I was reading Watchman Nee’s Spiritual Man and finally got to the section about conscience. What an excellent book, by the way, if you are really hungry to know how spiritual stuff works for God’s people.
In this section, Nee explains the conscience as being a ‘monitor’ of God’s highest will for His children today. He writes about how conscience will reveal things at different times for different people for different reasons. While I was reading an analogy came to me which I jotted down. This analogy really helped me bring the spiritual mechanism of the conscience to a more earthly level.
We are supposed to walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7). And since there weren’t cars then and walking was probably a pretty normal mode of transportation, we could say this walking is a journey. And Jesus also made it clear that the journey will not be an easy one. He said ‘strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few find it” (Matt 7:14). Now, let’s convert this difficult journey of walking in the light into a road trip into a standard road trip.
Most people today use GPS. Ironically, I don’t but that’s just an interesting aside. Perhaps I don’t use it because I’ve observed the behaviour of its users… anyway. The GPS shows our current position on the journey. It’s a monitor that we are on the right path. Let’s call the GPS our conscience.
Behold! A tree has fallen across the road that the Lord God Almighty has beforehand shown us we must travel. Let us call this tree ‘sin’ because it is an obstacle to our great journey of walking in the light and enjoying perfect fellowship with God.
Note that this pesky tree was *not* shown us on our GPS just hours before. Everything was bliss and clear sailing. So far as we thought we were free like the proverbial seagull. Yet now we have halted and this tree must be dealt with. Although difficult cutting, you have a pocket knife if your glove box and there is no question that with enough will you could cut through it. You could also use your brain and reason and likely find other ways to remove this thing which is preventing you from staying on the right path. Let’s call the removal of this tree as ‘dealing with sin by the blood of the lamb and the cross’.
But, lo! What is that over yonder? You look to the right and note a very well paved cement road. It’s very wide and a lot of cars seem to be driving down it. It would only take a second and you will be moving again. Then, since it’s going ‘roughly the same direction’, you’ll just find your way back to the path that God ordained a little later. Yes. Indeed this is a much easier way.
So you turn right.
Life is good.
You turn the stereo back on and start driving. You are following a few nice cars and everyone in their cars seem like they are really doing well. These people are the Sunday church people, you noticed, so surely they are on the right path! But you noticed something else…. your GPS signal is dead. Completely dead. It just shows your car stopped back at the tree.
No problem. You are following these other church people so you keep going. It starts getting dark and there are less and less people on this road. Within a short time you are alone. And it’s dark.
You cry out for help and no one responds. Just a big, empty void.
Then you hear other cries for help. Go figure… Those church people are lost in the dark too! They must have been following each other just like you were.
Fear sets in.
How you long for the days when your GPS was assisting you and you had bold confidence that you were on the right path.
How badly you wished that you just dealt with that tree on the road.