LIVING IN THE SPIRIT BEING THE HIGHEST TEACHING
The highest teaching in the Scriptures is to live in the spirit. In the last few centuries this matter has never been released in such a clear way as it has been at this time. Pursuing holiness, pursuing victory, bearing the cross, and receiving the discipline of the Holy Spirit are all matters in the Scriptures. However, these matters are all branches. The trunk, the foundation, is living in the spirit. The reason we pursue holiness is because we do not live in the spirit. If we would live in the spirit, it would be unnecessary to pursue holiness. The reason we try to be patient and victorious is because we do not live in the spirit. If we would live in the spirit, pursuing patience and victory would be unnecessary. The reason we need to be dealt with by the cross is because we live in the self. However, if we would live in the spirit, there would be no need of dealing when we encounter the cross. The dealing of the cross is for us to live in the spirit. When we endeavor to be dealt with by the cross apart from the spirit, we are merely changing our understanding of a situation. For example, perhaps a brother has wronged us, lied about us, or offended us. At first we may be unable to get over it, but later we may think, “Now I realize that the Lord is dealing with me in this way to break me. I am a stubborn old man, and no one can do anything about me. Therefore, God has given me such a brother. Thank the Lord, my understanding has changed. I do not blame that brother anymore. Now I understand that God is using that brother as an ax to break me. Therefore, Father, I thank You. I would like to kiss the ax.” We may have a change in understanding, but we still are not living in the spirit. We may endeavor to bear the cross three times in a day, but we still do not live in the spirit for even five minutes.
God does not want us to pursue holiness, victory, the cross, or breaking. God wants to be our life that we may live by Him. I hope that a great light would shine here to tear down all those other teachings. We do not need to learn this lesson or that lesson. We need the spirit, and we need to live in the spirit. In a sense, God does not need a person who has been broken or who has been polished. God needs a person who lives by Him. God does not need a person who lives by Him for five minutes and then stops living by Him after five minutes. God needs people who will day and night, twenty-four hours a day, live in the spirit, live by Him, and live with Him as life.
Why then does the Bible contain so many other teachings? The other teachings are tests to determine whether or not we are living in the spirit. We should not be mistaken into thinking that those teachings in the Bible are meant for us to practice. They are there to prove whether or not we are living in the spirit. The Gospel of John does not teach us to be humble, to be patient, to bear the cross, or to learn this lesson or that lesson. The main emphasis of the Gospel of John can be found in three verses: “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (6:57); “abide in Me and I in you” (15:4); and “if anyone loves Me,…We will come to him and make an abode with him” (14:23). How can we live in Him, and how can He live in us? The only way was for Him to become the Spirit. John 15 needs Romans 8 as its continuation. Without Romans 8, it is not sufficiently clear how to abide in the Lord. To abide in the Lord is to abide in the spirit, to set our mind on the spirit, and to walk closely according to the spirit. When we walk closely according to the spirit by setting our mind on the spirit, we abide in the spirit and also let the Lord abide in us. We should not wait until trials come and then begin to pray, asking the Lord for endurance and strength in order to be able to receive the breaking. At that point it is too late to ask for help, and praying will not be of any help. The fact that we turn to the Lord only when the trials come proves that we do not live in the spirit. If we were to live in the spirit, it would not matter whether we were experiencing trials, temptations, favor, pity, or anything else. They would all be the same to us, because we would simply be living in the spirit. No matter what kind of wind would blow on us—whether our wife would lose her temper or a brother would argue with us—we would not be shaken. We would just live by our Lord and live in the spirit.
(Living in the Spirit, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)