IV. APPLYING THE EXPERIENCE OF DEALING WITH SELF
A. In the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
The applying of the experience of dealing with self is firstly in the fellowship in the Holy Spirit. Though we understand the crucifying of the old man and know that our opinions are the expression of self, yet if we do not live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, it is but an empty doctrine and does not afford any practical experience. If we do not live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and yet try to deal with self, such exercise is exactly like the strenuous efforts practiced by the Buddhists, Hindus, and Chinese moralists; it is not a spiritual experience. Only the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of reality; therefore, only as we live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is our seeing the real seeing and our experience the real experience. Therefore, if we desire to live continuously in the experience of dealing with self, the basic requirement is to live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
B. Letting the Holy Spirit Execute the Crucifixion of Christ upon Us
If we live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and touch the Holy Spirit, then we must allow the Holy Spirit to execute the crucifixion of Christ upon all our living and actions. This allowing is our cooperation with the Holy Spirit. When we allow the Holy Spirit to perform His work in us, it means that we are cooperating with Him. In this way it is on one hand that we apply the crucifixion of Christ through the Holy Spirit, and on the other hand that we let the Holy Spirit execute Christ’s crucifixion in us. On one hand it is our doing, and on the other hand it is the working of the Holy Spirit—it is impossible to separate one from the other in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. At this time we are living in Romans 8, in the law of the Spirit of life; we are putting to death all the expressions of the old man through the Holy Spirit.
If one who loves God has a pliable will, and he is willing to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will bring him deeper and deeper into the cross and put his self thoroughly to death.
V. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SATAN AND SELF-OPINION
We have previously said that our opinions are one of the expressions of our old man. However, in the experience of our dealing with self we must pay attention to a further matter— the relationship between self and Satan. Very few people pay any attention to this relationship, and scarcely does anyone realize that Satan has a definite position in our self and in our opinions. Therefore, we must lay some stress upon this matter.
Hidden in the self of man is Satan. Not only is Satan the sin in our body, but he is also the good opinions in our self. When speaking of sin, many people are aware of its corruption; therefore, they hate sin and condemn it. But when mention is made of opinions, many people think of them as good. Not only do they feel that their opinion is better than that of others, but they even feel that opinions themselves are essentially good. None of us hate our own opinions; we all love them and deem them to be good and admirable. In spite of this, the Bible reveals that not only is sin of Satan, but even the opinions which man deems to be good are also of Satan. The opinion in our soul is just as much the embodiment of Satan as is the sin in our body. We may say that Satan’s “incarnation” in us causes him on one hand to become the sin in our body and on the other hand the opinion in our soul.
Because Satan has such a definite position in our body and soul, when he comes to possess, gain, and corrupt man, he works in these two parts of our being. On one hand he stirs up the lust of the members of the body, and on the other hand he arouses the opinions in the mind. Furthermore, when Satan works, he works on both parts at the same time. Whenever Satan comes to tempt man, he first causes man to have an opinion in his soul; then he causes the body to sin.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)