v 16. Paul said ‘I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.’
Speaking out for Jesus is to be accompanied by a life of integrity.
A life that bears the hallmarks of hypocrisy cuts no ice in the world. If you say one thing but then do something quite different people will draw their own conclusions. If you talk up love and honesty but then tell lies and act in a loveless fashion your own conscience will feel stained, and people will conclude that your words about faith and following Jesus are worthless. It’s tough to face up to that because we know that we are far from perfect and even fail to maintain the standards we set for ourselves.
Don’t let that stop you speaking up however!
The pathway of integrity is lined by both failure and the willingness to acknowledge and confess it. We learn integrity through being transparent and consistent. Being honest about failure does not generally lead to rejection by others. In fact, it often builds relationships when we acknowledge we are all in the same boatl. Paul learned to keep his conscience clear as his words and his actions matched up.