V. DEALING WITH SELF
[How is self dealt with? In other words, how should we deal with self? The Bible only says that our old man has been crucified with Christ. The Bible never says specifically that our self has been crucified with the Lord. In spite of this, the way to deal with self is still the cross, just as the way to deal with the flesh is the cross. In considering this matter, we will divide it into the objective fact and the subjective experience.]
A. The Objective Fact
[The objective fact in dealing with self, just as in dealing with the flesh, rests in Christ; that is, our old man has been crucified with Him. This is because self is part of the expression of the old man. With God, the problem of the old man has already been solved; thus self, which is of the old man, has also been solved. Therefore, on the objective side, the only fact is that our old man has been crucified.]
B. The Subjective Experience
[The subjective experience in dealing with the self, just as in dealing with the flesh, is through the Holy Spirit. If we have seen the fact that our old man has been crucified, then in our daily living, whenever we discover the expressing of our own ideas or opinions, we must let the Holy Spirit work the death of the cross upon these ideas and opinions to put them to death.]
C. Bearing the Cross
[Today, in fallen Christianity, many truths have been misunderstood. The truth of bearing the cross is a case in point. Many people misinterpret the bearing of the cross as suffering. This is a wrong concept, a concept which we have inherited from Roman Catholicism. We should realize that the emphasis of the cross is not suffering, but death. When a person goes to the cross, the main thing is to go there not to suffer, but to die. When we mention execution by shooting today, we understand that that means death. Likewise, in the time of the Lord Jesus, whenever the cross was mentioned, man’s understanding of it was death.]
If we experience suffering, that means we are not bearing the cross. Remember that in the compound ointment there is myrrh, which signifies the sweetness of the death of Christ. As we exercise our spirit to put our self on the cross, we should not experience suffering, rather, we should be enjoying His sweet death which is effective to kill our self. Along with this, we should also have His resurrection power operating in us to enable us to follow Him.
VI. APPLYING THE EXPERIENCE OF DEALING WITH SELF
A. In the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
[The applying of the experience of dealing with self is firstly in the fellowship in the Holy Spirit. Though we understand the crucifying of the old man and know that our opinions are the expression of self, yet if we do not live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, it is but an empty doctrine and does not afford any practical experience. If we do not live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and yet try to deal with self, such exercise is exactly like the strenuous efforts practiced by the Buddhists, Hindus, and Chinese moralists; it is not a spiritual experience. Only the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of reality.] [Therefore, if we desire to live continuously in the experience of dealing with self, the basic requirement is to live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.]
B. Letting the Holy Spirit Execute the Crucifixion of Christ upon Us
[If we live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and touch the Holy Spirit, then we must allow the Holy Spirit to execute the crucifixion of Christ upon all our living and actions. This allowing is our cooperation with the Holy Spirit. When we allow the Holy Spirit to perform His work in us, it means that we are cooperating with Him. In this way it is on one hand that we apply the crucifixion of Christ through the Holy Spirit, and on the other hand that we let the Holy Spirit execute Christ’s crucifixion in us. On one hand it is our doing, and on the other hand it is the working of the Holy Spirit—it is impossible to separate one from the other in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. At this time we are living in Romans 8, in the law of the Spirit of life; we are putting to death all the expressions of the old man through the Holy Spirit.
If one who loves God has a pliable will, and he is willing to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will bring him deeper and deeper into the cross and put his self thoroughly to death.] Through these experiences, the life of God will grow in us. The element of God will increase and our human element will decrease.
(Lesson Book, Level 4: Life—Knowing and Experiencing Life, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)