GROWING IN THE DIVINE LIFE
We should go on in the Christian life in a very sober way. When things are going well, we may be tempted to be excited. However, we must tell ourselves to cool down. In the same way, when things are not going well, we must tell ourselves not to be bothered. We should not be affected by the environment or the conditions around us. We should simply be genuine and not quench the Spirit. There should be no fluctuation in our living. To us, a day of sorrow should not be different from a day of joy. We should only care for the divine facts. We have a regenerated spirit, and the divine Spirit is living in us. If we consider our past experience, we will realize that we have not been consistent. On the one hand, we have made some mistakes due to our being too excited. On the other hand, when we have been cold, we have stayed cold for too long a time. This is not the proper Christian experience.
The real growth, the real advance, in the Christian life is evidenced by our always remaining the same with no fluctuation. Many encouraging and discouraging things may happen to us, but we still should remain the same. In the portrait of the Lord Jesus in the Gospels we cannot see a fluctuation in His living. When a good report came, He was not excited, and when a bad report came, He was not discouraged. Fluctuation is a sign that we are childish. Babies fluctuate all the time, but the more one grows, the more consistent he becomes. Neither good news nor bad news affects a mature person. In the church life and in the Lord’s work, we need persons who do not fluctuate. For this we need the growth in the divine life.
We have been talking about the new way for the church life for several years, but some among us are not taking the new way. This is because it is not exciting. To take the new way should be like doing our duty to go to work every day. Not many people would prefer to work at a regular job if they had a choice. However, most people do have a job because they must make a living. Whether we are happy or sorrowful, we have to work at our job every day. Our going on in the church life should be in the same principle.
If we grow in life, this growth will cause us to be consistent. Every day we will pray and contact people, and we will become trustworthy and reliable. Most of our problems stem from our inconsistency and untrustworthiness. However, the very Triune God is within us. We fluctuate too much, but He is trustworthy. The more we grow in life, the more we will match the indwelling Lord. The indwelling Spirit within us is always the same. Therefore, we must learn not to quench the Spirit but to stand with the spiritual facts and live a life according to these facts. The more we grow in life, the more we will live this way, and the Lord will be able to use us to accomplish many things.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question: If we are always consistent, will we have expressions such as those of the Lord when He drove the moneychangers out of the temple (John 2:14-15) or of Paul when he dealt with the Corinthians in tears (2 Cor. 2:4) and in boldness (1 Cor. 4:21)?
Answer: Even when the Lord and Paul had such expressions, they still remained consistent. After driving out the moneychangers, the Lord returned again to the temple to minister (Matt. 21:12, 23). He remained consistent.
We must simply not quench the Spirit. Instead, we must follow the Spirit. When we are excited or sorrowful, we have to check whether we are following the Spirit. If we are sorrowful when the Spirit is not sorrowful, our sorrow is a quenching to the Spirit. Quite often, burdens come to us from many directions, and the burdens do affect us. We may be sensitive to the situations, but we should not follow our sensitivity. We must follow the Spirit. If we do not quench the Spirit, we will not be excited or made sorrowful by our environment.
To quench the Spirit is to go our own way. When we go our own way, we are not caring that we have the Spirit within us. We are forgetting that we have been "married" to the Spirit. We must not quench Him. He is always right. If we quench Him, we will make mistakes. To grow in the divine life is to be decreased while the Spirit is being increased in us. This takes place by our following Him. God wants us to be one with the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit as the sons of God (Rom. 8:14). We should not be affected by the outward environment. Rather, we should follow the Spirit and not quench the Spirit.
(Messages to the Trainees in Fall 1990, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)