For that reason I make it my settled aim always to have a clear conscience before God and all people.
The language here is that Paul “takes great pains” to have a clear conscience before God and people.
I’ve been thinking of this a lot this week in my own prayer of examination at the end of each day, going through all the WHYs of everything I’ve done and thought throughout the day. It can be daunting for sure, yet mercifully liberating.
As followers of Christ, it is our aim to take on the mind of Christ—to more and more think the way Jesus actually thinks. This, I believe, is to become purer and purer in heart, seeing God, others, and even ourselves, ever more clearly through the lens of God’s love.
I believe we can get to the point in which our first and dominating thought that goes through our head in every personal encounter is our desire for and the seeking to bring about the ultimate good for the person in front of us, no matter what.
This mindset will not be attained without taking great pains to rigorously examine one’s motives, conscience, actions, thought life…
If it is not your settled aim to have a clear conscience before God, and a pure heart toward all people, then the chances of it happening are extremely small.
Even Paul, who was pretty literally “zapped by the Light”, had to work diligently, intentionally to put on the mind of Christ. Yes, the Holy Spirit will assist us in this, but typically does not do all the work for us.
Here is another example of the prayer of examination.