The Crucified Christ, by Witness Lee

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Christ does not need whole vessels; instead, He needs broken vessels. This is because only broken vessels can be channels of living water. Whole vessels can only be cisterns of dead water. The biggest problem today is that it is hard to find any wounds or scars in most Christians. Most of us do not have any wounds, scars, marks of death, or experiences of the cross. Even though we have been saved and truly have Christ’s life in us, this life has no way to come out. The reason is not that our behavior is too poor or too good but that we are too whole and too impregnable. Because we have no wounds, Christ has no way to be released from within us.

Suppose a person is quick-tempered and appears arrogant. It would be relatively easy for such a one to become humble because he may often examine himself and condemn his irritability. Suppose another person is meek by nature and apparently humble. It would be harder for such a one to know himself. Instead, it would be easy for him to become proud before God. He may think that the other person is irritable and arrogant while he is meek and humble. What is this? This is real pride. Sometimes when we go to visit people, the wife says, “My husband is too quick.” What she means is that her husband is quick but she is not and that she is meek but her husband is troublesome. However, she is actually more troublesome before God than her husband. It is hard for many of the saints who have a number of good points to make any spiritual progress. This is due to the fact that they have listened to many messages not for themselves but for others.

Some of the saints do not seem to have a bad temper; they are as gentle as sheep. However, they always listen to messages not for themselves but for others. When they hear a word concerning breaking, they think, “Brother Chang is quick-tempered, so he surely needs to be broken. Sister Wang is not good either, so she also needs to be broken.” It never occurs to them that those who are meek need to be broken even more than those who are quick-tempered.

It is often easier for God to deal with a stubborn person than with a pliable person. Someone may seem to be so pliable, like a rubber ball, that God has no way to break him. When a certain situation arises, he does not care. When he is dealt with by his supervisor, he does not care. When he is dealt with by some of his family members, he cares even less. Like a rubber ball, he bounces back whenever he is hit, and he bounces up whenever he is thrown down. This kind of person is indifferent toward everything; he is unbreakable. He cannot be broken by one person, nor by two, three, or even five persons. However, if he were a glass, he could be broken with a single stroke.

If a sister cannot be broken by her husband, her son, or her daughter-in-law, people will praise her, saying that she is really spiritual because she cannot be broken by anyone. However, we must realize that because she is not broken and cannot be broken, Christ has no way to live out from her. What she lives out is her whole self, her smooth and refined self, but not Christ. Christ has no way to live out of her.

Neither our kindness, our good deeds, nor our morality can represent Christ. Only Christ Himself can represent Christ. Nothing that we have, even if it is good, can represent Christ. The progress of a Christian’s spiritual life does not depend on how much he has changed; rather, it depends on how much he has been broken and to what stature Christ has grown in him. In other words, the growth of a Christian hinges on his being broken and Christ’s increasing in him.

(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)