LIVING BY THE SPIRIT
To live by the Spirit is to have our life dependent upon and regulated by the Spirit. To live by the Spirit in Galatians 5:25 equals to walk by the Spirit in verse 16. To live by the Spirit, to walk by the Spirit, is a matter of life. Living by the Spirit is not a matter merely of outward behavior or conduct but is an inward matter of life. To live does not mean to act. Many times parents tell their children to behave themselves. For the children to behave themselves is to act in a way that may be different from what they are. It is possible for a monkey to be trained to act like a man. I once saw a demonstration of a monkey who was trained to eat food with a fork. He was dressed with a little cap on his head and a jacket, and he was trained to walk on two feet instead of four. After the demonstration, the monkey began to behave the way he normally did. He took off the cap and the jacket, threw away the fork, and began to walk on all fours. He was taught to behave, or act, like a man, but in his being he was still a monkey. We Christians should not be ones who act or behave in a way that is different from our being. We need to live by the Spirit.
Many of us may behave, or act, in a Christian meeting. Outside of the meeting we may live in a different way. Just like the monkey who behaved like a man, we may behave like a “man” in the meetings and like a “monkey” outside the meetings. This is wrong. We Christians should not be those who act or who try to behave ourselves. We need to be those who live by the Spirit, who walk by the Spirit. We should not live by ourselves, by our old man, but we need to live by the Spirit.
THE SPIRIT OF REALITY
The book of John refers to the Spirit of reality (14:17; 16:13). The reality is Christ (John 14:6). In the entire universe, Christ is the one reality of all. The real light is Christ. The love that we have is not the real love. The real love is Christ. The Bible tells us to honor our parents, and we need to realize that the real honor is Christ. If we do not have Christ, we cannot have the real honor to our parents. The real honesty is Christ. The real patience is Christ. Our patience is not the real patience because after a certain amount of testing our patience is gone. Our patience is limited, but Christ as patience is unlimited because He is the real patience. Christ is the reality, and the Spirit of life is also the Spirit of reality. If we have the Spirit of life, we have Christ as reality. Today the Spirit of reality is within us (John 14:17). We have to realize this indwelling Spirit of reality in a practical way. Day by day we should be able to testify that the Spirit is so real within us.
In John 16:15 the Lord Jesus said, “All that the Father has is Mine; therefore I said that He receives of Mine and shall disclose it to you.” The reality and the fullness of the Father are Christ’s. The Father passes on all His riches and His fullness to the Son. Then the Spirit receives all the things from Christ to show us. All that the Father is and has is embodied in the Son (Col. 2:9), and all that the Son is and has is revealed as reality to the believers through the Spirit. What the Spirit shows to us is not a kind of teaching but the things of the Father. The things of the Father are Christ’s, and the Spirit receives all the things of the Father from Christ to show us. The reality is the Father’s, the Father passes on the reality to the Son, the Spirit receives this reality from the Son, and He shows us this reality. The Spirit of life brings all that God is in Christ to us as the reality. In this reality is all that we need. This reality includes life, light, patience, love, humility, kindness, wisdom, and knowledge.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE SPIRIT
Second Corinthians 13:11 says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” We should not consider this verse merely as a benediction. We should read this verse with a realization of God’s economy and of God’s dispensing. The love of God is God Himself; the grace of Christ is Christ Himself; and the fellowship of the Spirit is the Spirit Himself. Love is the source, grace is the course, and the fellowship is the flow. In the divine dispensing, God’s love as the source is manifested in the grace of Christ as the course and transmitted into us as the fellowship of the Spirit, the flow of the Spirit. The love of God, the grace of Christ, and the fellowship of the Spirit are not three separate matters, but three aspects of one thing. As long as we are in the flow of the Spirit, we have the grace of Christ with the love of God. We enjoy the grace of Christ with the love of God in the fellowship of the Spirit, in the flow of the Spirit. This enjoyment of the divine dispensing of the divine Trinity is absolutely a matter of life.
Second Corinthians 1 tells us that God has anointed us with this Spirit (v. 21); chapter three tells us that this Spirit is the Spirit that gives life, liberates, and transforms; and the conclusion of 2 Corinthians tells us that this Spirit is the Spirit of fellowship. The Spirit of fellowship is the Spirit of life that gives life and that anoints, liberates, and transforms us. The Spirit of life communicates and transmits all that God is in Christ into us for our enjoyment that we may gain God in a full way.
(The Crucial Revelation of Life in the Scriptures, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)