The Preening of the Conscience for Self Justification
by Teacher Maria vonAnderseck
[to access the recording, follow this linnk] http://s8wministries.org/direct-downloads/2014-07-28-Teacher-Maria-vonAnderseck-Preening-of-Conscience.mp3
This lesson is intended to help the saints discern when self justification is taking place. Our Inclination Workshops have focused much on the need to take notice of the returning to self (the familiar reasoning of the mind) to build for self and how that reverting to the provocation leaves the mind pondering many questions that in turn creates a problem for faith’s output in that faith is put on hold while clarifications for self are sought.
My scale question from a week ago yielded fruitful distinctions between self justification and the justification of Christ that I am going to share with you in this lesson. I asked, “How does the justification of Christ differ from the justification of self?”
What this scale question does is bring distinction between these two powers, the earthly and the heavenly, to teach us that because we are in this body of testing and because we may groan, being burdened with needs, the natural inclination is to sift through our thoughts to see what is in it for me, or what this says about me and my abilities or lack thereof, my needs — my desires, or what does that person think about me – or shouldn’t think about me, or why is this or that so difficult for me. Those are just a few of the common “me” headlines.
Considering that need presses upon desire and desire presses upon need we can understand both the prejudice born of these expectations and the appetites that keep feeding the self serving perspective.
Even though we who are in Christ know that only God has the power to change these perceptions, the inclination is to first reason for self before we reason with grace and this practice of bending the perception to self weighs heavily upon the mind.
In Hebrews 12: 1-2 we are admonished to lay aside the heavy weight (of self justification) that so easily besets us.
Hebrews 12: 1-2
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Because the mind most easily follows the path of self to make these kinds of “me” examinations, we can understand the need for God to provide daily course corrections. If we didn’t work with God in theses course corrections then the majority of our thoughts would be geared towards self justification and very few thoughts would be geared towards justifying Christ.
Now that God has provided justification in Jesus Christ, one would wonder why the mind reverts back to seeking justification for self. So we’re going to look at that.
First of all, let’s work on answering our scale question, “How does the justification of Christ differ from the justification of self?”
the justification of Christ differs from the justification of self in that the justification of Christ is life giving. When Satan speaks, he speaks of life’s situations in a way to call attention to self (to use self as a filter for reasoning) to focus on self serving perceptions and thus abandon faith or put faith on hold while order is sought for the conscience in the equity of the flesh.
When God speaks, He speaks of Jesus Christ to set equity in His throne to purify the conscience. This is why we are taught that when in resistance (when faith is tested to see what we resource for justification), the foundation of our new birth in Christ is resourced for discernment for the will to consent to truth. And because the Spirit of God rests upon the knowledge of Christ to act as a witness to us, many unseen, but influential bonds the mind had resourced in the past to justify self as life giving, are broken. Hence, the definition for justification: free from condemnation, free to act in God’s interest.
Romans 3:24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
When we say “free from condemnation” we’re speaking about the process we just talked about. We’re not talking about just saying, “It’s Satan that seeks to condemn me for frailty, but God that justifies me in Jesus Christ”, but stopping to discern the process of self justification to observe how grace arrests that process. This is the difference between ruling over hopelessness and frustration rather than allowing hopelessness and frustration to rule over you.
Self Justification is About Self Mediation
One of the most basic things you need to know about self justification is that is it about mediating for self, internally; to bring complaints to the mind against someone (even ourselves) or something and to judge how that has impacted self. A series of investigations take place to question the whys and the hows of all of this and to establish which changes seemingly need to take place. Two words of knowledge that will help to explain this aspect of self justification are as follows:
1. “to take stock” (w/k)
To take stock meaning: “To take stock (of something); to make an appraisal of resources and potentialities; to examine carefully; to conduct a personal inventory of one’s values. Example: I spent some time yesterday taking stock of my good and bad qualities.”
2. “ombudsman” (w/k)
Ombudsman manning: “A designated internal mediator in an organization whose duty is to assist members with conflict resolution and other problems and to serve as independent consultant to recommend changes to policies or procedures to improve organization effectiveness, efficiency, and humaneness.”
