Our God is a God of measure, and when it comes to the work for the spreading and building up of the church, we should move and act according to how much God has measured to us, staying within the limits of God’s ruling, God’s limitation and measure.
A basic requirement for the Body of Christ to grow and develop is that each member recognizes its measure and doesn’t go beyond it.
The God of measure has apportioned to each one of us a measure of faith and a measure of work and function, and we all the members of the Body need to function in our measure, not going beyond our measure.
If we go beyond our measure in the Body, over-functioning and being zealous for the Lord, we go beyond the authority of the head, and we move out from under the anointing.
On the one hand, if we are lazy and do nothing, we don’t build up the church but rather allow death to come in and spread in our being and in the church. On the other hand, if we over-function and go beyond our measure, not holding the Head, Christ, we go beyond the authority of the Head.
When we go beyond our measure of function in the Body, we interfere with the order of the Body. Therefore, we need to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, but have a sober mind, so that we may build up the church and not annul the proper order in the Body.
Both the world and the religious world encourage those who are more zealous and able to function as much as possible, to the detriment of the rest of the people; this is the way “stars” are made, and this is the way the clergy-laity is working.
But in the church life in the Lord’s recovery we need to learn to function in our measure, moving and acting according to how much God has measured to us, so that we may stay within the limits of God’s ruling, His measuring.
We need to be satisfied with our measure in the Body and operate in the measure of our function, knowing that our functioning in our measure builds up the church as the Body of Christ. When we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, however, turmoil comes in, and we annul the proper order in the Body.
May the Lord really shine on us and make us content with our function and measure in the Body so that we may function in our measure for the building up of God’s corporate expression on earth.
Moving and Acting according to how much God has Measured to us, Staying within God’s Limitation
On the one hand, our God is unlimited and infinite, and He desires all men to be saved and come to the full knowledge of God; on the other hand, the God in our spirit is the God of measure, and He has measured up to us only so much for the building up of the Body.
We need to have a careful attitude in our work for the Lord in the church life, not trying to do too much or express too much, or else we may commit the iniquity of the sanctuary.
We want to do everything according to Rom. 11:36, that is, out of Him as the source, according to His perfect will; through Him as our means to do everything, our power, ability, person, and life; and to Him for His glory and His corporate expression.
Like Paul, we should move and act according to how much God has measured to us, staying within the limits of God’s ruling, God’s measuring (2 Cor. 10:13). Our attitude constantly has to be, Lord, what shall I do? (Acts 22:10)
First, we want to know Christ, enjoy Christ, and experience Christ to the uttermost, in all the aspects of our daily life. Then, we want to stay within our measure, within the ruling of the God of measure, to build up the church.
For example, when we give a testimony about our work, our experience, or our enjoyment of the Lord, we must testify within measure, that is, within a certain limit.
Paul for example was bold – but he was not bold without limit; he was under the Lord’s restriction, and his boasting was according to the measure of the rule which the God of measure, the ruling God, has apportioned to him. Everything he did in his ministry to the Gentile world was according to the measure of God (Eph. 3:1-2, 8; Gal. 2:8).
Although we want the Lord to spread His truths and His recovery all over the earth, we need to realize that God also has a restriction; the spread of His work is not without measure.
If we walk according to the Spirit and spread the work according to the Spirit, there will always be a certain limit.
Outwardly the door may be open everywhere, and people may cry out for the gospel and the higher truths, but inwardly the Lord gives us a certain consciousness that He wants to spread the work only to a certain extent.
Inwardly the Lord may give us a certain feeling concerning the limits and measure of our work, and outwardly He may cause matters to restrict the spread of the work; inwardly we don’t have the peace to go beyond a certain point in our work, and outwardly the environment doesn’t allow us to go beyond a particular boundary line.
The Lord has the key of David, and He has opened a door to His recovery which no one can shut; however, we still need to be under God’s restriction, not expecting the work to spread without measure.
Lord Jesus, may we learn to move and act according to how much God has measured to us, staying within the limits of God’s ruling and measuring. Save us from going beyond our measure. Save us from committing the iniquity of the sanctuary, that is, bringing strange fire and doing work for You which You didn’t initiate or request from us. Oh Lord, what shall we do? What do You want us to do? May our testimony concerning our work, experience, or enjoyment of the Lord be within the measure that You have apportioned to us.
