Guest Posts

Guest Post: A Woman in Seminary Training: A Personal Story

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in my “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat about it.

Note from Michelle: I’m hoping Kim’s super guest post will inspire some of you ladies to consider seminary. For my thoughts on women attending or teaching at a seminary, click here and here.

A Woman in Seminary Training: A Personal Story
by: Kim Arnold

Why should women attend seminary? I hear this question posed often, and as a current seminarian myself, I have many responses. The purpose of this post is to share my own experience while encouraging other women in possibly attending seminary themselves. If you are a woman who is in a position of leadership over women or children, then I encourage you to seek wise, biblical training, whether that is through seminary or other in-depth theological instruction.

I have been in a seminary PhD program for over two years now, and here are three reasons why I think women should pursue seminary degrees.

1. You get to sit under orthodox theological teaching at the highest level. For my entire first semester, I felt like I was drinking water from a fire hose! After my first week of classes my husband handed me his pocket dictionary of theological terms because I had been scrambling to understand the words my professors were using. I constantly referenced that little book in every class until I became familiar with “seminary terminology.” I felt like I barely kept my head above water that entire first semester, but you know what? By the grace of God, I survived. And not only did I survive, but God started shaping my heart and mind toward him in ways that possibly would not have occurred outside the depth of the seminary classroom.

Here is an example of how a typical class has gone for me: my professor opens with the reading of a Psalm, and then he prays for our class and the discussion on which we are about to embark. After he prays, we spend time discussing the texts we read over the week, solidifying our own beliefs as he wisely leads the discussion. My particular program has classes that meet for 2.5 hours, once a week, so we have time to delve deep into specific topics. As we then go through the next six days between classes, we meditate on God’s Word and constantly examine where our texts draw specifically from Scripture. We write research papers for every seminar, so we spend time studying the Bible deeply, as well as commentaries and other historical research documents.  

This combination of Scripture, prayer, meditation, and research at such a deep level allows for our entire being (mind, will, and affections) to be molded to Christ, from which we then teach others.

2. You make like-minded friends. Even though my program includes attending classes online (we were using Zoom before it was cool), I have made some dear friends from all over the country. I told my husband during my first semester, “I found my people!” God has allowed me to meet other men and women that serve him daily, and lead from a similar theological position as me. Knowing that these people exist outside of my own bubble helps me know that I am not alone, and we all cheer each other on as we apply in our daily lives what we learn in the classroom.

On this note, do not underestimate the influence of professors and fellow seminarians on your spiritual journey. Be diligent in seeking wise, biblical counsel in where you should attend seminary. Research your primary professors and know their biblical stances on specific topics related to your degree. You want to be faithful in your preparation to attend seminary so you can be taught accurate theology. This cannot be emphasized enough. Throughout the course of your study, your professors will (hopefully) lead you in wise, biblical education, and the friends you make along the way will also help shape your thinking on important biblical issues. As the author of the book of Proverbs mentions the importance of acquiring knowledge and understanding, and how it begins with the fear of the Lord (1:29, 2:5, 3:7, 8:13, 9:10, 19:23), so the seminarian responds appropriately with seeking discernment (1:5, 3:21, 14:6, 17:24, 18:15), heeding wisdom (2:1, 4:13), seeking understanding (2:3, 4:5, 8:14, 19:8, 23:12, 28:5), and guarding his heart (4:23, 21:2). 

3. You prepare to the best of your ability, so that you can lead other women in the disciple-making process. I cannot begin to tell you how my mind, will, and affections have changed since I’ve been a seminarian. I have been challenged and encouraged in my faith every step of the way. My professors have made me define my exact beliefs on specific issues, which has helped me teach other women with confidence, and even helped me defend my position when it has come against opposition. If you are going to teach the Bible to women and children, you must be trained for the task set before you. Just like the Levites had to train to serve the Lord in worship, so women need to train for teaching God’s Word to other women and children. Training does not necessarily need to come from attending seminary! Michelle offers many valuable resources in knowing how to discern a true Bible teacher, from whom we can grow in our theology. From my experience, seminary has also provided me with a deep theological foundation so I can know specific truths while I continue to work out my own faith every day.

