Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Conscience vs the Holy Spirit

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"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children" (Hosea 4:6).

This verse conveys very harsh words that no one likes to hear especially when it is coming from God, the loving God, the one who cares deeply about His children and wants them to succeed by coming to Him.

God gives each person a conscience in order to discern our motives and our actions and between right and wrong. And it is what will judge the person during and after the act.

The moral conscience changed during the fall of Adam because of sin. It also changes according to awareness of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, and surroundings of people.

Therefore the fluctuation of changes from one to another can make one think that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right. For example although when I do something wrong I feel guilty. Yet some people who hate and kill others for the name of religion and doing favor in the sight of God have no problem with their conscience. On the contrary, they are happy and in peace within themselves.

"They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God serves" (John 16:2).

The conscience is a thinking process that man goes through to collect knowledge and identify the problem. But it is an untrustworthy source when it comes to making decisions because it is not the voice of God.

To insure that our conscience is pure, it must be led by the Holy Spirit.We gain the Holy Spirit during the Holy Mystery of the Holy Myron.The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father in order to act as a divine tool to convict our conscious if we are going astray andtolead our consciousness in the rightpath.

For example although we have vision to screen without the light, we are not able to walk in the dark without stumbling and falling. The Holy Spirit equips us with new desires, understanding, goals, etc.

Therefore we need to reprogram our conscience to respond to the Holy Spirit by getting familiar with the words of God through Bible studies, prayers, practicing obedience, etc.

"There is no one greater in this house then I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9).

In the Old Testament, we see how Joseph felt he will defile his body and sin in the sight of the Lord although he never encountered God’s commandments, was away from his father’s house for a long period of time and does not have the Holy Spirit in his heart as guidance at all-times. Yet he kept God’s love and care for him in front of Him at all times.

The Holy Spirit does not only rebuke and reject the wrong act or the wrong desires but also corrects and encourages through the promises of God for redemption and salvation.

But the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For "who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:14-16).

How many times we see and meet people who are ignorant about the word of God and follow whatever their heart desires.

To know what God’s opinion about using your own wisdom in making decisions that can affect your entire life requires great knowledge. Therefore keep in mind at all times not to be wise in our own mind but to pray for the Holy Spirit to fill us and guide us on the words of the Holy Bible. So that, we do not fall into making wrong decisions which can take us away from God.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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