BEING RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF OUR MIND
Paul said, "For to me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). Since he could declare this, he could also say, "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20a), and he could say, "We also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4), in the realm of the newness of the divine life. In Ephesians 4:23 Paul said, "And are being renewed in the spirit of your mind." To be renewed in the spirit of our mind is inward and intrinsic. If we learn to be renewed in this way, we will have a deeper perception with which to understand persons and matters. To understand a person requires that we have a deeper sight, a perception that goes farther and deeper. Often our knowing of people is shallow. We lack the perception that penetrates the barriers and coverings because we do not practice being daily renewed in the spirit of our mind. The renewing in the spirit of our mind always revolutionizes our logic, philosophy, thought, concept, and psychology. As a result, our perception in all things is different, and we have a deeper understanding of the people we meet. Even by the way they ask questions we can know people’s condition. A natural man is a very shallow man, but if we are spiritual, we will be deep. If we are deep, we will know others, even though they will not be able to know us (1 Cor. 2:15).
WALKING ACCORDING TO SPIRIT
Romans 8:4b says, "Who do not walk according to flesh, but according to spirit." To walk in this verse implies everything in our daily life. It implies our speaking and even the way we look at people. Sometimes the way we look at others, speak to them, or shake their hand is peculiar. As long as we do not walk according to spirit, whatever we do or say is our peculiarity. We must learn to walk according to spirit.
APPLYING THE CROSS
We must always apply the cross to ourselves and to everything that we do. The reason why we are peculiar in everything, in every way, and in every aspect is that we do not take the cross. The Lord Jesus told us to take up our cross (Matt. 10:38) and carry our cross (Luke 14:27). The cross has to remain with us to exercise its killing. When we are under the killing of the cross, our speaking and our talking on the telephone will be stopped. If we go to visit people for the gospel after talking too much on the telephone, we will not have the power or impact. On the other hand, if we check and are stopped when we are about to make a phone call, we will have an impact when we go out. If we take the cross and apply the cross to our being, the Spirit will fill us.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question: How can I know if I am merely performing or practicing a behavior when I apply the cross to my living and hesitate before I say or do something?
Answer: As long as we simply walk according to spirit, our hesitating is life. If we do not walk according to spirit, whatever we do will not be life. To walk according to spirit first implies the killing of the cross. If we are not under the killing of the cross, we cannot walk according to spirit. To make a phone call whenever we want to is of ourselves; it is not according to spirit. If we hesitate and say, "Lord, is this I or You?" the answer will come: "It is you." If we then stop, we are under the killing of the cross. The cross is applied to us and kills us. Then spontaneously the Spirit follows the cross, and whatever we do and however we walk is life. If we do not practice this, however, whatever we do is a performance and mere outward behavior.
After speaking much about spiritual matters in the book of Romans, a book on the Christian life, Paul concluded in chapter eight with walking according to our spirit. We are a tripartite man. Accordingly, we may walk according to our flesh or according to our soul, that is, according to our mind, will, or emotion. We should not walk according to these, however, but according to our spirit. If we practice this, we will be helped in attaining to all the spiritual requirements.
(Messages to the Trainees in Fall 1990, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)