Living in the Spirit, by Witness Lee


Some of the saints have said to me, “Brother Lee, over twenty years ago when you were training us here in Taipei, you spoke something different.” I answered these ones, “You are exactly right, but that was in 1953, and today it is 1975!” I admit that I have changed. In 1953 I learned a certain amount, but today I have learned more. The first time I went to America, I took the fastest airplane possible. It flew no more than three hundred miles per hour. It took twenty-six to twenty-seven hours to reach America, and I thought that that was very fast. Today, however, the jet planes can fly more than five hundred miles per hour, and it takes only around ten hours to fly from America to here. When I was on board a 747 jumbo jet, I felt as if I was at home. The ride was so comfortable, steady, and smooth. Would you prefer to take the 747, or would you still take the airplane built in 1946? If you would still prefer to take the out-of-date airplane, then you are very foolish. This does not mean that that kind of airplane is useless. It still has a little usefulness, but it is not as useful as the 747. In the past I spoke about pursuing holiness and pursuing victory. I gave nineteen messages on the experience of life, and every one of those messages is still valid to this day. Nevertheless, if I were to speak again, I would not need nineteen messages. I would only need to speak four words: “Living in the spirit.” Living in the spirit is sufficient. If we live in the spirit, the lusts of the flesh will not be fulfilled. If we live in the spirit, we will drop the world spontaneously.

The most simple, convenient, and excellent way is to live in the spirit. The entire Gospel of John does not emphasize anything else. It just presents verses such as, “He…shall live because of Me,” “Abide in Me,” “Because I live, you also shall live,” and, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (6:57; 15:4; 14:19, 20). Then in Romans 8 it says, “Walk…according to the spirit” (v. 4). It is sufficient to live and walk according to the spirit. We need to exercise the spirit. The best way is to live in the spirit twenty-four hours a day. Then when we come to the meeting, we will be able to express something in spirit. Our spirit will have been exercised to the point that it is living and refreshing, and it will have a rich store to enable us to function in the meeting in any way we desire. If we want to praise, there will be praise. If we want to pray, there will be prayer. If we want to minister the word, there will be the word. If we want to testify, there will be testimonies. We will not be like what we are today—not living in the spirit for most of the day and living in the spirit only when it is almost time to go to the meeting and when we must begin to prepare ourselves. This is why it is extremely difficult for us to speak anything in the meetings.

If we have seen the vision, we will see that the Lord’s way today is to work Himself into us that we may live by Him. It is not a matter of living by Him in the mind but of living by Him in the spirit. If we would live by Him in this way day by day, our spirit would be living, flowing, and efficient. Moreover, we would be rich in experience and able to express those riches accordingly. In this way the church meetings will be delivered from ordinances. This is what we need to see today. This way is the Lord’s way, the proper way, for the preparation of His bride and for His coming back.

(Living in the Spirit, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)