Watchman Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, by Witness Lee


The flesh is the worst part of fallen man and always fights against the Spirit of God (Gen. 6:3; Gal. 5:17). Watchman Nee fully realized this and always stood against his flesh and natural temperament in order to maintain an unbroken fellowship with the Lord and remain in the presence of God. His flesh was continually suppressed by simply living in the spirit and behaving according to the inner anointing. By living and behaving in this way, he was continually exercised in prayer for the Lord’s deliverance. He feared his flesh and would do nothing according to his flesh, but continually walked according to his spirit that he might not lose God’s presence.


It was revealed to Watchman Nee that fallen man is saturated with Satan and can easily become the very embodiment and expression of Satan. This was Peter’s experience in Matthew 16:21-23. In following the Lord Watchman Nee continually denied the self (Matt. 16:24) in order to continually enjoy the Lord’s presence. He feared the self and condemned it more than any other negative thing. In his daily life, in his work, and in his contact with others, no trace of self could be found. Rather, his behavior and his work always left the impression that he was a person bearing the cross and denying the self. It was by such a living that he maintained the enjoyment of God’s presence.


Watchman Nee was fully aware of the self-preference which exists in the fallen nature of man. His conscience would not allow him to have any self-preference in spiritual things or in the Lord’s work. He knew that King Saul lost his kingship and throne because of his self-preference (1 Sam. 15:1-28). Realizing that self-preference was more subtle than either sin or worldliness, he frequently touched people’s conscience in this matter when speaking to them. He would not tolerate any self-preference to exist between himself and the Lord in order to maintain the presence of God.


Disobedience was another thing Watchman Nee dealt with in order to maintain fellowship in the Lord’s presence. His experience was that nothing, not even good and spiritual things, can substitute for obedience. For him to obey the Lord meant to cleave to the Lord’s purposed will; it did not mean to take His permissive will as Balaam did (Num. 22:2-35). Anything which deviates from the Lord’s purposed will is a form of disobedience. For him disobedience was a veil which would separate him from God’s presence. He stressed that for him to receive light and revelation from the Lord he needed an unveiled face. Margaret Barber told him, and he passed it on to his close associates, that a small leaf on a tree can block out the full moon from one’s sight. Since he realized that disobedience would cause the loss of God’s presence, he made it his purpose to obey the Lord’s will and the Lord’s revelation at any cost.

(Watchman Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)