GOD’S WILL NOT BEING DETERMINED
BY SUCCESS OR FAILURE,
GOOD OR BAD ENVIRONMENTS
The result of following the Lord’s leading may not be success in our work. God’s work in us will not necessarily cause us to succeed in what we do. What He is doing is to work Himself into us through the many things. In order to work Himself into us, He may cause us to suffer many blows and to encounter many hardships. When these things come upon us, they may cause us to doubt Him. But God leads us this way in order that we would submit to Him.
When a piece of porcelain is being fired in the furnace, if it could speak, it would surely say that it is in the wrong place. Actually, to be in the furnace is the porcelain’s fate. God does not necessarily lead believers into successes. Of course, He has no intention to lead them to failures either. What He is doing is to work Himself into them through all kinds of environments.
Suppose a brother and a sister are preparing to be engaged. The more they pray, the more they are clear that they should be engaged. When they do become engaged, they feel strongly that they have the Lord’s leading to do it. Later they are married. After their marriage, they begin to find out many shortcomings in each other. By that time, they may think that their initial leading was wrong. But we have to realize that God’s leading is to cause us to gain God, not to gain a wife. One day, when the brother learns this lesson, he will praise God when he looks at his wife, not because his wife is good, but because he will have gained God.
A brother may feel led to start a business. While he is praying, he may feel the Lord’s leading in the matter. But when he is engaged in the business, he may suffer great loss. By that time, he may think that his initial leading was wrong. Man considers something as God’s will or not God’s will by the success of that matter. But God’s intention is to work Himself into us. In the first two centuries, it cost a person much to be a Christian; there was no outward peace. But the Christians at that time did not count it a loss to sacrifice their lives. When we read church history, we realize that some people even prayed for an opportunity to be martyred.
Many people cannot be clear about God’s leading because they take their own self as the goal. If we take God as our goal, He will surely give us the proper leading. Many people walk according to their inner sense, but they end up encountering failures. They may think that the leading they have received is wrong. But as long as our walking according to the inner sense draws us closer to God and to love Him more, our sense is right. God’s leading is to give us peace. Although outwardly there may be sufferings and darkness, these do not mean that we are not walking according to God’s leading. All successes, failures, sweet experiences, and bitter experiences are for the accomplishment of God’s goal, which is to work Himself into us.
COUNTERFEIT PEACE IN THE MIND
In order for us to be a Christian who lives according to the peace within, we have to realize that the greatest enemy is our mind. Suppose something ought not to be done. But in order to go ahead and do it in peace, we give all kinds of explanations and reasonings. This kind of peace is not a natural one. When a Bible is laid flat on the table, it is level. When a person puts something under it, it will still remain level and will not fall. But this is not a natural peace. Rather, it is an artificial peace. The minute we fall into our mind, we will lose our fellowship with God. We can go against anything, but we can never afford to be cut off from our fellowship with God. Many sisters’ dresses give them no peace. However, they find many excuses in their mind. This kind of peace is man-made. When is God glorified in us? It is when God is expressed from us that He is glorified. Anything great or small, as long as we do not have the peace within, we should not do it. Before the Lord, we should only walk according to the inner sense. If we do this, day by day God’s content and His fullness will fill us up, and we will have God’s nature within and His image without. If we do not have peace within, we should not do anything, however good or beneficial such a thing may be. A Christian is a person who has forsaken the world. He is one who has forsaken any kind of profit as his goal and has taken up Christ as his goal. He should be one who seeks after Christ Himself.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 25, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)