MAN’S HEART INCLINING TO GOD
Man’s heart ought to be occupied and filled with God. If a person allows God to occupy his heart, other things will not come in. Let me use an illustration: While I am staying in my room, if a cat comes, I will chase it away. If a dog comes, I will also chase it away. If a pig comes, I will drive it away all the more. If I do not stay in my room, however, then the cat, the dog, and even the pig will come in. Therefore, man’s heart ought to be occupied by God; otherwise, many things will come in. If we examine the hearts of men, we will find out that no human heart is empty. For this very reason, man becomes confused, his vision is blurred, and he is unable to discern his own inclination.
In reality man’s heart is like the sticky paper set out to catch flies in summer. Everything that comes into contact with the flypaper gets stuck. Whether it is a strand of hair, a feather, or a handkerchief, whenever it comes into contact with the flypaper, it gets stuck. It is the same with man’s heart. When man’s heart touches literature, literature is stuck to it. When man’s heart touches money, money is stuck to it. Man’s heart is bewildered because so many different things are stuck to it. For example, a wife’s heart is filled with her husband, children, house, money, clothes, refrigerator, and car. In addition, she wants the Lord. Thus, how can the eyes of her heart not be blurred? It is really difficult for man’s heart to be empty. When a person is young, his heart is wild; when he becomes old, his heart is blurred.
Once when Charles Spurgeon was preaching, he said, “Look at this man here! His feet are grown in his heart!” Everyone stood up to look but did not see anything unusual. Then he explained, “Man’s feet are for walking on the earth and man’s heart ought not to touch the earth, yet today all the things of the earth have come into man’s heart. This is why I say that man’s feet are grown in man’s heart.” Is this a joke? I often ask a child, “Do you want the Lord Jesus?” He replies, “Yes, I want the Lord Jesus.” Then I ask again, “Do you want some clothes?” He says, “Yes, I want some clothes.” Again, I ask, “Do you want some dollar bills?” He answers, “Yes, I want some dollar bills.” Is this not a case of “the feet growing in the heart”? All our hearts are impure. This impurity does not necessarily mean that we have sins and filthiness. Perhaps we do not have any sin or filthy thing, but we have many interests and pursuits. In Genesis, after man had lost God due to the fall, he began to seek many other things as replacements. As a result, several thousand years of human history show us that after leaving God, man fell into the materialistic world and has not been able to rescue himself.
MAN FALLING INTO MATERIAL THINGS AND INTO SINS
Man’s fall resulted in two situations: one is that man fell into material things, and the other is that he fell into sins. Material things are for man’s enjoyment. If man has God, he does not need material enjoyment. Since man has lost God and is without God, he needs material enjoyment. Material things as replacements of God are counterfeits. Those who stress material enjoyment seek satisfaction and solace in the material world because they do not have God. A person who has God puts the material things aside. When man’s flesh craves worldly enjoyment, it leads to lusts. Someone asked me if it is all right to go to a play. I said it is not. Then he said that going to a play is not sinful. It is true that the play itself may not be sinful, but it can arouse your lust and lead you to sin. Many people like to go to movies, some of which are not necessarily sinful. However, after going several times, their lust will be aroused. In the same way, putting on beautiful clothes and using cosmetics are not necessarily sinful. Such enjoyment, however, can arouse the lusts and result in sin. The enjoyment of material things always leads to sin. This is an unalterable principle.
The most licentious people are those who have the highest enjoyment in material things. They stress the enjoyment in food, clothing, housing, and transportation, and eventually they are overtaken by their lusts. Therefore, the result of man’s fall into material things is that man falls into sins. Material things develop man’s lusts. All kinds of material things have been organized, systematized, and constituted into a material world. Man exists in the world solely for his living, which is maintained by food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. When man has a problem in his living, he has a problem in his enjoyment. If he does not have enough to eat, cannot keep himself warm, has no place to live, and has no means for traveling, this means that the matters of food, clothing, housing, and transportation are still unresolved. These are matters relating to material enjoyment.
Material enjoyment has developed into a system which the Bible calls the cosmos, meaning the “world.” All kinds of material things have become a system to ensnare man. This is the world. The world incites man’s lusts. When man’s lusts are incited, it is easy for man to fall into sin. When man’s lusts appear, there is no way for man to escape sin. Therefore, applying cosmetics or going to a play is not sin, but after doing these things a few more times, sin enters. Man’s falling into sin consists of two aspects: one aspect is enjoyment and the other aspect is sin. Some manifest their lusts in a crude way, without any “cosmetics” or “adornment,” while others manifest their lusts in a “refined” and “noble” way. In either case they are all in an enjoyment which brings in lusts and results in sin. In conclusion, wherever there is the enjoyment of material things, there is lust and there is also sin.
(The Pursuit of a Christian, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)