A METABOLIC CHANGE
If we mean business in taking Jesus into us in this way, we will experience a real change in life. We know that eating really changes people. The more we eat, the more we are changed. It is a metabolic change. When the new elements enter into us, they replace the old. During a period of one hundred and twenty days, all our blood cells are replaced with new cells. If we were to keep the old cells for a period of time, we would die. Of course such a thing is not possible physically, but I do believe that it is possible spiritually. If we still hold on to the old things, nothing will be replaced within us. We do need this metabolic change. When a new, nourishing element of Jesus gets into us, it carries away the old element and replaces it with something new. This is the transforming work of Jesus which results from taking Him into us. This kind of metabolic change regulates us, but not in an outward way. It is an inward regulation through the replacing of the old with the new.
If some of us are living together as roommates, there will be many opportunities for this inward regulation and change to work. We may feel that a certain brother is quite undesirable, but if we would take some new element of Jesus into us, we would have a completely different feeling about that brother. We will begin to feel that we really need him for the building.
THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST
When I was a young Christian, I was taught the verses in Ephesians 4:2-3: “With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Lowliness, meekness, and long-suffering were really a suffering to me. The more I tried to be lowly, the more high-minded I was. And the more I tried to be meek, the more unyielding I was. I believe that we all have had these experiences of trying to be lowly, meek, and long-suffering. These are not vain words in the Bible; they are really meaningful, but we must realize that they are the expression of Christ. Lowliness really is not lowliness. Lowliness is Christ! As for meekness, it cannot be found in the whole universe outside of Christ. Meekness is Christ. Christ never meant for us to be meek. We must experience Christ as our meekness.
It is easy to understand these verses in Ephesians in a natural way—even a child can read and understand them. But these two verses are the most difficult verses for Christians to realize. The more we seek lowliness, the more lowliness flies away. Eventually we simply will not believe that there is such a thing as lowliness in the whole universe. The Bible speaks about it, but we simply cannot find it. The Bible speaks also of long-suffering, which really means long endurance, but where is it? The more we attempt to endure, the shorter our endurance is. When we try to be patient, patience flies away. We come to the conclusion that the dictionaries are propagating lies. They explain what these things are, but there are no such things to be found.
Praise the Lord that by His grace we have begun to know a little bit about patience. Patience is just Christ! Long-suffering or long endurance, which some versions render as making allowances for others, is Christ. There is no such thing as making allowances for others without Christ. If we have the proper experience of Christ, we will understand what these verses mean. All the virtues of the proper humanity are just Christ Himself. Christ is our lowliness, and Christ is our meekness. Some may say that they are full of meekness, but their kind of meekness could only last for three or four hours. Then it will vanish away.
Philippians 2:2-3 says, “Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” These verses sound so desirable that we might be tempted to fulfill them ourselves. But we must be clear that these verses do not describe any human virtue besides Christ. All these virtues are the attributes of the humanity of Jesus. His humanity is the summation of all human virtue. It is by His humanity that we are built up. We can never be built up by our own attributes or our own human virtues. We can only be built up by the experience of Christ as all of these human virtues. Every item is a part of the expression of Christ and will last for eternity. The meekness which is Jesus can never be exhausted! The more we test it, the more it lasts. It can stand any kind of test. This is what we need for the building. All these virtues are simply the expression of our inner growth of Christ.
(Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)