Category Archives: How Is Your Conscience

Forgiveness: By Grace “Changes our Mind”

If we are to enter God’s rest by experiencing the fullness of Christ’s resurrection power in our lives, we will need to consider whether there are still judgments against others dwelling in our hearts. Obviously, when we received our salvation, we were not required by God, to list, individually, every person who had ever hurt or offended us and then repent of our anger, resentment and bitter root judgments toward each person (Heb. 12:15). But, if we are to mature in Christ through His grace as we continue on in our Christian walk, we must be willing to release these people from our judgments (Matt. 6:12-15).

      We were justified by the sacrifice Christ made on the cross on our behalf so that, through salvation, we might enjoy the fullness of the benefits of sonship with him. These benefits were made available to us through our repentance and God’s forgiveness of our sins. Yet, scripture clearly indicates that if we are to continue as recipients of God’s good favor, we must resolutely adopt an ongoing attitude of forgiveness toward others (Matt. 7:1-2; Luke 17:3-4). Most Christians understand the importance of this basic principle. It is a staple of Christian teaching.

    But there is another, very important aspect of forgiveness that is often overlooked – Our personal repentance for the sinful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that have developed in our lives in reaction to the original offenses against us.

How Reactive Judgments can Keep Us in Bondage

    Much of how we think, feel, and act today is derived from our past reactions to both the positive and negative influences in our lives.  Inevitably, ungodly behaviors develop from some of these reactions. For example, if we suffer rejection and hurt, we may form a negative judgment about the one that has rejected us. To hurt feels like weakness; to hate feels like strength. So, in our attempt to alleviate the pain we feel from rejection, instead of reacting with forgiveness, we begin to develop critical, judgmental thinking toward others  (Heb. 12:15; Gen. 4:5-8). From this position of blaming, we often come to believe that we must develop and rely on protective mechanisms of behavior in order to “survive” emotionally. For example, we may become shy and withdrawn, or perhaps bold, manipulative and aggressive.

    Whenever we do not choose the option of forgiveness toward those who have offended us, we are fostering the development of self-reliant attitudes deep within the heart. Rejecting the avenue of forgiveness, we learn to rely on our own efforts to overcome the personal offenses we experience and become well-practiced at trying to maintain control in our personal relationships in order to feel emotionally safe.

    Sometimes, in trying to achieve this control, we develop an acute sensitivity regarding what we perceive to be the thoughts or feelings of others. We come to rely on these hypersensitive perceptions, as distorted as they may be, in order to circumvent conflict in relationships and avoid the anguish of further rejection.

From an unforgiving heart, we will often pursue an emotional compensation for past rejection, placing unrealistic demands and expectations on others and even on ourselves. Of course, by placing this unattainable burden of performance on the people in our lives and on ourselves, we are actually setting ourselves up for further disappointment and rejection. Truly, what we have sown in past judgments to accommodate the sinful nature, we will reap through unhealthy, destructive patterns of behavior in present day relationships (Gal. 6:7-8).

    Over a period of time, we grow to depend on these behavioral mechanisms and they become a fixed system that we regularly use and trust. It becomes daily, monthly, yearly, increasingly difficult to believe there is a better way (Prov. 14:12). Even if we begin to intellectually understand the reality and complexity of our dysfunction that prevents us from healthy relationship with others, we often find that we cannot, of our own power, free ourselves from the sinful inclinations of our souls. Thankfully, our Father God does not expect us to gain freedom from the multitudinous layers of dysfunction that have developed within our souls, by relying entirely upon our own efforts.

    It is, instead, the recognition of our inability to effectively disengage from the judgmental patterns of the old nature and the protective behavioral mechanisms we have constructed in opposition to healthy intimacy with man and God, which brings the opportunity for real change by the power of God! This change occurs through our belief in and surrender to the process of repentance and sanctification, which are both ongoing works of the Holy Spirit within us (Rom. 2:28-29; 8:1-11; Phil. 1:6; 1 Thess. 5:23-24).

In the article Overcoming Foundational Root Judgments a working model is given for overcoming the specific root judgments that have formed in our lives and the sinful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that we have developed in reaction to personal offenses from our past. But before we can use the working model effectively, it will be necessary to clear up some of the common confusion surrounding repentance and sanctification.

Grace for Repentance is a Divine Gift that God Wants to Give

    Unfortunately, as a result of our predisposition toward a works-oriented, performance-bound mentality, we often misinterpret what is needed for the process of personal repentance and sanctification to occur. Our tendency is to try to work out our repentance and sanctification by depending primarily on our own efforts and understanding, instead of believing, trusting, and asking God to do this supernatural work within us, according to His understanding (Gal. 3:3-5).

