The Heavenly Vision, by Witness Lee


We need to learn the lessons regarding the self so that we may be built up in the Body. As we are considering this matter of the self, I would urge you to receive more grace so that the self might be exposed. In being built up with others, the greatest problem is the self. Some brothers and sisters like others to praise them or to say something good about them. If you were to speak to them frankly and truthfully in love, they would be hurt and offended because they are so much in the self. This indicates that even though such brothers and sisters are meeting on the ground of the church, it is very hard for them to be built up because of the self.

You need to see the vision of the Body. This vision will break you. You will be broken under the vision of the Body. You will realize that the only way for you to be built up in the Body is for you to be broken. The only way to realize the Body is to be broken.


After you see the vision of the Body, you will be not only settled but also built. Only then will you be satisfied in your Christian life. Until you are built up in the Body, you cannot be satisfied. No matter what you say, the inner feeling will tell you that you are not satisfied. But one day you will be built up, and then you will be able to say, “Lord, praise You that I am here. I am built and now I am satisfied. Because I am built, I am finished. I am not good for anything else. I have been wrecked by this building.”

Many brothers are afraid to be built because they realize that once they are built, they will be finished, “wrecked.” They desire to preserve themselves as “good material.” They know that once they are built, they will be “wrecked,” good for nothing except the building. I agree that to be built means that we are no longer good for anything else. Consider the lintel of a door. The material used in making the lintel has been “wrecked,” for now it is good only for that lintel. Likewise, when we are built, we are finished. We are no longer a piece of “good material”; we are part of the building. This is what the Lord needs today.

There must come a time when you will be able to say, “Lord, I am satisfied here in the building, but I am also wrecked. I have been wrecked by You, and I am good only to be part of the building.” Because you have been “wrecked,” finished, you will no longer be welcomed by others or praised by others. You will no longer be useful to others, and they will forget you. But although you will be forgotten by others, you will be remembered by the Lord. He remembers you because you are in the building.

I can testify that, by the Lord’s mercy, I have never changed my ground, I have never changed my position, and I have never changed my co-workers. Because I have been built, I am finished and do not expect anything better. The vision of the Body has kept me from changing my tune. This is not something of me; it is of the Lord’s mercy.


Have you ever seen the building among today’s Christians? There are all kinds of Christian meetings and Christian groups, but there is no building. I believe that in these last days the Lord’s goal is the building up of the Body. It is not adequate that we realize that Christ is everything and then come together to practice the proper church life. We need to be built up together as members of the Body.

Unless you are built up with others, you will not be stable with the matter of the church ground. Let us suppose as an illustration that some building materials are placed on a particular lot or building site. If these materials are simply left there lying on the ground, someone could come and take them away. However, if these materials are built up together, they will be stable in their position on the site. They cannot leave the site unless the entire building is torn down. In like manner, our position on the ground of the church will not be stable until we are built into the building, into the Body.


We need to realize that the hindrance to the building up of the Body is the self. Certain brothers and sisters have seen something of Christ and of the church and have come to the ground of the church. However, they have never opened themselves to others. Outwardly, they do not criticize the elders, and they seem to be very nice, but inwardly, they are critical. The problem with them is not sin—it is the self. This indicates that in order to be built up, we need to be opened, exposed, and broken. We should be able to present ourselves to others in fellowship and tell them that we are ready for whatever is necessary to be built up with them.

I believe that in this country the Lord intends to build up a real expression of the Body. His desire is not that we simply come together and meet together but that we be built up together.

Oh, how we need the vision of the Body! We need to be burdened to pray, “Lord, help me to see the vision of the Body. It is not good enough just to be a Christian and a member of the church. I must be built up in the Body. In a practical way, I must be a member of the living Body. I must have fellowship with others and be related to others in the Body.”

God’s intention is to have the church, and this church must be the Body. We must be built up in the Body, but the hindrance to this building is the self, one of the last things in us to be dealt with by the Lord. If we would be built up in the Body, the self must be condemned, denied, rejected, and renounced. Day by day the self must be renounced in all things. Only when the self is renounced will we have the Body and be genuine members of the Body.

It is by the Body that God’s purpose will be fulfilled; it is by the Body that Christ will be expressed; and it is by the Body that the enemy of God will be defeated. Nothing is as worthy as the Body. Not even the preaching of the gospel is as worthy as the Body. Nothing can compare with the building up of the Body. May we all see the vision of the Body and be captured by this vision.

(The Heavenly Vision, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)