One last note on my personal story. When I started my seminary program, I was teaching at a local Christian liberal arts university. In May of 2020, the university decided to close their School of Music, leaving me halfway through a degree and no longer employed. I have asked myself many times why I am continuing to pay for a degree, especially when I no longer have a full-time job in the field. Here is my answer to that question: I want to be fully equipped to teach in any capacity (church, higher ed, etc.) when the opportunity arises. I think theologically trained women are in need in all areas right now, especially in teaching our younger generations. I obviously have no idea where God will lead my family in the future, but I can help lead and educate others with confidence wherever I am because I have sat under biblically sound professors at seminary.

The seminary journey may seem daunting to many women, exciting to others, and possibly unimportant to some. I encourage you to examine the areas in which you serve and see if seminary training would be helpful for you. As I have emphasized, women and children in our churches are in desperate need of theologically trained leaders. Many seminaries offer everything from certificate programs to doctorates, with many online options available today. Take some time to see what could be helpful in your own disciple-making process!

If you have any questions from this post, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any other female seminarian with similar views. We would love to help you through the process!


Kim has been married to her husband, Jason, for 21 years, and they have one son. Jason is an executive pastor and holds two seminary degrees himself, so Kim has experienced life as a seminarian, and as the wife of one. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Church Music and Worship from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and enjoys teaching women in her church. When not reading or writing, Kim enjoys hiking with her husband and son, or playing with her family’s new labradoodle puppy! Check out Kim’s blog, and follow her on social media at Acceptable Worship.

Guest Posts

Guest Post: Why Not Yoga?

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in my “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat about it.

Why Not Yoga?
by Michal Russo

Most people in the world are familiar with, or have at least heard of, “yoga”. Whether it’s simply wearing yoga pants, or actually practicing and teaching, the notion is widespread and accepted as a pillar of wellness and spirituality. A practice that is often referred to as uniting the mind, body, and soul through asana (poses) and pranayama (breathing techniques) has evolved widely over the centuries. Beginning with ancient times and pre-classical yoga, all the way through modern day westernized schools of “yoga”. However, one thing remains the same, and that is: it’s all deeply rooted in connecting your spirit to other spirits.

First let’s make sure we fully understand, and agree, on what yoga truly is.

What is yoga?

The origin and the name of the word “yoga” dates back to roughly 5,000 years ago and comes from two sanskrit roots: (1) yujir and (2) yuj, with its first mention coming in the Rig Veda, an ancient and sacred text used by the Brahmans, or Vedic Priests. The Veda used the word ‘yoga’ with the meaning of ‘yoking’, ‘joining’, ‘coming together’ and ‘connection’. These priests were considered mystic seers, and they documented their beliefs in a collection of hundreds of scriptures called The Upanishads, culminating in the Bhagavad-Gîtâ around 500 B.C.E. They went on to become the very foundations for Hinduism, and Yoga.

Now, many will argue that over time, and most especially in the Western World, Yoga has lost this yoke, or connection, to the religion, or spirituality.

B.K.S. Iyengar (one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world and founder of Iyengar Yoga) wrote about it quite succinctly in the preface to his book, “The Illustrated Light on Yoga” by stating:

Yoga is a timeless pragmatic science evolved over thoughts of years dealing with the physical, moral, mental and spiritual well-being of a man as a whole.

The first book to systematize this practice was the classic treatise The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali dating from 200 BC. Unfortunately most of the books published on yoga have been unworthy of both the subject and its first great exponent, as they are superficial, popular and at times misleading.

The Western reader may be surprised at the recurring reference to the Universal Spirit, to mythology and even some philosophical and moral principles. He must not forget that in ancient times all the higher achievements of man, and knowledge, art, and power, were part of religion and were seen to belong to God and to his priestly servants on Earth. The Catholic Pope is the last such embodiment of divine knowledge and power in the West.

