MEETING BY DENYING OUR SELF
AND EXERCISING OUR SPIRIT
When we come to the Lord’s table meeting, we should cross out what we know. We should not pray according to what we know or what we like to pray. We must cross out our decision. Since we have encouraged the brothers and sisters to participate in the meetings, many have truly been convinced. Therefore, before the Lord’s table a brother may prepare to offer a prayer about the Lord’s love. Then he considers John 3:16 and the constraining love of Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:14 until he is burdened in his emotions and makes the decision to offer a prayer about this. If we pray in this way, our prayer will be deadened. This is the wrong way. We have to learn to cross out what we know, cross out what we like, and cross out what we decide to do. Now when we come to the meeting, we will say, “Lord, I am open. My mind, emotion, and will have all been crossed out, and there is nothing of me left.” Then we will exercise to speak something from within, and whatever we say will be of the spirit.
The way to differentiate the spirit from the soul is to take the cross. We should learn to apply this to ourselves. When we first practice this, many times after denying our self we will seem blank. However, after a certain time of practice, it will be very easy to have something after we deny our self, because our spirit will be exercised to be very sensitive. After a certain period of practice and exercise, our spirit will be sensitive, and we will be used to the sensitivity of the spirit. We all need to learn this lesson. By way of testimony, I can tell you that even today I was not clear what I should minister. In the morning I thought that I should come to a different point, but by the afternoon I had a real burden to speak something else. I denied my thought and said, “Lord, what is Your mind about the next point I should speak on?”
Most Christians today do not know the proper way to have a church meeting. They have their meeting merely according to traditions, forms, and regulations, either written or understood. If we all will learn the lesson how to deny the soul and let something spring up from within the spirit, our meetings will be revolutionized. What passage in the New Testament tells us to meet in the way we do today? We learned the way we are taking today from our background in Christianity. We start the meeting with a hymn, but where is the scriptural ground for this? We have to break our traditional, formal, natural, old ways from our background. If you ask me what the right way to meet is, I would say that I do not know. One thing I do know, however, is that when we all come together, we have to come in the way of denying the mind, denying the emotion, and denying the will. Then we will see what comes up from the spirit.
In a recent prayer meeting I was very happy that we did not start with a hymn. We simply started to pray. Sometimes to not use any hymns will take us to the highest heavens. Eventually, some hymns were called, but they were an interruption to the meeting. At that time I myself chose a hymn only to help bring us back. Sometimes we have to follow in the wrong direction to bring people back to the right way. This is what the Lord did with those two disciples on the way to Emmaus. However, we simply should have prayed, perhaps even until midnight. What a bondage traditional knowledge is! Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, release, and freedom (2 Cor. 3:17).
I cannot tell you what the right way for Christians to meet is, but I do believe the proper way is that we have to come together by denying the mind, the emotion, and the will, along with all our forms. We must simply do one thing—exercise our spirit. Then let us see what comes out. I have a heavy burden about this. To discard all the traditional ways is a revelation, even a revolution. We do not have any scriptural ground to prove that the present way for our meetings is right. I do not know what the proper way is, but I do know that what we must do is deny the soul and meet not according to knowledge but according to the spirit. Then the Holy Spirit will have the free way. The way to differentiate the spirit from the soul is to deny the negative thing; then the positive thing will spring up. Learn to do this, and try to do this. Then you will see the result.
KNOWING THE SPIRIT BY LIFE, PEACE, AND FREEDOM
There are two main verses in the Bible that give us the way to know the spirit. Romans 8:6 says, “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” Similarly, 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “The Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” In Romans 8 there are two key words: life and peace. Then 2 Corinthians 3 speaks of freedom. Life, peace, and freedom, or release, are the way to know the spirit. Whenever we have life, peace, and release within, we are in the way of the spirit. For the way to know that we are in the flesh, there is just one word: death. Death is versus life, peace, and freedom. When we have death within, we do not have life, and neither do we have peace or freedom. If someone is full of death, there is no need for him to argue that he is not in the flesh. It is by death that we know the flesh, and in the same principle it is by life, peace, and release that we know the spirit.
In our physical body there is a life, yet it is hard for anyone to show us the life. If a medical doctor examines a dead body, he cannot find death itself, but the life is gone. We know that there is life or death in a body by the expressions of the body. If we come to someone and see the expression of death, this shows that his life is gone; then we know that this is a dead person. It is also by certain expressions that we know there is life in a person. In the same way, the way to know the spirit is by its expressions, which are revealed in the above two verses: life, peace, and freedom.
(Dealing with Our Inward Parts for the Growth in Life, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)