DEALING WITH THE DISPOSITION THROUGH THE PROCESS OF SIFTING
In the grafted life on Christ’s side, there is no need of sifting because there is nothing negative with Him. But on our side, we need a lot of sifting because we are full of negative things. After we were saved and came into the church life, we brought a number of negative things with us. These negative things can be considered as sand for sifting. All the sand must be sifted away. The trials we experience in the church life are used by the Lord to sift us. Wives, husbands, children, and even all the brothers and sisters in the church life are sifting means. In human life and in the church life, we all would prefer to have a peaceful life without any turmoil or storms. Many of the elders of the churches would certainly prefer a glorious church life without any troubles or problems. We may prefer such a church life, but often we have just the opposite. It is difficult to tell which is the best. When we get into eternity and look back, we may say that we had too little turmoil and too few problems that could have sifted us.
Paul’s church life was often full of turmoil (2 Cor. 11:23-33). On Paul’s journey from Caesarea to Rome in Acts 27—28, there were many storms and hardships. Brother Nee’s life in China from the beginning of his ministry to the end of his life was full of turmoil. In the eighteen years that I was with him in the work, there was hardly ever a peaceful time. The last twenty years of his life, from 1952 to 1972, were spent in prison; those years in prison ended in his death.
Turmoil is a blessing because by it we are sifted. This sifting is related much more to our disposition than to our sins or mistakes. If by His mercy and grace, we all can pass through the sifting process, we will remain useful to the Lord. Our usefulness does not depend upon our good disposition by birth. Our usefulness is determined by how much we have been sifted. It is better to have a strong disposition which passes through the sifting process day by day and year after year than merely to have a good disposition. Paul was a person with a strong disposition who had passed through a long term of sifting through many storms; therefore, he could write a chapter such as 1 Corinthians 7.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
First Corinthians 7 is the writing of a man, yet this composition became the divine revelation. He could say that his word was not the commandment of the Lord, but the word he gave became the divine revelation. At the end of this chapter, Paul concludes by saying that what he had given was according to his opinion and that he thought that he also had the Spirit of God. He not only had his opinion, but he also had the Spirit of God. These two things speak together in the mingled way: the Spirit of God speaks in his opinion, and his opinion expresses something with the Spirit of God. God mingled with man as one person with two natures, living together in one life and one living, is the experience of the grafted life in the principle of incarnation. This is the real dealing with the disposition.
(The Experience and Growth in Life, Chapter 25, by Witness Lee)