Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Do you have a conscience that is clear before God and all men? If not, what do you need to do to get a clear conscience? Would you wave the white flag of surrender and say, “Yes, Lord”?

First, seek God’s forgiveness, because all sin is first against a holy God.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, November 1. Here’s Nancy, continuing in a series called Seeking Him: Discovering the Joy of Personal Revival.

Nancy: Over the last couple of days, we’ve had a chance to hear a testimony from Rick Lawson on this whole principle of a clear conscience and how transformational that principle was in his life.

I would say this is a principle that will be transformational in anyone’s life. Today, I want to take some time to read to you some other illustrations, things people have written to share with me about how God has used this principle of a clear conscience in their lives.

I’ve selected several illustrations that relate to a variety of types of circumstances, and I hope this will give you a better idea of how this principle might be applied in different situations.

For example, I received an email from one of our Revive Our Hearts partners who had heard me speak on the subject of a clear conscience. She wrote to say:

I realized after listening to this program my need to deal with a neighbor whom I have not loved as I ought. I prayed for an opportunity to talk with him. (I was shaking at even the thought because of my fear of this man.)

The Lord quickly answered my prayer this morning as we were both taking out the trash. I asked for his forgiveness for my hard heart toward him. He was bowled over by the apology and felt like I did not even need to make one.

I said that my heart had been hard toward him, and I knew that. I told him I had sinned against him by my hardness of heart, even though it wasn’t evident to him that I was withholding anything. I was superficially friendly, but underneath, I knew I had a root of bitterness developing.

We had an amazing conversation. There’s much more to the story, but I think the peacemaking has begun. Thanks for encouraging me, Nancy, to do the biblical thing and have a clear conscience toward this man and God. I know the Lord was glorified.

That woman touched on some key aspects of why it’s important to have a clear conscience. She said, “I know that God will be glorified,” and that’s really what it’s all about.

In this situation, she said, “The peacemaking has begun.” That’s what God wants, for us to be at peace with Him and then to be right with every other person.

Another woman attended a Revive Our Hearts conference, where I talked about the importance of having a clear conscience, and she wrote afterwards to say:

You mentioned how physical pain is sometimes directly related to spiritual pain.

I have had an awful neck ache since I came to your conference and learned about healing relationships and so on. Well, I finally wrote a letter to someone I needed to ask forgiveness from, and my neck pain is gone. Praise the Lord!

Now, I can’t guarantee you that if you clear your conscience, every ache and pain you have will be gone, but I have experienced in my own life even the physical benefits of having a conscience that is clear.

Here’s another letter from a woman who says:

Last week you spoke of clearing the conscience and making things right with those we have wronged. You challenged us to listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and to act upon those convictions.

I wept even before you were finished speaking, as I knew God was calling me to go to my very best friend and ask her forgiveness for a lie I had told her over nine years ago. I thought about it all day long—how I would do it, how much I knew God was the one calling me to do this—and I clung to the promises you shared with listeners about the freeing and cleansing power that making myself right before God and my friend would provide.

That night, nearly drowning in tears of sorrow and remorse, I emailed my best friend, who now lives in Canada, and I told her about your program and how I needed to ask her forgiveness.

My confession was of a personal nature, about whether I was pure at the time of my wedding, and I had lied to her in fear of losing her friendship. I was ashamed of myself, and I thought she would surely be disgusted with me for my sexual sin if she knew the truth.

I thought she would think I was someone too sinful to hang out with any longer, so I lied. For more than nine long years, Satan has tormented me with this lie, telling me that confessing to her would hurt her too deeply; and on the day I confessed, Satan tried to tell me that confessing now would endanger the unborn child she was carrying. “Liar!” I exclaimed, as I told the devil to get away from me.

The best part came just yesterday, when my dear, sweet friend wrote back. She too wept, but out of compassion for the pain this lie had caused me; for not expressing her love to me enough that I would know her love was unconditional, no matter what; and because she knew how powerfully God was working in my life to convict me to ask her forgiveness.

She wept also because of my sin, but everything she had to say was love, love, and more love. I pray God will use my past sins and this liberating experience to help me minister for His kingdom. The difficulty of making myself right with God and others was totally worth it!!!

And then she has three exclamation points, and I would surely agree. And then here’s one that was sent to me from someone who was on the Revive Our Hearts team.

Last summer, as our team gathered together for our annual staff revival week, God put His finger of conviction in this woman’s heart and prompted her that there was something she needed to deal with.

