Knowing the Body and Engaging in Spiritual Warfare by being for God and Obeying Him

Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph. 6:13

We need to grow in life unto maturity until we reach the fourth stage of our spiritual experience and spiritual life – Christ’s full growth in us; this stage is of engaging in spiritual warfare, where Christ is fully grown and matured in us.

In the first stage of the experience of life we experience being in Christ, in the second stage we abide in Christ, and in the third, we have Christ living in us.

The experiences in the third stage are crucial, for if we have these experiences, we will be spontaneously ushered into maturity in life and we will be able to fight the spiritual warfare, reign in life, and know the Body.

For us to reach spiritual maturity we need to deal with the flesh, the self, and the natural constitution with its natural strength and ability.

We need the Lord’s light to shine on us and show us what the flesh, the self, and the natural constitution is, and we need to allow the cross to deal with these so that we may be brought through death and into resurrection and thus be useful to the Lord in resurrection.

Our entire fallen being is the flesh, and the expression and living out of our old man is just the flesh; the flesh can’t be changed or improved but rather it remains the same, it cannot please God, and it stays with us until we go to be with the Lord or are raptured.

God’s verdict on the flesh is death; He wants to destroy the flesh in the same manner that He wants to destroy Satan.

The self is the soul-life with the emphasis on our human thoughts and human opinions; the mind, ourselves, and the soul-life are related to the self. Satan is embodied in the self, and the self is the soul declaring independence from God.

When the Lord shines on us concerning the self, we will hate it and repudiate it, and we will allow the cross to operate in us to put the self with all its expressions to death.

The aggregate of our physical and mental abilities compose our natural constitution; this constitution is natural, has no divine element, so it is not useful to God unless it passes through death and comes out in resurrection.

In the Body of Christ there’s no space for our natural abilities and creativity; the Body receives and appreciates only what comes out in resurrection.

May we be those who cooperate with the Lord in prayer and in our daily life by allowing Him to shine on us and take us through the experiences we need so that the flesh would be crucified, the self would be denied, and the natural constitution would be brought through death and into resurrection for the Body.

When the Flesh, the Self, and the Natural Constitution is dealt with, we Know the Body and are Mature in Life

The experience of life in the fourth stage includes knowing the Body, knowing ascension, reigning with Christ, engaging in spiritual warfare, and being full of the stature of Christ — 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 6:10-12. In order to know the Body and live in the Body, we must first deal with the flesh, the self, and the natural constitution — Gal. 5:24; Matt. 16:24. If we still live according to the flesh, in ourselves, and serve the Lord in our natural ability, there is no way for us to know the Body — 1 Cor. 12:12. Only when our flesh has been dealt with, the self-opinion has been broken, and the natural life has been smashed will the divine life within us enable us to know the Body and realize that we are simply members of the Body and that the life within us cannot be independent. Crystallization-Study of Numbers (2), outline 2The fourth stage of our spiritual experience and spiritual life is the highest stage – Christ’s full growth in us – the stage of spiritual warfare, where Christ is fully grown and matured in us (Eph. 4:13-16; 6:10-18).

At the end of the third stage of the experience of life we express God with His image, and in the fourth stage, we represent Him with His authority (Gen. 1:26); in this way, we fulfill God’s original intention in creating man.

The experience of life in the fourth stage includes knowing the Body, knowing ascension, reigning with Christ, engaging in spiritual warfare, and being full of the stature of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 6:10-12).

But in order for us to know the Body and live in the Body, we must first deal with the flesh, the self, and the natural constitution (Gal. 5:24; Matt. 16:24), for if we still live according to the flesh and serve the Lord in our natural ability, there’s no way for us to know the Body (1 Cor. 12:12).

We may think we know the Body and we may have a doctrine of the Body, and we may see a glimmer of light concerning the Body, but unless we deal with the flesh, the self, and the natural constitution, we cannot know the Body and the life of the Body.

It is only when our self has been utterly dealt with, the flesh has been crucified, and the natural constitution has passed through death into resurrection, that we can be able to touch the reality of the life of the Body and come to know the Body.

When our entire natural being has been dealt with, we will know that we are a member of the Body having the life of the Body and depending on the members of the Body for their existence and being.

The life we have – the divine life in our spirit – is not merely our life but it is the life of the Body, the same life that flows through all the members of the Body of Christ and keeps the Body in oneness.

Arriving at this stage is organic and not in an objective or mental way; we cannot “understand the doctrine of the Body” and thus know the life of the Body, but rather, we first deal with the flesh, the self, and the natural constitution, and then we will know the Body and live in the life of the Body.

When we know the Body life, we enter into another dimension of the experience of Christ, for the life of the Body with its consciousness is no longer buried under the flesh, the self, and the natural constitution but rather, we now know the Body!

Only when our flesh has been dealt with, the self-opinion has been broken, and the natural life has been smashed will the divine life within us enable us to know the Body and realize that we are simply members of the Body and that the life within us cannot be independent.

This is a turning point for us; we realize now that we are not independent or individualistic but we are members of the Body and in the Body.

Lord Jesus, we want to know the Body; please give us the experiences that we need to enable us to know the Body. We want to cooperate with You, Lord, so that our flesh may be dealt with, the self-opinion may be broken, and the natural life would be smashed, so that the divine life within us would enable us to know the Body! Amen, Lord, may there be no more hindrances to Your life in us. May we live out Your life, live by Your life, and live the Body life, realizing that we’re members of the Body and that the life within us cannot be independent!

