VII. DEALING WITH THE SPIRIT IS DEALING WITH ITS PASSAGE
Since the defilement of the spirit is due to the passage of the spirit (which includes the purpose of the heart, motive, aim, intention, etc.), then dealing with the spirit is not dealing with the spirit itself, but with the passage of the spirit, that is, with the purpose of the heart, motive, aim, intention, etc. Whenever we are about to act or speak, not only do we need to inquire whether what we are about to do is right or wrong, good or bad, but we must also discern whether or not our inner intention is clean, our motive pure, and our aim wholly for God. Is there any selfish purpose behind our action? Is there any self-inclination? This kind of dealing is dealing with the spirit.
For example, suppose a certain brother has a controversy with you, which causes you to be very angry and disgusted. When you mention him to others, although outwardly you speak lightly as if nothing really matters, nevertheless your words cause others to sense a spirit of condemnation and anger. One day, perhaps during a meeting or while in prayer, you receive mercy from the Lord and realize that since the Lord has forgiven you, you must certainly forgive your brother. At this time, from your deepest being, you deal thoroughly with your unforgiving purpose of heart and intention. Later, when you mention this brother to others, although you touch the controversial matter of the past, your spirit is undisturbed and upright. At this time, not only does your spirit come forth, but it comes forth cleanly without any other intention.
In the church, those who can really supply others and edify the brothers and sisters are those who have a clean spirit through this kind of dealing. If our spirit has never been dealt with, then even while praising others we cause an uncomfortable feeling in others. This is because our spirit is not clean. It may be that in our praising there is the purpose of flattering or the intention of gaining rewards from others. Contrariwise, one who has had his spirit dealt with may even rebuke others in a firm and straightforward manner, causing those who are rebuked to feel upset in the soul; yet their spirit will receive supply and enlightenment, and will thus feel refreshed and satisfied. This is because his spirit is clean and pure, having no other motive.
For this reason we need not only to have our flesh, self, and natural constitution broken so that the spirit can come forth, but we must go one step further and deal with all the negative purpose of the heart, undesirable intentions, impure inclinations, improper will, and mixed emotion to the end not only that the spirit can come forth, but that it may come forth in an upright, clean, and pure manner. Therefore we need these two steps of dealing. The first step is the dealing of breaking in order to release the spirit; the second step is dealing with all the elements in the passage of the spirit so that the spirit can come forth in a clean way. This dealing with all the elements is dealing with the passage of the spirit and also dealing with the spirit.
Since the passage of the spirit includes every part of our being, we need to deal with every part of our being when dealing with the spirit. This kind of dealing is deeper and more delicate than the various dealings mentioned before. If we compare dealing with sin and dealing with the world to our washing clothes, dealing with the conscience to taking a bath, dealing with the flesh to shaving, dealing with self to the flaying, and dealing with the natural constitution to cutting, then dealing with the spirit is comparable to taking out all the blood cells in order to examine and clean each one. Beginning with dealing with sin, every step of the dealings becomes deeper and finer as we go on. When we come to dealing with the natural constitution, we are being dealt with completely within and without. The only part remaining is the mixture coming forth with the spirit. When we have the spirit dealt with and cleansed from all mixtures, so that not only does the spirit come forth, but it comes forth as a clean, pure, and upright spirit, then our whole being is completely and thoroughly dealt with. Therefore, following this, we obtain the filling of the Spirit. When all the elements of our old creation have been completely dealt with, then the Holy Spirit can possess and fill our whole being.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)