Day 22 – An Overactive Conscience
Brother Lawrence was not as hard on himself as we are sometimes prone to be.
He said: “When I realize I have failed, I acknowledge it and say: this is typical; it’s all I can do! If I have succeeded, I thank God and acknowledge that this grace comes from him.”
When Brother Lawrence failed God, he admitted that it was all him. But he didn’t beat himself up over it. He knew that he was born into sin and frail as human.
When he stood strong in the Lord, he recognized that it was all grace. And he gave God the credit. Only God can change a life, transform a soul, bring beauty out of ashes.
Some Christians suffer from an overactive conscience. They’re harder on themselves than God is upon them.
They struggle with unnecessary anxiety and false guilt that they have committed some grievous sin, when, in fact, they have not. They are meticulously conscientious.
Ask them what sin they have committed that they are so worried about. But nothing they mention is on any sin list in the Bible. They are painstakingly scrupulous.
While walking down a dirt street in the Philippines many years ago, I asked Alliance missionary, Jerry Otis, a question. I was, like Martha, “anxious and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41, ESV).
“Jerry, what do I do when I ask God to reveal any sin in my life and nothing comes to mind. I pray, ‘Search me, God, and know my heart, and see if there is any offensive way in me’ (Psalm 139:23-24). But then I don’t hear anything.”
In his kind wisdom, he said, “You don’t hear God saying anything, because there is no sin there.” Jerry’s words penetrated me like a shaft of light, something I had not previously considered.
In that moment I touched a new level of freedom in Christ. I learned the lesson that obedience is not harsh. The yoke of Jesus is easy. God is not a harsh taskmaster. The lordship of Christ brings freedom.
True, we can enter seasons of contrition and confession and brokenness over sin. But some Christians repent and repent over sin that is not there.
Once God has forgiven us, we are forgiven, and we can forgive ourselves. We don’t beat ourselves up unmercifully. God is merciful; we receive his mercy. It is not in God’s nature to recall our sins (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12).
Rarely scrupulous – the posture of Brother Lawrence’s heart – he chose living in the love of the Lord.
Action Step: If you ask God to search your heart, and the Spirit of God says nothing to convict you of sin, that is because there is nothing there! Enjoy God’s grace and freedom!
This is God’s Word for you today,