CRUCIFYING THE WORLD
Our relationship with the world also requires that we bear the cross. The Bible tells us about a woman who loved the world very much—Lot’s wife. The Lord Jesus warned us concerning her, saying, "Remember Lot’s wife" (Luke 17:32). Lot’s wife loved the worldly things in the city of Sodom. Although she was taken out of the city, she cherished the memories of the worldly things. She could not forget the world. She looked back and became a pillar of salt. Therefore, the Lord Jesus warned us to remember Lot’s wife.
Suppose there is a brother who, like Lot’s wife, loves the things of the world. If you pray for this brother, saying, "Lord, bind the strong man," it will not work. This will work for a brother who has a strong mind full of opinions, but it will not work for a brother who loves the world. A brother who loves the world needs to bear the cross. To deal with our love of the world in our emotions is not a matter of binding the strong man, but of bearing the cross in the soul. Many of the dear sisters find shopping to be so sweet. Although some people may not have money for shopping, they enjoy window shopping. They love the things of the world. If we remain on the cross, we certainly will not go shopping that much. The soulish love of the world must be crossed out. This kind of love of the world in the soulish life is the satanic kingdom. If this is not crossed out, the Lord Jesus in our spirit will have no way to spread into our emotions. If the sisters love to shop, their emotions will be fully drawn away from the Lord. Many dear sisters have hardly grown one inch in the Lord because they love the worldly things so much. There is no room in their emotions for the Lord Jesus to come in; nearly every bit of ground in their emotions has been occupied by worldly things. If you can easily forget how many worldly possessions you have, that would indicate that you do not love them. However, it is difficult for most sisters to forget the things that they have. Every sister recalls these things very well. Some sisters do not know how many chapters Matthew has, but they remember very well how many dresses they have. Some may have been Christians for more than twenty years and yet be unable to tell exactly how many chapters there are in the book of Acts. What is occupying your emotions? Where is your love? What is the object of your love? This is a matter of the kingdom of Satan or the kingdom of God. We have used these practical illustrations because the Lord has shown us that the kingdom is not merely a dispensation or a sphere. The kingdom is the totality of the Christian life. It must be practical.
REMAIN ON THE CROSS
All of the verses in which the Lord Jesus speaks about the soul are related to the kingdom of God. Our soul must be dealt with in the matter of love. What we love and where we put our love must be dealt with. How we exercise love must be practically dealt with by the cross. If our soul has never been dealt with by the cross in the matter of love, regardless of what we may think, we are in the kingdom of Satan. Although we are children of God in our spirit, we remain a part of the kingdom of Satan in our soul.
It is not simply a matter of being sinful or worldly. It is a matter of whether or not our soul has been dealt with by the cross in the matter of love. If we love, our love must first be crossed out; if we hate, our hate must be crossed out. We need to love and we need to hate, but our love and our hate must first be crossed out. All the soul must be dealt with by the cross. The Lord has crossed out our soul already. Galatians 2:20 declares, "I have been crucified with Christ." Since we have been crucified with Christ, we must remain on the cross. We must stay at the place where we have been already crossed out. This means that we must bear the cross and never give any ground to the Satan-saturated soul. We must keep our soul on the cross, especially in the matter of love. If we want to love something or someone, we must love it by having our soul crossed out. This is not a theory; this is the practice and practicality of the kingdom life.
Occasionally, you may attempt to be spiritual. You may say, "I will look to the Lord and see how He leads. I will do all my shopping according to the Lord’s leading." This sounds very spiritual. However, regardless of how the Lord leads, you still go to the department store. The Lord gave you no leading, yet you bought many things, and these possessions are still at home condemning you. These things may not be sinful, but they are worldly; the Lord did not lead you to buy them. You bought them according to the love in your soul. This is the kingdom of Satan. It is not simply a matter of being sinless or holy or free from the world; it is altogether a matter of being either in the kingdom of Satan or the kingdom of God. If your soul is continually upon the cross, whatever you love or hate will be in the kingdom of God. Otherwise, both your love and hatred will be in the kingdom of Satan.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)