Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message I would like to give a further word on the matters of being like-souled and of risking our soul. Concerning Timothy, Paul says, “I have no one like-souled who will genuinely care for what concerns you” (2:20). Regarding Epaphroditus, he says, “Because for the work of Christ he drew near even unto death, risking his life, that he might fill up your lack of service toward me” (v. 30). Without spiritual experience, we cannot have an adequate understanding of Paul’s thought in these verses. Mere reading without experience is not sufficient. Through our experience in the church life and through observation, we have come to understand at least to some extent what Paul means when he speaks of being like-souled and of risking the soul.
As we all know, there are a great many divisions among Christians today, divisions that number in the thousands. In virtually every case, these divisions have been caused by Christians who have a heart for the Lord and who truly love Him. In fact, the more the believers love the Lord Jesus, the more divisions there are apt to be. The reason for this is that, out of their love for the Lord, Christians desire to do something for Him. Time and time again, the outcome has been division.
In order to accomplish something for Christ, we must use our soul. To simply have fellowship with the Lord it is sufficient to exercise our spirit, but to do something for Him we need to exercise our soul with its faculties. This was the reason God created the soul with the faculties of mind, emotion, and will. Whenever we seek to accomplish something for the Lord, we must use these faculties. However, the serious problem is that when Christians endeavor to do something for the Lord Jesus out of their love for Him, they are not like-souled. Instead, they are very different in the soul. These differences in the soul are the primary cause of division.
It is commonly thought that divisions among Christians have their source in doctrinal differences, and apparently this is so. But actually the true source is found not in disagreement over doctrine, but in the differences in the souls of believers. Because so many Christians are not like-souled, not truly one in soul, those who love the Lord Jesus have caused most of the divisions we see today. The source of divisions, therefore, is man’s soul.
The saints in the Lord’s recovery have a genuine love for the Lord Jesus. As far as loving the Lord and enjoying fellowship with Him are concerned, there are no problems. But when we attempt to carry out something for the Lord according to what we have seen in our fellowship with Him in the spirit, we may have problems because we are different in soul from the other saints. In other words, in what we desire to do, we are not like-souled.
This difference in soul may have two different kinds of results. First, some may even go so far as to leave the church life and cause yet another division. Second, some may keep the proper standing on the ground of oneness and stay in the recovery, but they may become negative, dissenting, or cold. One who remains in the recovery while holding such an attitude may say to himself, “The brothers certainly are strong in their concepts about certain things. I simply am not able to get my idea across to them. Since they are not willing to take my proposal, it is best that I am silent from now on. Instead of being aggressive, I’ll withdraw and become passive. I’ll attend the church meetings, but I’ll let someone else care for the various matters in the church life.” Those who adopt such an attitude may have a good intention. They may be reluctant to argue or cause trouble. For example, an elder in a local church may consider within himself, “My concept is different from that of the other elders. According to my opinion, my way is better than theirs. But, they won’t accept my proposal. Instead of arguing, it is better that I not say anything. Let the brothers do things their way and let them bear the responsibility of taking the church on.” I have seen many cases of this in the church life.
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