The statement “Always let your conscience be your guide,” is a profound one if you are a singing cricket with a top hat! Ultimately, if it becomes one of your core beliefs, it will only produce depression, anxiety, and a trip to the loony bin. These are the kinds of beliefs that will lead you off coarse in your simple and restful walk of faith.
The Bible has a much different view on the matter. It tells us that while your conscience may be a good helper, it is also a harsh master. Whenever there are negative connotations associated with conscience in the Bible and when words like sinful, evil, defiled or seared are used in conjunction with conscience, it always pertains to the self-effort of one who is striving to appease their conscience apart from the finished work of the Cross. The only way sinful man can have a perfect conscience is by having it covered with the blood of Christ. When we look at The Book of Hebrews in the Bible, any other conscience is a ‘sinful” conscience and it always results in “dead works.” When one engages in works to appease their conscience, those works become tainted and not pure in motivation. They are a direct result of compensating for sin or failures and thus become self-serving at their very foundation. Simply put, this kind of conscience and core belief is nothing more than a mission of self-righteousness because it doesn’t come form a pure conscience.
Just a few examples and statements of a self-righteous conscience (See more in Galatians 5):
What the Bible does refer to, as a pure conscience is one that is absent of ulterior motives and hidden agenda’s. That can only stem from a “perfect” conscience. Simply put. It is resting in the Finished Work of the Cross-that our conscience finally finds perfection and rest and we are freed from the mind numbing guilt, depression, and self-righteous spirit that will drive us straight to the mental ward.
Be free, keep your faith simple, and walk in forgiveness with a clean, perfect conscience, through the Shed Blood of Jesus Christ today!
Father Knows Best!
And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them; that the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered: and they brought their offering before the Lord, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service. And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites. Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service: And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.
In our culture today, we place a high premium on fairness and equality. Everybody wants to matter just a little more than the other, we get consumed with the prosperity of others and wonder why God has treated us so unfairly!
On the day the tabernacle was dedicated and anointed, the leaders of the tribes of Israel brought twelve oxen and six wagons as an offering to the Lord. The wagons and oxen were divided between the three groups of Levites. The first group, the Gershonites, were given two wagons and four oxen. So far so good. But when the next group, the sons of Merari, was given four wagons and eight oxen, the Gershonites must have said, “Wait a minute. This isn’t fair. We only got four oxen and two wagons.” But if the Gershonites didn’t like this, imagine how the third group—the Kohathites felt when there was nothing left for them. “Unfair!” they must have cried. And today we do the same thing.
“Wait a minute,” we say. “We’re all called to serve God, aren’t we? Why, then, does he have four wagons and eight oxen and I have none? Look at the position he holds, the prosperity she enjoys, the prominence they have. Why don’t I?” And then we fall into the subtle mindset that God is not truly fair, that He plays favorites. And we’re not one of them.
Why were the wagons distributed the way they were? Does God indeed have favorites? The answer is found in a significant phrase in our text where it says the wagons were given according to their service. Earlier in Numbers, we read that the sons of Gershon were in charge of the fabric and coverings of the tabernacle—to take them up and down and pack them along. But the Merarites had an even heavier load, for they were in charge of the boards, silver sockets, and bars which made up the walls of the tabernacle. In fact, those who study these things say the weight the sons of Merari carried would have been approximately twice as great as that which the sons of Gershon carried. Consequently, called to bear twice as great a burden, it makes sense the Merarites would have twice as many oxen and twice as many wagons.
Of those who appear to be more blessed than we are, we say, “Look at the wagons they have. Look at their oxen.” Yes, they may have more oxen and more wagons. But they also have heavier burdens. They have obligations that you and I don’t understand. God is fair. With those wagons come added responsibilities and burdens because to whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).
The Kohathites were to carry the furniture of the tabernacle—including the ark of the covenant—upon their shoulders, which speaks of intimacy, of close proximity. And now I begin to understand. Maybe I don’t have four wagons or eight oxen. Maybe I don’t even have two wagons and four oxen. Maybe I’m on foot. But maybe that’s because the Lord knows that not having the position or possessions others have will result in a deeper intimacy than if there were oxen and wagons rumbling around.
Jesus opted for this when He said, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20). The priests and Pharisees had an abundance of oxen and wagons. But Jesus chose a different direction. Yet He was so happy and so full of joy that even those with lots of oxen and wagons, so to speak, left everything to follow Him.
He was able to focus on that which mattered. And as a result, there was a sparkle in His eye, a smile on His face, and a winsome quality to His personality, which caused multitudes—of which we are a part—to want to be around Him.
If God has given you four carts and eight oxen, rejoice. But be on guard lest these blessings distract you from walking with Jesus in simplicity. Carts and oxen aren’t always as good as they look. Carts lose their wheels and fall apart; oxen will crap a new wall in your pretty barn; and thus, life becomes much more complicated. I say, It is the wise man who says, “Lord, You set the agenda. You give me what You know is best for me.”
