As I sit quietly with God and my Bible each morning, not because I should, not because I have to, not to get ideas for a sermon or to prepare to speak someplace, not so that I will be a good and helpful coach…but instead, simply to keep company with Him; my slow meditation upon his word speaks to me about me. Such was the case a few weeks ago when my devotional reading took me to II Corinthian 1:12-24…but more specifically, verse 12.
“For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.”
Paul had a clear conscious. He knew he wasn’t ministering with ulterior motives and manipulation as some of the other ‘teachers’ in the Corinthian church were.
I was forced to ask myself, “Do I have a clear conscience, especially in the way I conduct my ministry?” Occasionally I can get off the phone with a pastor and my conscience tells me, “You talked too much. You didn’t listen as well as you could. You allowed your mind to wander rather than focus.” You’d think that after coaching pastors for ten years and training coaches, that things like this would not be a problem. But they still can be.
Are you ministering with a clear conscience?
Do you try to act more holy than you really are?
Do you show favoritism?
Are you easily intimidated by some?
Do you have an inflated sense of your power and authority and position as pastor?
Are you angry?
Is your home life different than your public life?
Is there anyone in your church that you are withholding forgiveness?
Is there someone in your church that you secretly wish a meteorite would fall on?
Could you add to this list? I hope not, in fact I hope nothing on my list of example relate to you, but it’s wise to sometimes review things like this.
If you sit quietly with the Father and ask Him to show you possible areas where you should have a guilty conscience (usually we know these things without his help), if He doesn’t, He will reassure you. If He does, he will reassure you. By this I mean that He will gently show you any areas you to need work on.
Nobody is perfect, not even pastors. Everyone has blinds spots. Keeping company with God and his word is a great way for us to stay on top of our conscience. Wouldn’t it be great for Paul’s words to be ours, “For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience…”