If we look at the organization as the soul of man, then we can think about how, at the time when an offense or lack is perceived, “self” lodges a complaint of sorts. Whether we believe we have been slighted, passed over, gossiped about, marginalized, underappreciated, or misunderstood, or lacking; whatever it is, there was a perceived offense against our person and now a seeking has taken place for a mediator to resolve the conflict presented to the mind.
It is in the nature of man to take stock or to inventory self by way of taking mental appraisals of what is seen and heard to see in each item their potential to either add to or take away from our light.
Justification of self is the natural follow through action of the habit to take for self and to build for self (aspiration).
The word “ombudsman” gives us a good look at what happens when the mind seeks for its own clarity in self questions. Once the first self questions is posed, the complaint has been registered in the mind and the mediation begins to resolve the conflict to restore to the mind what is perceived as right and just (false equity).
We’re needing to discern that and then take into consideration that God appointed Jesus Christ as the mediator of the covenant, to represent us to the Father as faith exercises with the tools sanctified by His blood. Just as we cannot mix the knowledge of the world with the knowledge of Jesus Christ for our confidence and we cannot mix the peace of mind with the peace of God, we also cannot mix the justification of self with the justification of Jesus Christ. Justification of self works by the principles of the kingdom of darkness whereas the justification of Christ works by the principles of the kingdom of God.
I received another word of knowledge in regard to the need to discern how self justification takes place. That word is, “attenuate the process” (w/k)
Attenuate meaning: “reduce the force, effect, or value of.”
The process of regeneration is that the grace (revelation) comes from God, is mixed with faith (obedience) and is received again by God (charity) in the virtue of Christ. Satan seeks to attenuate this process, to reduce the force faith and effect of grace and value of charity by redirecting the mind to question for self to place before the mind the fear of man to set grounds to justify self.
When the revelation is given, it came from God (even though it might have been ministered through a human vessel). The revelation, in that it came from God, it did not come from us (our imagination to feed the aspiration). The point here being that when the revelation was received it was not needing anything from man to confirm it or add to it a power that makes it less than or greater than it is.
But in the moment of contradiction, the opportunity presents itself to weigh our value against other people (the inclination to please man to curry man’s favor). The mind begins to reason for self to mediate for self, to build a self image, which is the very nature of self justification.
We’re not looking at a single thought, but a chain of interconnecting thoughts, a chain of self justifications that overwhelm the mind and emotions to where the revelation (wisdom, knowledge, and understanding) is no longer directing the heart in righteousness, but the imagination is seeing the need to sort out many splintering details.
Six Degrees of Separation
I received this interesting word “six degrees of separation” to help explain the chain of self justification. I first googled the meaning of six degrees of separation and found this…
“Six degrees of separation is the theory that states that each of us are connected by way of a chain of “a friend of a friend”. We are said to all be linked by chains of acquaintances and that any two people can be connected in a maximum of six steps.”
Six degrees of separation is explained in a fun way by a popular game started nearly 20 years ago called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”, where the players have to link celebrities to Kevin Bacon in as few steps as possible by citing the movies that connect them. For example, Nicole Kidman was in a movie “The Portrait of a Lady” with John Malkovich who in turn was in a movie “Queen’s Logic” with Kevin Bacon. So, in two steps we’ve connected Nicole Kidman to Kevin Bacon.
We can apply this theory to our thought processes with a little twist. I want to show you a little something about how a string of justifications connect to each other to separate you from the life, knowledge, and power of Christ.
When you’re upset, you may think that you’re sitting with a single thought, feeling a bit let down that something didn’t turn out the way you thought it should have. It isn’t anything big, or tragic, but soon after accepting the first thought of self justification and not having taken notice of Satan’s suggestion seeded in that thought about (what this says about you), you might have then noticed that the feeling of disappointment has deepened into disapproval (of self or others) and discouragement (what this says about perceived barriers) and distrust (what this says about another person), and you’re wondering how the initial discomfort you felt got so worked up in your mind to now your thoughts are caught in a loop of condemnation, anger, resentment, and guilt.