My tendency is to say, “I don’t think things are fair. It’s also the tendency of a culturally driven church. We do things like fundraising campaign’s to raise money to buy carts for the Kohathites.” But would that truly be best for the Kohathites?
Here is the deal. If you are one of those going through life with no wagons, no oxen, God says, “You have Me. And I’m all you need.” I’m glad that I roll through life simplistically, I am a guy who has very little to care for in life and this is giving me large amounts of time to spend with my Father.
I often look at my son who has already surpassed many of the achievements that I have made in life and I see the great responsibility that he is able to take on and handle with grace, I see the blessing that God has brought to his life, and yet I can only hope and pray that I can somehow pass along to him and others, the simple side of a walk with the Lord that has taken me over 50 years now to finally achieve and finally settle into.
On a related note, sometimes I look at people and wonder how they bear the burden they carry, how God could allow certain events to happen in their lives. I think to myself, “I could never go through that trial, never carry that weight.” But then I realize it’s because I haven’t been given the necessary carts or oxen to do so, that if I were to go through that trial, my Father would give me the oxen and carts necessary to bear the burden.
Now, we have the understanding and privilege, to say to those who are self-absorbed, self-focused, self-centered, those who think their situations matter most, and those who believe that that the culture should cater to their wants and needs. “God has you in the place that is best for you. He’s a fair Father who treats us all with passionate love, doing what’s best for each of us. God is so good. And Father knows best!”
Have you ever wondered "Why did Jesus use spit for some of His miracles?"
Our pastor Ben touched on this yesterday and because I am a big proponent of a walk of simple faith, I have often pondered this subject.
It was Near Decapolis that some people brought Jesus a deaf man who could hardly talk. Jesus healed the man, of course, but in an interesting manner: “Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue” (Mark 7:33). Later, in the town of Bethsaida, Jesus healed a blind man. Again, the miracle was preceded by spitting: “He . . . spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him” (Mark 8:23). To heal a man born blind, Jesus “spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes” (John 9:6).
Certainly, Jesus, the divine Son of God, does not need physical props to work miracles. In many cases, Jesus merely spoke, and healing followed (e.g., Matthew 15:28; Luke 17:12-14). Yet, in three cases, Jesus used His spittle in the process of healing.
One possible reason for Jesus’ use of His saliva has to do with the beliefs of His contemporary culture. Several Roman writers and Jewish rabbis considered saliva to be a valid treatment for blindness. Since the people of that day had a high view of saliva’s healing properties, Jesus used spit to communicate His intention to heal. Those being healed would have naturally interpreted Jesus’ spitting as a sign that they would soon be cured.
Now the verse that really jumps out at me is the one in Mark 8:23. It says… “And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.”
Who’s Faith is really at work here?
There are those who would say that… “The greater need was of each of those who were healed required the need for increased, proportional faith. I like to work through this perspective differently than others may so allow me to break it down this way.
It was the Faith of Jesus that produced the miracle not the profound faith of the person being healed.
Think trough this with me.
Each individual was equally faithless; otherwise they all would have already been healed. The last time someone spit in your eye… Did it get your attention? I believe the whole point was not to increase their faith but rather to get them to put their focus on the One who is Faithful!
For to long in life I have tried to increase my faith, speak things into existence, exert my own spiritual fortitude. Could it be that Jesus the Faithful One, Just wants my focus and attention! Could it be that all this time He has been taking me away from the common beliefs on matters of profound faith to get me alone, to redirect my focus off of the issues and the questions about how I am going to survive or get through the day and simply put my focus on Him?
You see… When we are weak He is Faithful!
2 Tim 2:13 NIV “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
Could it be that the key to seeing increased but simplistic faith produced in my life is as simple as getting away with Jesus? 1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
In Mark 8, Jesus called this blind, faithless man away, He literally takes him by the hand and leads him out of town away from all other influence and the man begins to connect what little faith he has to the one who is faithful.
Look at the flow in the process of developing simple faith. Let it saturate your heart.
First, Jesus, after spitting in this mans eyes and putting His hands on the man, asked him… “Do you see anything?” I like that! Jesus is not expressing His own lack of faith rather, He is taking this man on a journey of anticipation and simple expectation that the work is being done. He is learning to lean on, depend on Jesus and His faithfulness. Slowly, the man begins to get it. Things are still fuzzy but he realizes there is something happening in His life. Jesus now puts His hands on the blind mans eyes and he is fully restored.
The real miracle is not the physical eyesight being restored. It is this man embracing and understanding what a walk of simple trust and faith in Jesus is! Once this happens, Jesus tells the man, “Don’t go back!”
Mark 8:23-28 (KJV)
23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.
26 And he sent him away to his house, saying, neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.
Is Jesus calling you away to a walk of simple faith? Your miracle waits and yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel!