We need to see the obstacles that God’s life encounters in us, in particular the darkness of our human concepts and opinions and hypocrisy; we need to realize that the only thing that matters in our Christian life is how we take care of the living Christ in us.
Our Christian life is actually a matter of Christ living in us, that is, God in Christ as the Spirit dispensing Himself as life into us to reconstitute us with Himself and be expressed through us.
Therefore, we shouldn’t read the Bible merely to find out what God wants from us but rather pray and read the holy Word of God to receive God’s light, grow in God’s life, and have God’s inward speaking.
The word of God is living and operative; when we come to the Bible with a proper attitude and being, we will receive God’s living word, and inwardly we will have the inner feeling from the Spirit.
If we follow the inner feeling we receive from the Spirit as we pray and read the word of God, we will have light and life will grow in us to be expressed through us.
Many times the Spirit within us will echo God’s word, that is, the Spirit will emphasize something that we read, making it real and living to us; at such times, we should not argue with the Lord but simply go along with the Lord’s speaking within.
If the Spirit in us gives us a word or a feeling that we praise the Lord, we should receive this word, open our mouth, and praise the Lord; the result will be that we will have light within, and this light is life, the Spirit, Christ, and God.
We need to seek to have God’s speaking every day, whether by ourselves in our personal time with Him or throughout the day, or when we are with the saints.
Our God is a speaking God, and His instant, living, present speaking needs to be our daily supply. If we obey the Lord’s inner speaking, the inner feeling of the Spirit as God’s living word, we will be the church as the issue and result of life.
The church is a corporate entity in life – it is a living composition of the many believers in Christ who have Christ as life as their inward content and who express the Christ who is building Himself into them.
Even though we have received God’s life at the time of our regeneration, this life needs to grow, spread, develop, and be lived out; however, there are many obstacles that the divine life encounters in us.
We may realize that we have another life in our being, the divine life, but we also need to cooperate with the Lord to deal with any obstacles and difficulties that this life faces in us.
Actually, every art of our entire being – both inwardly and outwardly – presents some obstacles to life. Today we want to see two of these obstacles and how to deal with them.
Realizing the Darkness of our Human Concepts and Taking Care of the Living Christ in us
The first problem that God’s life encounters in us is that we don’t realize the darkness of our human concepts.
We may have some good thoughts and concepts, such as serving God by doing many things for Him, being a good person, being zealous, etc, but we may do these things without paying attention to the living Christ within us.
We may think that, now that we’re a Christian, we need to be better people, help the poor, be kind to others, be zealous for God, and go and preach the gospel to all men. All these are “good concepts” – there’s nothing morally or ethically wrong with them; what is wrong is when we do these things according to our concepts yet without contacting or caring for the living Christ within us.
Being a Christian is not a matter of being zealous for God, forsaking the world, not caring for material enjoyment, or spreading the gospel; being a Christian depends upon how we take care of the Christ within us.
All genuine believers have a living person in them – Jesus Christ lives in us, and He is our life; being a Christian depends on nothing else but caring for the living Christ within us.
We need to have Christ revealed in us, formed in us, and living in us (Gal. 1:16; 2:20; 4:19), and for us to live should be nothing else but Christ (Phil. 1:19-21).
We should no longer walk in the vanity of the mind, as the Gentiles do (Eph. 4:17); if we neglect the living Christ within us, we will be like the rest, walking in the vanity of our mind, being alienated from the life of God in our spirit.
Being a Christian means not taking anything other than Christ as our aim; He is our life and our aim, and our Christian life is simply turning to Christ, contacting Him, caring for Him, and being one with Him in everything we do and say.
Many believers have difficulty in their spiritual life after they are saved because they don’t know the pathway of life and they don’t take Christ as their life. We need to be those pure in heart, those who take Christ as our life and our unique aim, so that we may see God and enjoy God.
It is not easy to change our concepts, but in order for us to go on with the Lord and have His life increase in us for the fulfillment of His purpose, we need to put aside our own concepts and opinions and care for the living Christ within us.
We may think that our thoughts and concepts are moral, ethical, good, and upright, but unless we contact the living Christ within and care for Him, being one with Him in what we do and say, we live in the vanity of our unrenewed mind.
Lord Jesus, save us from walking in the vanity of our mind, even as the Gentiles do. Cause us to realize the darkness of our human concepts and our need to take care of the living Christ in us! Oh Lord, purify our heart so that we may have You as our only aim. May we care only for the living Christ within us, and may we be one with this Christ in everything. Lord, we take You as our life and aim. Fill us with Your life. Renew our mind as we open to You and seek You in Your word.
Being Saved from Hypocrisy by Rejecting our Natural Disposition and Letting Christ Operate in Us
The second problem that life encounters in our being is hypocrisy; this is a problem we all have, and we all need to come to the Lord’s light to be exposed and have this issue dealt with.
The Lord speaks of this in Matt. 6:2, 5, and Matt. 7:5; the hypocrites love to get glory from men when they give alms or pray, but in God’s eyes things are different. If we give alms, we shouldn’t do it to be praised by men, and if we pray, we should pray to be rewarded by God and not by men.
The Lord wants us to take care of the indwelling Christ, spending personal, private, and intimate time with Him to enjoy Him and be rewarded by the Father who sees in secret. If we live one way toward others for them to see, while inwardly or at home we are a different way, we are wretched, that is, we are in deep distress or misery.
What the Lord is concerned is not what we express outwardly as a show, but how we are inwardly, how do we inwardly take care of the indwelling Christ so that we may have a proper expression of Christ.
A person’s spirituality is not determined by outward appearance but by how he takes care of the indwelling Christ. Some people are naturally good and kind, and after they are saved they continue to be such ones – but without Christ living in them; our natural goodness is false spirituality and is actually a great hindrance to life.
In order for us to have Christ living in us and being expressed in we need to reject our natural disposition and preference, and simply allow Christ to operate in us and break us.
Our natural goodness, kindness, patience, and endurance can be in the principle of antichrist, that is, in the principle of replacing Christ. Christ is the only One who is good, kind, patient, and enduring, so when we live these virtues apart from Christ, we live in the principle of antichrist.
Our natural goodness is false spirituality and it is rejected by the Lord. If we always do things according to our disposition and natural being, the outcome will always be hypocrisy.
We may love to preach the gospel, and in our time with the Lord He may direct us to go apologize to our spouse; if we refuse to apologize and choose to go preach the gospel, we don’t have the anointing from the Lord.
But if we apologize and ask for forgiveness as the Lord directs us to do, we will be inwardly bright, shining, and we have an inner flow.
What we need to do in our Christian life is take care of the living Christ within us, paying attention to the indwelling Christ.
When we are at the Lord’s Table meeting, we should touch the Lord and listen to His inward speaking and convicting, so that we may not take the elements in a spirit of division; if He touches us to go ask for forgiveness, we should do that, and then take the bread and the wine.
The expression of the divine life within us involves the rejection of our natural disposition and preference, and allowing Christ to operate in us; then, our actions through the inner operation of Christ will be of life and in life.
Lord Jesus, save us from our hypocrisy. Save us from being one way with the saints in the meetings and another way outside the meetings. We want to be those contacting You, enjoying You, and experiencing You inwardly as life for the building up of the Body of Christ. Cause us to realize that our natural goodness is false spirituality and a great hindrance to life. May we allow You to operate in us and break through in us. May we listen to and pay attention to the indwelling Christ in everything that we do.
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, ch. 3 (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:
# May my day be full of Christ. / May my words be spoken in Him. / May my being find rest / Lying on His sweet breast, / May my day be full of Christ. / May my mind be filled with His light, / May my spirit be shining so bright, / May His life bear much fruit, / May I be absolute, / To partake of the living Christ. (Song on a day full of Christ)
# Lord, help me to live a God-man life / At home, with the saints, or wherever I would be; / Taking Christ, living Christ as my life / Exercising forbearance without anxiety. (Song on living a God-man life)
# We have the triune God indwelling us, / Living and acting, working all the time, / That by the inner sense we have of Him / God we may know in magnitude sublime. / The more we live in Christ, the life divine, / And by the inner consciousness behave, / The more we’ll have the inward knowledge true, / And on our heart God will His Son engrave. (Hymns #739)
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