At the end of that week, this staff member wrote a letter to the Christian college she had attended several years ago. She sent me a copy of that letter once she had mailed it, along with the response she received, and here’s an excerpt of what she wrote. She said to the school:

I took one of your courses, College Algebra [and she named the year]. It was the most difficult course I had during my return to school to complete my degree as an adult.

I have struggled with this letter for some time. God has convicted me over and over again, reminding me that there is no rest for those who willingly disobey Him. There’s no easy way for me to say this, so I will just be transparent and honest.

On one of the quizzes, the one right before the final, I cheated. I looked back into the book to review the process before I answered some of the questions, which I’m sure was prohibited.

I recently returned from a revival week with Revive Our Hearts, and during that time, God’s hand of conviction was heavy on my heart, for all this time, I’ve been saying, “No one will ever know,” and, “It was such a little thing.”

But God knew, and no sin is little in God’s sight. The unrest over these months and years has been dreadful. Intimacy with God has been damaged, and even when I taught a women’s Sunday school class, the enemy of my soul shouted, “You hypocrite! How can you teach these women about peace with God when you are in such turmoil yourself?”

As I write these words now, I realize that fear of man has motivated not only my sinful choice [to cheat] but much of my life. Fear of man has caused cowardice in my life, as well as dishonesty, in this case, and selfishness in other situations.

I have come to realize that everything flows from the presence of God. Without a sense of that presence, I would be easy prey for Satan’s devices, and more than anything, I want a clear conscience.

I was an A student and proud of it. It wasn’t like I was failing in College Algebra and needed to cheat. I simply wanted others to think that I was excelling at math, too. Foolishly, I accepted Satan’s idea of success.

Of course, God’s idea of success is far different. This has been a hard lesson for me to follow, but since God changed my heart last week, my focus has been on faithfulness and pleasing my Father in Heaven, whether I receive the accolades of man or not.

As a matter of repentance and obedience to God, I humbly admit my sin to you and ask for your forgiveness and mercy. I realize that you may need to take some action regarding this, and I will accept your decision as from the Lord.

And then she signed her letter. Now, as you might imagine, this was not an easy letter for my friend to send. In fact, she said, “When I got home from our staff revival week, I struggled for days.”

She said, “I wrote the letter to the school, then carried it around with me in a stamped envelope for two days in my purse, until God reminded me that fear of man would not be broken until I obeyed.”

By the time she wrote to share with me this letter—and the school’s response, as well, which was so very gracious—she was so free in her spirit, so thankful that she had obeyed God in what many would consider a little matter. But this had become a big matter in her relationship with the Lord.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit convicts of us seemingly little things that we need to confess and for which we need to seek the forgiveness of others, and then sometimes there can be some huge issues, and clearing the conscience can be costly.

I want to share with you a portion of a letter we received from an inmate who has been listening to Revive Our Hearts and has been deeply impacted through this ministry. He wrote to share about God dealing with his life in this area. He says:

I met Christ and was powerfully turned around for three years before I had an ugly and drastic fall. During that year of disobedience, I went to prison for crimes I committed for drug money.

Over these years I have fought with a certain decision, until there was absolutely no peace. I wrote a letter to a friend explaining the situation and asked him if what I was thinking was right.

Then I began searching the Word to find out what it had to say about restitution. You see, I had committed four other crimes in Florida that I never got caught for, and the Spirit had been prompting me to turn myself in.

But I rationalized—even thought I was going crazy. Well, after studying biblical restitution and the spirit behind those commands, I came to the conclusion that it really was the Spirit prompting me to do this.

This was confirmed by the friend to whom I had written asking for advice. So, finally, I sent a full confession of four crimes—they were robberies—to the district attorney in [city].

Not only this, but I confessed crimes in Missouri and one in Texas that I committed ten years before I became a Christian. I am convinced that faith, obedience, and righteousness require this of me. I believe I have heard from the Lord, and it was confirmed through His Word and a godly Christian man.

Since I have confessed my crimes, I have had the greatest peace in my heart. I’m not worried over the future, as I know that God will be glorified in this somehow.

At the time of writing this letter, he still had not heard back as to how the authorities were going to handle this situation, and he went on to say in his letter:

It’s possible that I may receive a life sentence, but I am prepared to face this. Still, I hope that God will be glorified in my deliverance from this possibility.

