The Experience of Christ, by Witness Lee

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Christian teachers have been talking about the Holy Spirit for centuries. Nevertheless, it is difficult for anyone to define the Holy Spirit. According to practical experience, not theology, the Holy Spirit is what remains after we put ourselves aside. The Holy Spirit that remains in us is unlimited. Sometimes young sisters have told me, "Brother Lee, you have a great deal of the Holy Spirit. But the young sisters have very little of the Spirit." It does not matter whether you have much of the Spirit or little. What matters is that you have Him. As long as you have the Spirit, there is no limitation. However, the Spirit may seem limited if we are not willing to put ourselves aside.

A number of times sisters have come to me in tears. On the one hand, I felt sympathetic toward them. But on the other hand, I would not sympathize with them. They were crying because their environment was difficult or even unbearable, but they forgot about the Spirit. If they would be willing to put themselves aside, they would not shed so many tears. Rather, they would immediately be happy in the Lord. But if we are not willing to set ourselves aside, take up the cross, and put ourselves under death, the Holy Spirit will seem limited in our experience. Sisters, you have a spiritual checking account with unlimited savings. Because you have such an account, you can write a check to cover any situation. The way to write a check is to put yourself to death and, through death, to enter into the Spirit as the reality of resurrection. Whenever you find yourself in a difficult situation, do not weep or pity yourself. Instead, put yourself aside and keep yourself under the cross. Then spontaneously resurrection will be manifested in you, and you will be able to sing with joy these lines from a hymn by A.B. Simpson:

’Tis not hard to die with Christ
When His risen life we know;
’Tis not hard to share His suff’rings
When our hearts with joy o’erflow.
In His resurrection power
He has come to dwell in me,
And my heart is gladly going
All the way to Calvary.

If we set ourselves aside, this will be our experience. There is no need for us to endeavor to go to Calvary. Rather, we simply need to exercise our will to decide to put ourselves aside. When the circumstances are difficult, do not feel sorry for yourself, but take up the cross and remain under the death of the cross. Then you will discover that where death is, there the power of resurrection is also. Immediately the Spirit, the power of resurrection, will rise up within you, and you will sing with joy, "’Tis not hard to die with Christ." You will find yourself glad to go all the way to Calvary. This is the Christian life. The more we go to Calvary, the more of the power of Christ’s resurrection will be manifested. The more we know the power of His resurrection, the more we shall be happy to go to Calvary. This is a cycle. It is not a form of suicide; it is an enjoyment of resurrection power. We enjoy going to Calvary, and we enjoy the power of Christ’s resurrection, the Spirit of holiness. This is the reality of the power of resurrection.

Today’s Christianity is far away from this mark. For this reason, we are fighting, not against anyone or against any doctrine, but against religion. The battle today is between Christ and religion. The Lord’s recovery is a matter of the living Christ, not a doctrinal Christ, a Christ in theory or theology. The Christ who is the reality of the power of resurrection is the life-giving Spirit. The Lord’s recovery is for such a Spirit, but Christianity is for religion. In order to experience Christ, we must go all the way to Calvary. At Calvary there is a wonderful death, a death that brings in resurrection. After we have put the self on the cross, what remains will be the Holy Spirit. With this remainder we shall sense the power of resurrection. This is the power of Christ’s resurrection. Like A. B. Simpson, we shall go all the way to Calvary, not sorrowfully and with weeping, but joyfully and with singing. We shall enjoy death through the power of resurrection.

(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)