XVI. STRENGTHENING THE BELIEVERS
The Spirit functions to strengthen the believers. In Ephesians 3:16 Paul prayed that the Father would grant the saints "to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man." The Father strengthens us through the Spirit. Thus, the means that the Father uses to strengthen us is the Spirit. For Christ to make His home in our hearts, there is the need of strengthening. No one can do this but the Spirit of God. In Ephesians 3 the Spirit of God is the strengthening Spirit. The Spirit not only quenches, saturates, transfuses, infuses, and grows, but also strengthens.
XVII. SUPPLYING THE BELIEVERS
We know that the Spirit functions to supply the believers because Philippians 1:19 speaks of "the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." The Spirit of God had to be processed and consummated to be the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
In eternity past the Triune God possessed merely divinity. In this sense, we may say that He was "raw," or unprocessed. Then He created the universe and a man by the name of Adam with the intention of coming into him. After the creation of man, however, man became fallen. Later, the Triune God came to join Himself with humanity. He became a man who was both divine and human. He lived on this earth in humanity for thirty-three and a half years. After having passed through such a human living, He was qualified to die an all-inclusive death. In order to die such an all-inclusive death, He had to be a God-man, a man mingled with God, and He had to pass through human life for thirty-three and a half years. Without such a qualification, He would not have been able to die such a wonderful death.
He entered into this death and stayed in death for three days. Then He walked out of death into resurrection to become a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b). This life-giving Spirit now consists of divinity, humanity, human living, Christ’s all-inclusive death, and His wonderful resurrection. The life-giving Spirit is the issue of the Triune God’s process from incarnation to resurrection. Now this life-giving Spirit is not merely the Spirit of God but the Spirit of Jesus Christ. With such a Spirit, there is the bountiful supply.
Lemon tea can be used as an illustration of the bountiful Spirit. First, there is only the plain water. But when tea and lemon are added to the water, it becomes a composition of three elements. When we drink it, we receive the elements of the water, the tea, and the lemon. This can be considered as a "bountiful-supply drink." The Spirit of Jesus Christ is such an all-inclusive bountiful drink, with all the elements of the Triune God’s person and processes to supply us.
The Spirit not only strengthens us but also supplies us. It is difficult to explain how the Spirit strengthens and supplies us. When we eat food, we are strengthened and supplied, but it is difficult to say how this takes place. Even medical doctors cannot explain fully what it means to be nourished. Many years ago no one knew what vitamins were. There was not even such a word in the dictionary years ago. Our ancestors, however, were nourished with many vitamins without knowing about vitamins.
We may feel fatigued at a certain point in the day, but after we eat, we are nourished, strengthened, and supplied. We may not be able to explain how this happens, but we can experience and enjoy it. In the same way, we may not be able to explain how the Spirit strengthens and supplies us, but we can experience His strengthening and supplying.
Some of us may come to the meetings in a fatigued way. We need to get ourselves nourished, strengthened, and supplied by eating a "meal," by enjoying the all-inclusive Spirit. For us to eat a physical meal may require twenty-five to thirty minutes. But to take a spiritual meal, we may need just two and a half minutes. When we take a few minutes to pray, we are strengthened and supplied by the functioning Spirit.
(The Christian Life, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)