The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Release of the Spirit, by Watchman Nee


Once a man is broken by the Holy Spirit, he will manifest a pliableness that comes from a fear of God. When others contact him, they no longer will find him as hard, fierce, and severe as before. Having been dealt with by the Lord, his voice becomes subdued, and his attitude becomes softened. He begins to fear God inwardly, and this fear spontaneously flows out through his attitude and words. Spontaneously, he becomes a pliable man.

Easy to Be Dealt With

What is a pliable person? A pliable person is one who is easy to be dealt with. It is easy for him to speak to others and easy for him to ask from others. When a man is broken before God, it becomes easy even for him to make confessions and to weep. It is very hard for some people to weep. This does not mean that weeping has any merit in itself. But it does means that when a man has passed through God’s dealing, his outward disposition, thoughts, emotion, and will are shattered, and it becomes easy for him to see his mistakes and to make confessions. It will not be difficult for others to talk to him. The shell in him is broken, and his emotion and mind will have the capacity to accept others’ opinions and to allow others to speak to him and teach him. He will be brought into a new realm, and he will be able to receive help anytime and anywhere.

Easy to Have Feelings

A pliable man is one who has sensitive feelings. Because his outer man is broken, it is easy for his spirit to be released, and it is easy for him to touch the brothers’ and sisters’ spirits. As soon as their spirits move, he will sense it. His feelings become very sensitive. He immediately knows whether something is right or wrong. As soon as others’ spirits move, he will respond. He will not do anything foolish or insensitive, and he will not do anything that offends others’ feelings. We often carry on with things that others’ spirits disapprove of. We behave this way because our outer man is not broken. Others’ spirits are sensitive about what we are doing, but we have no feeling. Some brothers and sisters often offer such tiresome prayers in the meetings that others wish they would stop, yet they keep on going. The spirits of the others speak out and plead for them to stop, but they do not have any feeling in themselves. The feelings of others do not produce any response in them. This is because their outer man is not broken. If a man is broken, it is easy for his spirit to touch the spirits of others, and it is easy for him to feel what others feel. He does not act like an insensitive person who is ignorant of things that others are clear about.

Only those whose outer man is broken will know the meaning of the Body of Christ. Only they can touch the spirit of the Body, the feeling of the other members. They will no longer act or feel independently. If a man is void of feelings, he will be like an artificial limb, perhaps a mechanical arm in a body. A mechanical arm can move with the body, but it is short of one thing—feelings. Some people are members without feelings. The whole Body feels something, yet they do not feel anything. Once the outer man is broken, a man will touch the conscience and feelings of the church. His spirit will be open, and the church will easily touch his spirit and communicate its feelings to his spirit. This is a precious thing. Every time we are wrong, we will know that we are wrong. However, the breaking of the outer man does not guarantee that we no longer will be wrong. It merely provides us with a faculty that tells us when we are wrong. The brothers and sisters may realize that we are wrong without opening their mouth to point this out. Yet as soon as we touch them, we realize that we are wrong. As soon as we touch their spirit, we know whether they are for or against the matter in question. This is a basic requirement in the Body life. Without this, there is no possibility of having the Body life. The Body of Christ does not arrive at a consensus through discussion and debates, just as there is no need for discussion in our own bodies. Every member spontaneously feels the same thing. This common feeling is the will of the Body; it is also the will of the Head. The will of the Head is expressed through the will of the Body. As our outer man is broken, it will be easy for us to be adjusted, and it will be easy for us to have the feeling of the Body.

(The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Release of the Spirit, Chapter 9, by Watchman Nee)