DEALING WITH DISPOSITION AND CHARACTER
The Scriptural Basis for Dealing with Our Disposition
While there are no verses in the New Testament which directly tell how to deal with the disposition, there are a number of verses which can be used. Since the disposition is implied in the “I,” the old man, the soul, and the self, our dealing with these things includes our dealing with the disposition. In Galatians 2:20, the “I” has been crucified. This “I” implies the disposition. In the same way, when we deny the self (Matt. 16:24) and lose the soul-life (Matt. 16:25-26), the disposition is dealt with, because it is implied in these things.
The Scriptural Basis for Dealing with Our Character
Dealing with our character is seen in Romans 8:13, which says, “For if you live according to flesh, you are about to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live.” The practices of the body are actually our character. To deal with the practices of the body is to deal with our character.
Dealing with Our Disposition by Living under the Cross
In order to deal with our disposition, we must realize that we have been crucified (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6). From morning to evening, throughout the entire day, we must remember that we are people who have already been crucified. Because we have been crucified, we should not live according to our disposition. We should not live, act, or walk according to what we are naturally. To live in such a way is simply to live according to our disposition. The way to deal with our disposition is to realize and remember that we are crucified persons and remain under that realization throughout the day.
Dealing with Our Disposition by Opposing Ourselves
Along with the realization that we are crucified, we have to oppose ourselves. To oppose ourselves is to oppose our disposition. If you realize that your disposition is to be quiet, as long as you remain quiet, you are simply living according to your disposition. But if you would oppose your quiet disposition, you must first realize that your natural person has been crucified and then remain under the killing of the cross. Then in the meetings you, opposing yourself, can exercise to speak something of the Lord to the saints.
DISPOSITION AND USEFULNESS
The thing which most damages our usefulness in the Christian life and church life is our living according to our disposition. I have been in the Lord’s work for many years, and I have found that some brothers and sisters have a strong element in their disposition which hinders them from coordinating and cooperating with others. If certain brothers or sisters are assigned a certain work, no one else can be included with them to help in that work; they must do it exclusively. Such brothers or sisters are usually very capable, and they can also easily stir up trouble in the church life.
The Lord’s work is a work of the Body and by the Body; therefore, coordination is desperately needed. The Apostle Paul was very capable, but he also needed a number of others to help him and coordinate with him. Even if you are one of the top ones, there is still the need of coordination. Even the Lord Jesus Himself needed to coordinate with others. Actually, most of us do not like to work with others. If we are lazy, careless persons, we may like others to labor for us. But if we are diligent persons, laboring all the time, we may not like others to work with us, because whatever they do interferes with what we are doing.
In our spiritual life, in our Christian life, in our church life, and in the Lord’s work, we must learn to be people who are always opposing ourselves. As a person with a strong disposition, I can testify that I must constantly realize that my disposition is crucified. In the past, my confession was almost completely about my failure to live Christ. Today, very often my confession to the Lord is concerning my disposition. We must learn to live a life of opposing ourselves. To oppose ourselves is to oppose our disposition.
(The Experience and Growth in Life, Chapter 23, by Witness Lee)