FRUIT-BEARING REQUIRING THE MATURITY AND FRESHNESS IN LIFE
The “abiding” in John 15 is not an ordinary living. It carries the meaning of lodging and residing. In 14:2 the Lord said, “In My Father’s house are many abodes.” The noun abode has the same root as the verb abide in 15:4. What the Lord means here is that we should lodge and abide in Him. There should be nothing between Him and us. We should never be separated but should instead be one forever. At the same time, in order for a tree to bear fruit, there must be the growth and maturity. A young tree cannot bear fruit. But for a mature tree to bear fruit there must be the new branches. Hence, maturity and freshness are the conditions for fruit-bearing. Those brothers and sisters who have been saved for a long time may be mature; but it is possible that they do not have fresh branches. If you are mature but old, you cannot bear fruit. In order for a tree to bear fruit, the farmer has to cut off the old branches and retain the original trunk so that the old trunk will bear new branches. The new branches will then bear fruit. I hope that those brothers and sisters who have passed through four terms of training would not become old. If you go to the villages in an old way, you will not have the flavor of the new life, and people will not be saved. A gospel preacher must be one who is full of the flavor of new life. When this life enters into man, it results in fruit-bearing. When you go down to the villages, you are not promoting a movement but are conducting a living that is full of the flavor of the new life and that bears new fruit through living Jesus.
THE NEED FOR CONTINUOUS CONSECRATION, PRAYER, AND DEALING
The exercise that you are now having makes your life mature and fresh. The first thing one has to exercise himself in is a continuous consecration. This is not merely a daily consecration but one that is renewed hourly. Second, there is the need for continuous prayer. Third, there is the need to receive continuous dealing. The environment in the Training Center and every aspect of its living, including eating, sleeping, dressing, moving about, and whatever there is that is not suitable to you, is a kind of dealing. The dealing that you are receiving now is your preparation for the spread of the gospel in the future. If you refuse the dealing, your life will not grow. The Gospels show us that the Lord never sent people out to preach the gospel alone. The principle of sending out people for work in the Bible is in twos (Mark 6:7). Moreover, when the Lord sent out His disciples, He did not put Peter and Andrew, brothers in the flesh, together. Rather, He put Peter and John together. Neither does the Lord put two clever ones or two foolish ones together. Instead He matches a slow one with a fast one, a gentle one with a rash one, and a foolish one with a clever one.
I have observed that this is the same in marriages. I have never seen a couple that is exactly alike. Mostly the quick ones are matched to the slow ones, the ones who like hot food are matched to the ones who like cold food, and the talkative ones are matched to the quiet ones. It is so wonderful that after all the time of choosing, one’s spouse ends up being a person of opposite personality. While living in the Training Center, surely you will encounter such things. Among your roommates and among the group with which you are coordinating, surely there are some who give others a hard and difficult time. Since the time I dropped my job to enter into the Lord’s work over sixty years ago, I have tasted thoroughly this kind of sourness, hotness, and bitterness. As soon as I dropped my job, I went to serve in Shanghai. For a northerner like me to eat the dark and sweet Shaoshin cuisine of the south was a really difficult thing to do. Our circumstances at that time were far inferior to what you have now. What you now have is too good.
Today these dealings in the environment are the best preparation. You will not be going to the villages alone. By next year when you leave, you will leave in teams of twenty each. After working in a place for fifteen days, eighteen will go on, leaving two behind in the locality. Whether or not these two can coordinate together depends on how much dealing they receive today. I am afraid that before you reach the villages, while you leave the gate of the Training Center to board the car, you will already be arguing about the seats. I hope that you start practicing now being insensitive to everything so that by that time when you are asked to sit in the front, you will be able to say, “Hallelujah.” Or if you are asked to sit in the back, you will also be able to say, “Hallelujah.” Even if you are asked to take the next car, you will still be able to say, “Hallelujah.” Otherwise, if you are affected and feel depressed, you will not be able to preach the gospel anymore. Hence, you must learn to have genuine growth in life by continually consecrating, praying, and receiving the dealings.
(Messages in Preparation for the Spread of the Gospel, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)