NOT BEING INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT ARE GOOD OR RIGHT
Sixth, we should never be influenced by what is good or by what is right. Many times as Christians we are easily influenced by things that are good or by things that are right, yet this should not be the case. For example, when we see a humble brother, we may want to imitate him. This is not wrong, but we who follow the Lord should not be influenced by other people. Instead, we should be directed by the inner sense of life. We may use another example. There was once a sister who was very zealous for the preaching of the gospel. When the young brothers and sisters saw her, they all tried to imitate her. Eventually they did not care for anything other than the preaching of the gospel. In the fellowship meeting they would rise up and rebuke those who did not preach the gospel. When some other young sisters heard their speaking, they also were stirred up to be zealous for the gospel. Do you think this is good? This is a way most welcomed by Christianity today, but this is not the way that God wants us to take. It is not a matter of whether something is good or bad; what matters is the way that we take. This sister’s way was a way of promoting and urging, not one of life. It was a way in which people were influenced by outward things, not by the inner life.
When we lay down our opinions, we will have an inner sense, and when we follow and are led by this sense to preach the gospel, then our gospel preaching will be something that comes from within. This is the way of life. If we are those who are influenced by outward things, it will be absolutely impossible for us to live in the Lord’s life. Consider our former example. Is that kind of service a service of the spirit or a service of the soul? No doubt, it is a service of the soul. Although the service itself is good, its source is not proper. This is not a question of good or bad, right or wrong, but a question of the source. As long as we love Him, give our heart to Him, and present ourselves to Him, we will be full of feeling within. Once we have some feeling, we should walk according to it. This is the way of life.
Although we have not mentioned the cross, in the way of life there is the cross. Although we have not mentioned the power of resurrection, the way of life is full of the resurrection life. Human opinion is the expression of the self. When we lay down our opinion, we experience the cross. The most prominent expression of the self is human opinion. Matthew 16 first mentions human opinion, then the self. When the self within us is expressed, it is opinion. Opinion is eventually broken by the cross. When due to our love for the Lord we are willing to lay down our opinion, this is the breaking of the cross. If someone can come to the church in our locality twenty times without seeing us express our opinion, then we are almost matured. Today in serving the Lord, on the positive side, we do not love the Lord enough, but on the negative side, we have too much opinion. This indicates that we have not allowed the cross to do a deep work in us. If we allow the cross to work in us in a deeper way, all our opinions will disappear. Opinion represents the self, and the self is the soul. The work of the cross is to put the soul aside. Living according to the sense of life is actually to live according to the power of resurrection. We should not be influenced by people outwardly or live according to morality or religion; rather, we should live according to the inner sense of life. We should love the Lord, follow the Lord, lay down our opinions absolutely, and live according to the sense of life. This is to live in the Lord’s life.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question: In my daily life, sometimes I have a word that operates in my heart at a certain time, then after some time there is another word that operates in my heart. Is this the sense of life?
Answer: This is not the sense of life but the teaching of the word. The sense of life is not a teaching that we have heard but our inner feeling. An outward teaching may remind us of our inner feeling, but it is not the sense of life. The genuine sense of life is this: We do not think about denying the self, but because of our love for the Lord, there is a feeling within us when we are loving Him that causes us to deny the self. When we do a certain thing owing to our love for the Lord, this is the sense of life. Even the feeling that we get as a result of others’ speaking stems eighty percent from religion and teaching, not from revelation or life.
Suppose someone swings his hand toward your eyes. If this happens, you will automatically close your eyelids. Such a reaction is of life. Suppose, however, that someone told you that your pupils are precious, that your eyelids should protect your pupils, and that when someone swings their hand toward your eyes, you should close your eyelids. In response, you decide that later when someone tries to hit you, you will close your eyelids. This would be something related to teaching and religion. If something is the issue of life and revelation, we do not have to have the understanding concerning it. We do not need an eye doctor’s explanation, because we spontaneously close our eyelids when someone tries to hit our eyes.
The Christian life, which has its source in revelation, is actually the Lord Himself. Once we touch Him, we will live and be full of life. Whatever requires the help or the teaching of doctrines is something religious. Although sometimes the word that operates in us may also come from the sense of life, this is usually not the case. For example, when a person says that the word about the Lord’s eyes being like a flame of fire is working in his being, I believe that this is eighty percent something religious. The word entering into his heart and working in his being may be the result of his decision, not of the Spirit. Even if it is of the Spirit, it would be at the most only twenty percent.
Anything that requires outward teaching and reminding is not the product of revelation or life. Why do we avoid watching movies? Is it because the Word says that we should not watch movies? Is it because we are afraid that we would not know what to do if the Lord were to come back while we were watching a movie? If the reason we do not watch movies is because of such a fear, then this is something religious. Some people say that if we tell lies, then after we die, we will be judged and our tongue will be cut out. This is a degraded religious thought. However, even such a thought has come into Christianity. When we no longer need the outward reminding of other people, yet we still have the feeling that we should not watch movies, then this is most likely something produced by life. When we love the Lord, draw near to Him, and put aside our opinions, the Lord will have the ground to operate and move freely within us. His operation and His move come from life and will produce a certain sense within us. Once such a feeling comes forth, the Lord comes forth. At this time, regardless of what kind of opinion or thought we may have, we will be willing to lay it down and closely follow the Lord. This is the experience of the cross and of resurrection life.
(The Path of Our Growth in Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)