A Seared Conscience

if He rescued Lot, a righteous man distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if all this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.

2 Peter 2: 7-9

How often do we find ourselves ‘tormented’ in our souls by the lawlessness we see and hear on the news, in the streets, in the platforms of entertainment - internet, social media, radio and TV - that so often plague and dominate our senses?

As obvious as this may seem at times, ‘lawlessness’ or ‘rebellion to God’ has become so engrained in the world around us that most often than not, we don’t find ourselves reacting to or cringing from its effects. When we see it play out around us or when it affects us directly, because we have become so accustomed to it, we don’t even think twice when it happens, and the positions we occupy as believers become obscured and lost in the storm of images and mixed information swirling around us.

When we embrace the world and its varying ideologies, perspectives or trends we, by default, become less and less conscious of God or sensitive to Him and His voice and the Kingdom that He represents - one which we actually belong to and should be operating from.

The primary reason many of us find ourselves swimming in the sea of indecisiveness, confusion and compromise is our inability to keep and maintain an “eternal mindset” when it comes to our daily thoughts and choices.

This is something that requires an active and deliberate position to maintain. If you don’t make this an intentional choice, it will become one that you will take a passive approach to, and as a result your faith and walk with God will grow weak and eventually succumb to the greater pressures or influences around you. This approach leads to compromise and ultimately to a gradual falling away from your faith.

The Bible says that in these last days the love of many will grow cold and there will be a great ‘falling away’ from the faith and from your love for God (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This is not a reference to some future event, but instead something we are experiencing right now, even as we are discussing this topic.

When we look around us, we can safely say we’re at the end of the end times. Love for God and a life in God is often the last thing we observe. There is a delusion in the hearts and minds of people that God is whoever and whatever you want ‘IT’ to be and this has resulted in loss of conscience when it comes to good morals, values and principles, because God is the One who defines what is right.

That is why the Word says that whoever is in friendship with the world is at enmity with God (James 4:4). You cannot serve both God and Mammon[1] (Matthew 6:24). You will either love the one and despise the other. The one you give place to will end up displacing you. You can’t keep two feet on opposite sides of the fence. You’ll eventually have to lift up one of your feet, but the question you need to answer is, which one?

So how do we maintain a consciousness of God in the midst of a fallen and depraved world, or what is the guard or measure against “falling away”?

If you study scripture, you’ll notice a recurring theme for ‘separation from the world’, i.e., the need to keep separated in your heart from the desire to conform or to become like those who have chosen to accept the world and to make an allegiance with it and the god that governs it.

The meaning and context for the word ‘falling away’ in this scripture is rebellion or disobedience towards God and towards His Word. So, basically, if you’re consumed by the desire to become like the world and to possess the things this world prizes and glorifies, then you have already chosen to give first place to it in your heart.

This means that when the Word of God says to “come out from among them and be separate,” (2 Corinthians 6:17), it’s a call to separate your heart and your desires first and foremost from the goal or objective to possess things you know do not honor and glorify God. Anything that would threaten to distract you and displace you from God’s purpose and His will for your life is effectively anything that has the potential to lead you astray. It may not always mean a personal or physical separation (although that is sometimes needed), because this aspect may be difficult to do, but it’s the conscience, the mind, the will and emotions that need separation in this context.

When this happens you will begin to notice that you become more sensitive to the things that God holds as important or as a priority and become less and less desirous of the world and its various enticements or agendas. This is the position Lot held in the theme scripture above and this was the reason why his soul was tormented by the lawlessness He observed and experienced around him. He was not physically separated in His person, but was separated in His heart and thereby, His soul and conscience.

Jesus never completely separated Himself from unbelievers or those considered outcast, rejects or ‘immoral’ or ‘wicked’ in society. He was instead ridiculed for embracing them, but we can't use this as an excuse for socializing in pubs, clubs and parties with unbelievers. Jesus was ‘perfect’ (i.e., without sin) and the Son of God, which meant that He had to associate with them as part of His ministry and His purpose. His ultimate objective was to seek and save the lost; to minister the Gospel so He could win them over to the Truth, and He did this through love and often times through rebuke as well!

Jesus never willingly chose to 'hang out' and remain with those that rejected Him and the Truth. He also spent hours and hours in isolation praying to the Father, which, I believe, was His way of re-focusing and re-aligning Himself; His mind, His thoughts, will and emotions, with His Kingdom purpose and position. (Yes, He was fully God, but He was also fully man, subject to all the temptations that come with it).

The issue here is the need to maintain your stance as a Christian even in the midst of the strong worldly/secular influence that surrounds these environments we sometimes find ourselves in or even live amongst. God knows your struggles and as difficult as it may seem at times, it’s never beyond God’s ability to sustain and empower you through.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

John 15:18-19.

Don’t forget your ultimate aim as a believer in Christ Jesus – to become more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18), and less like the world, not vice versa. You want to be leading others to Christ, not allowing them to lead you away from Him, and how you respond to the world and all that it praises, promotes and glorifies is a telltale sign of the state of your heart and ultimately, your will, desires and conscience as well.

If you have been struggling in this area, I would be more than happy to sit and pray with you and encourage you through these difficulties. Know that you’re not alone. We’ve all faced these weaknesses in our lives, but we’ve come out of it because we made an active decision to surrender and to take the first step to reconcile to God. The most important thing is not to remain where you are. Come out of the world and choose to be separate. He’s always waiting to carry you through.

Be Blessed!

Your Sister in Christ.

[1] A reference to the god of materialism or money (i.e. anything which opposes spiritual or heavenly pursuit or gain).

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