The Flesh and the Spirit, by Witness Lee


Now I would like us to see that this flesh eventually is good for us. How is it good for us? It is good for us because it forces us to go to the spirit. We have something so bad and so evil that we can never deal with it, yet it would never go away. It is always here.

Many years ago I read a number of books telling me the ways to be holy and victorious. I tried these ways. At first they worked a little bit, but for the long run, none of these ways worked. As a result, I became fully disappointed. I found out that this poor flesh is hopeless. I wondered why the Lord would not take away our flesh. I thought that if He would take away the flesh, everything would be okay.

On the cross Christ terminated everything, but we may wonder why He still left this ugly flesh with us. It seems that the more we pray to deal with the flesh, the more we are bothered by the flesh and the more active our flesh is. It seems that we can never overcome the flesh. Eventually, I told the Lord, "Since You do not take away my flesh, I will not try to be good any longer. I give up trying to be good. I give up trying to be victorious." The Lord told me, "Child, that’s wonderful. That’s exactly what I want you to do. You have to give up trying to overcome the flesh." Eventually, the Lord showed me that He left the flesh with us for our good because it helps us and forces us to turn to Him, to turn to the spirit.

If we did not have such an evil thing as the flesh with us, we might not pray so desperately. This flesh helps us and forces us to call on the Lord. We are forced by the hopeless flesh to turn to our spirit. If we do not turn to the Lord, this is really bad. But if the flesh forces us to turn to the Lord, this is really good. We can say, "Thank You, Lord, for the help from the flesh. Thank You, Lord, that You can even be so sovereign to use my flesh to force me to turn to my spirit." Are you still bothered by the flesh? You had better say, "Praise the Lord. The flesh helps me and forces me to turn to the spirit."

We have to realize that the flesh and the spirit are very close to each other. Romans 8:6 says that to set our mind upon the flesh is death, but to set our mind upon the spirit is life. Verse 4 says that we are to walk according to the spirit, not according to the flesh. Romans 8:10 says that if Christ is in us, our body is dead. That means our body is flesh. But if the Spirit dwells in us, our spirit is life. We can see from these verses that the Bible puts the flesh so close to the spirit.

(The Flesh and the Spirit, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)