I know a lady who is very good-tempered. She never gets angry. There is always a smile on her face. One day while her niece was visiting in her house, an extremely unreasonable person rebuked her for a length of time. Many unbearable words were hurled at her, but she did not answer a word; there was still a smile on her face. After the person was gone, the niece admiringly said, "Auntie, that was quite a demonstration of patience to be able to hold your temper. If I were you I would have lost my temper. At least I would have said something back to him." The aunt said, "No. Do not think that I was not angry. I was burning inside! But I have cultivated forbearance and suppressed my feeling."
Our problem is not whether trouble does or does not explode out from us. Rather, it is whether there is trouble inside or not. Alas! It is all too true that we have all kinds of problems inside! The Bible shows us that we are naturally sinful. There is nothing strange about a man going after sin. His inward and outward parts feel compatible with each other when he sins. This is a most natural consequence to him. Our human life is bound to be manipulated by the flesh, the world, and sin.
THE SEED OF SIN WITHIN MAN
Some people look nice outwardly. They have a high sense of morality, and a decent standard of behavior. It seems as if they possess a better life. But the outward niceties are merely works of repression. They are like a horse held tightly by its reins. Given a chance, it will plunge into trouble. Let me say an honest word: every man can become a bandit, and every gentleman can become a dishonorable criminal. Just let the hands go, and every vileness can break forth. There is the seed of sin within man. It is not a strange thing for man to sin.
No one needs to make up his mind to lose his temper. He only has to make up his mind not to do so. Never has a person written in his diary, "From this day on, I am determined to lose my temper once a day. If I neglect to do so, I will punish myself!" Only patience requires deliberation. Committing evil is very natural. There is no conscious effort required. A deliberate work is needed only in doing good.
SIN IS AN INHERENT NATURE
I sleep in that little room right outside the door. If there is a bright light in this hall, I will not be able to sleep there. If I want to sleep, all I need to do is close the door, and the light will be shut out from me. Darkness is the inherent feature of that room; light is the foreign element. All I can do is drive away the foreign element. I cannot drive away the inherent darkness. You can close your door to sinless aspirations. But you can never close your door to sinful temptations. Because the life we have is corrupted, the expression of it in our living is likewise evil.
The salvation of God is to regenerate us so that we will have an exchange of life. The new life is the life of God Himself. Regeneration is receiving God’s life. It means that henceforth our whole being is taken away, and God is living in us. We do not live our own life anymore. God becomes our living. I never exhort people to do good. It will not work even if I exhort day and night. It is impossible for man to live God’s life. Only the coming in of God’s life can result in God-like living. To receive God’s life is regeneration, and only regeneration will result in a change of outward behavior.
(The Normal Christian Faith, Chapter 8, by Watchman Nee)