My accomplice or my guide

Published 9:39 pm Friday, June 8, 2012

By Chris Surber
Columnist

Have you ever lived for a long time with a pain? No, I’m not referring to a spouse, friend, or relative!

Have you had an injury that took several months or years to heal? Do you have or know anyone who has a chronic painful condition like arthritis, chronic back pain or some similarly nagging and constant source of pain? It is a strange thing about constant pain. Years of ministering to those who suffer chronic pain has taught me that pain has a way of dulling the senses.

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Those who live with chronic pain don’t ever really forget the pain or stop feeling the pain. Constant pain has a way of dulling the senses and affecting the mind. Individuals who suffer from chronic pain often report that cognitive impairment.

Pain in the body wrenches the mind. It often causes forgetfulness and a lack of attentiveness. I read a study a few years ago, the results of which showed that people in chronic pain are inclined to experience loss in attention, memory, verbal skill, mental agility and speed in completing even routine tasks.

Pain in our body has a way of diminishing our mental faculties. Similarly, wrong choices, dishonesty, and selfish living have a way of diminishing our faculties. When our conscience becomes our accomplice, rather than our guide, it becomes dull and diminished. Eventually it is destroyed. (I Timothy 4:2)

The conscience is supposed to be our guide, but when we ignore the inner voice of God through it, the magnet that runs it becomes demagnetized. A conscience ignored and slighted for too long becomes a slave to selfish living rather than a guide to fulfillment and lasting happiness.

One of my favorite collections of films is the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies with Johnny Depp. In one of those movies, his character, Capt. Jack Sparrow, is running around with a compass that is supposed to point to whatever his heart desires most. The trouble is that since he can’t decide what he wants the most, the compass is useless. It just spins and spins.

What do you want most? Is your conscience your guide to that which is good or have you enslaved it as your accomplice to things with no lasting redeeming value?

In order to have a working conscience, we must calibrate to God’s desire for us. Then we must decide that His good and virtuous will for us is what we want. Then we must feed our conscience with truth and decide to allow it to be our guide, not our accomplice.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105, ESV)