But formerly, even in the Western World, music, painting, architecture, philosophy and medicine, as well as wars, were always in the service of God. It is only very recently in India that these arts and sciences have begun to shake off the Divine – but with due respect, for the emancipation of man’s will, as this thing from the Divine will, we in India continue to value the purity of purpose, the humility of discipline and the selflessness that are the legacy of our long bondage to God. I consider it important as well as interesting that the reader should know the origin of asanas, and I have, therefore, included legends handed down by practicing Yogis and Sages. All the ancient commentaries on yoga have stressed that it is essential to work under the direction of a guru (Master), and although my experience proves the wisdom of this rule, I have endeavoured with all humility in this book to guide the reader – both to teacher and student – to a correct and safe method of mastering these asanas and pranayamas.

Can I Break The Yoke and Still Practice Yoga?

So, I ask you, is it still possible to practice yoga but not submit to this “yoke” or “connection”, which is the very name and essence of this ancient “science”, “art”, “ritual”, “practice” or whatever name chosen to describe it?

Does it not raise the very question as to what you are yoking to at the very least? If the answer is ambiguous, does that not alone irk your very soul? The answer seen most often to this question: You are connecting to whatever belief, power, or God you have (if you ask a Westernized teacher). Clearly, Iyengar had different feelings.

Further, the very nature of a practice is to make it become a ritual, so routine that it is automatic.

Perhaps that sounds like offering ourselves wholly to something, while “opening our mind, our body, and our soul”. You are commiting to serve something.

Perhaps that means becoming a bondservant, or slave.

What Does The Word Say?

To prepare this answer I prayed for the Holy Spirit to coat me in the armor of God and grant me the wisdom to discern and learn the Word, not with eisegesis (not to read it out of context or read into it my own cultural biases), but with evangelistic power, and the wisdom of apologetics.

Notice Iyengar’s direct usage of the term “bondage to God”, and understanding that “yoga” means to connect or to yoke, and a bondslave, or a bondservant, is one that makes a long lasting and permanent commitment as a slave.

In the Book of James, chapter 2, we see James the Just use the Greek word for “bondservant” – doulos- to describe his relationship to Jesus. While this may have been a gesture of humility coming from the very brother of Jesus himself, I am sure, there is no humility in shrugging off the clear and defined yoke and connection to any other god, or actively practicing a bondage to a god other than the One and Holy God of Israel.

Matthew 11:28-30
“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.”

Joshua 24:15
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

My Personal Journey

Through practicing and teaching yoga, I thought I was contributing to the overall positive well-being of myself and others. I was in pursuit of calm and peace and tranquility. This was the way, I thought.

So I began to study it, and not just any form – I began in the College of India School of Bikram where the whole theory was that 90 minutes in this heated room was better than an eternity in hell. My emancipation and salvation would come after Savasana, or the final resting “dead man’s pose”, and I thought nothing more of this, even then, even as a believer.

Ten years passed and I traveled across the world to get my yoga teacher training. I sought out more than a teacher. Now, I wanted a guru. I got my teaching certificate and Yoga Alliance membership and started offering classes. Again, I thought I was helping people. Helping them relieve pain, stress, tension. I thought that when I put a Buddha in my home, it was harmless. We had them in the studio and so I thought it was a harmless symbol that represents peace, but it was an idol.

I eventually even built a small altar in my basement with my yogic books, chakra stones, guides and incense. Again, every studio I worked in had these at the front of the room so I thought that it wasn’t wrong. When I led chants, mantras and Ohms I thought they were harmless, even though they directly called out auspicious goodness, or Shiva, or other gods by name.

When I wore “yoga pants” I never thought twice about what I was truly calling them or adorning my body in. When I bowed down on my yoga mat, I never considered myself bowing down to other gods or submitting myself in connection by yoking to anything at all. I was just breathing and stretching… right?