Taking Care of the Rest in our Spirit to Remain under God’s Limitation and Measure
In 2 Cor. 2:12-14 Paul said that he had an open door for the gospel in the Lord in Troas, but he didn’t go, because he had no rest in his spirit; what governed Paul was not the environment or the open door but the rest in his spirit.
In a very practical way, the way we function within our measure for the building up of the church is by taking care of the rest in our spirit.
What should govern us in our work for the building up of the Body is not merely the open door for the gospel in our environment but our mingled spirit, the rest in our spirit, the living Christ in our spirit. We need to take care of the living Christ in our spirit.
This is how the Lord is limiting us and keeping us within our measure in the Body.
If we don’t have a heart to serve the Lord, He may come in to stir us up in our love for Him, and we will desire to serve Him; now that we have a heart to serve the Lord, we may become too active, so the Lord comes in to restrict us.
This may offend us or put us down, but if we can tolerate and bear through these ups-and-downs from the Lord, we will be useful in His hands.
For example, Paul desired to go to Rome, and on the way, he wanted to reach Spain; however, he got to Rome as a prisoner in a chain, and he never got to see Spain (Rom. 15:24). This was the Lord’s measure to him, God’s limitation.
Young people, you must know your rule, your limit. This means that you must know how much God has measured to you, how much He has apportioned to you. This restriction, this limitation, is a very practical dealing with our flesh. Our natural man wants to be without limitation. However, God knows our problem. Therefore, He sets up boundaries and restrictions so that we may stay within the measure He has apportioned to us. (Life-study of 2 Corinthians, pp. 451-453, by Witness Lee)
This means that we are not the ones taking the lead in God’s work, even though He has stirred us up to love Him and serve Him; we let the Lord take the lead, and we are simply a little captive in His triumphant procession.
Christ is the conquering General, and we are His enemies, captured by Him and captivated by Him, scattering everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ. What we care for is the rest in our spirit, being one with the Lord in what we do and stopping when He stops.
The Lord doesn’t need spiritual giants who do great works for Him; He needs little captives who are defeated by Him and who care for the rest in their spirit in their living and work for the Lord.
We need to personally tell the Lord, Lord, make me Your captive; never let me win. Defeat me all the time. Such a prayer can change our life.
We need to allow the Lord to defeat us all the time by taking care of the rest in our spirit all the time, and we will function in our measure, within the limit that God has set for us.
In the church service, we need to realize that God has measured out to us only a certain portion of service, and so we shouldn’t overstretch ourselves and overstep. This is a lesson for us to learn before the Lord in our service to Him, in oneness with Him.
Lord Jesus, make us Your captives. Never let us win. Defeat us all the time. May we be those who take care of the rest in our spirit and not merely do a work for You according to the need. Oh Lord, our spirit! Lord Jesus, the rest in our mingled spirit! We open to Your inward feeling concerning the extent to which You want to spread the work, and we want to read the environment which may restrict and limit the spread of the work. Amen, Lord, may we be Your ambassadors in a chain, being limited by Your sense within in our work for You, so that we may be under Your restriction and limitation and thus function in our measure for the building up of the church.
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, Life-study of 2 Corinthians, msg. 51 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Knowing Life and the Church, msg. 5 (week 5), Standing on the Unique Ground of the Church, Being under the Limitation of the Body of Christ, and Being Body-conscious in One Accord.
- Hymns on this topic:
# In my knowledge and experience / I would not exalted be, / But submitting and accepting / Let the Body balance me; / Holding fast the Head, and growing / With His increase, in His way, / By the joints and bands supplying, / Knit together day by day. (Hymns #840)
# Prone to be misled, I know it, / By my lofty thoughts of Thee, / Easy ’tis for self to seek Thee, / Yet not touch reality, / Oh, how much I need to find Thee, / In Thy members here below. / God eternal dwells among us, / Manifest in flesh to know…. / Limit, Lord, my independence… (Hymns #1225)
# The new covenant ministers / Are captives in a procession, / Defeated and subdued by Christ / For His victorious celebration. / Lord, make me Your captive. / Never let me win. / Defeat me all the time. / Lord, make home in me. (Song on the new covenant ministers)
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