In this second stage of our spiritual life, we have studied consecutively the three lessons of dealing: sin, the world, and the conscience. Everything that requires dealings in the initial stages of the Christian pursuing the Lord are included in these three lessons. After a Christian deals with sin, the justification which he receives from God is lived out through him and is also manifested before men. After he deals with the world, he experiences the sanctification in Christ, becomes wholly separated from the world, and belongs completely to God. Finally, after he deals with the conscience, the feelings within him are sensitive and rich, and the function of his spirit is strong and evident. At this point, everything outside of him that is not pleasing to God or agreeing with God is resolved, while the life inside is being made manifest. He then begins to turn from without to within and learns to follow the Lord inwardly in the path of life.
Practically speaking, after a Christian begins to seek the Lord and consecrates himself, there is a long period of time wherein the emphasis of the Lord’s work upon him is in these three areas of dealings. The more he accepts these dealings, the more blessed is his spiritual condition before God, and the more rapid is his growth in life. Therefore, if we want to know our condition before the Lord, or the condition of our spiritual growth, we must check with our experiences to see how much we have been dealt with by the Lord in these aspects. Many brothers and sisters grow very slowly in life. They grieve daily over their poor condition, and they ask daily for the Lord’s mercy. Yet, after a lapse of several years, their growth in the inner life still lingers in the initial stage. Other brothers and sisters are in a state of death and numbness before the Lord. The moving of the Holy Spirit is not discernible in them, nor can they be seen functioning in the Holy Spirit. The reason for this is largely that they have not learned these lessons of dealings.
We often speak of obedience. But many times our obedience before the Lord has nothing to do with dealings. Yet, besides the dealings, what else requires obedience? If our dealings are not thorough, how can our obedience be absolute? We dare not say that one hundred percent of all obedience lies in the matter of dealing, but we can say that out of one hundred demands for obedience, ninety of them fall in the category of dealings. Thus, obedience is largely a matter of dealings.
Our problem today is that we are disobedient in the matter of dealings. It is not that we have had no dealings at all, but we are neither thorough nor serious. Either we would not be definite and thorough in dealing or we would procrastinate in dealing. This greatly discounts our obedience. Thus, we act contrary to the law of life, oppose the teaching of the anointing, and offend God. Therefore, our conscience is dull and insensitive; our spirit becomes deflated and low. Although we listen to messages and read spiritual books including the Bible, we receive little light. We are fruitless in our work, and our whole spiritual condition remains withered and weak.
Not only is this true individually, but also in meetings. Many meetings are weak, poor, and low, because everyone lacks dealings. If everyone deals strictly and severely in their daily lives, the condition of the meetings will change greatly and become very living.
We always beseech the Lord to work, and even tell Him that if He does not work, we have no way to go on. But the problem is not that He refuses to work, but that we refuse to allow Him to work. The work of the Lord is to arouse our inner sense. If we let the Lord work, spontaneously we will have dealings according to this inner feeling. Each step of the Lord’s work is to expose our difficulties and demand that we deal with them. The minute the Lord works in us, immediately we must have dealings. To let the Lord work is to let Him deal with us. If we deal thoroughly with each feeling, the Lord will be able to work in us through and through. Our whole being will become living. We will become as dynamite in the Lord’s work, exploding the Lord’s work out from within us.
We must look to the Lord to lead us into the experience of these lessons. The more we neglect the dealings, the more our inner feeling will become indifferent to our being left in darkness. But the more we are willing to practice these dealings, the more our inner feeling will compel us to deal thoroughly, until we have dealt with all our feelings before the Lord. However, even at this point, we cannot say that we have graduated from dealings. There can be no graduation from these dealings, nor can they be terminated. Daily we must face the problem of the dealings. Whenever we discover new mistakes or things not yet dealt with in the past, we must immediately deal with them. Thus, we will be enabled to progress deeper and deeper in the Lord.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)