III. DEALING WITH THE NATURAL CONSTITUTION
A. The Objective Fact
Dealing with the natural constitution is the same as dealing with the flesh and the self—it is based on objective fact. Since our old man has been crucified with Christ, our natural constitution also has been dealt with in the old man. In the sight of God it is an accomplished fact. We too must see this by the Holy Spirit. Only those who see this objective fact will have the experience of the subjective dealing.
B. The Subjective Experience
Flesh, self, and the natural constitution—all three—are the expressions of the old man. Therefore, the principle in dealing with them is the same: on one hand we have the objective fact, and on the other hand we need the subjective experience. The objective fact is that Christ has already crucified our old man, while the subjective experience is the applying of the death of Christ through the Holy Spirit to ourselves. If we apply it to the flesh, it is the dealing with the flesh; if we apply it to our opinion, it is the dealing with self; and if we apply it to our ability and capability, it is the dealing with the natural constitution.
IV. THE PROCESS OF THE EXPERIENCE OF DEALING WITH THE NATURAL CONSTITUTION
The process of the experience of dealing with the natural constitution closely resembles that of dealing with self.
A. Seeing That Our Old Man Has Been Crucified with Christ
This spiritual seeing is the first step toward our experience in dealing with the natural constitution. We must see that our old man has been crucified with Christ; then we shall experience the dealing that follows.
B. Realizing That the Natural Constitution Is a Very Strong Expression of the Old Man
This also is a spiritual seeing. Of course, this also includes seeing what the natural constitution refers to and what its expressions are.
C. Receiving the Crucifixion of Christ upon Our Natural Constitution
After we have seen the first two points, we will automatically receive the crucifixion of Christ upon our natural constitution. This also means that we apply the crucifixion of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit to our natural expression. Once we receive and apply this, all our natural ability will be stamped with the mark of death and gradually become withered. This receiving is a great spiritual crisis in our life; it may perhaps become our Penuel in experience. It is here that our natural ability and capability are touched by God, and the hollow of our thigh, wherein lies the strength of our body, becomes limp. Hereafter, we can no longer as before use our ability and capability as we wish. Thus, we pass a crisis in our dealing with the natural constitution; we gain an experience in a subjective way.
V. APPLYING THE EXPERIENCE OF DEALING WITH THE NATURAL CONSTITUTION
A. In the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
In order to experience dealing with the natural constitution, we must first be in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Whether we are dealing with self or with the natural constitution, if we desire to have a continual experience, we must live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. In order to apply this experience, we need to apply the death of the cross through the Holy Spirit. If we do not live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, we cannot live in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, nor can we apply the death of the cross.
B. Letting the Holy Spirit Execute the Crucifixion of Christ upon Every Area of Our Natural Constitution as It Is Discovered
If we live in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, we need to let the Holy Spirit execute the crucifixion of Christ upon every area of our natural constitution which we discover. In other words, every time we discover our cleverness, wiles, and capability, we must immediately apply the death of the cross to them. In this way the stamp of the death of the cross is applied to all the practical expressions of the natural constitution. This is not merely a once for all acceptance; it must also be a daily application. We must apply the cross to our natural constitution daily and moment by moment. From the very beginning, when we accept the working of the cross, we must allow God to touch every expression of our natural constitution in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. We may be rich in thinking and very capable, yet we must be one that receives the cross and bears the cross; the cross must continually do the work of breaking us; then after a certain period of time, all that is of our natural constitution will gradually be in the state of having passed through death to resurrection.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)