BEING CLOTHED WITH THE SPIRIT BY DEALING WITH THE CONSCIENCE AND WITH THE WORLD
To deal with the conscience and to deal with the world are two serious tests. Many Christians today are powerless because inwardly their conscience is full of offenses, and outwardly they have many worldly things. They are inwardly damaged in their conscience and outwardly usurped, possessed, and occupied by the world. How can such persons be powerful? Many Christians today talk about the baptism and outpouring of the Holy Spirit to be clothed with power from on high, but where is the power? If we would simply deal with our conscience and deal with and forsake the worldly things, we will have power. If we deal with our conscience and the world, there is no need to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps at the very moment that we deal with the last item of the old, worldly things, we will be clothed with power from on high. At that very moment the Holy Spirit will come upon us.
Before the day of Pentecost, the one hundred twenty believers were a group of people who gave up the world entirely. If Peter still went fishing, John still mended his nets, and the other Galileans did their jobs and took care of their worldly affairs by day and came together to pray in the evening, would the Holy Spirit have come down upon them? Because they were in the upper room with nothing of the world in their hands, the Holy Spirit was certain to come down upon them. We may appreciate the experience of the day of Pentecost, but we must pay the price that those one hundred twenty paid in their time. We appreciate the power from on high, but will we come up to the upper room? Our shortage in dealing with the world is a problem.
Many people are desirous to have power, but who will pay the price? Who will deal with the conscience, and who will deal with the world? Some may say that we need to have our living. That is right; we do need to have a living for our existence. However, we must still go to the Lord to be checked through thorough prayer, to “pray through.” If we go to the Lord to deal with the conscience within and the worldly things without, we will see what kind of Christians we are. We will see in how many things we need to be dealt with. We will realize that we have many things that are the world, things that are something other than the Lord Himself.
Two things simply put us to death: a conscience full of offenses within and the world, usurping, occupying, and possessing us without. We may not be cleansed from all the offenses in the conscience, and we may not be free from the bondage of the world. We may speak about the inner life and the outpouring of power, but as long as we do not deal with our conscience and the world, we will talk but remain the same for years. However, if we go to the Lord to deal with the conscience within and the world without, we will be powerful Christians. We will have an impact. This is not a matter of knowledge, but a matter of dealing, a matter of paying the price.
There is a spiritual illness in our conscience; our conscience is not healthy. Moreover, there is something usurping, possessing, and occupying us all the time. We are not free; we are under the bondage of the world. Therefore, we need cleansing and purging in our conscience, and we need deliverance from the worldly things. There is a real battle here. The world is a strategic point to the enemy, and he does not want to give up this point. As long as the enemy can usurp us by the world, that is sufficient for him. Therefore, we must go to the Lord and pray.
I have seen many people speak in tongues, but I have not seen the real power. I have seen many people gain the so-called Pentecostal experiences for their own enjoyment, but I have not seen the real power. Where is the real power? As long as our conscience has not been purged, and as long as we have not been delivered from the world, no matter what kind of experiences we have, we will be powerless because we are damaged. We need cleansing, and we need deliverance. There is no need to speak in tongues. If we simply deal with our conscience and give up the world, we will see what kind of power we have. Then to speak in our own tongue is good enough; we will save many people for the Lord, and we will be powerful. Go and test this way.
Here we sense the need for real, prevailing prayer. We do not need more knowledge. What we need is something real and practical. This requires us to pray much concerning our dealing with the conscience and our dealing with the world.
(Basic Principles of the Experience of Life, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)