Authority and Submissionby Watchman Nee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Man’s rebellion is manifested in words, reasons, and thoughts. If a man does not know authority, there will be reviling words. But these words come from reasons. Man speaks because he thinks he has a reason. Ham thought that he had a reason to revile Noah because he was naked. Miriam’s word concerning Moses marrying an Ethiopian woman was a fact; she had a reason. However, those who submit to authority and live under authority do not live in their reasons. Korah’s company and the 250 leaders said that Moses and Aaron should not put themselves above the others because the whole congregation was holy and Jehovah was in their midst. Again, their rebellion had a reason behind it. Reviling words often come from reasons. Dathan and Abiram had even more reasons. They charged that Moses had not brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, that he had not given them the inheritance of fields and vineyards, but rather that they were still in the wilderness. They charged that Moses was just covering up their eyes, saying, “Will you put out the eyes of these men?” (Num. 16:14). This meant that their eyes were very clear. The more they thought, the more reason they had. Reason cannot stand thinking. The more thinking there is, the more reasons are stirred up. In the world everyone lives in reasons. What difference is there between us and the worldly people if we also live in reasons?
Indeed we need to put out our eyes and follow the Lord without reason. Are our lives based upon reasons or upon authority? Many become blind when they are struck by the Lord’s light. Although they have eyes, it is as if they have none. Once the light comes, all reasons are gone. Once Paul was enlightened on the way to Damascus, he became truly blind. From then on he did not care for reasons (Acts 9:3, 8). Moses’ eyes were not put out, but he was like a man without eyes. It was not that he had no reasons; he knew many reasons. But all the reasons were under him because he submitted to God. Those who submit to authority do not act by sight. A servant of the Lord must be blind. He must be delivered from a life of reasons. Reasoning in the heart is the first cause of rebellion. Hence, if we do not deal thoroughly with reasons, it is impossible to stop the words. If we are not delivered from reasons, they will issue forth in reviling words sooner or later.
How difficult it is to be delivered from a life of reason. We are rational beings. How can it be possible for us to not reason with God? This is a very difficult point. We reason continually from our youth. From the time before we believed in the Lord even until now, the basic principle of our living has been in reasoning. What can cause us to stop now? Requiring us to do so will take our flesh-life to the gallows! There are two kinds of Christians: one living on the level of reason and the other living on the level of authority. We should submit as soon as there is a command. On which level are we living? When God has a command, do we consider a little and submit when there are sufficient reasons and not submit when there are insufficient reasons? This is the expression of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil causes us not only to discern things in ourselves, but to discern things established by God as well. All these have to pass through our reasons and judgments. We can reason for God and even make judgments for God, but this is the principle of Satan. Satan wants to be equal with God. Those who know God only have submission; there is no reason with them. The two never mingle together. If a man wants to learn submission, he has to throw away reasons. Either he lives by God’s authority or he lives by reasons. He cannot have both. The Lord Jesus lived a life on earth that was completely beyond reason. What reason was there for the insults, tortures, and crucifixion that He suffered? He, nevertheless, submitted under God’s authority. He did not care for any reason. He was only responsible for submission. He did not ask for anything else. How simple is the man who lives under authority! But how complicated is the man who lives in reasons! The birds in the air and the lilies in the field live a simple life. The more a person lives under authority, the simpler his life will become.
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