Sometimes, in shame and exasperation, we erroneously believe that God has not freed us from our repetitive sin patterns because we have not felt bad enough about our sin, or we have not tried hard enough by our own efforts to become free (Eph.2:8-9). We often believe that if we could just feel ashamed enough about our sin, God would respond by empowering us to overcome the sin (Rom. 8:1; 10:11).

    But shame cannot purchase grace. Faith is the tool we must use to apprehend the power of God’s grace. Faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross and faith in Jesus’ resurrection power through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts to bring freedom to our souls. Ordinarily, we fail to comprehend this truth, because we have “fallen away from grace” through a persistent attitude of worldly self-reliance that has infiltrated our religious beliefs (Gal. 5:1-5).

    We must make every effort possible to avoid the e

ntanglements of sin in our lives, but we must also realize that we can never, solely by the efforts of our fleshly wills, come to full repentance. William Evans, in The Great Doctrines of the Bible states, “Repentance is not something which one can originate within himself, or can pump up within himself as one would pump water out of a well. It is a divine gift. How then is man responsible for not having it? We are called upon to repent in order that we may feel our own inability to do so, and consequently be thrown upon God to perform this work of grace in our hearts.”  
( Italics mine).

Relying on the Holy Spirit

    When we invite God to perform a work of grace unto repentance in our hearts, we will begin to experience a heartfelt sorrow over our sins. We will desire to turn away from the sinful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that we have developed in reaction to personal offenses from our past.

    But the next step on the journey to complete repentance, the one that we most commonly stumble over, is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, which occurs between our sorrow and our new godly behavior. The Holy Spirit, by the grace available to us through Christ Jesus, has the power to literally separate us from the ways of the old nature, which compelled us toward ungodly behavior in the past. 

       As Evans says: “The Holy Spirit seals, attests, and confirms the work of grace in the soul by producing the fruits of righteousness therein. It is the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus who gives us free-dom from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2). He is called the Holy Spirit, not only because He is absolutely holy Himself, but also because He produces that quality of soul character in the believer. The Spirit is the executive of the God-head for this very purpose. It is the Spirit’s work to war against the lusts of the flesh and enable us to bring forth fruit unto holiness.”  8  (Italics mine)

    If we do not actively believe in the Holy Spirit to do this work within us, we are missing out on the incredible power of grace that is available to us through our faith relationship with Christ. It is an important part of the foundation of both our salvation and ongoing sanctification. As scripture reveals,
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”
                                                                                         -Heb. 4:16

We Rest in His Finished Work

    When we repent of the sinful attitudes and behaviors that have developed in our lives, Christ’s finished work on the cross is made available to us by the active work of the Holy Spirit within us, in response to our dependence upon Him to do a sanctifying work of inner transformation. This is known as resting in the finished work of Christ. (Heb. 3:16-19; 4:8-11; John 19:30). Rest is rest! Transformation by our own efforts is not transformation at all. It is unbelief – trusting in self more than we trust in God. (See Heb. 4:11, 3:18-19; Isa. 30:1-15).

    The supernatural power for the transformation of our souls is not found in our own efforts and works. It is a work of the Holy Spirit:

    Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
                                                                                      -2 Cor 3:17,18

The Influence of Our Old Nature Rebels  Against Believing God

    Mankind’s complex performance-bound mentalities derived from the old nature, rebel against the simplicity of grace (Gal. 3:1-5 and 5:1-5). Believing on God to do for us supernaturally, what we cannot do for ourselves, is both humbling and seemingly too simplistic!

    We struggle with the concept of rest, because resting in the finished work of Christ demands an unconditional surrendering of our complex prideful self-determinations, which we have depended on throughout our lifetime.

    But that which we are unwilling to surrender will inevitably lead to a testing of the quality of our works, in which all that we have done through our own self-directed efforts will be burned up:
“his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames”
                                                                                             -1 Cor. 3:13-15

God Will Remove the Bitter Roots

    True freedom from the sinful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that have developed in our lives is accomplished by asking and believing on God to circumcise our heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, (“…and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code” Rom. 2:29) removing bitter roots (strongholds of judgment toward self and oth-ers) (Heb. 12:15), and severin

g the ungodly weeds (behavior and belief systems) which have grown up from these bitter roots. As God does this sanctifying work in us, we will then be able to experience the life of Christ in those previously dark, unforgiving, unrepentant areas of our heart.

     Apart from this reliance on the power of God we will find ourselves wandering through a spiritual desert, searching for rest, frustrated by our inability to gain freedom from our ungodly behavior patterns.
    When we finally surrender to the truth and invite the Holy Spirit to do this work of grace in our hearts, we will begin to experience the peace and joy, confidence, assurance, and fullness of life, which always result from an act of faith in the finished work of Christ.

