I used to like to watch the Flip Wilson Show. For those of you who are wondering who Flip Wilson was, he was a popular comedian in the 70’s. He had a comedy skit show on TV in which he played a number of different characters, like the Reverend Leroy (pastor of “The Church of What’s Happenin’ Now“). Another popular character was Geraldine Jones! Flip based this character on an old girlfriend and transformed himself into Geraldine by donning a dress, some strategically placed padding and working his voice into a falsetto which still sounded a bit husky for a female. But the audiences would go crazy for Geraldine and her famous line.
“The devil made me do it,” was the cry.
And the audience would howl it’s approval. After all, what a great excuse! It’s not my fault. I had to do it. The devil made me do it.
God made man with a conscience. The conscience monitors (warns of or instructs about) the rightness or wrongness of attitudes that are taking shape or of actions that we are about to carry out. I have seen it in my children first hand. I watch as they do something even though they know that it is wrong. They are always trying to test my limits. Their conscience tells them that they are about to do wrong but they lack the discipline not to do it.
The Holy Spirit is our helper in these situations. As Christians, we can lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation and follow rightness. In fact, we can say that our conscience speaks to us under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Our conscience can also become corrupt. Before his conversion, Paul was very conscientious in his wrong conduct. He thought he was doing the right thing. He had adopted a wrong interpretation of the Old Testament and his conscience witnessed on the basis of that interpretation, and it led him astray. That is why later, after his conversion, when he was accused, he said in Acts 24:16, “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”
We need to always be on guard that our conscience does not become corrupt. If we strive like Paul to always keep our conscience clear before God and man, then the Holy Spirit can and will influence our conscience to guide us toward rightness.
Let your cry be, “The Holy Spirit made me do it!”
And the deacons said “Amen!” Thank you Reverand Leroy!