I do know that no matter what happens, I have only one goal: No matter where I am, my goal is to glorify God through the ministry of the gospel.

“He has put a new song in my mouth, praise to our God. Many will see it and fear and will trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3).

Now, it takes trust in the Lord to make that kind of confession when the consequences could be so very significant, but here’s a man saying, “I want to do whatever it takes to be right with God and with others and to believe that God will be glorified through that confession.”

I want to close by sharing a few testimonies we received from a church where I had the privilege of ministering along with one of the Life Action Ministries teams several years ago. God moved in that extended period of revival meetings, what we call a Revival Summit, in an extraordinary way.

Over a period of several weeks, we were privileged to see God stirring in the hearts of His people, many of them clearing their consciences of past offenses. One man wrote and shared this testimony following that time of revival in his church. He says:

I was doing great and enjoying the revival immensely, until the night the preacher preached on holiness. That night, God began to pull the cover off of some sins I had suppressed for years.

During the next few days, as I listened to the messages on clear conscience and bitterness, I was under deep conviction.

One night I went home and fell on my face before God, but there was no answer. I cried out to God; still no answer. I finally fell asleep; still no answer.

The next thing I realized, the dog was barking. I got up to let him in, and as I did, I noticed it was 3:00 a.m. I remembered that during this revival, God had been waking many about this time, so I started praying.

No sooner had I hit the couch in prayer than God gave me seven names of people from whom I needed to seek forgiveness. I awakened my wife and told her that God had shown me what I needed to do to clear up my sin and set me free.

I decided I would wait until morning, but as I walked back to the couch, God’s Holy Spirit prompted me, “Do it now.” At 3:40 a.m. I was in the car headed for I-74. On the list was were my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, my wife’s sister, a pastor, my brother and his wife, and a friend of my wife [and he lists all the different cities in Indiana and Illinois where these people were located].

At 6:00 a.m. Indiana time, I drove by my in-laws’ trailer. It was dark, so I went to a motel to call them so I wouldn’t scare them. Then I went to their trailer and asked them for forgiveness for the hurt I had caused, going back 13 years.

I then called my wife’s sister, who was unsaved, to ask her forgiveness for the hurt I caused her years ago. Little did I realize I had been a stumbling block to keep her from coming to Christ for all those years.

I then went to my brother and sister-in-law’s to ask them for forgiveness for the hurt I’d caused them when I left their church as a new Christian.

The pastor was next. I was afraid he would condemn me, but God had shown me His presence so far, and I knew He would again.

We sat down, and I asked for forgiveness. The pastor was forgiving and was so sweet in spirit. I then traveled back to my home area and asked forgiveness from my wife’s friend. Immediately, I was set free.

I bawled like a baby for the first time in a long time. Since that day, my life, which I had thought was okay, has changed radically. My conscience is clear, my spirit is free, and Christ is living His life through me.

Another person in that same meeting said:

My parents divorced when I was six, and I saw my father three or four times a year. My dad drank a lot, and as a result, I felt shame and feelings of rejection.

After I got married I never saw my dad, even though we live in the same town. Then, when my children came, I didn’t care to see Dad because I didn’t want his negative influence in my children’s lives. He never called us, and I never tried to see him.

When we began dealing with pride and clear conscience, God convicted me that I should forgive my dad and seek his forgiveness. I resisted at first.

It had been eight years since I had seen my dad, but I finally went to him because I didn’t want to stop God’s working in my life. Daddy received me with open arms, and the thing I feared most—his drinking—has been gone from his life for three years. Isn’t God good!

I also have a younger sister, who I’ve not seen for seven years. I asked her forgiveness for years of hurt and bitterness. I don’t know how God will lead our lives, but the lines of communication are open, and the bitterness is gone.

Here’s a report that the pastor of this church wrote to share what God had done in that congregation over those weeks. He said:

As God worked to convict and cleanse hearts, people began to realize that it was impossible to be right with God and not be right with one another.

The emphasis of the first week of this meeting was on having a pure heart before God. Much of the second week focused on having a clear conscience before men. God’s people committed themselves to make right the offenses of the past in their homes, in the body of Christ, and in the community.

Many were set free from years of unresolved conflict and bitterness as they humbled themselves, confessed their wrong, and sought forgiveness. Restitution was made for sins committed 20–30 years ago.

One man drove to a store to pay for a toy gun he had stolen as a young man. Another man told how, as a teenager, he had painted his name on three local churches. He went back and sought forgiveness.

