The Function of Our Spirit-Part 1
|By: Nancy Missler; ©2002|
|Our spirit—the place where we communicate with God—has three main functions or operations that are essential to this communication: our conscience, our intuition and our communion.|
What Are the Functions of Our Spirit?
Our spirit—the place where we communicate with God—has three main functions or operations that are essential to this communication: our conscience, our intuition and our communion.
Briefly, our conscience is the place where God teaches us and speaks to us. This is where He lets us know what is right and what is wrong and what His individual will is. You could say that our conscience is like our organ of faith. Our intuition is where God guides and leads us and where we can discern His movements. This is the area where we develop true intimate knowledge of God and experience His revelation and His anointing. The third function of our spirit is where we fellowship and commune with God. This is where we are to worship the Lord in the spirit.
Let’s explore these functions of our spirit in detail.
All three functions of our spirit are very closely related and each one depends upon and builds from the other. A pure conscience leads to an undefiled intuition and ultimately to open communion and fellowship with God.
Our conscience is like the inner voice of God. This is where God corrects and protects us. This is also where the Holy Spirit reveals God’s will to us. Our conscience is like God’s inward monitor. It renders us uneasy when we don’t choose to follow His will and gives us peace when we do. Our conscience reprimands us, reproves us, corrects us and approves us. It is designed to govern our lives and, by doing so, constantly show us what God’s will is.
Our spiritual conscience is our teacher. As Job says, God’s Spirit taught him things that he did not understand. And I can say the very same thing. Throughout the writing of this book, God has taught me things by His Spirit that I did not know or understand before.
The first step of salvation, then, is to awaken our comatose conscience. We need a conscience in order to convict us of sin and to make us sensitive to our self-centered ways. Hebrews says that Christ’s blood has been shed over our conscience, so that we can have a cleansed and purified spirit. A cleansed conscience is one that carries no guilt. Hebrews 10:22 tells us, “Our hearts [are] sprinkled [clean] from an evil conscience, and our bodies [are] washed with pure water.” Thus, a sprinkled and cleansed conscience is the only basis for our spiritual communion with God. A conscience that is tinged with offences will not only affect our communication with God, it will also prevent our transformation. We cannot have the slightest accusation in our conscience, and we must make sure that every sin is atoned for.
Someone once said, “It’s more important to be afraid of one reproach from our conscience than it is from all the condemnation of men in the world.”
The first step toward sanctification, then, is to abide by our “renewed” conscience, which will constantly tell us if we are clean or not. As we grow more and more into a spiritual man, our conscience will grow more and more sensitive and attuned to God’s voice. Scripture says that our conscience will not only “bear witness” to us, it will also “condemn us.”
As our spiritual life grows, our conscience will begin to show us not only what is right and what is wrong, but also what is of God and what is not. Although many things will appear right in our own eyes, they are, nonetheless, condemned by God because they do not originate with His Spirit. We must learn to be sensitive to His voice and be willing to eliminate anything from our lives that is contrary to His will.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. We are never going to be perfectly clean or perfectly holy in this lifetime. There is only One who is, and that’s Jesus! What I am referring to here is daily dealing with the sin and self that God shows us. Since God loves us and wants us completely for Himself, He will, moment by moment, lovingly point out more and more things that must be given over to Him. So, when I speak of a “sanctified soul,” I do not mean a totally pure and completely holy person. That only happens at the resurrection. I simply mean a person who has dealt with all that God has shown them for that day!
We also don’t have to wait until “all” sin and self is dealt with before we can have communion with God and enjoy His presence. That also will take a lifetime! We need only to be faithful to crucify the things that He shows us today! It’s not unknown sin that is going to hinder our communication with God. It’s the known sin!
Our conscience is limited by its own present knowledge. Therefore, it can only guide us by the knowledge it possesses now. God will continue to examine our actions and our motives and will reveal what He finds. Then, it will be up to us to deal with the things that “are not of faith. “Thus, our sanctification is totally dependent upon our own willingness to accept the reproach of our conscience and to do whatever is necessary to correct it.
I do not believe it’s God’s will that we make some sort of a “blanket” or “general” confession by acknowledging all of our sins and all of our self-centered ways in some vague manner. I don’t believe this is what cleanses our conscience. We need to let the Holy Spirit, daily, moment by moment, reprove and convict us of things that are “not of faith” and be ready, in or out of season, to give these over to Him.
Paul is a perfect example of someone who had a Sprit-filled conscience. In Acts 24:16 he says, “I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God and toward men.” And I believe God desires the same for us. Like Paul, we, too, need a clean conscience before God and man. In fact, Scripture tells us we can only serve God when we have a cleansed and pure conscience. This is why we need to become more sensitive to our conscience and constantly pay special attention as to how it bears witness to us.
Maturity in Christ can be measured by our responsiveness to our conscience. A good conscience enables us to receive God’s promises, walk by His Spirit and enter His presence. An evil conscience leads us to a lack of faith, being guilt-ridden and walking by the flesh.