FOUR PRINCIPLES OF OUR SPIRITUAL SERVICE
Now we will fellowship some of the principles of the spiritual service which we should render to God. There are four principles we all have to see.
Our Service Must Be in the Body
First, we must see that our service, our serving of God, must be as a member in the Body. This is why Paul, after so much teaching in the first eleven chapters of Romans, brought the saints to the matter of the Body in Romans 12. He said, “I beg you therefore, brothers, through the compassions of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice” (v. 1). Based upon this, he went on to talk about the Body service (vv. 4-5). He said we all are members of one Body. Look at the members of your body; not one is independent. Every one, big or small, is moving, acting, functioning, in the body. Look at today’s situation. Needless to say we cannot see the Body, we cannot even see a proper group of Christians serving together. There are so many opinions, concepts, and different views. Who is wrong, and who is right? Eventually, everybody is not only wrong but also detached from the Body. You may be very right, but you are right and detached. Your hand may be clean, but it is detached. It would be better to be dirty and remain in the body, than to be clean and detached.
Our Service Must Be in Our Spirit and by the Holy Spirit
The second principle of our spiritual service is that we must serve in our spirit and by the Holy Spirit. Without these two spirits, our service is nothing. Paul says, “God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel” (Rom. 1:9). He also says that we are those “who serve by the Spirit of God” (Phil. 3:3). We know this, but we do not practice it. Being filled with the Spirit and having the outpouring of the Spirit does not depend upon our feeling. It depends upon how much we are willing to take Christ’s cross. The cross must come; then Pentecost follows. We must take Christ’s death; then the Spirit will follow the crucified Christ. This is where our power is.
We must also learn not to serve by our natural ability or skill. We must learn how to look unto the Lord, how to trust in Him, and how to receive His death and put His death into our daily experience. We must also have the proper, adequate prayer. Then we will be people full of the Spirit. The Spirit will fill us within and clothe us without. We will be people having the Spirit acting in our spirit and working through our spirit, and we will use the power of the Spirit by exercising our spirit. This is needed in all of these four steps: in preaching the gospel, in nourishing the new ones, in perfecting the saints, and in prophesying. So many saints cannot prophesy because they are short of the Spirit. They are short of the Holy Spirit, and they do not know how to use their spirit, how to exercise their spirit. If they would practice to exercise their spirit to touch the Holy Spirit, eventually it would be easy for them to prophesy.
Our Service Must Be by Life
Another principle is that our service must be by life, not by ability or gifts. We must learn how to minister life to others. Whenever we meet someone, we must learn how to exercise our spirit to dispense the living Christ with His living word into this person as life. Both feeding and nourishing imply the impartation of the life supply. The feeding of a child by its mother is a kind of life dispensing. Likewise, the matters of perfecting and prophesying could only be carried out by the Spirit with life.
Our Service Must Be for the Building Up of the Body of Christ
Lastly, our service must be for the building up of the Body of Christ and not for our own work. Regardless of how long we have been serving in the Lord’s recovery, we may not have rendered much building up to the Body of Christ.
We all need to see these four principles of our spiritual service to God. Our service must be: in the Body, in our spirit and by the Holy Spirit, by life, and for the building up of the Body of Christ.
(The Exercise and Practice of the God-Ordained Way, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)