The Character of the Lord's Worker, by Watchman Nee


In regard to subjectivity, a further point should be noted: Our subjectivity must be dealt with by God before we will be fit to deal with others. God will lead us to deal with other men only when we ourselves are first dealt with. He will not commit anything to a subjective man. God cannot trust such a man. A subjective person cannot do God’s will, and he has no way to lead others to do His will. If a subjective person is put into God’s work to instruct others in the way of God, his own will comes out ten times stronger than does the Lord’s. A subjective person wants everyone to listen to him. Unless a person is brought to the point where he has lost all interest in gaining a following, he cannot be used by the Lord. We should allow ourselves to be broken and smashed to the degree that we no longer crave obedience from others. We should not interfere with others’ freedom, personal lives, or personal judgments. We have no interest in other people’s life or affairs. As servants of the Lord, we must be dealt with by the Lord to such an extent. Only then can we be used by Him to speak as His deputy authority. Otherwise, there is a real threat of our usurping God’s authority to carry out our own will, through which we would become a ruler, teacher, or father over God’s children. The Lord said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them...It shall not be so among you" (Matt. 20:25-26). If a man has never been broken by the Lord, if he secretly cherishes his own ideas, demands, and hobbies, God cannot use him because he is untrustworthy. If God entrusts His flock to such a person, he will lead the flock to his own house. Many people are not worthy of God’s trust; God cannot entrust anyone into their hands. If a man is interested only in his own ways, he cannot lead others into God’s way. Our brother Paul was very pliable. He was single, and he knew that it was better to remain single than to be married. Yet he never criticized marriage. Brothers and sisters, how exercised was our brother before the Lord. If a man is subjective and if his subjectivity is never broken, he will surely insist on everyone being a virgin and remaining unmarried. He will surely condemn every marriage. A subjective man can easily do this. But here was a man who was different. He could stand for what he did; he knew the value of what he was doing. Yet at the same time, he gave others the freedom to make their own choice. He wished that others would be spared of all sufferings of the flesh, yet he agreed that others should be married. Here was a man who was firm in the Lord, yet at the same time, he was soft and tender. In discussing the matter of marriage, he was still able to declare that the teaching of abstinence was a teaching of demons, even though he was a single man.

Brothers and sisters, we have to learn to take such a stand. We can never overemphasize a truth just because we feel that way, nor can we shut our mouth to a truth just because we feel differently. Once we give up trying to influence God’s truth according to our feelings, we are qualified to work and to lead others according to the Lord’s leading. A basic requirement for us to be in the work is to be broken and to have our subjectivity dealt with. If our subjectivity still dominates us, we will lead God’s work astray as soon as it is put into our hands. This is terrible. It is a terrible thing for a person to act rashly and speak carelessly. We should learn to stop interfering with other people’s business. We should never dictate the lives or affairs of others with our own subjectivity. God does not interfere with man’s free will. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was placed in the garden of Eden. God told man not to eat of it, but He did not keep man away from it with a fiery sword. If the fiery sword in chapter three had been used in chapter two to guard the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, man would never have sinned. It would have been easy for God to do this. But He did not do this. Instead, He said, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). If man insisted on eating it, that was his own business.

(The Character of the Lord's Worker, Chapter 8, by Watchman Nee)