The Role of Our Conscience
This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
1 Timothy 1:18-19
The Lord gives every person a conscience, which is like a radar system meant to send warnings when a behavior or decision might be harmful. This makes it possible for people to distinguish between what is morally right and morally wrong, especially as it applies to their own life. We ignore the conscience at our own peril.
In a believer, the conscience is a tool of the Holy Spirit; He programs it with principles from God’s Word and sharpens it to respond quickly. Even so, our radar’s sole purpose is to send a signal. What happens next is up to us. Either we ignore the warning, or we stop to hear what the Spirit has to say about the situation. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s will or reminds us of His principles so we can make a wise decision about the warning bell ringing in our conscience.
Paul’s letter to Timothy mentions people who’d rejected God’s leadership and guidance in their lives—they had paid no attention to the alarm of their conscience (1 Tim. 1:19), and the result was shipwrecked faith. When something appears on the radar that speaks of disobedience to God, we have to reject that action. Otherwise, the detection device becomes impaired and won’t work right. If we keep ignoring the alarm, it will eventually go silent.
We all know people who have “run aground” in life. A shipwrecked faith is inevitable when believers ignore their conscience and rationalize or defend disobedience. It’s far better to turn yourself over to the great captain of your soul, Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit will guide you correctly.