Engaging in Spiritual Warfare to Deal with Satan requires that we are Wholly for God and we Obey Him Completely

v. 10 Finally, be empowered in the Lord and in the might of His strength. v. 11 Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the stratagems of the devil, v. 12 For our wrestling is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies. Eph. 6:10-12If we want to fight the spiritual warfare and deal with God’s enemy, we must first deal with our flesh, self, and soul-life (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-12); otherwise, the enemy knows that we’re an easy target, and we cannot fight him.

When we reach spiritual maturity in the fourth stage of the experience of life, we will realize that there’s such a thing as the work of God, which solves the problem of God, for the work of God is that man exercise authority and have dominion over all things created by Him.

God needs man to have authority for Him in His creation; we are not here merely for the work of saving souls or even for our personal salvation – we are here for the work of God, for God to take care of His need by dealing with His enemy and bringing in His kingdom on earth.

Our seeking and longing today should be not only to love the Lord, be more holy, be more full of zeal for the Lord, and save more souls; all these are good indeed, but they are man-centered.

God’s work and His need need to be taken care of; we must see that God has a need, and this earth is not just for our need but for His need.

God has committed the ministry of reconciliation to us, but even if we were to save all the souls in the whole world, we have still not accomplished God’s work or satisfied His requirement.

God’s work is that man would rule and reign over all His creation, proclaiming His triumph, and dealing with God’s enemy to bring in the kingdom of God to earth.

We may highly esteem the work of gospel-preaching, but if our work is just preaching the gospel and caring for the new believers, we are still not causing Satan to suffer fatal loss.

Man is here on earth to restore the earth from the hand of Satan and bring in the kingdom of God on earth. And doing the work of God requires a price, for Satan knows those who still love themselves or hold something back, and those who are fully and absolutely for God.

If we are to be men whom God will use to overthrow all of Satan’s work and authority, we must be those who obey the Lord completely and absolutely, and we must be those who are wholly for God.

In doing any other work for God it matters less if we preserve ourselves a little, but in dealing with Satan, we cannot leave one bit of ground for ourselves.

When we study the Bible, preach the gospel, serve in the church, or visit the new ones int heir homes, we may hold something of ourselves and it is OK, but in the work of dealing with Satan, the self must be utterly abandoned.

If we are to be men whom God will use to overthrow all of Satan's work and authority, we must obey the Lord completely and absolutely! In doing other work it matters less if we preserve ourselves a little, but when dealing with Satan, we cannot leave one bit of ground for ourselves. We may hold on to something of ourselves in our study of the Scriptures, in preaching the gospel, in helping the church or the brothers, but when we are dealing with Satan, self must be utterly abandoned. Satan will never be moved by us if self is preserved. May God open our eyes to see that His purpose demands that we be wholly and absolutely for Him. A double-minded person can never deal with Satan. May God speak this word to our hearts. Watchman Nee, The Glorious Church, ch. 1If our self is preserved, Satan cannot be defeated.

This is what the army does; the warriors in the army do the work of God not only by preaching the gospel, establishing churches, teaching the truth, shepherding the saints, perfecting the members of the Body, but they open the way for the Son of Man to return to this earth and claim the whole earth as His inheritance.

In the spiritual warfare we cannot preserve any ground for ourselves; we need to be pay the price to be wholly for God and obey Him completely, and we need to be joined to our fellow warriors to inflict Satan a fatal loss.

In the spiritual warfare we cannot preserve ourselves or leave one bit of ground for ourselves; rather, the self must be utterly abandoned.

The church therefore must be engaging in spiritual warfare to bring in the kingdom of God on earth; for this, we must grow in life unto maturity and deal with the self, the flesh, and the natural constitution, so that the enemy would have no ground in our being.

Also, we must be wholly for God and obey Him absolutely and completely.

Lord Jesus, may we be those who not only do a work for God but cooperate with God to do the work of God, the work of bringing in the kingdom of God and causing Satan to suffer a fatal loss. Amen, Lord, may the church engage in spiritual warfare, fighting to bring in the kingdom of God. May many saints grow in life unto maturity to reach the spiritual age of twenty by dealing with the flesh, the self, and the natural constitution, and may may saints be wholly for God and obey Him absolutely and completely. Oh Lord, may we see God’s need, may we hold nothing back, may we give You all the ground in our being, and may we be those who do the work of God so that Satan would suffer loss and the kingdom of God would be brought to the earth for God to gain the earth for Himself!

References and Hymns on this Topic
  • Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by bro. Ron Kangas for this week, and portions from, Collected Works of Watchman Nee, vol. 34, ”The Glorious Church,” ch. 1, as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Numbers (2), week 2, The Growth and Maturity Required for the Formation of the Army to Protect God’s Testimony and Fight for His Move on Earth.
  • Hymns on this topic:
    # For God’s dispensing, we have been, / Made into vessels open to Him; / His element is wrought in us, / Making us living stones, corporately; / Being saved from self, the flesh and its will, / It’s no longer I, but Christ lives in me; / Members of the Body, built up in love, / Joined to be one, for Him corporately. (Song on, God’s heart’s desire, a house on earth)
    # Limit, Lord, my independence, / Let me to Thy Body turn; / Not just seeking light from heaven, / But the church’s sense to learn. / May we be the stones for building / Not the formless, useless clay, / Gain in us Thy heart’s desire / Corporately Thyself display. (Hymns #1225)
    # In the heav’nlies more than conqu’ror, / In the power of His might, / As a soldier in the army, / In the Lord the battle fight. / Keep on wrestling in the Body, / Mighty vict’ry you will see, / Bind and loose, God’s will fulfilling, / And the foes your food will be. (Hymns #885)

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