Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 02: The Word of the Cross, by Watchman Nee


Some believers are used to making decisions on their own. Seeking after the Lord’s will in everything and acting accordingly is like putting a bridle in the horse’s mouth for them; it is not easy for them to be subdued. Sometimes they reluctantly seek after the Lord’s will, but before the Lord tells them anything, they charge ahead anyway. Our flesh is too quick to move. We feel that seeking the Lord’s will and following Him is too slow. In seeking the Lord’s will, we want Him to speak to us immediately so that we can move. Our Lord is happy to reveal His will to us. For our benefit He often cannot show us His will immediately because we are either not ready or the time has not yet come. Under such circumstances we should not be hasty; we should wait in His presence. When the Lord sees fit, He will show us His will. It is unfortunate that we seek after the Lord’s will in many things, yet we do not seek after His will in the very matter of waiting for His will. We ought to seek after the Lord’s will in everything. Even in the matter of waiting for His will, we should seek after His will. We should wait for His timing to reveal His will to us. If we do not wait on Him or seek according to His timing, our seeking after His will is probably unjustified and vain.

Please consider one incident in the Bible. "And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came....And Saul said...I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee....But now thy kingdom shall not continue" (1 Sam. 13:8-14). Samuel had made an appointment with Saul for seven days. Before the seven days ended, Saul offered the offering while Samuel was still on the way. After he finished offering the offering, Samuel arrived as scheduled. Because Saul did not wait, he went against the Lord’s will and was rebuked by the Lord. Although it appeared that Samuel was late, Saul offered the offering on the last day of the appointed time; immediately after the offering was made, Samuel appeared. He did not miss his appointment. Otherwise, how could he have rebuked Saul in the name of the Lord and pronounced judgment? Saul was rebuked because he could not wait; he was too hasty.

Many people are like Saul. They are momentarily touched by something and think that they have to do this or that to worship God; they think that they should go to certain places to do certain works. The feeling can be so strong that they cannot wait any longer; they are desperate to exercise their arms and legs. Have you ever experienced a kind of fire burning in your heart, forcing you to do something? If you do, please go to sleep. Sleep soundly for a night, and you will determine whether the pressing feeling is from God. Rest for a few days! During your rest, God will show you His will. You must practice this. If thoughts are suddenly injected into your mind by Satan, they will quiet down after a night’s sleep or a few days’ rest. We should never initiate our work based on some feelings. We should be very sure of what we are doing before we proceed with our first step. Otherwise, we will suffer the Lord’s rebuke. May the Lord preserve us so that we will not wait for six or more days and give up before the end. May the Lord keep us from doing anything rashly before we are very sure so that we will not offend Him.


"And whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tent, after that, the sons of Israel set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel encamped. At the word of Jehovah the sons of Israel set out, and at the word of Jehovah they encamped; all the days that the cloud abode over the tabernacle, they remained encamped. Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the sons of Israel kept the charge of Jehovah, and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the word of Jehovah they remained encamped; then according to the word of Jehovah they set out....or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud was taken up they set out. Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding on it, the sons of Israel remained encamped and did not set out; but when it was taken up, they set out" (Num. 9:17-22). Here we see a perfectly submissive life. Both the tarrying and journeying were completely up to Jehovah. Wherever they were, whether by day or night, whether for two days, a month, or a year, they followed God’s will. They did not go ahead of the Lord, nor did they fall behind the Lord. They walked absolutely together with the Lord.

Many believers are not like this. Some walk ahead of the Lord, making many proposals ahead of time, prearranging many plans, schemes, and strategies. They first consider and decide on many things and then work out ways to carry them out. After this they kneel down and pray, "Lord! I am planning to do a certain thing. Please help me so that I can succeed." Although they address God as Lord with their mouth, they are really saying, "My Servant! I have decided to do a certain thing. I cannot do it by myself. My Servant, come and help me!" What a pity that many believers have made God their servant without even being conscious of it! Sometimes when we make ourselves the center, we should not ask the Lord for help. Asking the Lord for help then only makes the Lord our servant. May we not make ourselves the center, and may we not go before the Lord and force Him to come after us. Some Christians behave the other way; they fall far behind the Lord. They often shy away from the Lord’s commands. The Lord has called them to some work, but they are fearful and give excuses, thinking that this is humility. They do not finish the daily course which the Lord has ordained for them. They are like Moses, who declined again and again even though he was called, and would not take up any responsibility. May the Lord preserve us so that we will not be ahead of Him, nor fall behind Him.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 02: The Word of the Cross, Chapter 4, by Watchman Nee)