Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), by Watchman Nee

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The intuition is the place where God’s anointing teaches us. "And you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know...The anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone teach you; but as His anointing teaches you concerning all things and is true and is not a lie, and even as it has taught you, abide in Him" (1 John 2:20, 27). This passage of Scripture very clearly indicates how the anointing of the Holy Spirit teaches us.

Before we consider this passage of Scripture, let us first differentiate between the meaning of "know" and "understand." The spirit "knows," while the mind "understands." A believer "knows" a thing by the intuition of his spirit. The mind can only "understand." Strictly speaking, the mind cannot "know." (Naturally, all this refers to the relationship between us and God.) Believers are so confused about the matter of seeking the thought of the Holy Spirit, because they do not know the difference between "knowing" and "understanding." According to the common usage of the words, there is not much difference between knowing and understanding. But in spiritual matters, knowing and understanding are as far apart as the heavens are from the earth. To know is the work of the intuition; to understand is the work of the mind. The Holy Spirit enables our spirit to know, and our spirit makes our mind understand. It is hard to distinguish between these two words, but in experience they are as different as wheat and tares.

Is it not true that many times we have an indescribable feeling in our inner being as mentioned above? This feeling enables us to know whether or not to do a certain thing. It is true that in our spirit we may know the thought of the Holy Spirit. However, in many cases, we know in our intuition what we ought to do, but our mind may still fall short of understanding the meaning and reason of it. In spiritual matters, it is quite possible for us to know but still not understand. Is it not true that many times our thoughts reach a dead end, but our spirit receives teaching from the Holy Spirit; at these times we cry, "I know it!" Many times when we deny the thoughts and reasonings in our mind and obey the thought of the Holy Spirit expressed in the intuition, we must wait for a long time before our mind is enlightened and before we understand the reason the Holy Spirit led us in a particular way. Only then are we able to cry out, "Now I understand!" These experiences tell us that we "know" the thought of the Holy Spirit in the intuition of our spirit, but we "understand" the leading of the Holy Spirit in the mind of our soul.

The apostle John tells us that the anointing of the Lord abides in us and teaches us so that we know everything and do not need any man to teach us. This refers to the functions of the intuition. The Lord gives the Holy Spirit to all believers; He abides in our spirit and leads us into all truth. How does He lead? He leads through the intuition of the spirit. In the spirit He expresses His thoughts. The intuition possesses an ability to know the meaning of the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Just as the mind enables man to apprehend the things of the world, the intuition enables man to apprehend the things of the spiritual realm. The anointing originally referred to the application of the ointment. The way that the Holy Spirit teaches, works, and speaks to us is in the human spirit. He does not speak from heaven with a loud voice and a flaming fire, or cast the believers to the ground with His power. Rather, He works silently in our spirit to make us sense something in our intuition. Just as an ointment gives the body a certain sensation when it is applied, the anointing of the Holy Spirit gives the believers’ spirit a certain feeling when it is applied. When the intuition becomes aware of this feeling, it knows what the Holy Spirit is speaking.

If a believer wants to follow God’s will, he does not need to ask others or even himself. All he has to do is to walk according to the direction of the intuition. The anointing will teach the believer "concerning all things." He will not leave him or allow him to make his own choice. Everyone who wants to walk according to the spirit must realize this. Our responsibility is nothing else but to be taught. We do not need to decide on our own way; actually, we cannot decide anyway. Anything apart from the leading of the anointing is just our own action. The work of the anointing is independent; it does not require man’s help. It does not require the mind’s searching or the emotion’s stirring; the anointing expresses the Spirit’s own thought independently. He works independently in the spirit and causes men to know His will in their intuition. After this, He causes men to carry out His instructions.

(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 19, by Watchman Nee)