Look again at Jesus’ words,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
                                                                                         -Matthew 11:28-30

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center

Call Toll Free: 1-877-702-2GOD



How Is Your Conscience?

How Is Your Conscience?

Everybody has a conscience, the reflective part of the mind it largely has to do with the past, but it can deal with the future in that we may project how we would feel if we do this or that. Mainly the conscience deals with the past. Our conscience is responsible for our joy or lack of joy.

The conscience was designed to be the human’s moral compass that detects the presence of evil. The conscience is as valuable as its training. It must correctly differentiate between good and evil to be of significant value to the person. Becoming a Christian commonly involves retraining a poorly trained conscience. The objective of this training is to make a Christian’s conscience aware of and sensitive to God’s standards and values. The Christian desires to yield to God’s perspectives rather than his/her own.

When a person acts consistently with his/her understanding of right or wrong, the conscience reacts positively. When a person violates his/her understanding of right and wrong, the conscience reacts negatively. Consciences react with no feeling if they are neglected or dead.

In one way the statement, “Let your conscience be your guide,” is correct. In another way, that statement is incorrect. The statement is correct if a person means, “I should be true in my actions to my standards and values.” The statement is incorrect if a person means, “My conscience defines my standards and values.”

The correctness or incorrectness of the statement is determined by one’s understanding of the role of conscience. If the person understands the conscience is reacting to his/her standards and values, the statement is correct. If the person thinks the conscience defines/produces standards and values, he/she is incorrect.

When a person violates his/her understanding of right and wrong, he/she has a “guilty conscience.” The conscience convicts that person of being wrong because he/she violated his/her standards or values. The conscience did not declare the person’s standards and values. The conscience declared a violation of the person’s standards or values.

The American culture has produced an increasingly “feeling” oriented society. A significant standard in determining if an attitude or act is right or wrong, good or bad is how that attitude or act “feels” to the person. Good “feelings” commonly confirms something is right.

Every Christian should be maturing in his/her understanding of God and His purposes. Each Christian is growing in his/her understanding that surrender to God involves much more than “blind obedience” to a religious system or a personal theological perspective. As a result of that understanding, his/her conscience is continually growing and maturing. That growth and understanding often involves growing beyond past positions of conscience. This is not a matter of searing the conscience but of maturing the conscience.

First, right and wrong or good and bad are strictly individual determinations. If it “feels” good then it is good–even if it “feels” bad to others. Thus the cry becomes, “Do not judge me!” which often means do not evaluate my “feelings” by your “feelings.” Many firmly believe there is no absolute right and wrong or absolute good and bad. Everything is both good and bad or right and wrong depending on the circumstances of the individual.

Note the use of “my feelings” to determine right and wrong or good and bad is often a justification of a personal behavior/position. Appealing only to feeling allows the person to focus on personal justification to the exclusion of person evaluation.

Second, if an attitude or action does not violate “my” conscience, it cannot be wrong or bad. Stated in another way, if the attitude or action “feels” good or right then it has to be good or right. In many instances, “feeling” is the ultimate consideration. The “certain proof” something is wrong is a “bad feeling.”

To many American individuals (as frequently is true in other modern societies), the ultimate criteria for determining right or wrong and good and bad is personal feelings. It is rapidly reaching the point that something does not have to “feel good” for it to be right; it just does not have to feel bad. Thus, if “my” conscience does not react against something, it has to be right. This situation creates numerous ironies. One of many illustrations: A person can be so opposed to abortion that he/she classifies it as murder because it takes a life. Yet, he/she can take the life of someone who makes abortion possible, and without “feeling” it is wrong. Thus, by appealing to a powerful feeling, one is justified in his/her own opinion in preventing “murder by abortion” by intentionally “murdering.”

Good choices and decisions come from good standards and values. Godly consciences come from good choices and decisions based on good standards and values. A good choice and a good decision is determined by the results of the choice and decision years later, not by one’s feelings at the moment of the choice or decision. Often choices and decisions of great value do not feel good at the moment of choice. Often choices and decisions of horrible consequence feel wonderful at the moment of choice or decision. The issue often is NOT “how do I feel at the moment of choice,” but what is the continuing result of the choice.

Lesson one: because something “feels” right and good does not make it right and good.

Lesson two: if one’s standards and values are incorrect, his/her conscience will be misguided.

Lesson three: one’s conscience is no more reliable than the standards and values that train his/her conscience.

Lesson four: a conscience is a good conscience only if it is reliably trained by good standards and values.

Lesson five: it is possible to have right motives and wrong understanding at the same moment.

Lesson six: culture’s standards frequently serve as poor standards for training a conscience.

