The believers in Christ have God’s life in them, and this life wants to spread and increase; however, there are many obstacles to God’s life, such as our human concepts, hypocrisy, rebellion, and our natural capability.
Almost everything inside us and outside us can be a problem to the divine life, hindering the flow, growth, and expression of this life.
The first problem is that we don’t realize the darkness of our human concepts. We think that, once we have a good thought to do something for the Lord, we should do it. The only thing that matters in our Christian life is how we take care of the living Christ in us.
The Christian life is Christ living in us and we cooperating with Him to let Him live in us. First, Christ is revealed in us, then He lives in us, and He is finally formed in us. As we behold Him face to face, with an unveiled face – a turned heart, we are being transformed into the same image as He is from glory to glory.
But if we don’t take care of the living Christ in us but rather walk according to our concepts and opinions, we are walking in the vanity of the mind, even like the rest do. We need to take Christ as our life and as our aim; if we don’t take Christ as our life, we will not know the pathway of life, and we will have difficulties in our spiritual life.
The second problem the divine life encounters in us is hypocrisy; this refers to us being one way inwardly and expressing something completely different outwardly.
Many times we may “put on a show” when we’re with the saints, but we are a different person with a different attitude when we’re not with the saints. The Lord wants that we would have a personal, private, and intimate time with Him, seeking Him in secret, so that He would reward us in secret; the result will be that we are genuine believers, living out what we are inside.
Our spirituality is not determined by our outward appearance but how we take care of the indwelling Christ.
This means that we need to allow the Lord to deal with our disposition, that is, we need to reject our natural disposition and preference, and simply allow Christ to operate in us and break us, so that His life may flow in us.
Not Disobeying the Sense of Christ in us but Accepting His Leading and Dealing with us
The third main problem that God’s life encounters in us is rebellion. Rebellion doesn’t only refer to us opposing God and being against Him, but also to our not being willing to go along with His leading and speaking inwardly.
Christ operates in us; He moves in us and speaks to us to make us clear about His will and requirements for us, and about His leading and dealing with us. But if we don’t obey the feeling within but go against it, not accepting the Lord’s leading and paying the price to follow it, our unwillingness and opposition are rebellion.
We may want to keep our freedom and do what we want to do, but we will not have the way of life. Here’s an example: we may like to visit the saints and fellowship with them, but the Lord within us wants us to spend some personal time with Him in prayer.
If we ignore the Lord’s feeling within us, we may go ahead and do an outward work as a religious activity, but we live in the principle of rebellion.
We may want to go and speak to people about God by preaching the gospel, but the Lord Jesus within us gives us a feeling to stay home and read His word with much prayer to be nourished by Him; if we ignore the Lord’s feeling, we do a religious activity just like the others, but not in the way of life.
Visiting the saints, fellowshipping with the saints, preaching the gospel, and many other things are not bad in themselves – they are good ways to participate the church life and be built up with the saints; but we may be active and zealous in doing these things yet still imprison the living Christ within us by ignoring Him.
It is possible for us to merely perform a religious activity in preaching the gospel, because we inwardly disobeyed the Lord’s feeling and ignored His leading. We shouldn’t go against the Lord’s feeling within us, but be willing to go along with it and pay the price, otherwise we are rebellious.
The sin that we commit the most frequently and most severely is not something outward and visible but something inward, something between us and the Lord; it is the sin of disobeying the sense of Christ in us.
Our Lord Jesus is living in us, and He is constantly giving us an inward sense of life; whenever we set our mind on the spirit, we sense life and peace (Rom. 8:6), but when our mind is set on the flesh, we sense death.
We have an inward anointing which teaches us all things (1 John 2:27); we need to obey the Lord’s feeling and speaking within us, following His leading in what He wants us to do, otherwise we live in the principle of rebellion.
Paul was in prison for the Lord, and he took Christ as his prison, being an ambassador in a chain (Eph. 3:1; 4:1; 6:20); he was one with the Lord even in prison.
He also took care of the rest in his spirit; even though a door was open to him in the Lord, he didn’t go there because he didn’t have rest in his spirit (2 Cor. 2:12-14).
Lord Jesus, save us from living in the principle of rebellion by not obeying the inner sense of life within us. Save us from committing the sin of rebellion by disobeying the sense of Christ in us. Oh Lord, we love You, we want to care for You, and we want to set our mind on the spirit to have life and peace. May we be those who listen to Your speaking, follow Your leading, and do everything according to the Lord’s feeling within us. Strengthen us to pay the price to go against our disposition and natural man to follow Your leading.
Our Unbroken Natural Capability is a Great Problem to Christ’s Life in us
The fourth main problem that God’s life encounters in us is our natural capability. Many brothers and sisters love the Lord, are zealous for Him, and are very godly; however, their greatest problem is the strength and greatness of their capabilities and abilities.
