Sent:  March 6, 2002

Subject:  Listen for the Alarm

Good Morning Ethan & Emily:

Well, the day began early for your mother and me, as our home security alarm “went off” sending us warning “beeps” in the early hours of this morning.  We were able to shut off the system before the loud alarm went off, and in checking with the alarm company, we were able to identify the “problem” with a screened window in the downstairs study.  I could not find any evidence of tampering or attempted forced entry, so we have requested a service call to restore the system.

As frightening as this unexpected signal can be…much less the actual alarm…it is a vigilant protector, and we are thankful for it as we depend on it for protection and safety.

In a similar manner, our consciences act as “alarms” for us in life, warning us when we are moving into areas we should not.  The writer of Proverbs, in fact, tells us that the more sensitive our consciences are, the better:  “Blessed are those who have a tender conscience, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.” (Prov. 28:14)

David has been identified as a “man after God’s own heart,” and as we study to see just what made David such a person, we find that, for one thing, he had a very sensitive and active conscience.  In that part of his life when he was being pursued by Saul who wanted to kill him, David found him asleep one night in a cave.  The action he took later convicted him:  “…David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe.  ‘The Lord knows I shouldn’t have done it,’ he said to his men.  ‘It is a serious thing to attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord Himself has chosen him.’  So David sharply rebuked his men and did not let them kill Saul.” (1 Samuel 24:5-7)  David respected his conscience, and the conviction and prompting of his conscience led him to change his behavior.

And later when he became king, David again was convicted about one of his decrees:  “But after he had taken the census, David’s conscience began to bother him.  And he said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned greatly and shouldn’t have taken the census.  Please forgive me, Lord, for doing this foolish thing.'” (2 Sam. 24:10)

A clear conscience rewards us with blessed fellowship with God and enables us to better discern His will for us each day.  Moreover, we can come boldly into God’s presence and seek His counsel:  “Dear friends, if our conscience is clear, we can come to God with bold confidence.  And we will receive whatever we request because we obey Him and do the things that please Him.” (1John 3:21).  Wow…what a privilege…and what a promise!

The dangers?  Paul set out the alternative very well to Timothy:  “Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear.  For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” (1 Tim. 1:19)  I can’t think of any disaster greater than to have said of any of us that our “faith has been shipwrecked.”!

How can we keep our consciences clear?  The note for 1 Timothy 1:19 in the Life Application Bible makes it plain:  “Treasure your faith in Christ more than anything else and do what you know is right.  Each time you deliberately ignore your conscience, you are hardening your heart.  Over a period of time your capacity to tell right form wrong will diminish.  As you walk with God, He will speak to you through your conscience, letting you know the difference between right and wrong. Be sure to act on those inner tugs so that you do what is right…then your conscience will remain clear.”

Yes, when we ignore the “warnings” of our consciences repeatedly, we lose our sensitivity to sin and sadly we often reach a point where we no longer hear the “alarm” going off.

Confession of sin and avoidance of wrong actions “resets” our consciences.  My prayer is that each of us will “listen for the alarm” and take the necessary action to keep the “houses” of our lives safe and sound.

Have a wonderful day today and every day knowing that God’s central alarm “monitoring station” is always manned and ready to detect any “intruder” that could “shipwreck” your life.  Listen for the alarm!!!

I love you,