COMING TO THE WORD OF GOD
NOT TO BECOME PERFECT BY CULTIVATING THE SELF
BUT TO RECEIVE NOURISHMENT AND ENLIGHTENMENT
BY PRAYING IN SPIRIT
We have pointed out that in Proverbs there are many detailed precepts for man to live a proper human life and that every precept is a gem. Even if a person accepts all these gems and is successful in keeping them, he will only build up himself to be a perfect man by cultivating the self. But the Lord Jesus said that whoever would follow Him must deny himself (Matt. 16:24).
In their reading of the Proverbs and even of the entire Bible, many Christians receive only teachings, admonitions, exhortations, proverbs, and precepts to cultivate their self and to build up the natural man, who has been fully condemned by God. We must learn to come to the Word of God as those who are approaching God, not to receive proverbs and teachings but to receive nourishment and enlightenment, so that we may know that, according to God, we should always be conformed to the death of Christ by the power of His resurrection (Phil. 3:10), which is the consummated Spirit, who is the reality of the resurrection of Christ.
A certain teaching in the Bible may be very good, but we should not take it as something to cultivate our self and build up our natural man. We must reject self-cultivation and condemn the building up of the natural man. We need to turn the Bible from a book that teaches us to cultivate the self and to build up the natural man to a book that is full of life, spirit, spiritual nourishment, and spiritual enlightenment. This will tear down our self, break our natural man, and supply us with the consummated Spirit of the Triune God. Then we will live a life not by our natural man, by our old man, and by our self but by the Lord Jesus, who is our life and person living in our spirit.
We need to learn to exercise our spirit every day in our daily life, especially in our Bible study. We need to turn ourselves from the mind to the spirit by praying in our spirit. If we come to the Bible in this way, we will be touching the Word by the new man and it will become to us a book of Spirit and life.
(Life-Study of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)