracious toward his accusers, even in the face of false accusation (v. 5)? In what way was Paul wise and shrewd in the way he responded to the council, even getting some of the leaders to defend him (vv. 6-9)? How did God comfort and assure Paul in his trouble? (See 23:11 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to keep your conscience strong and in line with His heart and principles. Pray that you’ll respond appropriately to your conscience, keeping it clear and honoring God in all you do and don’t do.
ACT: Pay strict attention to how the Holy Spirit is speaking to your conscience throughout the day. Do what you know is right in all situations. Don’t compromise your conscience by doing anything that is questionable. If you’ve allowed your conscience to become weak, insensitive or misguided in any area of your life, ask God to forgive you and to restore your conscience to full sensitivity and strength.