One man was a fugitive of the law and faced felony charges in two countries. He came under conviction, and he’s in the process of dealing with his past and making restitution.

A pastor from a nearby community relayed how he had been trying to witness to a man for some time, but the man was bitter toward Christians and refused to listen. As a result of the revival, one man who had defrauded this lost man of approximately $1600 went to him, asked his forgiveness, paid him over $600 dollars and worked out a schedule to pay back the balance.

The lost man went to the pastor who had tried to witness to him and said, “What’s going on? What has happened? This man is telling me that God has been doing a work in his life.”

We saw people whose sin had affected the whole church take responsibility for their sins, stand before the church, confess their sin, and seek forgiveness from the church. Some of the sweetest outpourings of love took place as the church eagerly forgave them and rushed in to restore them.

One of the greatest public demonstrations of this revival was the night 30–40 people in our church traveled across town to another church that had split off ten years prior, to ask forgiveness for their bitterness, wrong responses, and pride.

The man who was the chairman of our deacon board at the time of the split stood before that congregation and quietly, humbly, brokenly sought forgiveness on his own behalf and on behalf of our entire church.

He told how he had lived a life for all these years going through all the motions of Christianity but inwardly filled with pride, anger, and resentment. He said, “In the midst of all that turmoil, I never once suggested that we pray together and seek God for healing, wisdom, and grace.”

That night, grown men who had avoided each other for years ended up in each other’s arms, weeping and expressing love and forgiveness.

One of the deacons from the other church said that for ten years he had refused to drive down the street where one of our deacons lived. One of the first things he did the day after God set him free from his bitterness and brought about reconciliation was to drive up and down the street where that brother lived.

The impact of this incident on the community and on the families involved is still being felt. Tears of grief, brokenness, and repentance were replaced with tears of overflowing joy and love, as barriers of guilt, selfishness, and pride were torn down between God’s people.

Well, I think you can sense from these illustrations the incredible importance and power of God’s people having a clear conscience. Not only does a clear conscience give us peace and joy and freedom; not only does it allow us to have reconciled relationships, but the potential to impact lost people around us is enormous.

Just imagine what would happen if all of God’s people who are listening to this program today would take seriously the challenge to obtain and maintain a clear conscience. I don’t know how God may be speaking to your heart, but I’m confident that over these last several minutes, the Holy Spirit of God has been bringing conviction to many, many hearts.

Has God pointed out something in your life? Maybe it happened nine years ago. Maybe it seems like it was just a little thing. Maybe it was a huge thing. Maybe it’s a broken relationship, something you’ve stolen, someone to whom you’ve lied, some broken relationship that needs to be reconciled.

Let me just ask again this question that we’ve been pondering this week in our Seeking Him series: Do you have a conscience that is clear before God and all men? If not, what do you need to do to get a clear conscience? Would you wave the white flag of surrender and say, “Yes, Lord”?

  • First, seek God’s forgiveness, because all sin is first against a holy God.
  • Then say, “Lord, the first chance you give me, I’ll go back to that person or to those individuals, and I will confess what I’ve done.
  • I’ll seek their forgiveness, and I’ll make it right”

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray. I don’t usually say this, but feel free to turn the radio off while I talk if you need to immediately make something right with someone else. Don’t let anything, even us, stand in the way of having a clear conscience before God and others.

When God’s people make things right with each other, He gets great glory. It’s exciting to think about how today’s program could bring reconciliation between people in honor to God. It fits with the mission of Revive Our Hearts: helping women find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

Would you consider helping us fulfill that mission by donating to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts? When you send your donation, we’ll say thanks by sending the 2008 Revive Our Hearts wall calendar. This year it’s called “Prayers from the Heart.”

Nancy wrote a series of prayers, and each month, one is displayed. You’ll look forward to flipping the pages each month to find out what prayer of blessing Nancy has for you and to see how the artwork changes month to month.

See what it looks like by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also ask for “Prayers from the Heart” when you donate by phone. Call 800-569-5959.

Even pastors who teach about having a clear conscience sometimes need to clear their conscience. Discover that tomorrow from some wise, godly men and women who will lead us in prayer for revival.

Nancy: O Lord, how I pray that in the days ahead, You would be glorified and relationships would be reconciled and lost people would be pointed to the reality of the Christian life, as Your people all across this country begin to get a clear conscience.

May forgiveness and grace and mercy flow as we obey You in this matter. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.