Again, this wasn’t and isn’t an easy assignment, answering this call to renounce and repent from the practice of yoga entirely. The further I pursued my faith in Jesus Christ, the block came. It was like a spiritual stop sign that no longer allowed me to continue practicing yoga, and definitely to stop teaching it.

Like any ritual, especially one that involves the body, mind, and even my soul, I longed for that time where I could flow but now I knew it needed to be clear and intentionally in His mercy and grace. I can worship Him safely and without unintentionally leading others into the very slippery slope I found myself in by teaching and practicing yoga.

Now, all I want is to practice Christianity with my entire heart, mind, and soul: free and uncompromised by deceptive practices.


Michal Russo is a wife and mother of two teens, a toddler, and one baby on the way. She moved back to her small hometown in Ohio after she renounced her life as a yoga teacher, and founded a ministry called WorshipFlow, bringing the message of Christ and His healing deliverance to those who may have fallen into the snares of Yoga and New Age mysticism. Follow her on Instagram.

If you’d like to know more about yoga and why Christians shouldn’t practice it, please click here.

Guest Posts

Guest Post: The Importance of Knowing the Rules

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in my “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat about it.

The Importance of Knowing the Rules
by Robin Self

Most people who read my blogs probably know me best as being “the preacher’s wife”. But what they may not know is that for a lot of years I was another kind of wife.

I was an official’s wife.

Not “official” as in an important “government official” who rides in limousines and has “people”. But the kind who spends hundreds of hours a year in a minivan, eating gas station food, traveling to various sports complexes and gymnasiums, for very little money, in order to be yelled and cursed at by outraged fans.

Yes, for over 2 decades, my husband Jeff was a high school and college basketball official and umpire. I don’t have many photos to share from back in those days, since that was an era when you actually had to have film in a camera. But I have a few digital ones from his last seasons of umpiring, after his knees no longer allowed him to run on the hardwood for 3 hours a night. (Did I mention I LOVE a man in uniform??)

I gleaned a LOT throughout those memorable years. I can say without boasting, that I probably knew the rules better than anyone in the stands, and probably most coaches. It was I who would drill Jeff for hours so that he could pass the yearly 100 question official’s exams. I knew the intricacies of basketball. I understood that the INTENT of the rule was what mattered when making a call. Looking back, I can see that those years as the official’s wife taught me a few things that are relatable now to my life as the preacher’s wife.

Knowing the Rules Helps You Make the Correct Call


I see this all too often today in Christianity. People within the church will be confused about something that is said or taught because they don’t know “the rules”. Similar to how a basketball rules manual is the final authority in a basketball game, the Scriptures are our “rule book”. They are the ultimate and final authority over everything in our lives.

I can’t tell you how many times my husband had to bring out the rule book to show an irate coach where he was misunderstanding a call that was made. He could turn right to the page where that particular rule applied. How? Because he KNEW the book by heart.

As Christians, we must be able to do the same with Scripture. We need to know the Scriptures so well that when we hear teaching that is in error we recognize it, or so that when someone is wrongly arguing a biblical point, we can show them, in love, where they are misunderstanding or misusing it. When someone invariably tells us “not to judge” sinful behavior, we need to know the INTENT of the Scripture so that a solitary phrase being quoted out of context can’t be used against us.

Are we studying the Scriptures so diligently that they are imprinted on our hearts? Just reading the Bible every so often and knowing a few verses isn’t enough. We must study it in context, so we have the actual truth and INTENT in our hearts. Not just a bunch of verses we can pull out at random so we can argue our narrative.

One example that comes to mind is when those in the social justice movement use Revelation 7:9 to tell churches that their congregations need to be more ethnically diverse, because that’s what heaven is going to look like. This is a clear manipulation of the text used to try to convince believers that their churches are guilty of racism if multiple skin tones aren’t represented. And sadly, masses of people in the church are falling for this nonsense hook, line, and sinker!

