The Four Major Steps of Christ, by Witness Lee


Now we come to the second point of this first major step of Christ. In the incarnation of Christ, God is expressed in a man. This is contrary to our natural concept. We always think it would be wonderful if God would manifest Himself directly to us, but this is not His plan. God’s plan is to manifest Himself in man and through man. This is the key to the four Gospels: God is expressed in a man—a man who is truly man, a man who lived a human life on this earth, yet who expressed God.

In the Gospel of John we are told that the Lord is the Word of God, that this Word is God Himself (John 1:1), and that one day He became a man (John 1:14). We see the Lord on this earth acting, living, walking, working, and doing things exactly as a man. Although He performed miracles, His life was a human life, His walk a human walk. Sometimes He was hungry, sometimes thirsty. Once He asked a woman for some water to drink (John 4:7). Sometimes He felt tired (John 4:6), and sometimes He even wept (John 11:35). He was one hundred percent a man! Yet, in this man—in His life, His walk, His work—God was manifested. This is what God still desires today; He desires to be manifested through humanity.

Do you realize that Christians should be very human? When I was young, soon after I was saved, I had a wonderful thought: I thought the more different I was from others, the more spiritual I would be! But one day the Lord opened my eyes and caused me to see that what I was considering was not spiritual, but peculiar. It is not peculiarity that must be manifested through me, but God Himself. I must be filled with God and possessed by Him. Then I will manifest God in my life. I must be very human, yet very spiritual. Today some people think that to make themselves peculiar and different from others is to be spiritual. No, the more spiritual we are, the more ordinary we will be.

Let me tell you a story. About twenty-two years ago we were living and working in a certain city in North China. At that time many of us were seeking to grow in love to the Lord and be more spiritual. Some of the sisters were influenced by certain writings; so they tried to imitate what the books taught. They tried to be quiet, they tried to be gentle, they tried to do things slowly and speak softly. But after a short time, I found that this was not spirituality, but altogether imitation. It was imitation without life. One day I talked with these sisters and said, "Sisters, if you would be spiritual, you must move quickly, speak quickly, and seek never to be quiet. If one of you lose your temper, then you will be spiritual." They exclaimed, "Oh, Brother Lee, you are really too much for us! We go to one extreme, and you want us to go to the other." Then I asked them where they should be. They answered, "Neither at one extreme nor the other. We must be in the middle, we must be balanced." To be spiritual is not to be quiet and gentle; neither is it to lose your temper. To be spiritual is simply to be occupied by God. We must realize what kind of life God desires us to have. It is not just a life of doing good. It is a life full of Christ, occupied by God and mingled with God in every way.

When our Lord was on earth, though He was wholly a man, He lived by God (John 6:57). He never did anything of Himself (John 5:19, 30; 6:38; 8:28); He never spoke anything from Himself (John 7:16-17; 14:10). Our Lord had no sin; He did not have a sinful nature. From a natural point of view, He did not even know what sin was (2 Cor. 5:21). Yet He denied and rejected Himself. He always took God as His life. He walked in God, worked through God, and spoke only from God. This is the life which God desires us to have. The Christian life is to have God in Christ as our life and our all, day by day and moment by moment. We must deny and reject ourselves. We need to abandon ourselves and take God as our life. This is not just a doctrine. This is a life! It is a life of taking God practically, moment by moment, as everything to us.

Christ was what we should be. Christ is the pattern. He is the Head, and we are the Body. God has done the most wonderful thing in the universe in mingling Himself with a man, Jesus Christ. But God did not stop there. He is going onward, doing the same thing today. God is mingling Himself with thousands upon thousands of people! Through the past two thousand years He has been doing this, but man has simply not understood. God wants to mingle Himself with us, but we have not cooperated. In these two centuries, there have been many Christian teachings, but something has been lacking—the mingling of God with man. Oh, may we realize that in Christ God desires to be our life and our everything, even as He was everything to Christ.

(The Four Major Steps of Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)