EXPERIENCING CHRIST FOR THE CHURCH LIFE
The experience of Christ is for the church life. The Christ revealed in chapter two and pursued by Paul in chapter three is not for individual experience, but for the Body life. In Philippians 2 Paul encourages us to think the one thing. This one thing is Christ in our experience for the church life. Although we need to drop our opinions, it is impossible for our mind to be vacant. It needs to be filled with something. If it is not filled with this one thing, something else will fill it. Therefore, we need the vision that God’s economy is focused on Christ as our experience for the church life. If our mind is filled with this one thing, there will be no room for other things to come in. Then spontaneously we shall drop our opinions and care for the request of the Apostle Paul and for all the other saints. We shall look not only on the gifts and graces we have received, but also on all the qualities, advantages, and good points of others. Spontaneously, we shall be balanced.
We are accustomed to looking at our own abilities, attributes, and qualifications. The remedy for this is to look at the qualifications of others. A saint once said that if we look at ourselves once, we need to look at Christ ten times. In the same principle, if we look at our ability once, we need to look at the abilities of others five times. This will keep us from extremes. The natural man, however, likes to look on his own work, ability, and qualifications. This causes us to go to an extreme. If we are all at this extreme, what a confusion there will be among us! But if we all look on the good points of others more than on our own good points, we shall be balanced and rescued from extremes. We shall give up our peculiar way of thinking and spontaneously be one in soul with the other saints. In this one soul we not only experience Christ, but also enjoy Him.
To repeat, we need to be not only one in spirit, but also one in soul. Instead of so many different opinions, we should have just one thing about which to think. We should constantly think one thing and have the same love toward everyone. This will rescue our soul from all differences and enable us to be one in soul. If we were all in one soul, thinking the one thing, the situation in the church life would be heavenly. But if we continue to have many different opinions, there will be no enjoyment. Although we may experience Christ, we shall lack the enjoyment of Christ.
Humanly speaking, it is impossible to be one in soul and to think the same thing. But it is easy by the Spirit of Jesus. We do not merely have an outward pattern, for this pattern is in our very being, living Himself out from within us by the Spirit of Jesus. Thus, He is not merely our pattern, but also our life. As He lives Himself out from within us, we can easily drop all our opinions. We all need the vision that Christ, who is the pattern, is within us as life to live Himself out of us. For example, He never insisted upon being anything. Now we have a life within us that never insists on being anything. Rather, this life always humbles Himself, empties Himself, and takes a lower place. Eventually, God the Father exalted Christ to be the highest and gave Him the name that is above every name. Thus, there is no need for rivalry or competition or for the seeking of vainglory. As we enjoy Christ as life within us, eventually God the Father will exalt us and bring us into glory. But there is no need for us to seek even this kind of glory. It depends upon whether or not the Father gives it to us. The most important thing for us to do is to experience Christ as our enjoyment today so that the church may be built up. The building of the church is His glory. Eventually, His glory will become our glory. This is the way for us to be preserved in the Lord’s recovery until He comes back.
If we do not take this way, the Lord’s recovery will be damaged through our opinions accumulated over the years. This will change the nature of the recovery and cause it to become part of today’s Christianity and a continuation of the history of divided and divisive Christianity. May the Lord have mercy upon us to keep us from this. We need to pray, "Lord, keep us and preserve us for Your economy. For the fulfillment of Your purpose, we want to be just like You. We want to have You not only as our pattern, but also as the life that enables us to drop our opinions and to be one in soul with all the saints." If we are like this, the Lord will have the glory, we shall have the enjoyment, and the church will be built up. This is the proper way to enjoy Christ.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)