GOD NEEDING MEN WHO KNOW THE CROSS
The condition for us to work for God is not to attend a seminary, have an orthodox faith, run zealously, or love men’s souls. The condition is that we must be fully gained by God. God needs men and women who have been crucified and who will preach the cross of His Son.
In 1 Corinthians 1 and 2, Paul said that he knew only Christ and Him crucified. This was all that he knew. He knew nothing and preached nothing besides this. We should not mistakenly think that Paul emphasized preaching. What he emphasized was knowing. No matter where he was—at home or abroad, living by himself or interacting with others, persuading others to believe in the Word or preaching to a crowd—he always knew the cross. He lived his whole life under the cross. God does not need men who preach the cross; He needs men who know the cross.
Paul worked in Corinth. He said he did not know anything except Christ and Him crucified. How did he preach the cross? He said, "And I, when I came to you, brothers, came not according to excellence of speech or of wisdom, announcing to you the mystery of God. For I did not determine to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and this One crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling; and my speech and my proclamation were not in persuasive words of wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, in order that your faith would not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God" (1 Cor. 2:1-5). Please remember that unless a person works by the power of God, he is totally useless. Paul did not preach with excellence of speech nor with persuasive words of man’s wisdom. He preached with the power of God. The attitude that he had toward himself was one of weakness, fear, and trembling. God must cause a person to abandon his own wisdom, cleverness, and talent before He can use him. Today God is looking for those who are not self-assured, self-confident, or self-employed. If God can find such people, He will use them. The extent to which a man rejects his self-confidence will be the extent to which God will use him. Many people think that as long as they have teachings that are orthodox in faith and have light that helps them understand the Bible, they are all right. But the Holy Spirit can only work through those who have placed themselves completely in God’s hand. People of this kind are the channels through whom the Holy Spirit will flow out life and power.
Just as Moses first had to be dealt with by God, in the same way we must also first be dealt with by God. If God had not dealt with Moses, He could not have dealt with the children of Israel. If God had not dealt with Moses, He could not have dealt with Pharaoh and the Egyptians. If God does not first deal with us, He cannot deal with the evil spirits and the devil; neither can He deal with the people in the world. O brothers, has He really gained us? Only when God has gained us will He have a way to deal with the devil and the people in the world.
Second Corinthians 10:6 says, "And we are ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled." Paul could say only so much to the believers in Corinth. He knew very well that if those in Corinth were not dealt with first, he could not deal with others who rebelled against God. This is why he said that only when they had fully obeyed could he lay hold of the other people and deal with them. If the believers themselves had not yet been dealt with, Paul could have no way to deal with the others.
GOD DEALING WITH MOSES
In Acts 7:22 we can see the education that Moses received. "And Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in his words and works." Moses learned all the wisdom of the Egyptians in Pharaoh’s palace. He was eloquent, competent, and powerful in his words and works. Although Moses had all the wisdom and talent of the Egyptians and was very capable and eloquent, these were not the conditions that God required in order for Him to use Moses. On the contrary, these were the reasons why God could not use him. Man pays attention to wisdom and power, but God pays attention to foolishness and weakness. First Corinthians speaks of Christ’s wisdom and power, and at the same time it says that God has chosen the foolish and weak among men. The Greeks seek after wisdom, and the Jews require a sign, which is the manifestation of power; but God rejects man’s wisdom and power. Where there is wisdom, there is also fleshly power. Man’s wisdom and power can only accomplish man’s work. If we employ man’s wisdom and power in God’s work, we will damage God’s work. God can only use the Spirit’s mighty power to accomplish His work. This mighty power of the Holy Spirit can only be expressed through the foolish and weak. If we are not led by God in reality to the point where we completely give up our wisdom and power and become foolish and weak before Him, He cannot use us.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 11: The Present Testimony (4), Chapter 2, by Watchman Nee)