ODJ: clean conscience 

January 8, 2013 

READ: Titus 1:10-16 

Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted (v.15).

According to a 2008 character survey of nearly 30,000 secondary school students, 64 percent of them said they had cheated on a test in the past year, 30 percent had stolen from a shop, 42 percent said they would lie to save money and 83 percent said they had lied to their parents about something significant. One of the more interesting findings of the survey was that 93 percent of the students surveyed said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character. These students seem to have a clear case of what the Bible calls a “corrupted” conscience (Titus 1:15). 
What does the Bible say are indicators of a corrupted conscience? When people continually entertain thoughts of evil or practice deeds of evil, they have defiled their conscience (Genesis 6:5; Titus 1:15-16). Secondly, when they to listen to moral and wise advice, but are bent on listening to and following the delusional counsellor of their wicked hearts, they sear their conscience (Exodus 7:14, 8:15; Jeremiah 17:9). Thirdly, wherever there is little or no shame over sin and moral failure, that person has corrupted his or her conscience (Jeremiah 6:15). Willful pretense, lies and an impenitent heart are the poisons that wither the beauty of a conscience that has been cleansed by Christ (Acts 5:2; Romans 2:5; 1 Timothy 4:2). Never wholly reliable, our conscience can only be purified by God (Psalm 51:10). He does so through the blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:14). 

As followers of Jesus, our individual consciences can become more sensitive to right and wrong as we grow in spiritual knowledge and obedience. This includes allowing the Holy Spirit to convict us when we’re wrong and approve us when we’re right. It also means confessing and repenting of sin immediately (1 John 1:9).

—Marvin Williams

According to 1 Peter 3:13-17, how do we maintain a clean and clear conscience in a hostile society? 
Why are spiritual knowledge and godly obedience so important in maintaining a clean conscience? Spend time confessing sins that the Holy Spirit has convicted you of recently.

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ODJ: stand up

January 3, 2013 

READ: 1 Kings 21:1-29 

No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel. His worst outrage was worshipping idols (vv.25-26).

Evil doesn’t need numbers. History’s most horrific acts were committed by only a handful of people. These agents of evil didn’t persuade others to join in their sin; they only convinced them to go along. Most Germans didn’t hunt down and kill Jews, but they allowed their government to do it. Most Americans didn’t own slaves, but they permitted their neighbours to do so. Evil simply needs a silent majority who see what is happening and do nothing. 
Passivity was one of Ahab’s many problems. He cowered before his wife, Jezebel, a foreign queen who pushed him to worship Baal (1 Kings 16:31). When Elijah slaughtered the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, Ahab ran home to Jezebel and told her about him. It was Jezebel, not Ahab, who promised Elijah that she would get her revenge (19:1-2). Ahab went along.

When Naboth refused to sell his vineyard, “Ahab went home angry and sullen” and told about him (21:4-6). Jezebel replied, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll get you Naboth’s vineyard!” (v.7). And she did. Ahab merely went along with the idea. 

Ahab was passive, but he wasn’t innocent. God declared that he was the most wicked of the evil kings of Israel. He may not have pulled the trigger, but he allowed Naboth’s murder and Israel’s idolatry to occur, among other evil choices.

This should make us pause: What evil might we be silently tolerating? Do we sit on our hands when others are bullied or abused? Do we say nothing when professing Christians dismiss the foundational truths of our faith? We may feel bad for challenging them; but given that Ahab’s greatest sin was idolatry, how can we not speak up for God and His true Word? 

Evil doesn’t need you to stand with it. It wins whenever you don’t take a stand. —Mike Wittmer

Read 1 Kings 19:1-18 to discover how you can stand against evil.
Who needs you to stand up for him or her? How can you be an advocate for that person today?

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School Pictures & Sin

Are you as aware of sin in your life as you are of wear stained clothes?
How else can you describe sin in your life?