DEALING WITH THE CONSCIENCE
The growth of a Christian depends on his dealing with his conscience. In one’s pursuit of the Lord, if he does not take care of his conscience, he will never grow.
A man may have been saved last night. He may be sitting on a chair today. If half of the money that went into the purchase of that chair was stolen from others, this person will surely not have peace. This means that after a person is saved, he will be enlightened, and his conscience will show him that what he did before was wrong and unrighteous. His conscience will require him to return that half of the money to others. We have to learn to deal with our conscience to the extent that our conscience becomes blameless. If a person has not taken care of his conscience to such an extent, he may be reading his Bible, meeting, and praying all year round, yet he will not grow.
Today, there are many saved ones, but there are few grown-up ones. The reason for this is that among the saved ones, very few are willing to deal with their conscience. It is true that after we have believed in the Lord, the blood cleanses us from our sins, and the Lord’s grace is sufficient for us. But if we want to know the Lord’s way within us, we must take care of our conscience. Otherwise, we will not grow before the Lord. We must not do anything that the conscience condemns. Anything that should be dropped must be dropped. If a man does not deal with his conscience, it is useless to talk to such a one about spiritual matters. Although the dealing with the conscience cannot be considered as something directly spiritual, it is a bridge to the spiritual matters. Brothers and sisters, has your conscience been examined? Today, many people hush their conscience and suppress it. They come to listen to messages, to act like Christians, to read the Bible, and to pray, but they are the same all year round. We must allow our conscience to condemn us, to speak to us. Only those who go along with their conscience will receive the blessing. If we do not deal with the things which our conscience condemns us of, we will lose all spiritual light.
If a man wants to pursue the Lord, he has to deal with his conscience in a serious way. After I was saved, for a period of three to four years the Lord was teaching me this lesson, and I had to deal severely with my conscience. Once I was staying in a room with another brother. While I was washing my face, a drop of water fell on his bed, and my conscience was bothered. When that brother returned home, I made a confession to him. He told me that it was all right. Not long after this, I stepped on his sheet with my feet, and I had to make another confession to him. Still some time afterwards, I dropped his pencil on the floor, and I had to make another confession. Within one day, I found myself confessing to him quite a few times.
Perhaps you will think that these are small things and that they do not matter much. But to my conscience, they were great matters. I really wished that I did not have to stay in the same room that he did. But both of us were guests there, and there was no way that we could stay in separate rooms. Later, that brother realized that it was too troublesome for me to make confessions to him all the time, and he said, "The worst kind of people do not confess their mistakes. The best kind of people have no mistakes to confess. Those who are neither good nor bad make confessions all the time." At that time, I thought that I would never be the worst kind, and I could not be the best kind; I always made mistakes, and therefore I had to make confessions all the time. Now I can laugh at what I did. But at that time, I could not laugh.
Many people’s consciences are like the soles of those who walk around barefoot; their soles have become thickened and have lost all feelings. Although their consciences have not died, they have lost all feelings. A good Christian and one who is really growing is one who takes care of his conscience. I am afraid many people cannot withstand the examination of their conscience today. Can you say that your conscience is blameless before God and men? Can you say that your bank account, your houses, your clothing, and everything in your houses are clean and righteous? I am afraid that many things are unrighteous in nature. It is true that your record of sin before God has been erased by the precious blood of Christ. But in your home you may still have many evidences of sins. It is like a man who has committed a murder; his case may have been cleared in the court, but the corpse may still be at his house. No other way is as serious and clear as the way of following the Lord. The question is whether or not we are willing to pay the price. Zeal is useless, and listening to messages and attending services are useless. The question is whether or not we are willing to pay the price to follow the Lord.
In Chefoo some criticized my speaking. I told the criticizing ones that unless every dollar of theirs has been measured by God, they are not qualified to criticize me. I know what I am speaking about. In the first fall, man fell from God’s direct rule to the conscience’s rule. Later he fell from the conscience’s rule to the human rule. It was because the conscience could no longer rule over the people that they needed others to rule over them. Before man fell, God ruled over man. After the fall, the conscience ruled over man. Still later, the conscience could no longer rule over man, and others had to rule over him. Today, if a Christian needs the government, the court, any institution, school, or his family to rule over him, it proves that he is still deep in the fall. If a wife or a son needs someone else to rule over him or her, it proves that he or she is deep in the fall. The conscience can no longer rule over such a one, and God can no longer rule over such a one. This is why there is the need for someone else to rule over them. The steps of man’s fall are these: from God’s rule to the conscience’s rule, and from the conscience’s rule to man’s rule. Finally, it becomes self-rule. If a place does not have any law or police, that place will surely be full of robbers and criminals. We should find our way back to God through the recovery of the feeling in our conscience.
THE HEART TURNING TO THE LORD
Let me ask the brothers and sisters: Is the light within you bright today? Whether or not the light within us is bright depends on whether or not we love the Lord. Second Corinthians 3 says that whenever our hearts are turned to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Those whose hearts are for the Lord and who desire the Lord will see the light. If a man does not have light, it is because his heart is not turned to the Lord. Matthew says that the pure in heart are blessed, for they shall see God. Only those who are after the Lord with a single heart will see Him. God is light. Matthew 6 says that where our treasure is, there our heart is also. Whatever our hearts are inclined toward, that is where our hearts will be. If our hearts are right, we will see the light. Do you love the Lord? If you love the Lord and your heart is turned to Him, you will surely have light within, and you will surely be clear. Whenever a feeling comes along to urge you to deal with something, you will surely do it. As a result, you will be able to live in the Lord.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 25, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)