These words were written as an encouragement from an older minister to a younger one. This minister was one who for sure struggled with keeping a "good conscious". We know he did because he was pretty open about it throughout his letters. This older man was Paul, and he was ministering and prepping Timothy for continuing the Lord's work. I love how he encourages Timothy with these powerful words, "fight the good fight!". I love even more how he includes two things that would be included in that fight, "holding to faith and a good conscious."
What would the opposite of a "good conscious" be? It is something we girls know really well, dare I say better than maybe Tim did. That is, feeling a guilty conscious instead. I think this is referring to things that cause our spirit to feel guilty, when we really aren't. This isn't the kind of reforming, repentant guilt that can be beneficial to our relationship with God, but the kind that we fight off.
You know that I mean? I'm talking about the kind of guilt that chokes us; the kind that we can name at a moments notice. I'm talking about the kind that haunts mothers of little ones while they sleep, and the kind that mothers whose kids have left home lose sleep over. This is the kind of guilt that gives us heartburn and brings tears to our eyes.
I asked my Facebook friends what causes them to feel guilty. I always find these questions so interesting because not only can I count on a good number of responses, but because I can find myself in each one of their confessions. I see myself in each heavy heart that shares what burdens of guilt they carry.
Here are a few of them. See if you can relate...
I feel guilty over my adult childrens' choices sometimes
Losing my patience with my kids.
I feel guilty when I don't do enough for everyone
Wish I was more intentional with my kids
Not keeping my house clean/ caught up with chores
I feel guilty that I'm not present where I need to be
Not saying "yes" to all of those good deeds/needs
I feel guilty for acknowledging that I need to do something for me
I feel guilty I can't be me
Not spending enough intentional time with God
Not knowing what the best decision is regarding priorities
Not having the house picked up when my husband gets home
I demand perfection from my kid, sometimes knowing full well they cannot achieve it
Ever feel this way...
If I'm still, I ought to be moving....if I'm moving, I'm not being relational...if I'm doing chores, have I chosen the ones that are most important for today? If I'm taking a break to slow down, am I using the time I have by being at home in the best way?
I feel guilty even when I'm doing good things because I'm not doing other good things
And, after all of us share, we feel guilty for feeling guilty, don't we?!
We are a mess of guilty feelings. Those come easy. They are right there, punches from the enemy. These things, and many more are like strong right hooks that Satan uses to drain us of our resources so that we don't have enough to fight back with.
But, we have to fight like God's girls y'all! We can't let the enemy convince us that we are so much less than we are. We can't let him distract us from the good we are doing. We can't take our sight away from what good work we have succeeded at, and work we have done well. One of my favorite encouragements lately, has been when a woman of God says to me, "You are doing exactly what God needs to be doing." And, for most of us that is right! If we are striving to be God's women (yes, of COURSE you could strive more - We all could!), if we love Him the most (yes, of course do you could more to show that! ..we all could!), if we love our children with the unconditional love that is God-injected into our hearts (our mistakes don't change that!) and if we are truly desiring to be the wives, friends, sisters and mothers that God wants us to be... then we are doing just what God needs us to be doing.
You are doing just what God needs you to be doing, sis.
Punch Satan in the face. Fight like God's girl. Don't be beat down by guilt.
Listen to this, "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions (i.e., love on those babies, grand babies, husbands, homes. Do what you do in love), and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence (i.e., NOT feel guilty when our heart tells us to!) whenever our hearts condemns us (NOTE: your heart doesn't always tell the truth!). For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything (including the desires of your heart, and the desire you have to be everything He wants to be.)" 1 John 3:18-20
Fight like God's girls. Fight a good fight for that good conscious. Timothy struggled with holding that guilty conscious at bay, and he ain't got nothing on us!