HWMR – Vital Factors for the Recovery of the Church Life (Week 6)
The Factor of Dealing with Our Natural Disposition for Our Growth in Life and Our Usefulness in Service
Key Point – If the outer man is not broken, the inner man will not be released; the earthen vessel has to be broken before the treasure can be released.
2 Cor. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not out of us.
Watchman Nee saw that what we are by nature means nothing; only what the Spirit constitutes within our being counts. Whatever we are by birth, whether good or bad, whether useful or not, is natural and altogether a hindrance to the Holy Spirit in constituting the divine life into our being. For this reason our natural strength, natural wisdom, natural cleverness, natural disposition, natural shortcomings, natural virtues, and natural attributes, plus our character and habits, must all be torn down in order that the Holy Spirit may form in us a new disposition, new character, new habits, new virtues, and new attributes. In order to accomplish this work of reconstitution, the Holy Spirit of God moves within us to enlighten, inspire, lead, and saturate us with the divine life. He also works in our environment to arrange every detail, person, matter, and thing in our situation to tear down what we are naturally. He may arrange to place a certain person in our home in order to tear down our natural quickness or slowness. He may arrange certain matters to abolish our natural cleverness or dullness. He may arrange another situation to tear down our natural wisdom or folly. He uses all kinds of persons, matters, and things to tear down all aspects of our natural being in order that He may conform us to the image of Christ. (Watchman Nee – a Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, pp. 115-116)
The Lord often chastises us, but we turn our attention to men and take the wrong track. Our attitude before the Lord should be as the psalmist said, “I did not open my mouth; for You have done this” (Psa. 39:9). We have to remember that it is not our brother, sister, friends and relatives, or any other person who is dealing with us. It is God who is dealing with us. We have to see this. We have to realize that the Lord has been disciplining us and dealing with us all these years. Because of our ignorance we have put the blame on others or even on fate. This is total ignorance of God’s hand. It is wrong. We have to remember that everything has been measured to us by our God. The amount, the length, and the intensity of what befalls us are all measured by Him. He orders everything around us, the only purpose of which is to break our conspicuous, obtuse, and hard spots. May the Lord be gracious to us and show us the meaning of His work in us. May He grant us much light to expose us and to humble us. (CWWN, vol. 54, “The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Release of the Spirit,” p. 244)
Life-study of Colossians (Message 27)
Christ – Our Life
Col. 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Col. 3:4 When Christ our life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him in glory.
If we would apply the cross to our situation, we need to contact the all-inclusive Spirit. The effectiveness of the death of Christ is in this Spirit, just as the effectiveness of certain medicines is included in a certain prescribed dose. When a person takes the prescribed dose, he experiences the effectiveness of that medicine. Today the all-inclusive Spirit is an all-inclusive dose. This dose includes the effectiveness of Christ’s death and the power of His resurrection. Furthermore, Christ’s resurrected and uplifted humanity is also in the all-inclusive Spirit.
According to the New Testament, the all-inclusive Spirit is the Spirit. In John 7:39 we are told that the Spirit was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified. This means the Spirit of God had not yet been compounded to become the Spirit, the all-inclusive Spirit. But when Jesus was glorified, the process of compounding was accomplished, and the Spirit came into being. Today it is the Spirit who descends upon us and enters into us to indwell our spirit. In this Spirit we have the effectiveness of the death of Christ.
If we would apply the cross of Christ, we need to open ourselves to the Spirit, contact the Spirit, and allow the Spirit to have a free way within us. Then the Spirit will spontaneously apply the effectiveness of the death of Christ to us. This is what it means to apply the death of Christ. Furthermore, when we open to the Spirit and allow Him to apply the death of Christ to our situation, this experience of Christ’s death will bring Christ to us in resurrection. Hence, through the experience of Christ’s death, we also experience His resurrection. The more we experience this, the more we can say with Paul, “To me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21).
Due to the influence of tradition, we often use the right terms in the wrong way. The terms are correct, but our understanding of them is mistaken. One of these terms is the cross. When we speak of applying the cross to our situation, we need to have the proper understanding. We need to realize that the effectiveness of the death of Christ is in the all-inclusive Spirit. The reality of the cross of Christ is in the Spirit. Thus, if we open to the Spirit and allow the Spirit to move freely within us, He will flow within us. This inward flowing will bring to us the effectiveness of the death of Christ. Moreover, this application of Christ’s death will bring Christ Himself in resurrection. Then, as those who have died with Christ, we shall live with Him in resurrection. It is here that Christ becomes our life in a practical way. We have died with Christ on the cross, and we have been raised up together with Christ. Now, in resurrection, we have Christ as our life. If we spend more time considering the diagram, we shall be helped to realize in what way we have Christ as our life.
Life-study of Colossians (Message 28)
Christ – the Constituent of the New Man
Col. 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
Col. 3:11 Where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.
In Colossians Paul uses the phrase “full knowledge” three times (1:10; 2:2; 3:10). The problem with the Colossians was that they had the wrong kind of knowledge. They had taken in philosophies that were not according to Christ. In 2:8 Paul speaks of philosophies that are according to the tradition of men and according to the elements of the world, but not according to Christ. Now in 3:10 he speaks of full knowledge according to the image, the expression, the fullness, of God. Concerning the new man, our mind needs to be renewed unto such a full knowledge according to the Christ who is the expression of the invisible God. Our mind needs to be renewed to such an extent that we have a clear view of Christ as the image of God. Few Christians have a proper understanding of the Christ unveiled in the book of Colossians. Their minds have not been renewed unto such a full knowledge of Him. As a result, many Christians today have been misled, deluded, and defrauded, just as the Colossians were. The Colossians could be deluded because in their minds they did not have the full knowledge according to God’s expression. The same is true of Christians today. Some have been carried away because in their minds they were not renewed unto full knowledge according to the all-inclusive Christ as the image of God.
Love is a matter of the emotion, and the emotion is related to the understanding we have in the mind. If we have little understanding of a certain thing, we shall not have much appreciation of it. This will make it impossible for us to love that thing. But when our mind concerning that thing is renewed, our emotion with its love will be renewed also. When the mind is renewed, the emotion is spontaneously renewed as well. Our experience confirms this. Both in spiritual experience and in human experience, the mind affects the emotion, and the emotion affects the will.
We need to be renewed in our mind in order to have a proper love for the Lord in our emotion. Many saints are cold toward the Lord because in their minds they do not have much knowledge of Him. The more we have the knowledge of the all-inclusive Christ, the more we shall appreciate Him and love Him. Although we still need a great deal more renewing, we nevertheless have a certain amount of knowledge of the Lord Jesus. This knowledge of Him causes us to love Him. Out of our love and appreciation for the Lord, we exercise our will to decide to be for Him, to follow Him, and to live Him, grow Him, and produce Him. We decide to live for Him and for His testimony. This decision comes out of the emotion, and the emotion is in turn influenced by the proper knowledge of Christ.
When I was a young man, I was captured by the dear Lord Jesus. The more my mind is renewed unto the proper knowledge of Him, the more I love Him. I can testify that, even though I am an elderly person, my love for Him is fresh. In fact, I love Him more today than ever before. As I speak of Him, a fire is burning within me. The renewing that has taken place in my mind unto full knowledge according to the image of God has created appreciation within me for the Lord. This causes me to love Him. When we have such a love for the Lord, we shall say, “Lord Jesus, I want to follow You at any cost. I am willing to pay any price, even the price of my life, to be one with You and be for You. Lord, I want to take You as my life and as my person. I want to live You, grow You, and produce You. Lord Jesus, I am here for You and for You alone.”