We MUST be able to recognize a lie like this when it is presented to us. Deception has a way of coming across as convincing to those who haven’t put in the time to recognize it. But anyone who consistently studies and puts the truth of the Word in their heart won’t fall for this mumbo jumbo. Knowing the rules is imperative!

Knowing the Rules Helps You Be Objective


I can’t count the times I would be sitting in the stands watching Jeff referee a game, blissfully anonymous to those around me, listening to fans yell about a “bad call” that had been absolutely correctly made. It always amused me that two teams’ fans would see the same incident two completely different ways. One side would see an offensive charge, while the other side would see a defensive foul. They couldn’t both be right. But the reason the same situation was seen two different ways was because neither side was seeing what happened objectively.

If there is anything I remember distinctly when attending those many ball games, it’s that, because I knew the rules, I could see clearly if Jeff had made a call correctly, or if he had blown it. (Of course that was an extremely rare occurrence!) I could be objective about what happened on the court because I had no skin in the game. The outcome didn’t matter to me. My judgement wasn’t clouded because of my bias.

In the same way, we can’t allow our biases to cloud our judgment when we need to be corrected, or when our favorite Bible teacher is being pointed out as teaching error. As difficult as it may be for us, we should welcome loving biblical correction when we are acting or believing wrongly. Our end goal should be to walk in truth. If we are doing things right, we are in a continual learning process throughout our Christian lives. We will never know it all, and when we come to the knowledge that something we’ve always believed isn’t correct, we should be willing to give up that belief or tradition in favor of what is biblically sound. Sometimes it isn’t easy to say, “I was wrong”. But it’s necessary for growth.

We also can’t be so enamored with our favorite Bible teachers or conference speakers that we are unwilling to listen to any criticism of them. I used to be the biggest Beth Moore fan ever. At one time I wouldn’t listen to any criticism of her because I didn’t WANT to hear it. At that time my love for Beth was more important to me than hearing the truth.

But then I began to look at the issue OBJECTIVELY. I decided to, with an open mind, research and study the information that was out there and let the chips fall where they may. If the things that were being said were true I didn’t want to keep foolishly defending her. I am thankful that God opened my eyes to be able to see the gross error of what she was teaching. He allowed me to see how my bias had overshadowed the truth. I also discovered how important it is to make sure I know what the Bible actually says rather than just trusting what I believe to a “Bible teacher” who has a convincing way with words.

As a preacher’s wife, I even do this when my husband is preaching. If I have a question about something he says, I go search it out myself and we will talk about it. While I believe he is faithful to the text, it doesn’t mean that he can’t get something wrong. What’s wonderful is, he WANTS me point it out if I have questions. He has also been able to clarify things for me that I had wrong. Once pride is out of the way, and we become objective learners, we will want the truth no matter what.

When we have the “skin in the game” of loving and supporting certain Bible teachers, especially publicly, we can be blinded to what may be right in front of us: the fact that they may be teaching falsely. It can become more important to us to preserve the idol we’ve created than to care about the truth. But when we are willing to be objective and are passionate about our “rule book” we can’t help but want others to be just as passionate. And knowing our Maker’s book can affect someone’s eternal outcome of either accepting a false gospel or believing the only true saving gospel of Christ. And that’s a game outcome we care about!


Robin is an SBC pastor’s wife who enjoys doing ministry life alongside her husband Jeff. They have served in churches from urban Long Island, New York, to the woods of Southeast Georgia. They are now back home in their native Oklahoma where they have been for the past 13 years. They are new empty-nesters, with 3 grown children, Jordan, Jarrett, and Jonah. Follow Robin’s blog, A Worthy Walk, and connect with her on Twitter.

Guest Posts

Guest Post: Dependence- It’s What’s for Dinner

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in my “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat about it.

Dependence- It’s What’s for Dinner
by Jennifer Buck

It’s not hard to find in Scripture the responsibilities of a wife and mother. We know what it is that we are and are not to be doing. The struggle comes when that which we are to be doing… for example, being the keeper of the home, doesn’t come naturally and we don’t easily find fulfillment in it. Often, those things that we are not to be doing… giving all our energy and attention to things outside of the home at the expense of caring for our home, does come more naturally and seems more fulfilling. What’s a woman to do?

