The Life and Way for the Practice of the Church Lifeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Sometimes when you experience the Spirit working and moving in you, you sense some kind of killing going on within you, even though you may not have heard any message or teaching about the killing of the cross. Because you experience the Spirit of Jesus working in you, you sense something within killing your poor character, your bad habits, your temper, your desires, your lusts, and a lot of other things. This is the effectiveness of the death of Christ included in the Spirit of Jesus. This is like a dose of medicine with many elements, including the element of germ-killing. Once this dose gets into you, it kills the germs in your body. There is no need to remember the messages about the killing power of the cross. As long as I have the Spirit working and moving in me, I sense the killing. The more I am filled by the Spirit, the more I will be killed, because within the Spirit of Jesus there is the killing element, the effectiveness of Christ’s death.
Sometimes when the Spirit is moving within you, you have the sense that the Lord is on the throne and that you have to be prostrate before Him as the Lord of all. The more you have the Spirit moving within you, the more you will be subdued by Christ. You will recognize the lordship and headship of Christ.
Also, as the Spirit is moving within you, many times you have the sense that you are transcendent. The more you have the Spirit moving within you, the more you have the sense that you are not on this earth but in the heavenlies. You are far above all. It seems as if nothing can touch you. All things are under your feet.
At other times when the Spirit is moving within you, you will have a sense that you have to be so humble and lowly. This is something of Christ’s human living. No one who has the Holy Spirit moving within him can be proud. The more you think highly of yourself, the more it proves that you are out of the Holy Spirit. If you are in the Spirit and have the Spirit moving within you, you will be a humble person. If you have the Spirit moving within you, on the one hand, you are transcendent, high in the heavenlies, and on the other hand, you are lowly and humble.
Furthermore, the more you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the more you will be human. Many people claim that they are spiritual, yet they do not act as men. They try to act like angels, who are spirits (Heb. 1:13-14). God’s intention, however, is not to have many spirits but many men filled with the Spirit. If a certain brother has never wept in the meeting, he is not human. The Gospel of John tells us that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God (3:16), the very God (1:1). Yet this same book tells us that He wept (11:35), that He was weary and needed to rest (4:6), that He was hungry and sent His disciples to get some food for Him (vv. 8, 31), and that He was thirsty and asked the Samaritan woman for some water to drink (v. 7). The Lord is the very infinite God, yet today He is also a man with the human nature.
I have seen some so-called spiritual persons who never laugh or weep. They say, “If we are in Christ, we shouldn’t weep or laugh. We have to be very strict.” I am not trying to help you to be more emotional or sentimental. But I do know that a person who is spiritual must be very human. The Spirit of Jesus today has not only the divine element but also the human element. I would recommend to you the book The Spirit of Christ by Andrew Murray. You should pay special attention to the fifth chapter. In this chapter he said that the divine nature had been interwoven into the human nature. This interweaving of the divine nature and the human nature is in the Holy Spirit. Today, we use the word mingling (as used in Leviticus 2:4-5 in the type of the meal offering) instead of the word interweaving. According to the type of the meal offering, the Lord Jesus was the fine flour (humanity) mingled with oil (divinity). Today with the Spirit of Jesus there is a mingling of divinity with humanity. If you are properly experiencing the Spirit of Jesus, you will be very human in a pure way according to a high standard.
In the Spirit there is also the strength to bear all kinds of sufferings. While the Lord was on this earth, He was suffering all the time. The suffering element, the suffering strength, the suffering capacity, is now in the Spirit of Jesus. When you have the Spirit moving within you, you will sense there is the strength, the ability, the capacity, to endure sufferings. When you are filled with Him, you are able to bear all things and endure all things. This is divinity mingled with humanity.
Not only so, many times when we are in the Spirit, we sense something within us as the resurrection power, which is living, energizing, strengthening, and powerful. The greater the depression, suppression, or even oppression, the greater will be the energizing, the standing up, and the rising up within you. This is the resurrection power. You may not have known that the resurrection life of Christ is within you today, but if you have the experience of the Spirit of Christ, you have the element of the resurrection power that is in Him.
