As believers in Christ, we have the life of God in us, and this life wants to be expressed through us and be lived out of us. Hallelujah, we have God’s life in us (Col. 3:4; Rom. 8:10)! We need God to open our eyes, though, to see that our natural man, our very person, is a hindrance to the life of God. It’s not something merely outward or an aspect of our being, but our very person is a hindrance!
We need to see that we have been crucified on the cross – and we must hate our self. Actually, the more we see God, know God, and love God, the more we abhor ourselves and the more we deny ourselves, thus allowing God’s life a free way to live and be expressed through us (see Col. 3:3; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6; Matt. 16:24).
how can God’s life be lived out of us?
Many times the Lord has mercy on us and He exposes us that our whole being – our whole person – which surrounds the life of God in our being, is a hindrance to the life of God – and the result is that we try to improve ourselves. We become behavior-improving Christians by taking the way of self-improvement, doing our best to change ourselves and the way we are.
This doesn’t work, and God doesn’t want us to do this – the living of a Christian is the living out of God, not man’s effort to please God and change himself to do what the Bible says. We need to allow the divine life in us to open up a way so that God can live out of us.
Our natural disposition and character are a hindrance to the life of God being lived out of us – whether we are a calm or an irritable person, whether we are a mild or a quick person, and whether we are a kind of a rough person, we ourselves are a problem to the life of God. Sooner or later the Lord will show us and we will see this.
We need to ask for His mercy that we would not take the way of improving ourselves but that we would rather turn to Him and allow His life to have a way to be expressed out of us. Yes, we do hate ourselves (as Job did in Job 42:5-6), but we turn to Him and enjoy Him, and our ugly self is crucified, put to death, so that God’s life may be lived out of us.
our work is an overflow of life
We may have a burden and a desire to serve the Lord, and the Lord may open a way to practically serve Him in the church life. But we need to realize that all our work should be an overflow of life – all our activity must come out of life. This may mean that when WE WANT to do something for God we first need to stop and spend more time with Him, until His life in us has a way to overflow.
Unless our work comes out of the divine life in us, our service to the Lord will not bear much weight. We need to be persons of life, filled with the divine life, those who do everything as an overflow of the divine life within them.
The results of our work also should be measured by life. Only what comes out of life and is done as an overflow of the life of God in us is recognized and approved by God. Some may do great things for the Lord, but He does not approve them if they don’t come out of His life in them (Matt. 7:22-23). Some may preach the gospel out of envy (Phil. 1:15) while others may do things out of their good heart for God.
We need to learn to live in and according to the divine life of God in us, and allow His life to lead us to do God’s work. Brother Witness Lee puts it very well in, The Knowledge of Life (page 58),
We should have only one desire—to know and experience the life of the Lord more, and to be able to share with others what we have known and experienced so that they too may obtain something. When we work, we should not establish a work; neither should we set up an organization. Our work should just be the releasing of the life of the Lord, the imparting and supplying of the Lord’s life to others. May the Lord have mercy upon us and open our eyes to see that the central work of God in this age is that man may gain His life and grow and mature in His life. Only the work which comes out of His life can reach His eternal standard and be accepted by Him.
taking God’s way to live by God’s life
How much we need to humble ourselves before God, admitting that we don’t know how to live the Christian life and we don’t want to damage God’s work by initiating things and doing things for Him that are not an overflow of His life in us. Everything in our Christian life should be done out of the life of God in us.
We need to stop, enjoy the Lord, and take God’s way – live by God’s life in us and allow His life to overflow, work out what it wants to, and be expressed in us. We shouldn’t focus on work or doing many things for God – we need to focus on experiencing and enjoying God’s life in us, and allowing this life to have a free way in us!
Lord Jesus, we want You to have a way in us. Live Yourself, Lord Jesus, through us, for You are our very life. May our Christian life be a life lived by the divine life, and may our Christian work be an overflow of the divine life in us. Lord, continue to shine on us and expose our natural man, that we may just deny ourselves and let You live in us!
References and Further Reading
- Sharing inspired from, Knowing Life and the Church (ch. 5), and, The Knowledge of Life (ch. 6), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Taking the Lead as Elders and Responsible Ones, week 2.
- Buy the morning revival book online via LSM.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Live Thyself, Lord Jesus, through me, / For my very life art Thou.
# The overflow of life is work, / The work should be our living!
# I long for fellowship in spirit, / That mingled with the saints I’ll be.
- Picture source: blooming irises, Oregon.
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