VI. HEART AND MIND
Philippians 4:6-7 says, "In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses every man’s understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus." These two verses say that God can save a person’s heart and thoughts, delivering him from anxiety. To what extent is the Lord’s authority able to save a person? He is able to save a person to the extent that the peace of God guards his heart and thoughts.
The word guard has a special meaning in the original language. The most accurate translation for this word is a special term used in military science. It can be translated as "garrison." The verse means that the peace of God guards our hearts and thoughts in a way similar to a curfew set up in a locality. During a curfew, the army is empowered to garrison the curfew area, making the area safe and free from danger. God’s peace can guard our hearts and thoughts in the same way as an army guards a locality to keep it peaceful. God can deliver us from all anxiety. The peace of God garrisons our hearts and thoughts.
I have not yet seen many Christians who are without anxieties about something. The majority of them are full of worries. There was a mother who had seven sons. She said, "I worried about each son until he grew up and got saved. There are two who are now in heaven, so I don’t have to worry about them anymore. But I still worry about the remaining five sons." A brother told her that worrying in this way was a mistake; it was a sin. But she said, "A mother ought to worry for her own children. If she does not worry, that is sin." The brother pointed out Philippians 4:6-7, but she thought that the anxiety mentioned there did not apply to her kind of worry. According to her, the wife must worry about the husband, the parents must worry about the children, and the businessman must worry about his business. But the Bible says, "In nothing be anxious." It does mean that we can worry about a few things. It means to not worry about anything.
I have not seen many brothers or sisters who are anxious in nothing. This is not full salvation. If you worry about your whole family and are anxious about so many things—about this and about—the peace of God is not guarding your heart and thoughts. Such a person cannot testify, saying, "My Lord is the One who bears my burden day by day."
Anxiety is a sin. God can save you from all anxiety. No matter how big or small, heavy or light a thing is, you ought to be anxious for nothing. If you still have not experienced the peace of God keeping your heart and thoughts, the salvation you have obtained is not complete. If you have seen this matter clearly, you will say, "O Lord! I have gained too little of what You have given me." Praise and thank God! He can save us from all worry, to the extent where we are anxious for nothing. His peace is sufficient to guard our hearts and thoughts. This is possible. We must praise Him!
VII. WILL AND MIND
First Peter 4:1-2 says, "Since Christ therefore has suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same mind (because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin), no longer to live the rest of the time in the flesh in the lusts of men, but in the will of God." These two verses say that God can save our mind to the extent that we are willing to suffer as Christ did.
Are we afraid of suffering? Yes. We all want to have an easy daily life that is free from suffering. Whenever we have a little difficulty, we ask God to remove it. When we really submit to God and our future becomes difficult and hard, we ask God not to allow the difficulty to come to us. But God can save us to such an extent that we are not afraid of difficulty or hardship, that we arm ourselves with a mind for suffering.
What is our armor? Herein is the best armor: a mind to suffer just like Christ’s. Whenever you submit to God, man may tell of difficulties and may set ways to deal with you. But by thinking of the suffering of Christ in the flesh and resolving to do the same, you are armed. Now you are able to say, "The Lord came to suffer. Suffering was not only His portion but also His duty. Suffering was His business. He wished to suffer." You can overcome all things if you arm yourself with such a mind. Not only will you not be afraid of suffering, you will welcome suffering. Not only will you not turn away from suffering, you will let suffering come looking for you. If you fear and shrink back whenever you think of suffering, your salvation is not complete. God can save you to the extent that you can have a mind to suffer. If you have a mind to suffer, you are living the rest of your time in the will of God. Praise and thank God! This is possible! He can save you to such an extent.
James 1:26-27 says, "If anyone thinks himself to be religious and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this one’s religion is vain. This is pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." James 3:8-10 also says, "But the tongue no one among men is able to tame; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made according to the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brothers, ought not to be so." These two passages talk about the tongue which no man can tame. But God can save an untamed tongue to the extent that it becomes a tongue that can be bridled by us.
I met a person who said, "James said clearly that no man can tame the tongue. Therefore, it is excusable for Christians to be unable to tame their own tongues." But we need to know that James 3:10 plainly says, "These things, my brothers, ought not to be so." Moses could not enter Canaan for one reason: he said a quick word. The words Moses spoke were unbecoming of a learner. Not only do we need a learner’s ear, but we need a learner’s tongue as well. Only then will we know how to speak. God can save not only our heart, mind, and thoughts to a full extent, but He can also save our tongue to a perfect extent. If we cannot bridle our own tongue, I say again, we are not fully saved. Praise and thank God! He can save our tongue to a perfect extent. This can be done. It is possible.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 08: The Present Testimony (1), Chapter 27, by Watchman Nee)