The First Step to a Clear Conscience
By Rick Warren
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)
The first step to a clear conscience is to do a personal spiritual assessment.
Here’s how you do it. When you’re not in a hurry, sit down with God in a quiet place and tell God, “I want to do business with you. I want to make a list of anything that is getting between you and me. Help me see the things I know are wrong, and the things I don’t know are wrong.”
Ask God to reveal your sins. You can pray like the psalmist: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT). When you pray this, you’re asking God to find the things in you that have entangled you and are holding you back.
It’s important to take your time. Don’t rush it! Don’t say, “God, I’ve got five minutes for you to reveal every sin I’ve ever done.” Take your time—and be sure to write it all down.
Why is it important to write it down? Writing makes it specific. Thoughts untangle themselves through the lips and the fingertips—through what you say and what you write. If you haven’t written it down, you haven’t thoroughly thought about it.
Let me ask you a very important question: How serious are you about wanting God’s blessing on your life? Enough that you’re willing to be gut-level honest with him? Are you willing to be honest with yourself? Are you willing to be honest with other people? Or are you just going to live in denial? Denial and God’s blessing do not go hand-in-hand.
If you long to have a clear conscience, then you’re just one step away from liberation—from a feeling of joy like you’ve never experienced. Along the way, you’ll find freedom from the habits, hurts, and hang-ups that are messing up your life.
Please don’t procrastinate. Reserve time this week to complete your personal spiritual assessment. It’s the first step to enjoying a clear conscience, and it will change your life!
Talk It Over
- What’s keeping you too busy to do a personal spiritual assessment?
- Why do you think you are sometimes dishonest with God, even though he knows everything anyway?
- How does fear keep you from being honest with yourself about your habits, hurts, and hang-ups? How does pride keep you from honesty too?