We may consider and condemn the matter of our human concepts, our self, our natural man, our rebellion, and our hypocrisy, but we may not readily accept that our natural capability and ability can be a problem to the Lord’s life in us.
Our unbroken natural capability is a great problem and frustration to the Lord’s life within us.
Two good examples are Moses and Peter. Moses was a highly educated person in all the Egyptian knowledge, being mighty in word and power; he thought he could deliver the children of Israel, so he killed an Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
The result was that he had to flee to the wilderness and stay there for forty years; in this time he lost all his trust in his natural capability and natural strength, and he learned to trust and rely on the Lord for everything. Therefore, God could use him greatly, because his natural capability was broken.
Peter in the New Testament was very powerful in his disposition, and he trusted in his natural love for the Lord; he even said that, if all the other disciples would turn away from Him, he will never leave the Lord. And before the rooster crowed, he denied the Lord three times.
This broke Peter, breaking his natural capability and trust in the self, and he became very useful to the Lord.
We may be capable and talented, but we may not consider these things as sin or filthiness; rather, instead of despising our natural capabilities, we may even treasure them, desiring to “use them for the Lord”. But if our natural capability remains unbroken in us, it becomes a problem to God’s life.
Because we by disposition are good, talented, eloquent, smart, or loving, our natural capabilities are a great hindrance to God’s life in us. We need to be enlightened and exposed in this matter, otherwise the life of God will be greatly hindered in our being.
We may want to do many things for God – and may even be able to do many things for Him because of our natural capability, but all these are rejected by Him, for they are not done by His life, from His life, and as an expression of His life within us.
Lord Jesus, shine on us that we may see and realize that our unbroken natural capability is a great problem and frustration to God’s life in us. Save us from going on and expressing ourselves, our natural disposition, and our capabilities. Have mercy on us, Lord, and cause Your light to shine on our real situation and condition. We want to cooperate with You for Your life to flow in us, grow in us, and be expressed through us for the building up of the church!
Experiencing the Breaking of the Cross by the Power of Resurrection for Christ’s Life to be Unhindered in us
There are many obstacles to God’s life in us, and these four main ones – our human concepts, hypocrisy, rebellion, and our natural capability – are the ones that stand out.
How can we deal with all these problems so that God’s life would flow in us and develop in our being for Him to be expressed through us for the fulfillment of His purpose? There is one solution to all these obstacles in us: we must pass through the cross and let the cross break us.
If we want Christ’s life to be unhindered in us, we must experience the breaking of the cross, and we must allow the cross to deal with these obstacles and remove them (Matt. 16:24-25).
God doesn’t negotiate or compromise with anything; His only way to deal with all the problems is through the cross.
And the way the cross operates in our being is by the power of His resurrection. It is by the power of Christ’s resurrection and not by our natural life, that we as the lovers of Christ determine to take up the cross and deny the self.
We are not ascetics or people who choose to suffer; we are believers in Christ who love the Lord and are empowered by the power of His resurrection to be conformed to His death and be one with His cross.
The reality of resurrection is the Spirit dwelling in our spirit, the Spirit mingled with our spirit.
It is in our mingled spirit that we participate in and experience the resurrection of Christ, which enables us to be one with the cross to be delivered from the self to be transformed into a new man in God’s new creation for the fulfillment of God’s economy and the building up of the organic Body of Christ.
The only way to deal with all these problems to God’s life in us is to turn to our spirit, where God’s life is, and allow the Lord to empower us with His resurrection power so that we may pass through the cross and let the cross break us; then, Christ’s life will be unhindered in us.
Lord Jesus, we want that Your life would be unhindered in our being. We exercise our spirit to be empowered with Your resurrection power so that we may pass through the cross and let the cross break us and deal with any problems in us. Lord, keep us in our spirit, experiencing the power of Your resurrection to be conformed to Your death, be delivered from the self, and be transformed into a new man in God’s new creation for the fulfillment of Your economy, the building up of the Body of Christ!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ed Marks for this week, and portions from, Knowing Life and the Church, pp. 35-37 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Knowing Life and the Church, msg. 2 (week 2), The Knowledge of Life.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Oh, save me, Lord! Subdue this stubborn will; / Oh, save me, Lord! / In spite of all, Thy purposes fulfil / In me, Oh, Lord; / I yield my self, and all I have and am, / To follow Thee, Thou all redeeming Lamb! (Hymns #385)
# A lover of Christ should be one / Who is called by Him / To be delivered / From the self through His oneness / With the cross, with the cross of Christ. (Song on being a lover of Christ)
# In the spirit Christ is life and all to me, / Strengthening and blessing all-inclusively; / Living in the spirit, holiness I prove, / And the triune God within my heart doth move. (Hymns #593)
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