One of my earliest recollections as a boy of about three is going to one of the local grocery stores with my Mom and stealing a piece of bubble gum. Now this wasn’t just a youngster who didn’t know any better picking it up and walking out. No! This was a pre-planned heist! And when we got back to our car I sat with my legs straight and stiff as a board with my ill-gotten gains underneath. Then the interrogation started, ending with a tearful confession to the store owner.
Before I ever picked up that piece of gum, there was something inside me telling me it was wrong and I shouldn’t do it. That same something, my conscience, is still there. William Gurnall in his book “The Christian in Complete Armour”, published 1655, speaks of man’s conscience this way. “Man’s conscience, like his physical body, is created by God. Conscience may be defined as that divine influence at work in man to restrain him from sin. One evidence of its origin is that it always speaks against sin and for righteousness. Therefore, it cannot be the product of our own hearts which in their fallen state are ‘deceitful above all things and desperately wicked’.” Jer 17:9
I think I’ll spend August learning to pay closer attention to that “divine influence” at work in me.