The Speciality, Generality, and Practicality of the Church Life, by Witness Lee


The most significant thing with life is growth. If there is no growth, it means that either there is no life, or there is something wrong. We need to grow in life. In John 6:57 the Lord Jesus said, “He who eats Me shall also live because of Me.” Do you think one lives without growing? Look at the young people: they are not only living, but also growing. While one lives, he grows. We must not only live by the Lord, but also grow by Him.

The Lord Jesus also told us in John 21:15 that we have to feed the lambs. Put these three verses together from the book of John. It is quite meaningful. “I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.…He who eats Me shall also live because of Me…Feed my lambs.” We grow by what we eat, and we also feed others with what we eat. We eat Jesus, so we feed people Jesus. Jesus is food. He is the green pasture, the tender grass for His lambs. We serve His lambs Jesus, not with a mere teaching or doctrine about Jesus. Mere teachings never feed people. We feed the lambs with the element, the ingredient, of Jesus.

This is why we do not like to teach people so much, and why we like to ask them to call on the name of the Lord. Mothers do not feed their children with teachings. They do not teach them to grow, but they help them to grow by feeding them. Day by day, three to five times a day, they feed the little ones. Then as a result of being fed, the children get something for their growth. They grow by what they eat. In the church life it is the same. This is not our Christian faith; however, for the proper and adequate practice of the church life, we must have the growth in life.


If there are some problems among the saints in a local church, the best way to solve the problems is to turn their attention to the matter of feeding, to the matter of growth in life. Medical doctors know that the best medicine is food. If one eats properly and sufficiently, the nourishment from the food will take care of all kinds of disease and weakness. If the saints feed on the Lord Jesus properly, after a certain time all the deadness will be swallowed up by life. Do not ever try to solve a problem by your maneuvering. In politics that might be fine, but not in the church. In the church, the more one plays politics, the more he will be deadened. He will first deaden himself and then deaden others. Be honest. Be frank. Be sincere. And never play politics. The only thing that works is the growth in life. Learn to help people grow.

Sometimes strong persons try to influence others. This also should never be done. If you have learned something of the Lord, if you have some measure of growth in life, the Spirit of life will surely honor it, and impress people with what you have learned. There is no need for anyone to try to exercise any influence upon others. Eventually this kind of behavior will create a mess. Learn to be so simple, just living in the spirit and ministering life.

Exercising influence over others is one thing, and ministering life to others is another. To exercise influence over others is still something of man’s doing. Let me illustrate in the following way. Suppose I have the experience of life in doing things and have learned to do them all the time in the spirit. All that I should do is simply fellowship with you about this, presenting what I have learned and what I have experienced. Perhaps I could, from the Word, minister something based upon my experience of walking in the spirit. However, if I have the intention to do something with a kind of plan, step by step, this is wrong. I might be able to convince others about this matter. It may even sound quite nice. Some may be convinced that they have to walk in the spirit, but they only pick up the doctrine, not the genuine experience of walking in the spirit. If so, I was not ministering life; I was only exercising the influence of my experience upon them. Eventually this would become a kind of movement. Everybody will talk about how we must walk in life, in the spirit, but it is only talk. There is almost no real walk in the spirit. In the local churches we need to have the genuine growth in life, without any politics and without anyone exercising any influence over others. Our need is that only life would be ministered to others.

(The Speciality, Generality, and Practicality of the Church Life, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)