In the past we’ve pointed out how seed thoughts when watered, sprout and grow to increase the fruits of iniquity and now we want to observe a chain of self justification taking place and how liberating that is to take note of, in that it allows us to see how sidetracking takes place and contributes to an overall disbelief (doubt) setting in about what God had said to us about our hope in Jesus Christ and the reality we live in Him.
By the time we feel resentful, hurtful, frustrated, put out, ignored, snubbed, distrustful, we should know that a series of at least six self justifications have taken place, each one designed to separate you from the power of God.
When I say “separate you from the power of God” we know that our hope is that nothing shall separate us from the love of God, not tribulation or distress or persecution, or lack, as the Lord taught us.
But if we look at how faith’s output is dependent on our contact with the sanctified tools of the covenant, and therefore our need to remain joined to Christ, then the perceived offense is meant to detain you in your thoughts to not make that contact or at least put it off til later after first attending to self justifications.
What we’re seeing here is how the mind carefully constructs chains of justification to frame the reasons why we feel the way we do. We’re responding to the need to figure out how to best assess (discern) the problem. You’ll notice that it generally takes only 6 links of false justification or less to separate you (detain you) from the grace and peace of God.
Just as it seems impossible that everyone in the world is linked by a friend of a friend of a friend, because we did not observe that taking place, so too, it seems impossible that one self justification can be linked to 5 other culprits that result in separating our thoughts from the justification of Christ to self.
The Natural Man Calls Forth to Justify Self
As I was awakening from a dream the other week I heard a man’s name being spoken. It was “Adam Calldher”. I thought about how the name sounded very much like a phrase “Adam called her” and how that speaks of a calling forth of a series of justifications for self. Adam, being the natural man or fallen nature, calls out or seeks out self justification. What is the reason behind the natural man calling out for justification? The natural man calls out to self for justification seeking for identity and that’s why self justification follows self questions.
In spy movies we often hear these specific instructions being given to a spy when sent out on a mission, “I want you to be my eyes and ears on the ground”, meaning that I won’t be there, but I want you to report to me what you see and hear. I will trust your intel because I trust your experience in the field.
Would we trust the intelligence gathering of self to accurately sift through facts? Would we trust self to be our eyes and ears on the ground (meaning, to accurately assess the scenarios designed for our testing)? These questions are good because they help us to examine the way that casual observations of the flesh are presented to the mind as concrete evidence.
Let’s think about the different witnesses called forth to testify of the truth of what self had observed for justification. The witnesses are not intentionally placed in a specific order. We might notice the emotions before we notice the aspiration and that “tell” is helpful to discernment, but the emotions are part of the chain of self justifications that build upon or feed one another to produce a stronghold (fortress/barrier) against faith, that needs to be continually discerned through reflection to be soften and broken down by the Spirit.
Let’s quickly backtrack to look at why we’ve selected the word “tell” to describe how observant we are of the emotions. I googled this information. . . “One of the key skills most good poker players have is the ability to read their opponents at the table. That is why you hear so much about “poker tells.” A “tell” is any physical reaction, kind of behavior, or habit that gives (or tells) the other players information about your hand. If you learn the most common tells, you can not only watch your own behavior to make sure your body language isn’t telling all your secrets, but also watch for the habits and tics in the poker players you’re at the table with.”
We’re not teaching you how to be suspicious of each other. We’re talking about becoming observant of the emotions as a tell, a reaction or responsive behavior, or habit of the mind that tells us (gives us information) about how the aspiration, imagination, and principle are being played out and how the natural man is calling out for self justification.
As in the game of poker, your opponent is trying to keep his hand a secret to prevent you from gaining information, so also does the devil desire to keep shielded from observation the silent work of the aspiration, imagination, and principle. So we can observe the emotions present as a tell.
We’ll call the first witness for self justification, the emotions, the second witness is the appetite, the third witness is a string of past events that are similar to the current situation, the fourth witness is the imagination, the fifth witness is the aspiration, and the sixth witness is the principle.
