CLAIMING OUR ENJOYMENT ON THE GROUND OF OUR CO-WORKING WITH GOD
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that we are ambassadors sent by God to beseech and to entreat others on behalf of God to repent to Him, to be reconciled to Him, and to be one with Him. Although this work was not conducted by God Himself directly but was entrusted to Paul who carried it out as His ambassador, Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that his work was actually God’s work. God was working within His ambassador. The two were one. When Paul went to Corinth, God also went there. The beseeching and entreating of Paul were the beseeching and entreating of God. Paul brought God along with him. He was a co-worker with God. This is a very fundamental point. No matter how young you are, you have the right to claim the riches in this matter. You have the right to say to God, “God, when I go out today, I am not working alone or by myself. Rather, I am co-working with You. I am going out with You.” This understanding and realization will become in you your vision, your experience, and your ground. Daily you can stand on it and live in it.
The reason so many preachers in Christianity are weak and poor is because they have not seen this vision. They have not taken this ground and are not exercising their rights on this ground or claiming the enjoyment which is properly theirs. I hope that you will all have this fundamental understanding. When you have this vision, all your concepts, actions, and attitudes will be changed. For example, before you are married, you live a bachelor’s life. However, after you are married, you live together with your spouse as a couple. If you do not change your life-style, you will be in trouble. When you consider how your life-style has changed, your actions are affected by it.
In the same way, for you to work together with God and for Him to be with you, you cannot do just as you please. In everything you have to ask Him. As far as He is concerned, everything is ready; but as far as I am concerned, many times I am unaffected when He has already gone on. On God’s side, He was ready long ago. It is we who are lacking in cooperation. Here we have to learn a lesson, which is to fellowship with Him in everything. Whatever we do, we should look to Him, seek Him, and discuss with Him. This practice will calibrate you. You do not realize how much trouble you have caused by being hasty. After you fellowship with God, He will act faster than you do and will “stop your car” and rescue you. Sometimes, however, you need to be adjusted the other way because you are too slow. I can tell you that God is the One who can best balance you.
BEING ONE WITH GOD TO HAVE SWEET COORDINATION WITH THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS
I have told people that it is not difficult to work together with man but that it is very difficult to coordinate with God. Sometimes, for the purpose of training us, God becomes very difficult with us. When we want to be fast, He insists on being slow. This is why some have experienced being angry with God. It is like Martha when Jesus came to her. She complained, “Lord, If You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). According to Martha, the Lord delayed until her brother was dead, buried, and stinking. What was the use to come then? Martha’s complaint was her anger. Paul said in Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without murmurings and reasonings.” To murmur is to be angry, and to reason is to argue. To be without murmurings and reasonings is to be without anger and arguments. We say that the best church in the New Testament was the church in Philippi, and the best believers were the Philippian believers. But Paul gave this charge to them. I would say the same thing to you today. When you go to the villages for the spread of the gospel, do not murmur and do not reason. It is not a sweet thing to murmur or to reason.
God can accomplish things in a speedy way; but for the purpose of training us, He would not do things that way. Even when He does, He will only do so for others but not for you. I say this so that you will have a deep impression. Today you are involved in the Lord’s business. It is different from all the business in the world. In all other lines of business, we do things by ourselves. But when you go to preach the gospel in the villages or in the communities, you are not doing this alone. Rather you are doing this together with the Lord. As long as you can coordinate with the Lord, you will have no problem in co-working together with the other brothers and sisters. If you have a problem with the brothers and sisters in your room or your team, it proves that you have a problem with the Lord. Not only do you have to learn this lesson from man, but you also have to learn this lesson from God.
Can you coordinate with God? Is there a problem between you and God? Or does God have a problem with you? If you do have a problem with Him, your prayer will be hindered. When there is a gap between you and God, it is like a couple whose relationship is strained; it will be difficult to strike up any conversation. The relationship between the husband and the wife is entirely not a matter of reason but of love. When there is love, everything is all right. When there is no love, no reason will suffice. The right and wrong between a husband and wife depend not on facts but on feelings. The problem is the same with us in our service before God. When there is a harmonious feeling between us and God, there will be no problem.
Hence, you have to remember that this One is not only beside you, but He is even in you and is active within you all the time. He is with you every day—in your eating, sleeping, and everything that you do. It is a sweet word to say, “The Lord be with us.” But this continual presence is at times tiresome, bothersome, and hard to bear. Here is a lesson which we have to learn. If your relationship with the Lord is good, if He and you get along with each other well, and if there is no problem between you and Him, you will have no problem in coordinating with the other brothers and sisters. In the past there were many problems in our coordination. We thought that the young ones were the problem or that the old ones were the problem. Actually, neither the young ones nor the old ones are the problem. The root of the problem lies with your compatibility, your relatedness, and your oneness with the Lord. If this relationship is properly fostered, the work will prosper. If not, the work will be difficult.
Let me repeat again. Our co-working together with the Lord is not one in which we work side by side, nor is it one in which one works outside and the other works inside. Rather, it is one which is a mingling of the two. We are so one that there is no possibility of coming closer. The two are mingled as one. In this way we become the most free as well as the most bound persons. God has become our freedom as well as our bondage. You must learn this lesson before you can become effective and long-lasting in your work. If you are not properly mingled with the Lord, by the time you go to the villages for the gospel spread, you will have no interest or taste for whatever you do. And when you see no fruit in your work, you will be easily frustrated and will turn back. The mingling between us and the Lord is a necessary lesson for everyone who serves the Lord.
(A message given by Brother Witness Lee in Taipei on October 22, 1988.)
(Messages in Preparation for the Spread of the Gospel, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)