We understand that the Lord created us with our specific talents, abilities, and natural inclinations. We also understand that the Lord created us for a specific task: being our husband’s help-meet and caring for the home are our first priorities. I am not saying a woman cannot work outside of the home, but even in that, she still has a God given sphere of responsibility first and foremost to, and in, the home.

So, why do we not all, as believing women, have natural talent and interest in cooking, child-rearing and helping our husbands? Sin obviously clouds our senses and that must be dealt with, but even beyond that, many women who desire to want those things… just don’t.

God did not create me with a flair for cooking, nor with a desire for all things kitchen related. Even as a kid, I would do the task my mother told me and after finishing the job I would immediately back out of the kitchen with an “OK, job’s done, you don’t need me anymore, right? OK, I’m gone now…” attitude. I hated the kitchen. When I looked forward to marriage, I knew that I would have to prepare meals, but I was content to wait until I had to. And I did. Early on I learned to cook and did what was necessary. My family was not showered with Martha Stewart meals and exotic desserts. We ate, and we ate well, but it didn’t go far beyond that.

Soon, however, that ol’ “I-hate-the-kitchen-and-kinda-resent-that-I-have-to-do-this” attitude crept in. I was a bit jealous of my friends who loved cooking, and kept the house well, and kept their kids doing all kinds of fun stuff, while I’m over here just wanting time to enjoy opportunities to do what I felt was more natural to my talents and desires.

Then one day, it finally hit this thick skull of mine. God has called me to a task. God did not give me the natural talent or desire to do that task to which he has called me. Do you know why? Because He determined for me that this task was to be my area of dependence upon Him. It certainly is only one of many, but this was not an area I would pick for lesson time. But, He picked it for me. It has become my opportunity to depend on God to find joy performing the tasks I dislike. This means as soon as the thought of “What’s for dinner?” hits my brain, right on its heels must be the prayer, “Lord, equip me for what You’ve called me to do, and give me joy in serving my family.” Every. Time. “What’s for dinner?” has become a trigger to prayer for me.

For those of you who approach the kitchen the same way I do, God did not deal us a bad hand. He has not withheld from us a necessary element for finding joy in our role. He did, however, fashion us in such a way that that joy will only be realized by depending on Him. This is actually a very good thing. Not only do we have the opportunity to find a deep appreciation in serving our families, we also learn how to depend on God. That’s the best 2-for-1 sale I can imagine!

So, my dear look-a-likes, don’t begrudge the Lord’s lesson of dependence. For those of you who delight being in the kitchen, you have your own areas of struggle. You have an area to which you are called and it competes with that to which you are drawn. That is your area of dependence. Learn it, and learn it well. You will not regret it, and your family will reap its rewards.


Jennifer and her husband, Tom have been married for 33 years and have 3 children. For the last 15 years they have been serving in Lindale TX, where Tom is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church. Jennifer loves to teach and encourage women in the truths of Scripture.

Guest Posts

Guest Post: The Blessing of a Bothered Conscience

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in my “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat about it.

The Blessing of a Bothered Conscience
by Cale Fauver


The Infused Courtroom

The Apostle Paul unfolds for us in Romans 2 that even the Gentiles who don’t have the Law actually know it by nature because it “is written on their hearts” (2:15). Paul then communicates to us the global, natural purpose of this God-infused courtroom in the heart of every man: to either accuse or excuse (2:15b). Therefore, everyone knows God’s Law (literally: con [with] + science [knowledge]). Every sin, every trespass against God’s moral Law expressed in the 10 Commandments is a known sin, i.e. the sinner knows that when he lied, committed adultery, stole, blasphemed God’s name, etc. it was wrong, and his conscience will either accuse him or excuse him. The unbeliever knows with absolute certainty that it is sinful to lie on that paperwork at the office, and so does the one who has been born again. So, what is the difference?

