HE WHO EATS THE LORD LIVING BECAUSE OF THE LORD
The Lord Jesus said in John 6:57, “So he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.” What does because of Me mean? To say that it means “by” may seem quite correct, but in Greek the word is not by but a word that is hard to interpret. Even the best expositors have not fully explained it. Experience is required to understand this. To explain this word, we need the entire Gospel of John.
The Lord Jesus said, “As the living Father has sent Me and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (v. 57). The living Father sent the Lord Jesus. This sending is not the sending in its ordinary sense, in that the sender stays back while the sent one goes forth. For example, if you have difficulty in getting around, you may send someone to get a book for you. This kind of sending means that you do not move, while the sent one moves. However, the Gospel of John tells us that when the Father God sent the Lord Jesus, the Father God came with and in the Lord Jesus. When the Father God sent the Son, He first entered into the Son, and then He sent the Son. The Father lives, and He lives in the Son. The Father’s living in the Son sends the Son. Hence, the Son as the sent One lives because there is One living in Him.
In John 6:57 the word because means that in the Son there is a living God and that His being and His living are the cause, or the reason, of the Son’s living. Therefore, this verse means that the living Father entered the Son and lived in the Son, and then He sent the Son. When the Father moved, the Son moved; when the Father spoke, the Son spoke. Whatever the Son spoke or did was because of the Father’s speaking and doing in Him. Thus, the living Father is the factor of the Son’s living and moving. The living Father lived in the Son and sent the Son; hence, the Son lived because of the Father’s living in Him, and the Son spoke and moved because of the Father’s speaking and moving in Him.
In the same way, those who eat the Lord will live because of the Lord. To eat is to take food into us as our life supply. Thus, to eat the Lord Jesus is to take the Lord Jesus into us as our life supply. This Lord Jesus is also living. He always lives in us; He lives in us daily, and He lives in us unceasingly. We are those who have received the Lord Jesus, so we should live because He lives in us. We live and move because the living Lord Jesus lives and moves in us. He who eats the Lord has the living Lord living within him. Thus, this living Lord is the factor of his living, as Paul said, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” Christ lives in me as the factor of my living. Because He lives like this in me, I live. Therefore, when I live, actually it is not I who live but it is Christ who lives.
NEEDING TO PRACTICE IN OUR DAILY LIVING
While this truth is very difficult to explain, it is still possible to speak it rather clearly. The hardest thing, however, is to apply this truth to our daily living. The young people are full of energy; therefore, it is difficult for them to deny themselves in all things and live by the Lord. The older people tend to boast of their age and despise others. The older they are, the more they think they are experienced; thus, it is even harder for them to deny themselves and live by the Lord. In addition, in great matters or in difficult times it is easier for us to live by the Lord, but in the small things in our daily life it is very easy for us to depend on ourselves. Nevertheless, as those who love the Lord we should ask ourselves, “Is it I who live or is it the Lord who lives today?” I have many children and grandchildren, and every time I have contact with them I experience a strong correction within: “Is this you or the Lord Jesus? Is this the Lord speaking in you or is it you yourself?”
It is not a matter of being right or wrong but a matter of whether or not it is the Lord. If you are speaking or behaving in yourself, then what you might think is right is still wrong. If you live by the Lord, then even some things you think are wrong are right. The revelation in the four Gospels is clear; the Lord healed the sick on the Sabbath. The Pharisees said that He violated the Sabbath, but the Lord said that He was not wrong because He is the Lord, He is God. As the One who established the Sabbath, He had the authority to put the Sabbath aside. Eventually, He said that the Son of Man was the Lord of the Sabbath. He had the authority to establish it and the authority to abolish it. Hence, we should all let the Lord be the Lord. He is the Lord; whatever He does is right. If we do it, everything is wrong because it is not what the Lord wants. The Lord does not want us to do anything. What he wants is to be in us and to live out Himself from within us.
This kind of concept is easy to understand but not easy to practice. We love the Lord very much and are willing to live by the Lord, but whenever we do anything, we always live ourselves. We have all received the mercy of the Lord to at least not do sinful things. In the matters in our daily life, however, especially in small things, it is very easy for us to live completely by ourselves and not by the Lord. It is not until the meeting time that we might remember we should go to the meetings by the Lord.
Even in the meetings we may still not live by the Lord. When you should open your mouth, you would not. The Lord urges you to praise, prophesy, or pray, yet you are often afraid and unwilling to lose face. You might feel that when you have learned to speak and can be an instant sensation, then you will be willing to open your mouth. Therefore, it is still you who live. If you truly live by the Lord, when you have the inner sense to pray, you will not care whether it sounds good or bad; you will pray. Thus, whether it is in our daily life or in the meetings, we do not live by the Lord. Whether we are newly saved or we have been saved for many years, all of us are good at living ourselves.
On the cross the Lord Jesus was a Lamb. Instead of threatening people, He was mistreated by them. After His resurrection from the dead, He became a dove. Even we often mistreat our Lord Jesus. Nevertheless, He is patient as a dove. He moves continually within us so that we would not do anything by ourselves but instead allow Him to do everything. Just as He lived because of the Father, He also wants us to be transformed into His image and live because of Him. We thank the Lord that due to His infusion and influence, even though we often live by ourselves, we do have a measure of His image. Whether we are shepherding others or going to work or school, we all need to ask for the Lord’s leading and to live by the Lord. Whenever you do not live by the Lord, even if you do good, you are still outside of the Lord and not abiding in the Lord. This is not doctrine; this is a matter of actual practice and experience. May we all be able to practice so that in every action, word, and attitude we would entirely live by the Lord and live because of the Lord. Whether in speech or action, we must live by His speaking and moving in us. He must be the factor in what we speak and what we do.
In the same principle, we love the brothers and sisters because He is in us loving them. His love in us is the factor of our love. We love the brothers and sisters because He loves them. It is not that He loves whom He loves, and we love whom we love. It is not because He loves, so in like manner we love. Rather, it is because the Lord loves in us that we love together with Him. This is to live by the Lord. The result is that we will live in the Lord and abide in the Lord. Spontaneously, we will also enjoy the Lord as our life. May the Lord have mercy on us and grant us the grace so that we all can practice this.
(Abiding in the Lord to Enjoy His Life, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)