Read Mark 14:29-31,71-72
This past Christmas morning, I got up before the rest of my family, hoping to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee before the mayhem began. I tiptoed into the cold kitchen, and while my coffee was making, I tried to sneak a few last things into my children’s stockings. I always love the peace of early morning. I was pondering how much more peaceful it was this particular morning because it was Christmas when all of a sudden I was rattled to my very bones by the most grating, obnoxious sound I had ever heard. “I ran to the window and threw up the sash”, but it wasn’t Santa Claus! It was a giant, black and white speckled rooster, standing on my front porch, crowing his brains out at my front door.
Now granted I live in one of the most rural of Georgia counties, and despite my often indulged fantasies of becoming a homesteader, I was not prepared for this up close and personal country wake up call. Of course all of the children bolted out of bed at the strange noise and clamored to the window to see what it was. So much for that quiet cup of coffee!
Since Christmas our feathered friend has taken up abode in the timber farm adjacent to the back of our property. Unfortunately he makes a daily visit to my back porch every morning about eight am. I was never aware of what a horrid sound a rooster makes. It is not a sound to be ignored. As the rooster paid yet another visit this morning, I tried to imagine how Peter must have felt in Mark 4 when his own personal rooster began to crow.
The rooster of Mark 4 was a literal rooster sent to Peter to remind him that Christ had been right, he would deny the Lord. But for us the rooster of Mark 4 is a great metaphor for our conscience. The Webster’s 1828 describes conscience like this, “internal or self- knowledge or judgment of right and wrong, or the power within us that decides on the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our own actions.”
The conscience is a miraculous gift of God that was only bestowed on man. Of all of God’s creation, He chose to bless only man with a conscience. Like the grating of my early morning rooster, our conscience begins to grate on our awareness when we begin to contradict our sense of right. This is true to born again Christians and non- Christians. The difference in Christians is that once we are saved, the tiny flame in us that had been conscience becomes enflamed and hyper sensitive. The conscience becomes more than conscience. It has been replaced with something far more valuable, The Holy Spirit.
Although the agitating feeling of conviction is not pleasant, we must never “kick against the pricks” of the Holy Spirit. With each time that we yield to the pricking, we become more attuned to the voice of the Holy Spirit. However, if we push or ignore those nudgings we lose some of that sensitivity which can lead to greater sin in the future or a sense of apathy over our behavior.
So just like I can’t ignore my obnoxious new friend the rooster, we should never ignore our conscience, The Holy Spirit. It is a gift of God to help us become more attuned, more sensitive to the nature of God.