Get a clear conscience and you'll discover life is more enjoyable
But you don't hear that term much any more because many elements of society don't want you to have a conscience at all. They want you to do whatever you feel like and not think about it afterward.
There's a problem with that. Many of the things we have an urge to do are sins, offenses against God and other people. God takes sin very seriously and we should too.
Why a clear conscience makes life better
Many singles don't acknowledge sin because they won't admit God exists. I call those kinds of folks shallow thinkers. You, on the other hand, are on this web site trying to learn the truth, so that qualfies you as a deep thinker, someone with an inquisitive mind who wants to know the ultimate reality.
Years ago, everyone had a vigilant conscience. It was a compliment for someone to say you had high morals. You don't hear that term much today, either. Oh, we all get annoyed when a politician cheats on his wife or has to go into rehab, but what about average people? Should only public figures be held to high standards? Shouldn't all of us?
As morality has dropped and standards have been lowered so sins are ignored, society in general has suffered. Greed used to be a vice. Now it's a virtue, considered almost essential in the corporate world. It nearly led to the collapse of the world's economies. People cheat, lie, steal, and abuse their spouse and children. Much alcohol and drug abuse is due to people trying to smother their guilt over wrongs they have done.
Having a clear conscience doesn't come from lowering your standards until nothing matters. It comes from adhering to high standards.
When people have high standards, the world functions better, there's less crime and violence, less hate, and a lot less pain. When you actively work to avoid sin, you have less pain in your personal life as well.
Take pride in yourself as a person
Many Christians are terrified of being "prideful", or "proud." True, it can become a danger, but my experience has been that more people are struggling with low self-worth than with pride. A healthy respect for yourself can help either problem.
Keeping a clean conscience, that is, avoiding things a Christian shouldn't be doing, will help you feel better about yourself. You will neither be too proud, trying to impress others, nor will you feel inferior, the old "worm of the earth" mentality.
Yes, it's true that we cannot avoid sin on our own. We need God's help, and it's wise for us to depend on him. That keeps us humble. When we acknowledge we are sinners, that keeps us humble too.
To keep a clean conscience, we need to:
It's a cleansing experience. It makes you feel great inside to renew your relationship with Jesus. But if your standards are so low that you've become unable to recognize sin in your life, you're only fooling yourself, not God.
Some pastors won't even use the word "sin" any more, for fear of offending someone. Wait. Isn't that the entire reason Jesus died on the cross for us? Isn't salvation the central message of Christianity? Do they think you can have a clear conscience without dealing with sin? Sorry. You just can't.
That attitude ignores an inescapable truth: Every action has consequences. One of the consequences of sin is a troubled mind. You can't fool God, and in the end, you can't even fool yourself. You need to do something about it.
Who is it about, anyway?
Whether you agree or disagree with Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life, you should, as a Christian, agree with his opening sentence: "It's not about you."
It's about God. Others. Well, and maybe you somewhere after them. If I thought life was about me, I wouldn't be writing about keeping a clean conscience, because see, I would be the judge of what's a sin and what isn't, and I'm not the judge. Neither are you. God is.
Life is about a right relationship with Jesus Christ. When you have that, you have a clear conscience. When you don't have a conscience at all, or one that believes anything goes, you don't have a right relationship with Jesus.
Jesus doesn't call us to wallow in misery over our sins, but he does want us to take them to him, accept his forgiveness, and live in his love.
That's what brings peace to your soul. And a great night's sleep.