EXPERIENCING CHRIST BY EXERCISING OUR SPIRIT
The way to have our Christian life is to exercise our spirit to constantly experience Christ in our spirit. By spirit we do not simply mean the Holy Spirit. Rather, day by day we have to experience Christ in our human spirit. This is the way of the Christian life. To emphasize our human spirit may be compared to teaching small children the way to eat. A small child may not put food in his mouth properly. He may even put the food on his nose. It seems that he does not even know what the mouth is and where it is. Therefore, we may be forced and compelled to tell him, “That is not the right way to eat. You have to eat with your mouth.” To say this is not to be dogmatic; it is very necessary. If a child does not know the proper way to eat and the proper organ to use, he will be weak. It is the same with exercising our spirit in our daily life.
In the New Testament we cannot find a word telling us to live and walk in the heart, the soul, or the mind. Yes, we have to love the Lord with our heart and be renewed in our mind, but we are never told to walk in the mind or live by the mind. Rather, the New Testament many times tells us to walk in the spirit and live in the spirit. This does not refer simply to the Holy Spirit. Second Timothy 4:22 says, “The Lord be with your spirit,” using the word your. The Christian life is a life of experiencing Christ, but where is Christ for us to experience? There is no ground for anyone to argue; the Word says clearly that Christ is “with your spirit.” Therefore, we all have to learn how to experience Christ by exercising our spirit.
Galatians 6:18 says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” The last verse of the book of Philemon says the same thing: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (v. 25). The grace of the Lord is the Lord Himself enjoyed by us. Therefore, the Christian life is a life of experiencing Christ in our spirit. Day by day we experience Christ in our spirit, and day by day we live in our spirit and learn how to walk in the spirit. Our spirit is where the Holy Spirit dwells, and it is one spirit with the Lord as the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17). First Corinthians 6:17 says, “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” Day by day we walk in this spirit and we live in this spirit to experience Christ and contact Christ. This is our life. What is the Christian life? The Christian life is a life of experiencing Christ by exercising the spirit.
How much Christ do we have in our Christian life? How much exercise of the spirit do we have? We may have many other good things, such as patience. In fact, we have more patience than we have Christ. We may also have more sincerity than Christ. This means that at least some of our sincerity is not Christ. It is hard for us to tell lies; we are honest, but we may have more honesty than we have Christ. This indicates that a certain part of the brothers’ and sisters’ good life is not Christ. It is too much by the self, that is, by the soul, not by the exercise of our spirit, that we have sincerity and honesty. If I have much sincerity by my self, you have honesty by your self, the sisters have meekness and humility by their self, and we all have many good attributes by our self, when we come together to meet, what kind of meeting will we have? We will have self-realization and not genuine fellowship.
A sister may be very meek, gentle, and nice, just like the statue of Mary in front of a Catholic cathedral. Another sister may be very humble, and many brothers may be sincere, faithful, and honest. Then when all these peculiar self-realizing people come together, they will have a peculiar self-realizing Christian meeting. In the nineteenth century the Brethren discovered 1 Corinthians 14:26, and they passed this discovery on to many wonderful but self-realizing Christians. Today everyone comes to the meeting simply to sit there in his meek, humble, and sincere way. The more each one sits there, the more he becomes a “tomb,” and the more the whole meeting becomes a “cemetery,” very quiet, with everything in decent order. This is due to the lack of a proper Christian life.
If we realize that to have a proper Christian life we must daily experience Christ, we will not care about our honesty and meekness. Rather, we will truly care for Christ. We will care to exercise to contact the Lord. We will exercise the spirit and live in the spirit. Morning and evening, day and night, we will have real fellowship with the Lord in the spirit. Then we will constantly have many experiences of Christ as our meekness, Christ as our sincerity, and Christ as our everything. We will be strong, living, active, and positive in our spirit. Our inner man will be strengthened and full of the experience of Christ. Then we can come to the meeting full of Christ, with the full, rich experiences of Christ and with a strong, living, active, and positive spirit. If we all come to the meeting in such a way, we will spontaneously exercise the spirit and minister Christ. This is the right way to have a meeting.
(The Ground of the Church and the Meetings of the Church, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)