BEING DELIVERED FROM SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS
Fourth, we have to be delivered from our self-consciousness. A gospel preacher should not have any self-consciousness, especially if he is one who preaches from the podium. A person who preaches the gospel from the podium and speaks for God must not be self-conscious. Everyone who preaches the gospel, whether he is preaching from the podium or he is preaching in private, has to lose his self-consciousness. For example, if we preach the gospel to someone on the way to the gymnasium and he is open to receive the gospel, will we be able to kneel down and pray with him at that moment? If we are self-conscious when we kneel down with him, our gospel will not be effective. It is not a matter of having a “thick-skinned” face; rather, it is a matter of simply not having a face. The more we are ridiculed, the more we are “faceless”; the more we are mocked, the more we preach the gospel. Some brothers really have a heart for the gospel, but still they cannot be delivered from their self-consciousness. Hence, even though they do a little preaching of the gospel, they are not released. Thus, power cannot flow out of them.
I believe that our being delivered from these four things— sins, the world, the self, and self-consciousness—will cause the gospel to be powerful. Therefore, we must thoroughly deal with all these matters. In order for the gospel to come out of us in a powerful way, we need to be delivered from these four things. If we hope that our gospel preaching would be powerful, we must carefully deal with these four matters, and the more dealings, the better. This requires us to be “thick-skinned” and even to be “faceless.” If we have been delivered from these four things, even without the definite outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we will still have some power.
RECEIVING THE OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Fifth, we have to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). In order to be effective in preaching the gospel, in addition to the dealings related to the four matters mentioned above, we have to pray diligently and exercise our faith to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit strengthens our spirit. Without the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, our spirit cannot be fully released. If we want to release our spirit fully, we must have the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. However, without the above four deliverances, the power that comes through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit cannot be manifested. The standard for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was set on the day of Pentecost. If we want to receive the power of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we have to study the situation on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). By the day of Pentecost, Peter, James, and John all had experienced being delivered from various things. No doubt, they were delivered from sins, from the world, and from the self. Moreover, they had no self-consciousness—they had even risked their lives to bear testimony for the Lord. Therefore, the Holy Spirit immediately came upon them. Once the Holy Spirit came upon them, they were empowered. This may be likened to a chemical experiment. Often when a certain element is added to another, tremendous power is produced which induces an explosion. Many people pursue the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and even receive it, yet they are still powerless. Those who received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost had been delivered from certain things. However, today people who pursue the outpouring of the Holy Spirit often have not been delivered from these things. Thus, if we want to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and have powerful gospel preaching, we first need to be delivered from many things.
HAVING ADEQUATE PRAYER
Sixth, we need to have adequate prayer. In the preaching of the gospel, life is crucial, but prayer is even more crucial. Whether we are studying in school or working, if we want the gospel to be powerful with us, we need to gather together and pray to release ourselves, release the gospel, and release the souls of men. The more thorough our prayers are, the more powerful the gospel will be. Our gospel is not powerful because our prayers are not thorough enough. Hence, for us to have a powerful gospel, we must have adequate prayer. In every local church there should be a group of brothers and sisters who are so burdened for the gospel that they pray for the gospel so thoroughly that it seems as if they do not care for anything but the gaining of souls.
(The Path of Our Growth in Life, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)