NEEDING GOD’S LIFE
Eventually the Lord Jesus said, "You, therefore, shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). He did not say that we should be perfect as a gentleman, but perfect as our heavenly Father. How is this possible? It is impossible unless we have the Father’s life. If someone asked us to be perfect as a little lamb that is meek and gentle, we would have to say that it is impossible, because we do not have a lamb’s life. In order to be perfect as a lamb, we would need the life of a lamb. Then being meek and gentle would be no problem. In the same way, it is impossible for us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect unless we have His life.
EXPRESSION ACCORDING TO LIFE
In Matthew 7:16 the Lord Jesus asked, "Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?" Do you consider yourselves thorns, or grapes? Are you figs, or thistles? We must admit that in ourselves we are not grapes or figs; we are thorns and thistles. We are all hopeless cases. Because we are thorns, we can never produce grapes. Because we are thistles, we can never bring forth figs. In ourselves we are hopeless, but in Christ we are full of hope. The life of Christ is a grape-producing life and also a fig-producing life. This grape-producing life and fig-producing life has come into us! When this life gets into us, the grapes and the figs will come out as the expression of life.
We need to pray for the Lord’s mercy that we may be poor in spirit, pure in heart, right in all we do, and right according to God’s will. If we pray in this way, the Lord Jesus will take us over little by little, and He will fill us up part by part. He will grow in us, and He will increase within us all the time. Eventually we will no longer produce thorns and thistles, but we will produce grapes and figs, which are simply two different expressions of the kingdom life. Both grapes and figs are used for feeding others.
This is the kingdom life. This is not outward conduct; it is the expression of the inward life, which is Christ spreading within our being. If He is to spread into all our inward being, we need to be poor in our spirit, pure in our heart, and right in all we do, not according to our concepts, but according to God Himself. This is the way for Christ to sow Himself into us and to spread Himself into our being so that we may have a corporate life. This corporate life is the kingdom. This is the reality of the church life. Christ as life is spreading Himself into us. Now we can see in a fuller way that the kingdom is the totality of Christ as life spreading into us with all His activities.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)