HIS PERSONAL TESTIMONY
GIVEN AT KULANGSU, FUKIEN, OCTOBER 20, 1936
A believer may read, study, or expound a teaching concerning the cross, while at the same time not necessarily receive the lesson of the cross or know the way of the cross. When I was being tempered together in the service with my co-workers, the Lord ordered many crosses for me. Many times I felt embarrassed. I would not accept the dealing of the cross and found it difficult to submit. Inwardly, however, I knew that if the cross were ordered by the Lord, it would be the right thing, though it would still be difficult to obey and accept it. While the Lord was on the earth, He learned obedience by the cross which He suffered (Heb. 5:8; Phil. 2:8). How could I be an exception? In the first eight or nine months, when the lesson of the cross began to come, I would not obey. I knew that I should yield without resistance to the cross ordered by the Lord. When I would make up my mind to obey, my determination would last only a short time. When some event would arise where I should obey, I found it difficult to obey and was full of rebellious thoughts. This made me very uneasy.
Once I recognized the cross which the Lord had ordered for me, I found it very beneficial. Among my co-workers, five had been my schoolmates since childhood. Another one came from a different city and was five years older than I. The five always sided with him and opposed me. No matter what I did, they would invariably condemn me. They received the credit for many things I did. Sometimes when they rejected my views, I went to a lonely hill to cry before God. At these times I wrote some hymns on bearing the cross. For the first time I experienced the significance of "the fellowship of His sufferings" (Phil. 3:10). When I could not have fellowship with the world, I could enjoy heavenly fellowship. The first two years after my salvation, I did not know what the cross was. But at this time I was beginning to learn its lesson.
I was always ranked first in my class as well as in my school. I also wanted to be first in serving the Lord. For this reason, when I was made second, I disobeyed. I told God repeatedly that it was too much for me to bear; I was receiving too little honor and authority, and everyone sided with my elder co-worker. But today I worship God and thank Him from the depths of my heart that this all happened to me. It has been the best training. God wished me to learn obedience, so He arranged for me to encounter many difficulties. Eventually, I told Him I was willing to be placed second. When I became willing to yield, the joy I experienced differed from the joy I experienced at the time of my salvation; it was not a broad joy but a deep one. After another eight or nine months, on many occasions I was willing to be broken and did not do what I wished. On my spiritual path I was filled with joy and peace. The Lord submitted to the hand of God, and I was willing to do the same. The Lord, existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal with God a treasure to be grasped, but emptied Himself (Phil. 2:6-7). How dare I rank myself above the Lord? When I first began to learn obedience it was difficult, but as time went on I found it easier and easier. Eventually, I told God that I would choose the cross, accept its breaking, and put aside my own ideas.
(Watchman Nee—A Seer of the Divine Revelation in the Present Age, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)