The Christian Life, by Witness Lee

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We need to bear the cross of Christ as our cross in dealing with our soul-life, that is, our self (Matt. 16:24-26; Luke 9:23-25). The most difficult thing for us to deal with is not sin in our body but our self in our soul. The brothers who have been in the eldership for some time have found out that the most difficult thing in the church life is to deal with certain saints in their disposition. Likewise, the most difficult thing for a wife to deal with is her husband. It seems that a wife can deal with anything, but not with her husband’s character and disposition. The more a wife lives with her husband, the more she finds out that her husband, with his disposition, his character, and his being, is a problem to her. This is the trouble that creates first a separation and then a divorce. The reason why there are so many separations and divorces today in America is that every American desires to be free; every American claims freedom as his human, civil right. This indicates that in a country such as the United States, which is full of Christians, very few people are living under the cross. Very few are dying under the cross; instead, most people are very living and very active in the flesh. It is very difficult for two people who are still living and active to remain together. The Bible teaches not only obedience but also submission (Heb. 13:17; Eph. 5:21-22; Rom. 13:1). Everyone must submit to someone. To teach that there is no deputy authority is a serious error. Under God’s divine administration, there is layer upon layer of deputy authority. If there is no submission, there is no cross.

At a certain point the Lord Jesus turned to His disciples and said, "If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." In the universe there is an economy. According to God’s economy, first He created mankind (Gen. 1:26-28). God created all the living creatures after their own kind (Gen. 1:21, 24-25). Then He created man in His image and after His likeness; that is, He created man after His kind. Man was created after God’s kind, but God’s intention in creating man was not to use the natural man. His intention was to use Himself within this man. Therefore, this man has to die so that God can live in this man. The created man should die so that the creating God can live within the created man. This is accomplished by the created man dying so that the creating God can enter into the created man to raise him up from his death. This is resurrection, and this is regeneration. The regenerated man is a living being with two natures, the human nature and the divine nature, and with two lives, the human life and the divine life. The natural nature and the natural life die, and man’s second nature, his second life, lives. This kind of living is God living in the living of the second nature and the second life in resurrection. This is God’s economy. The Christian life is a life of dying and living, a life in which the natural man dies and God lives in the resurrected man.

(The Christian Life, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)