Basic Lessons on Life, by Witness Lee

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A contrite and humble spirit is very close to a broken spirit. Isaiah 57:15 and 66:2 both indicate the same thing. They indicate that even heaven is not a joyful place to God for His dwelling. God desires to dwell with people who have a contrite and humble spirit. This is not a small thing. If we are contrite and humble in our spirit, we are broken in our spirit, and we can enjoy God’s presence. God is then with us and even dwells with us.

If our spirit is proud and we keep ourselves complete, perfect, and whole, being unwilling to repent and confess, we will lose the Lord’s presence. In a certain sense, according to our experience, the Lord’s presence would leave us. So we need a contrite spirit, which is humble and broken, a repenting spirit to confess our sinfulness. If we are in this kind of spirit, the Lord will be with us and will dwell with us. Isaiah 57:15 and 66:2 are wonderful verses to point out to the saints.


We also need a meek and quiet spirit. First Peter 3:4 says that the hidden man of our heart is a meek and quiet spirit. Galatians 6:1 says that we need to restore a fallen brother in a spirit of meekness. In 1 Corinthians 4:21 Paul asked the Corinthians if they wanted him to come to them with a rod or in a spirit of meekness.

The New Testament mentions the virtue of meekness a number of times. In Matthew 5:5 the Lord said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Based upon this verse, we can look into the real meaning of being meek in the New Testament. The world’s way is to fight, to strive, and to defeat others to gain some possession, some inheritance. But the Bible says that if you are going to inherit anything, you have to be meek. To be meek means not to resist the world’s opposition but to suffer it willingly. Regardless of the situation, we should be meek, not fighting against others. Meekness means not fighting for yourself. We need a meek and quiet spirit. If you fight for anything, you cannot be quiet. The only way that you can be quiet is not to fight for yourself or seek anything for yourself.


In Matthew 5:3 the Lord said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens." We may say we need to have a rich spirit, but we should not say we need to have a poor spirit. This is wrong. If someone has a poor spirit, his spirit is not a right spirit, a proper spirit. Here in Matthew 5:3 to be poor in spirit means we have nothing preoccupying us. All the Pharisees, the scribes, the priests, and the elders among the Jewish people were not poor in spirit. They were preoccupied. That was the reason the Lord Jesus said that the first blessing was to be poor in spirit. The Pharisees could not participate in the kingdom because they were not poor in their spirit. We always need to be poor in our spirit, not letting our spirit be preoccupied, filled up, with things other than the Lord Himself. We have to empty our spirit, to pour out all the preoccupying items, so that we may be poor in our spirit.


Luke 9 tells us that a certain village of the Samaritans would not receive the Lord and His disciples. So James and John said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" (v. 54). The Lord turned and rebuked them, saying, "You do not know of what kind of spirit you are" (v. 55). We always have to learn to know what kind of spirit we have. In other words, with God and with man we always need a proper spirit. If our spirit is improper, we are through with God. We need to know what condition our spirit is in. The Bible tells us to consider our ways (Hag. 1:7), and we also have to consider our spirit. We should consider not only our outward ways, our outward behavior, and our outward attitude but also our inward spirit. We need a proper spirit.

(Basic Lessons on Life, Chapter 19, by Witness Lee)