LIFE TAKES TIME
We should not expect this to happen overnight. Some Christians today are urging people to fast and pray all night. Years ago, I did much of this. It was our custom during the last night of every year to stay up all night praying. We ate nothing that evening and spent all our time dealing with the Lord. We confessed all our shortcomings, failures, mistakes, and offenses during the past twelve months, hoping that the next day would find us absolutely renewed. But it only lasted about three days. We were still the same. I do not mean that fasting and praying are not good. Sometimes we need to fast and pray. The point is that we cannot be changed overnight. I do not encourage nor discourage you to fast. We must go to the mountain of death and the hill of resurrection and stay there. Life takes time.
Many times we are desperate with the Lord, but the Lord says, “I am resting.” We tell the Lord that we are going to fast and pray for three days, but the Lord says, “Take something to eat and go to sleep.” Many of us have experienced this. We should not trust in our fasting and praying all night. We must learn to stay at the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense. We must remain in the Lord’s death and resurrection for a length of time.
In the New Testament, especially in the Epistles, we cannot find many verses which support the teaching concerning fasting which we hear in today’s Christianity. On the other hand, the Apostle Paul tells us many times how we must experience the Lord’s death. He repeatedly mentions this principle, as in Philippians 3:10: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Paul does not speak of experiencing a portion of the Lord’s death, but of staying there until we will be “made conformable unto his death.” We will be continually tested and proved by our families, our surroundings, and our circumstances. All these things will test us to see if we are remaining in the Lord’s death and resurrection.
A SPONTANEOUS TURN
If we learn to stay in the Lord’s death and resurrection, we will be transferred into His ascension. The mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense always transfer us to the mountaintop of Lebanon. If we take this turn, the next turn will occur spontaneously. The Lord’s death and resurrection will always carry us to His ascension. We expect to stay at the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense, but we find ourselves on the mountaintop of Lebanon. Here we are content and satisfied. We never want to leave. This is the Lord’s ascension! We would stay here for eternity. We were a crown, but we have now soared to the highest attainment, to be in the Lord’s ascension.
But the Lord Jesus is still not satisfied. This is still only something for us; it is not so much for Him. We have attained to the highest, but God’s purpose has still not been fulfilled. This is why the Lord calls the seeking one to leave the mountain of ascension and to behold the situation on earth. Many are still hungry and thirsty, and the enemy is still causing much trouble. Even the Lord Himself is hungry and thirsty. He has nothing to enjoy. So she must become a garden to grow all of the things which she has enjoyed of the Lord. All the items which she has enjoyed of the Lord must now grow out of her for the enjoyment of the Lord and for so many of the Lord’s believers.
Our destination is not to stay on the mountaintop of ascension, but to come down to the valley to be a garden to grow all the things to fulfill God’s eternal purpose. It is through the garden that a city can be built up.
Many turning points occur in this book. From the crown there is a turn to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense. Then, spontaneously, the death and resurrection of the Lord send us to the mountaintop of ascension. But then the Lord calls us to have another turn to come down and be a garden. To understand this book is to understand all the turning points. My burden is simply to point out all the turning points so that we may know the way to go. When we are driving in unfamiliar territory, we need a map. If we have a proper map, then we know where to turn in order to go on. All the turning points in this book show us how we can progress in our spiritual life.
(Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)