Training a conscience is only to be entrusted to God, the Father of Jesus whom He made Christ. God’s standards and values must become the person’s standards and values. Thus, developing a good and godly conscience is a lifetime journey, not an earthly destiny. As the person spiritually matures in Christ, standards and values constantly undergo development. The conscience constantly changes through development as one’s standards and values mature in Jesus Christ. Developing a godly conscience is a lifetime undertaking.

The feelings of a conscience can be trusted to be right only when a person is certain his/her standards and values are God’s standards and values. As a person matures in God’s ways and priorities, his/her standards and values mature. As standards and values mature, the conscience changes.

The cultural swings in this society in less than one life span are dramatic. We have gone from a society that inhibited emotion to a society that feeds on emotion. In the mid-twentieth century, a woman endured significant social consequences if she had a child outside of marriage. Today there are unmarried men and women who deliberately have a child outside of marriage. In the mid-twentieth century it was not unusual for sexual activity and expression to be repressed even in marriage. Now sexual activity and expression are at least sanctioned and at most encouraged prior to marriage. Alienation in marriages, divorce, single parent homes, blended families, and life styles are much too frequently the result of an individual’s “feelings.”

Within the Bible it is easy to pick out 4 types of conscience. They are:

1. A Seared Conscience

2. An Untrained Conscience

3. A Weak Conscience
4. A Biblical Trained Conscience

1. The Seared Conscience-

The seared conscience is a conscience that has been activated by biblical truth but, is no longer activated by biblical criteria. The conscience has no guilty feelings, see nor see any need for excusing what they do. It is this conscience that blasphemes the Holy Spirit. 1 Tim 4:2
2. The Untrained Conscience-

The untrained conscience has never been activated by biblical truth. Therefore those with untrained consciences do not have or have very few guilt feelings, they don’t make excuses for what they do since they don’t know the biblical way in doing things. The conscience is these folks can be remedied by being taught and trained in biblical truth. This conscience can be easily led to depression by reacting improperly to life’s issues.
Rom 1-3
3. The Weak Conscience-

The weak conscience is activated by non biblical criteria. A weak conscience produces guilt feelings for the wrong reasons. These folks could have good standards they live by but have idols in their heart. They may do things for acceptance by God, to be accepted by the Church, to be loved by mom or dad, or in order to get something from God since that “bargained with Him. This conscience can and often is easily led to depression by reacting improperly to life’s issues.
Rom 14:1,2,23
4. A Biblical Conscience-

These folks have a conscience activated by biblical truth. They have proper guilt feelings for the right reasons when they do wrong and sin. They are in the proper position to handle guilt and problems God’s way. These are the people inthe Church that have grown and are called “spiritual” by the Apostle Paul. (Gal 6:1)
2 Tim 3:16-17, 1 Tim. 1:5

May God grant us to have a biblically functional conscience by then grace, illumination and dynamic power of the Holy Spirit.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center

Christian Counselor

As a Christian Counselor

As a Christian Counselor, I base my philosophy of counseling on the passage in Romans that tells us how to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds”.
How do we do this?

Philipians 4 tells us to
1)not be anxious, but to take our requests to God,
2)focus our minds on positive things,
3) learn to be content in life, and
4) praise God for everything.

God then promises us
1) he will guard our heart and minds,
2) He will give us strength for the task,
3) He will give us peace.

To transfer this head knowledge of the scriptures to heart knowledge we need to put these things into practice. Often our relationship with God has been distorted by many of life’s circumstances. I want to help my clients see the truth about God as He reveals himself in scripture. Furthermore, it is my hope that as God see you through your suffering He will heal you and use you to bring honor and glory to Himself and to use you according to his good purposes.

You might ask, “What if I don’t want any of that religious stuff?” I can assure you, you will not get any preaching or sermons unless you ask direct questions about the spiritual side of an issue. I will meet you where you are at in your spiritual journey.
I believe that everyone needs a little help from time to time in this journey of life. I try to learn form everything that happens to me in life. I believe God is using me in His work to bring help and hope to people He brings to my office. I am a trained professional clinician and provide scripturally sound counseling in a safe, non-judgmental and respectful environment.

Differences between Christian / Biblical Coaching and Secular Coaching

There are many differences but primary is the underlying foundation. Secular coaching is humanistic and relies on the client’s self-imposed goals. Christian coaching is Christ-centered. Within Christian coaching, there is a three-way relationship between client, coach and Holy Spirit. Secular coaching involves a two-way relationship between coach and client. Many Christian coaches have found it frustrating to work with secular programs and secularly accredited Christian programs because of the high infiltration of new age philosophies. You won’t find that here at Young Adult Crisis Hotline. The bible distinctly tells us to seek only the counsel of other Christians. It is important to note though, that while we offer Christian Coach training and certification, the techniques learned are also applicable with secular clients. Seek Him first and God will lead those to you, who need what you have to offer.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center