March 10, 2014
READ: 1 Timothy 1:12-20
Cling to your faith in Christ and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked (v.19).
During a 1923 manoeuvring exercise, Lieutenant Commander Donald T. Hunter, an experienced navigator and instructor at the American Naval Academy, navigated the USS Delphy. The Delphy was the flagship among several naval destroyers. During the exercise, a thick cloak of fog descended on the ships. After several communication attempts, Hunter could not get an accurate read on his location.
Contrary to his calculations, the Delphy was headed for trouble. Known for his confidence, scepticism of new navigational gadgets and “magic infallibility” in guiding his ships, Hunter ignored the RDF (radio-direction finding) bearings and kept going. Travelling at 20 knots, the USS Delphy rammed into the rocky Point Arguello shoreline. The shipwreck resulted in 23 men losing their lives and the loss of several ships.
For the apostle Paul, something more lasting and important than perishable ships was at stake—faith in Jesus. Paul encouraged Timothy to continue to fight the good fight and maintain a clear conscience (1 Timothy 1:18-19). To hold tightly to the Christian faith and to live by it would result in a clear and good conscience. Having a conscience programmed with the will of God would help Timothy be a good Christian soldier. If he or others deliberately violated their conscience, however, and ignored ‘DDF’ (divine-direction finding), as some had already done, they would be spiritually and morally shipwrecked (v.20).
Though our conscience is not an infallible guide, we can have it trained by the Word of God and cleansed by the death of Jesus (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 9:14). We can then navigate away from the crags of immorality and heresy to the safe shores of faith. —Marvin Williams
365-day plan› Judges 13:1-25
See Acts 23:1 and 24:16 to read what Paul said about his own conscience.
Why do we tend to violate our conscience? What are some ways you can learn to keep it clear before God and people?