Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), by Watchman Nee

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When a believer is regulated by a life of feeling, he neglects his duty towards others. A life of feeling has self as the center. Therefore, it cannot be concerned with the needs of others. A believer must have the faith and the will to carry out his duty. Responsibility has no regard for feeling. Our duty towards others is fixed. Our duty towards our work is also fixed. These cannot change according to how we feel. A duty must be performed according to principles; it cannot change according to how we feel.

When a believer merely understands a truth in his feeling, he will not carry out his duty. He is so happy during his time of fellowship with the Lord; therefore, he is desirous of such times. When a believer has experienced the happiness of a pleasant feeling, his greatest temptation is to be alone with the Lord to enjoy this happiness throughout the day, without taking care of all the other things around him. He dislikes his work because temptations and difficulties in his work are inevitable. He feels that he is so holy and victorious when he is face to face with the Lord. However, once he performs his daily duties, he finds himself just as defeated and filthy as before. Therefore, he wants to escape from his duties in the hope of being able to stay in the Lord’s presence so that he can be holy and victorious for a long time. He considers his duties as worldly things which he, as a holy and victorious person, should not be concerned with. He is very desirous of a time and place to have fellowship with the Lord, but he detests his duties because they frustrate his happiness. He does not care for the need and welfare of others because he seeks after a time and place to fellowship with the Lord. Parents who bear this attitude fail to take good care of their children; likewise, slaves fail to serve their master faithfully. To them these things are worldly, and it is all right not to care about them since they are seeking after something more spiritual.

The reason for this is that the believer is not yet living by faith. Therefore, he is still after "self-nourishment." Since he is not yet fully in union with God, he can only commune with God at a particular time and in a particular place. He has not learned to look to the Lord by faith in all things and work together with Him. He still does not know how to be in union with the Lord in the trivial matters of daily living. His experiences of God have been confined solely to the feeling. Therefore, he loves to pitch a tent on the mountain and dwell with the Lord for a long time, but he does not want to come down from the mountain to cast the demons out.

Believers should know that the highest life of a Christian can never contradict the duties of his human living. When we read the Epistles to the Romans, Colossians, and Ephesians, we can see how a believer must fulfill his human duties. The highest life of a Christian is not expressed only at a particular time or a particular place. If so, this life would be rather ordinary. Instead, it can be fully expressed at any time and in any place. It makes no difference whether one is doing housework, preaching, or praying. The life of Christ can be manifested in every kind of activity.

All our dissatisfaction over our present position and all our reluctance to perform the duties associated with this position are the result of living by our emotion. We resist because the happiness we desire is not found in these things. However, our life is not for happiness. So why do we seek happiness? The life of feeling requires us to disregard our duties. The life of faith is not so. Our love for God does not require us to forsake our duties towards our friends and our enemies. If we are in union with God in all things, we know what our proper duties towards every person are and how to fulfill them.

(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 30, by Watchman Nee)