Remember Pinocchio?  A fictional character created by Italian writer Carlo Collodi in his 1883 children’s book ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’, which Walt Disney adapted into an animated film ‘Pinocchio’ in 1940.  In his pursuit of life, Pinocchio the wooden puppet, is given a special gift by the fairy – a little singing cricket with a top-hat and an umbrella called Jiminy Cricket.  A comical and wise-cracking partner, he accompanies Pinocchio on his adventures to serve as Pinocchio’s conscience. He sang, “Give a little whistle … and always let your conscience be your guide. “

Jiminy’s role develops the heart of the story as he helps Pinocchio on his journey to become a real boy who is truthful, brave and unselfish.  He shows wisdom and courage in facing the enemies that would seek to harm Pinocchio. When Pinocchio constantly lies, Jiminy helps him to tell right from wrong, avoid great temptations and guide him along the right path.

The conscience, a person’s moral sense of right and wrong that impacts their conduct, is a universal gift that God has gifted to every person, no matter what their ethnicity.

(Romans 2: 12 – 16) As a child grows, their conscience becomes consistent with the beliefs and values that they are enculturated into.  The way of autonomy means that our conscience is under the control of the evil one and becomes seared.

Prior to his conversion to Christ, the conscience of Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) the great Christian Reformer, was dictated to by the established church system.  But when he came to know Christ, his life was transformed.  Now his conscience was formed by the love of Christ and His Word.  When he refused to recant concerning his beliefs on the nature of salvation and the church, he responded with these now famous words,

“My conscience is captive to the Word of God, thus I cannot and will
not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor
sound.  (Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me).”[1]

The most important audience for Luther was the audience of One – God Himself. In a culture where children and young people are encouraged to create themselves as they desire with no obligation to conform to moral standards, the Christian school is a place to reframe and reenergize the individual conscience as an essential part of discipleship.  This means that the life of the learning community is to be infused by the Scripture, as the mind of Christ must shape the conscience.

As teachers, the ways of God must be embedded in us, that we might demonstrate what it means to live according to our moral nature as God designed.  Our teaching and learning will assist students to discern the spirit of their age and apply critical thinking to the existential questions they face in the context of the Biblical narrative.

Our students’ consciences will be fed by the truth of a different story and a different set of influences, practices and relationships.

We want our students to be influential without being influenced by those who would lead them astray.  Besides, our Christian disciplines and practices, such as prayer, devotions and worship, our class and wider school culture needs to form patterns that align with what it means to live with the reality of being human together.

Author Mark Sayers in speaking of the hope for renewal in a post-Christian culture says,

“Forming patterns align us with the reality of how humans and God’s
world work, integrating into our lives patterns of functionality and
wisdom, which enable us to live flourishing lives.  The biblical wisdom
books offer a vast resource of patterns and direction with which to
construct helpful patterns.  Forming patterns involve learning the
importance of diligence, of matching our words and actions, of
integrating into our lives the values of delaying gratification for greater
goals and being responsible for the consequences of our actions.  All
these forming patterns occur as we interact with reality, as we enact
daily godly and wise choices, which creates a pattern of formation
in our lives, shaping us into healthy and well-functioning humans.” [2]

Let us nurture a culture aligned to the Kingdom of God, where love for God and love of neighbour, informed by God’s Word, is feeding the consciences of our students.  When we, as teachers, bring our lives under the Lordship of Jesus, His Holy Spirit enables us to live as genuine human beings who bear the image of Christ.  As we demonstrate a life of discipleship, we are inviting our students to live faithfully before the most important audience – the audience of One.

“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.”
Hebrews 9: 14

Grace and Peace
The TEC Team


[1] Here I Stand: Martin Luther’s Reformation at 500 | Abilene Christian University Special Collections (


[2]  Mark Sayers, Reappearing Church – The Hope of Renewal in the rise of our Post-Christian Culture, (Chicago; Moody Publishers, 2019), 157 – 158