One time some of us brothers were invited to a certain brother’s house for dinner. While we were there, the brothers, including the host, were talking excitedly about their reading of the book of Romans, and I was listening to their talk. After quite a while, I asked them what kind of light they had received. One brother said that they had really seen something in Romans 6 about reckoning oneself dead. I smiled and said, “Brother, would you tell me frankly and faithfully if you are really dead by your reckoning?” He said, “Brother Lee, I have to confess that the more I reckon myself to be dead, the more I am alive.”
Then by the help of the Spirit, I pointed out to the brothers that it is not by reckoning that we become dead. We have to be in the Spirit. What is mentioned in Romans 6 must be realized in Romans 8. If you have Romans 6 without Romans 8, it is like having a book on electricity without electricity. It may be a good book about electricity with many instructions and formulas, but it is not the electricity itself. The “electricity,” that is, the Spirit of life, the Spirit of Christ, is in Romans 8. We need the Spirit of Christ.
From 1925 up to 1932, I tried and tried to reckon myself to be dead. But the more I reckoned, the more I was living. Then one day the Lord opened my eyes to see that in the Spirit of Jesus there is the effectiveness of death. In this big “dose” there is the killing power. Simply take the dose. Forget about the formula, the teaching, the doctrine. Simply take the Spirit with the killing element. The more you take the dose, the more you have the killing power. The more you experience the Spirit, the more you have the killing element. All the riches, all the reality, all the fullness of what Christ is, what Christ does, and what Christ has, are in this very Spirit. We do not need the teaching, the knowledge, about Christ. We need the very experience of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
Why was it that in Acts 16 when the apostle Paul would try to go to a certain place to preach the gospel, the Spirit of Jesus did not allow him? Why does the Scripture say “the Spirit of Jesus” instead of “the Spirit of God” (v. 7)? There must be some reason. When we look into Acts 16 and see the environment of that chapter, we realize that we need the Spirit of Jesus. In this chapter there is much suffering and persecution. Paul was even put into prison! In such a situation the Spirit of Jesus was really required. Paul needed the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of a man with abundant strength for suffering.
We often have a wrong concept about the apostles. In Acts 14 we are told that a great crowd in Lystra thought that Paul and Barnabas were two gods (vv. 11-13). But in Acts 16 we see they were not gods but men who had the Spirit of Jesus. In this chapter the apostle Paul suffered much persecution and eventually was put into prison.
I do not have the utterance to adequately express what I apprehend in my spirit about this matter. But one thing I can say is that the more you are filled with the Spirit of Jesus, the more you will be nothing on this earth. You will be finished. Jesus was not a great man in the world’s eyes. He was just a lowly carpenter. He was human. He laughed, He wept, He drank, He ate, and He cared for people. Furthermore, He suffered. Many times there was no deliverance for Him. You should not have the thought that since you are so spiritual, you will be delivered from many troublesome matters. Actually, the more spiritual you are, the more troubles you will have.
Brothers and sisters, today within you there is such a wonderful, all-inclusive Spirit. This Spirit is the Spirit of reality (John 16:13). He is the reality of the Son, the Father, the Spirit, and the man Jesus. He is the reality of Christ’s human living, death, resurrection, glorification, ascension, enthronement, kingdom, and authority. All these things are made real in the Spirit. If you have this Spirit, you have all these things. If you do not have the Spirit, you have nothing but mere doctrinal knowledge in your mentality. Only the Spirit can give you the reality, because He Himself is the reality (1 John 5:6b). If you have Him, you have the reality and experience of all these wonderful things.
Let us pay our full attention to the Spirit who is the reality of every positive thing in the universe and who is now in us. Then we will have the wonderful experiences of Christ. This is what we need today.
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