Lesson 7: Obey Your Conscience
To be a happy Christian I must have a clear conscience. I must know in my heart that I am right with God and right with other people.
If we have sinned against God or against some other person, we must make things right with them. In our last lesson, we learned how to do this. But we also want to learn how to keep from doing wrong things.
How can we know what is wrong?
There are two ways we can know if something is wrong. One way is by seeing what the Bible says about it. If God’s Word says something is wrong, then it is wrong, no matter what others may say about it. For example, we know that it is wrong to steal because God’s Word says, “Thou shalt not steal.”
A second way we can know what is wrong is by listening to our conscience. Our conscience is like a little voice inside of us that tells us what God thinks about a matter. Our conscience will do two things for us:
1. Our conscience will tell us when we have done something wrong.
2. Our conscience will warn us that something is wrong before we do it.
Our conscience is a wonderful gift from God and we should learn to listen to our conscience and obey it.
How to obey your conscience
In obeying your conscience, there are two simple rules to follow:
1. If you have done something wrong, CONFESS IT TO GOD at once.
2. If your conscience warns you that something is wrong, DON’T DO IT!
Whatever God tells you to do in your conscience, do it. The Lord wants us to obey Him. Let us consider these two rules in obeying our conscience.
1. If you have done something wrong, confess it to God at once!
When you do something wrong, you will have an uneasy feeling inside. This is your conscience telling you that you are wrong.
When your conscience tells you that you have done something wrong, confess it to God at once. The Bible says,
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
We cannot confess our sins by just praying, “Lord, please forgive me of all my sins.” Our sins were committed one by one and we must confess them one by one.
Whatever sin you are confessing, say to God, “Father, I have sinned against you by (name the sin), and I am confessing this sin to You and asking You to forgive me. I thank You that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood for this sin.”
When we confess our sins to God, He forgives us and makes us clean again in His sight. But God does not want His children to keep on sinning. The Bible says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, THAT YOU SIN NOT.” (1 John 2:1)
When you think about how much Christ loved you and how He suffered and died in order that you might be forgiven of your sins, it should touch your heart and cause you to say, “I don’t want to do that again.”
What happens if we keep on sinning and will not confess and forsake our sins? God will chasten (reprove) us. God has ways by which He can chasten us when we continue to disobey Him.
Sin breaks our fellowship with God and brings his chastening hand upon us.
God could let us get sick or have an accident. God does not chasten us because He hates us, but because He loves us. The Bible says, “For whom the Lord loves He chastens [disciplines].” (Hebrews 12:6)
2. If your conscience warns you that something is wrong, don’t do it!
Your conscience not only tells you when you have done something wrong, but it also warns you when you are about to do something wrong. It lets you know that this thing you are thinking of doing is not pleasing to the Lord and you should not do it.
When your conscience tells you that a certain thing is wrong, don’t do it. Your friends may be doing it and they may tell you that there is nothing wrong with it. But if your conscience tells you that something is wrong then it is wrong for you to do it, no matter what others may say.
Remember, you have a conscience which tells you what is right and what is wrong for you. You must obey your conscience, regardless of what others may be doing.
The Bible tells about a young man named Samson whom God chose to be a deliverer for his people. The Israelites had done evil and God had allowed them to become slaves of their enemies, the Philistines. But God raised Samson up to be a mighty deliverer for his people.
So far as we know, there was nothing unusual about Samson’s appearance, but he was the strongest man who ever lived. Where did his great strength come from? It came from God!
When God’s power came upon him, Samson could do things that were impossible otherwise. On one occasion, Samson took the jawbone of a donkey and killed a thousand Philistine soldiers!
But Samson began doing things that God did not want him to do. Samson fell in love with a Philistine woman named Delilah and he was doing wrong things with her.
Samson’s conscience must have warned him many times that he was doing wrong, but he did not obey his conscience. Samson continued to see Delilah. This woman pretended to love Samson, but she was secretly planning to betray him.
Finally, Delilah succeeded in her plan. She delivered Samson into the hands of his enemies. The Philistines captured Samson, put out his eyes, bound him in chains, and put him in prison grinding corn.
The story of Samson’s disobedience is one of the saddest stories in the Bible and God wants us to learn something from it. The thing we should learn is this: Do not disobey your conscience.
If your conscience tells you not to do something, don’t do it. Your friends may be doing it, but don’t you do it. They may beg you to do it, but just say “No.”
The following is a true story about a young fellow who allowed his friends to talk him into disobeying his conscience:
Before Tom became a Christian, he used to drink beer with his friends. After he became a Christian, things were different. He no longer wanted to go to the beer joint and drink beer. His old friends didn’t like this, so they begged Tom and teased him until he gave in and started drinking beer again with them.
One night Tom and his friends had been drinking. They had a terrible accident. The car in which they were riding turned over and smashed. Tom’s back was broken just below the neck.
Tom spent many days and nights in the hospital. Now Tom uses a wheelchair to get around. He will never walk again. This tragedy would not have happened if Tom had just said “No.”
Just say “No”
As you grow up, you will face many temptations. You may be offered drugs, and told about the “great feeling” you will have when you take them. Just say “No.”(Be sure to tell an adult whom you can trust about any situation in which you have been offered drugs.)
Someone you know may try to get you to smoke. Just say, “No.” A friend may try to get you to drink beer or wine or some other alcoholic beverage. Just say, “No.”You may have friends who are involved in these things and they may try to get you to join them, but just say, “No.” The Bible says, “My son,if sinners entice you [try to get you to do wrong], do not consent [don’t do it!].” (Proverbs 1:10)
Learn to say, “No!”
I know who I am, and that I belong to God.
I want to stay healthy and happy and right with God.
I am deciding right now that I will say “NO!” to sex outside of marriage, drugs, and alcohol.
Sooner or later almost every young person is tempted by sex.W hen a guy and a girl get involved in sex before marriage, it is called fornication. This is one of the worst sins that young people can possibly be involved in. It can ruin a person’s chances of a happy marriage. If you value your future and you want to have a happy marriage some day, you will refuse to be involved in sex before marriage.
Prepare yourself now to say “No” to this temptation. Say to yourself, “Some day I will be married and then sex will be all that God intends it to be, and I’m sure not going to mess things up now.” When the time comes that you are tempted with sex, say “No” and stick to your decision.
How to say “No”
Learning to say “No” is the best way to stay out of trouble. It is not easy because your friends may dare you to do some thing or threaten you if you don’t do it, but saying “No” helps you gain confidence. You feel good about yourself because you were able to make your own decision and stick to it. Here are some ways to say “No”:
Tell your friend that you value the friendship but you do not wish to act as they want you to.
Use the strictness of your parents to turn down a dare. Don’t be afraid to say, “My dad (or my mother) would tear me up if I did that.”
Use humor to lighten the situation. Tell your friends, “I’m proud to be a good red-blooded chicken, and I expect to live longer because of it.”
Say, “No thanks. See You later,” and leave quickly.
Say, “I promised myself that I wouldn’t do that, and I believe in keeping my word.”
Do NOT give up your convictions—what you think is right—to please other people. Say “No” in a firm voice and say it as many times as necessary. The Bible says, “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil.” (Exodus 23:2)
Right now, will you commit yourself to say “No” to drugs, alcohol, sex outside of marriage and anything else that is harmful to you? If this is your decision, make the pledge below your own personal promise:
I know who I am and that I belong to God.
I want to stay healthy and happy and right with God.
I can stand up for myself and make my own decision and stick to it.
I am deciding right now that I will say “No” to sex outside of marriage, drugs, alcohol, and anything else that is harmful to me and against my conscience.