Did you ever play that children’s game? Where one person would hide something, and the other would say “hot” and “cold” depending on how close you were to your goal? And as you moved closer you would hear things like “Warmer! Warmer! Red hot!”?
Well in a sense, you never stopped playing that game. You’re just playing it now with a different prize. We are put on this Earth for a very simple reason.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We are put here to prove what the perfect will of God is. So that, by the time we die in this life, we will have learned exactly what it is His will is – what it is that He wants from us. And to do it of course.
But how do we do that? How are you “transformed” by the renewing of your mind? And how does that lead to proving the good, acceptable and perfect will of God? For that we have to explain what the holy spirit in your mind does.
You are born with a conscience. A conscience that is intended to guide you in your dealings in every aspect of life. But the conscience you are born with is a blank conscience. And as you grow up this conscience is influenced by your family, by your school, and by the society around you. They fill in the gaps in this conscience and you, by seeing what they do and listening to what they say, unconsciously pick up certain barriers in your conscience – limits that you set, without knowing that you do it, that allow you to go only so far down a certain path before your mind revolts and says “that’s wrong! I can’t do that!”
And this is a very useful device – without it, all humans would be sociopaths. But unfortunately your conscience was mis-educated in most areas. Because it was taught the things that your parents believed were wrong, and the things your society believed were wrong, and not necessarily what God believes is wrong.
A good example is that we, in the conservative, Western world believe that eating grub worms and dogs are nasty. Most of us could never bring ourselves to eat them. We (I use the term “we” loosely, for I personally don’t!) watch shows like Survivor and are appalled to see people forced to eat scorpions and snakes and worms. Why? Because we were trained from birth to believe that those things were disgusting. Whereas had we grown up in China – with the exact same mind, and the exact same parents, but with a BLANK conscience, we would think nothing of eating all manner of creepy-crawlies. Practically everything that moves would be fair game.
But in either case, our conscience would be trained in an arbitrary, carnal rule. A rule that is not necessarily right or wrong, it’s just what we always believed. And that is where the spirit of God comes in! Because the spirit of God is GOD’S conscience living in you!
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Our carnal mind has no basis in the law of God, and so the “rules” that we were taught have no real meaning! And that carnal conscience is not subjected to the law of God, and so it naturally fights against it!
Verses 8-9 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Now if you have the spirit of God – if you have God’s conscience in your mind – you have TWO consciences! And these consciences are constantly battling with one another (Romans 7:23)! And the key is that when your conscience, untrained in the law of God, argues with God’s conscience, which EPITOMIZES the law of God, one of them must give way – and God won’t FORCE you to do it His way!
1 Corinthians 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
His spirit is subject to your spirit and it will NOT force you to do things His way! It will only make its case and hold its ground for as long as you are sincerely trying to do the right thing, and “walk after the spirit” (Romans 8:1). In order to settle this battle between the two spirits, you must search the Bible to find out which opinion agrees with it – and then go with that opinion and cast the other aside. This will mean that you will have to stop doing a lot of things that you currently love doing but which God’s conscience would not allow HIM to do.
And so consider; you have two consciences – your own, and God’s – living in your mind. And during the course of this life you learn that God wouldn’t do a certain thing – eat catfish for example – and so you adapt your uneducated, carnal conscience to this new belief. And now you have a different limit to your actions – a new understanding of what righteousness means. And you have in that one particular spot “transformed your mind” and now, in that one, particular area you KNOW just WHAT IS that perfect will of God!
Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
And these reproofs and rebukes that your conscience gives you – often prompted by reading the Bible and searching for things you might be doing wrong and even listening (with reservations) to the ideas and beliefs of others – will create in you a conscience that ultimately is a CARBON COPY of the conscience of God!
And as you do a certain thing in a certain way, and see the fruits of it – and see how your conscience troubles you or doesn’t – you will learn, one thing at a time, if this is what God would do or if it isn’t. Sometimes you will ignore the spirit, or make the wrong decision because of pressure, or temptation, or simple stubbornness. When this happens God will tell you “colder, colder” and send you punishments and rebukes.
When you listen to those corrections and turn around and see your mistake and obey God, you will hear Him say (in principle) “warmer, warmer” to where ultimately by the end of this life, if you have played your cards right, you should hear Him say “red hot!”
So as I said at the beginning. This life should be spent…
Ephesians 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
Proving it by trial and error – exercising your senses to know both good and evil, to recognize sin when you see it, and to adapt your conscience to the conscience of God. And the better you are at doing that, the better your relationship with God will be, and the more you’ll hear Him say “warmer”. And as you see the fruits of obedience to God and obey more and more, you will one day hear Him say “well done, thou good and faithful servant”.
And that’s the day you win the game.