XXVI. CARING FOR OUR NEED
God the Father cares for the needs of His children in their living. Matthew 6:31-32 says, "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? For all these things the Gentiles are anxiously seeking. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things." Since God the Father has created us with a life and a body, surely He will care for the needs of our body. Because we have Him as the One who cares for our needs, we do not need to be anxious about them. He is the source of our supply; hence, we need not be wanting.
In verse 33 the Lord goes on to tell us that if we desire to have the Father’s care, we need to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Today the Father’s kingdom is the reality of the church life, and the Father’s righteousness is Christ who is lived out by God’s people. If we seek first the Father’s kingdom and the Father’s righteousness, not only will His kingdom and His righteousness be given to us, but also all the necessities of our life will be added to us. Hence, whenever He cares for our needs, we experience His dispensing. Actually, what we gain primarily is not His outward supply, but His inward dispensing, that is, His element wrought into us. Thus, we experience His divine dispensing by His caring for our material needs.
XXVII. NOT ALLOWING US TO BE TEMPTED
BEYOND WHAT WE ARE ABLE
First Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has taken you except that which is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow that you be tempted beyond what you are able, but will, with the temptation, also make the way out, that you may be able to endure it." Some believers may think that Satan’s temptation to them is too strong to be resisted. But Paul points out here that no temptation has taken us except that which is common to man, and that the faithful God will not allow any temptation to befall us beyond what we are able to bear. This is a promise and an encouragement to the believers. When we are tempted, we should never blame God for the temptation. According to the context in this verse, the responsibility for being tempted rests on us. But we may be encouraged by God’s word, knowing that when we are being tempted, the faithful God will provide the way out for us so that we may be able to endure it.
Whenever we are tempted, we may stand on the word of 1 Corinthians 10:13 and say to God the Father, "O Father, You will not allow that I be tempted beyond what I am able, but will, with the temptation, also make the way out, that I may be able to endure it." When we pray to the Father and speak to Him in this way, He knows how much temptation we are able to endure. He will provide a way out for us that we may be able to endure it. This also is our experience and enjoyment of Him in the love of God.
XXVIII. DISCIPLINING US
God the Father disciplines us that we may partake of His holiness. Hebrews 12:5-11 tells us that the persecution suffered by the Hebrew believers was a discipline by God the Father on the believers as His true sons. Verse 6 says, "For whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives." Since we are sons of God, we all partake of the Father’s discipline. Furthermore, we should respect the Father, who disciplines us, and be in subjection in every respect to the Father of spirits and live. The Father disciplines us for our profit that we may partake of His holiness, His holy nature. This is the work of God the Father’s dealing with us, His sons, to make us holy. This work of His, which is related to the sanctifying work of the Spirit, is carried out through His divine dispensing in us and through the dealing in the outward environment. Hence, the Father’s discipline on us is related to His dispensing. When He disciplines us, He dispenses His holy nature into our entire being. Therefore, we partake of His holiness through this dispensing.
Verse 11 goes on to tell us that "now no discipline at the present time seems to be a matter of joy, but of grief; but afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised by it." The Father’s discipline is for holiness, which brings forth righteousness and peace. God’s discipline is not only for us to partake of His holiness but also for us to yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Holiness is the inward nature, righteousness is the outward behavior, and peace is the fruit of righteousness (Isa. 32:17). God’s discipline helps the believers not only to partake of His holiness but also to make them right with both God and man, that in such a situation of righteousness they may enjoy peace as a sweet fruit, a peaceable fruit of righteousness.
If we have never been permeated inwardly with God’s holy nature, we can never have proper righteousness in our outward behavior. First, God works His holy nature into us; then in our outward behavior we shall have the peaceable fruit of righteousness as the issue of the inward holiness. Hence, we have holiness, righteousness, and peace in the Father’s discipline in love by His divine dispensing.
When we experience and enjoy God as the Father in the love of God, God the Father gives grace to us according to the operation of His power, that we may announce to people the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel and enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which was hidden in Him. Thus, He makes us competent to bear the ministry of the new covenant, in which we dispense Christ into people for the building up of Christ’s Body. While we are thus carrying out the New Testament ministry, God the Father leads us in the triumphal procession of Christ and manifests through us the fragrance of Christ. God the Father also has mercy on us in that He heals our body by working His divine element into us. Furthermore, He encourages and comforts us through Christ that we may encourage and comfort others; we participate in Christ’s sufferings and experience the divine riches through Christ, so that we are able to dispense the Triune God into those who suffer for the Lord that they may be comforted and encouraged. God the Father also guards our hearts and thoughts in Christ by the peace of God, which surpasses our understanding, as the counterpoise of troubles and the antidote to anxiety. He also cares for the needs in our living so that we do not need to be anxious about them. We need first to seek His kingdom and His righteousness; then His kingdom and His righteousness with all the necessities of our life will be added to us. He also will not allow that we be tempted beyond what we are able, but will make a way out, that we may be able to endure. He also disciplines us as sons to dispense His holy nature into our entire being that we may partake of His holiness and yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
- Explain briefly how we can announce the riches of Christ and the economy of God’s mystery.
- How does God make us competent to bear the ministry of the new covenant?
- State briefly how God the Father makes us those who are able to encourage and comfort others.
- Explain briefly how God guards our hearts and thoughts in Christ.
- How do we experience God’s making a way out for us when we are being tempted?
- State briefly the purpose of God the Father’s discipline over us.
(Truth Lessons, Level 2, Vol. 3, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)