NOT BASING OUR CONFIDENCE ON OURSELVES
BUT ON GOD
In 2 Corinthians 1 Paul told us that he and his co-workers were “excessively burdened, beyond our power, so that we despaired even of living” (v. 8). They had the response of death in themselves, that they should not base their confidence on themselves but on the very God, who raises the dead (v. 9). We need to be impressed with these words in verse 9—“we should not base our confidence on ourselves but on God.” Through the redemption of Christ, the very God, who is in the heavens, has come into us, into our spirit (Col. 1:27; 2 Tim. 4:22). Thank the Lord that He is now in our spirit, calling us to forget about the soulish things and turn to our spirit to meet Him. We should no longer trust in our self, in our soul, but in God who is in our spirit.
We may know the doctrine concerning no longer trusting in ourselves but in God. To say that we trust in God is easy, but in our experience it may be different. If a husband’s wife is not so nice to him, the first thing he usually does is to exercise his mind to consider his wife’s situation. This is what it means to trust in yourself. If we have really learned the lesson to trust no more in ourselves, we would not exercise our mind first but our spirit. Immediately, we should turn to our spirit and exercise our spirit to contact God. This practically means that we do not trust in ourselves but in God. We all need this kind of experience today.
NOT IN FLESHLY WISDOM BUT IN THE GRACE OF GOD
In 2 Corinthians 1:2 Paul said that he conducted himself “not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God.” To trust in the self is bad, but to have fleshly wisdom is worse. Paul did not say human wisdom, but fleshly wisdom. We generally understand that wisdom has something to do with the mind, but Paul speaks of a kind of wisdom related to the flesh. Fleshly wisdom is versus the grace of God. Fleshly wisdom is something connecting the soul and the flesh. The grace of God is in the spirit, working through the soul and the body. We trust in God, and this God is working within us. Grace is the very God who is working within us. He is working from within our spirit through our soul and body in order that our whole being will be under His working. We should have no trust in ourselves but in God.
Our conversation, our walk, our living in this world, should not be something in our fleshly wisdom, but in the grace of God. This means that we have stopped all our doings and that it is now God who is working within us from our spirit through our soul and body. Our whole being is under the working of God. This kind of person is living and walking in the Holy of Holies all the time.
IN MY SPIRIT
Because Paul was such a person living in the Holy of Holies, he could say, “I had no rest in my spirit” (2:13). Paul did not say that he had no rest in his mind or in his heart. If you are going to understand 2 Corinthians, you have to pick up the key phrases such as “not base our confidence on ourselves but on God,” “not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God,” and “no rest in my spirit.” Paul did not even say that he had no rest in the Spirit, but “in my spirit.” Paul was a person living, walking, working, and even having his being in his spirit. He was not a man living in the soul or the flesh but a person living in the spirit. Thus, he could say that he had no rest in his spirit.
This shows us that Paul did not care for the circumstances or for what he thought or could see. He only cared for his spirit. His brother Titus had not come, so he did not have rest in his spirit. I like this phrase—in my spirit. We have to be brought into the realization of our spirit, and we have to learn how to do everything in our spirit. If we are going to be happy, we have to be happy in the spirit. If we are going to be sorrowful, we have to be sorrowful in the spirit. Many times we are happy merely in our emotions. We may not know how to be happy in the spirit. But we have to learn how to be happy in the spirit, how to have rest in our spirit. We need to learn to take care of the rest in our spirit and be persons living in the spirit.
Then in 4:13 Paul tells us that he and the brothers with him had “the same spirit of faith.” We have to learn to exercise the spirit to such an extent. Whatever we do and whatever we say, we have to be sure that we have the same spirit, that we are in the same spirit. This is not something in the soul or in the flesh, but in the spirit. When we go to see a brother, we have to go in the spirit. When we have fellowship, we must have it in the spirit.
(Autobiography of a Person in the Spirit, An, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)