Bothered, or a Holy Bothered

Perhaps one of the most concrete examples of this distinction can be found in the life of Joseph in Genesis 39. At this point in Joseph’s life, he has been bought by Potiphar (the captain of the guard in Egypt) as a slave to work in his house. Thus, after some time he moves up the ranks and is now in charge of Potiphar’s house and is entrusted with the care of it all.

Enter Potiphar’s wife who finds the very handsome Joseph, handsome (v.6-7). She throws herself at Joseph and Joseph responds thus: “[Potiphar has not] kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (39:9).

According to Romans 2, the typical unbeliever might respond with thoughts similar to Joseph’s, but different. And the distinction is an eternity of difference.

If Joseph were a pagan, he may have initially responded the way he did with, “No, I’d better not, you’re the boss-man’s wife.” But then he could think, “Well, Potiphar is a jerk. And his wife is here alone with me. And who would find out anyway?”. It is possible to keep sin enclosed and secret for a lengthy amount of time if there is the utmost precaution. The sinner’s conscience would be, by the Apostle’s authority, bothered. It would accuse him for doing that to someone. Adultery against another man’s wife, even to a pagan, is pretty messed up at the least, especially considering the husband becoming angry if he finds out (cf. Proverbs 6:30-35).

Even unbelievers can have a bothered conscience, but Joseph had a holy bothered conscience. His concern was that he had sinned – not primarily against his neighbor, but against God.

Signs of Life

Christian, consider your life. When you have the opportunity to (or are in the act of) sin, your conscience is going to sound like the tornado alarm, similar to a pagan’s. But, consider the strength of your conscience’s appeal – not to man, but to God. Yes, part of obeying our conscience is loving our neighbor as is summed up in the Law, but when we sin, the primary offense is always against God (cf. Psalm 51).

Do you know that loud, keeping-you-awake-at-night, bothersome conscience? Do you feel that holy bothered conscience? Thought it is painful, though it is strong, when you respond in repentance and faith in God’s Law and God’s promise and find your conscience clean before the Lord, rejoice! Rejoice that this is a sign of your being made alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5)! Your new and highest desire is to please the Lord, to fear God and to keep his commandments because they have been supernaturally written on your heart as part of the New Covenant (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34). Unbelievers do not feel any guilt about offending the God who created them because there is no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:18). Their main thought in this process is one of great rebellion, as if God didn’t exist in the first place (Psalm 10:4).

When God’s Word convicts you and accuses you of trespassing against God’s Law, your conscience will loudly remind you and accuse you for your good. You have a fear of God before your eyes. It is good that this is your experience; this is a gracious blessing that the Spirit has worked within you. You are alive to Christ and his glory! How could you sin against that God?

Your Conscience Before the Court

The good news of the gospel is that as you stand before God, Christian, you can do so with a clean conscience cleansed from evil (Hebrews 10:22) because you are standing in the New Covenant. We can have full assurance that God has declared us righteous in Christ because of “the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19). Your final courtroom day before the Most High will be one of absolute freedom of judgment for your sins. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Therefore, your rest ultimately lies in Christ’s work for your rest and safety from condemnation and not in your conscience.

But, because of Christ’s work for us and his cleansing blood, we must listen to and work to obey our conscience when it accuses us before God and his Law. Seek renewal and direction from God’s Word by seeing more of his revealed will in the Scriptures. Desire wisdom and direction from your local church and your pastor when you are unclear or unsure about an issue. Trust your conscience by binding it to God’s Word. And may we sing with Charles Wesley:

Almighty God of truth and love,
to me thy power impart;
the mountain from my soul remove,
the hardness from my heart.
O may the least omission pain
my reawakened soul,
and drive me to that blood again,
which makes the wounded whole.

Cale is an MDiv student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Kelly live in Kansas City with their son, Jude, and baby #2 expected imminently. You can find some of his other writings at News From Afar, and follow him on Twitter.