A CHRISTIAN HAVING CHRIST
First, a person who is a Christian must have Christ. After having Christ, we must always inquire of the Lord, seeking His approval in whatever we do in our daily living. This is because when we have Christ, we represent Him in everything we do. His pleasure and approval are absolutely important and necessary. Please remember that the Lord within us is our great protection and immense wisdom. Real Christians can all testify that many times while they are inquiring of the Lord, they have the inner wisdom, inner enlightenment, and inner presence of the Lord. Many foolish people do foolish things because they neglect the Lord who lives in them and care only for their own preferences and desires. A person is foolish if he acts independently of the Lord and apart from the Lord. A person will obtain wisdom, however, if he is willing to put himself aside and ask the Lord, “Do You want me to do this? Will You be happy if I do not do it?”
In the present crooked generation and during this time when the situation of the church is so dark, a person who desires to properly serve God finds it truly difficult to make a decision whenever he encounters a problem. It seems that almost every day he finds himself at a crossroads or in a dilemma. His only salvation is to pray unceasingly and ask, “Lord, which way do You prefer? Lord, is this what pleases You?” I can testify that sometimes for the whole night, even though I was lying in bed, my heart was before the Lord. In order to deal with a troublesome situation I was before the Lord all night, asking, “Lord, will You be pleased with this decision? Will You be pleased with a different decision?” Many times the Lord would say, “I am not pleased,” but at other times He would say, “I am pleased.”
Many people find it difficult to believe that God exists, but for us it is even more difficult to believe otherwise. These past few days, a brother who is a bricklayer has been repairing my house. One day I asked him, “You have been working like this every day. Is this what you want?” He sighed and said, “I work because I am poor. How blessed it would be if I were rich.” I told him, “You really do not know Christ. Money is not necessarily a blessing. Being wealthy does not necessarily mean being blessed. We are Christians. Only those who have Christ are blessed.” Unfortunately, many people are indeed Christians and have Christ within them, but because they do not have enough of Him, they are just like those who are without Christ. They do not bring any of their problems to the Lord. It is as if there is no difference whether or not they have the Lord.
There was a couple who had just been married, and the husband began to complain about his wife to others, saying, “There is no one like her. She goes wherever she wants and does whatever she desires. She does not care a bit about me.” Many Christians are like this. There is hardly any difference between having Christ and not having Christ. They do whatever they like, completely ignoring Christ’s existence. Although they have Christ in them, they disregard Him. They say things as they like, they play politics as they desire, and they treat others as they wish; they do not care a bit how Christ feels. The only difference between them and the unbelievers is that the unbelievers behave recklessly in a manifest way, while they as Christians care for their faces and thus behave recklessly in a hidden way. However, please remember that we who have Christ should take Christ instead of morality as our standard, because the standard of Christ is higher than that of morality. Many times what morality allows, Christ disallows. Therefore, I hope that we will all learn to inquire of the Lord. Even in choosing what clothes to wear, we should learn to ask the Lord. This is the reality of allowing Christ to reign in us.
A CHRISTIAN HAVING THE BIBLE
Second, a Christian surely has the Bible. Unfortunately, many have the Bible in their hands or on their bookshelves but not in their heart. Some have been saved for many years, but they have read only up to Genesis chapter twenty in the Old Testament and up to Matthew chapter two in the New Testament. One day I told some Christians that Matthew chapter twenty-eight says that the Lord Jesus was resurrected and chapter twenty-nine says that He ascended to the heavens, and they all nodded their heads. So I said, “Alas! Your Bible is different from mine. Yours has twenty-nine chapters while mine has only twenty-eight.” Then they stared at me dumbfounded. This proves that many Christians do not have the Bible within them because they do not read the Bible.
Besides Christ, Christians must have the Bible, and they must read it diligently. God has shown us mercy by giving us not only His only begotten Son but also the Bible. Thus, in addition to Christ, we have the Bible. In the universe besides our dear Lord, nothing else is more precious than the Bible. All who are Christ-men should always meditate on the words of the Bible so that they may be wise unto salvation, be preserved, and be protected. I hope that everyone who treasures the Lord’s words will spend time reading the Bible and will learn to check everything with the Bible to see what it says.
A certain co-worker was greatly used by God because when he was young he consecrated himself to God to do everything absolutely according to the Bible. He said, “From now on I do not belong to the world, nor do I belong to any man. I just want to please God; I will not do anything that does not please Him.” In the Bible he read something about what we should wear but could not find anything about wearing hats. As a result, regardless of how cold the weather was, he would not wear a hat. This may sound like a joke; the principle, though, is correct. However, do not misunderstand and think that I am saying that you should not wear hats. What the brother did was an indication of his absolute respect for the Bible.
The principle of Christian living is not according to what men say but according to what the Bible says. If we find out the principle of Christian living from the examples and patterns set forth in the Bible, we will know how to behave ourselves in our family life and social life. Therefore, in our daily living, in matters great or small, we should search the Bible and find out what it says that we should do. The most blessed and wise people are those who know the Bible. The Bible is the one book in the world that can best enlighten people. We have many problems that we cannot resolve, but once we bring them to the Bible, they are readily resolved.
(The Pursuit of a Christian, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)