As each witness is tried on for size to see how the truth they present to the conscience fits into the perceived offense or lack, desire or need, and how that makes us look (to ourselves and to others) we can see the preening of the conscience taking place.
The word “preen” (w/k) means: “(said of a bird) to straighten and clean its feathers with its beak. "robins preened its feathers at the pool's edge. synonyms: clean, tidy, groom, smooth, arrange;
(said of a person) to devote effort to making oneself look attractive and then admire one's appearance. "adolescents preening in their bedroom mirrors"; congratulate or pride oneself. synonyms: admire oneself, primp oneself, groom oneself, spruce oneself up.”
I like how this word of knowledge “preen” in that it speaks first of the continued grooming of the conscience to make the offense about self rather than the fruit bearing process. Grooming speaks of putting everything in its place. Smoothing down loose hair, tucking in s shirt, or straitening a tie -- equity of appearance to the carnal eye.
Each witness for self justification is being tried on for size to see how the truths they present to the conscience fits and then admiring that fit to self as if to congratulate self for this total package.
WIW2R: Adam calls out to her (emotions) for mating, to increase by self justification, but grace calls us forth for mating with God, that the confirmation of truth in the power of the witness of the Spirit might bring forth confidence in God.
I want to take a look at common emotions again such as frustration or hopelessness, or anger, or resentment, or confusion. What we did earlier was to mix in with those emotions, words that began with the prefix “dis”. Words like disappointment, distrust, disapproval, dislike, disfavor, disbelief, discourage, and discomfort.
What does that do in the way of helping to establish what the emotions like frustration and hopelessness are all about?
The prefix DIS means: “apart, asunder, away, utterly, or having a privative, negative, or reversing force.”
Privative meaning: “(said of an action or state) marked by the absence, removal, or loss of some quality or attribute that is normally present.”
Think about the virtue of Christ that is normally present in grace that assists the soul in the experience of healing and restoration to the likeness of Christ. Each word that begins with “dis” allows us to see behind the emotion, the work of the adversary to hinder the progress of faith’s output by getting faith off track, stuck justifying self.
The emotions, working with the aspiration is meant to have a negative effect upon the soul as Satan seeks to reverse the force of grace to now observe through the carnal senses not just a frustration, but disliking of a person and distrust towards God.
Self justification works in the opposite direction of the justification of Christ and that is why, as a child of God, we are called to repudiate (w/k) it.
Repudiate meaning: refuse to accept or be associated with.
Scale Question: How can I observe the justification of Christ bring life and the justification of self bring death?
It is God who justifies us as we bring ourselves into agreement with Him (truth) by His grace (power) for obedience. This means that we’re resourcing the knowledge of Christ as our measure, what we go back to in times of resistance when the natural inclination is to resource the history of the flesh to get knowledge that we set in order to justify how we feel.
When setting in order our thoughts by resourcing our own history to sort out why we feel the way we do, who did/said what to make us feel the way we do, we can observe the presence of death in that action for it draws upon facts that are not consistent to God’s character, purpose, and plan.
The natural man is inclined to (habit of mind) want to figure out his own plight to justify what he says and what he does, and in this way Satan is seen to teach the natural man how to curry favor. Death is seen in how this works out to stand in the fear of man rather than the fear of God.
As Christians, we are called to justify Christ. This means that faith is a conscious act to carry grace in our conscience. As Christians we are to be “grace carriers” (a word of knowledge ministered to me a few years ago) to transmit the grace of God to others. Faith is about this transference of grace from God’s throne to the heart where the work of Christ is accomplished.
For grace to be transmitted from one believer to another, it must be free flowing. I was shown this again in a dream recently where there were two very difference places that could be discerned while in a river. One place was calm and still and not moving and the other place was a swift moving current. That current has the power to carry a person along. I was directed to stay in the current of God’s grace. And this admonition is repeated to us daily, “Stay in the current of God’s grace” to carry the perspective of the throne. That requires us to discern self justification from the justification of Christ.