“NOTHING FROM HIMSELF”
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He was a person of strong character. He had a distinct personality. His will was strong. His emotions were strong enough that He could weep. His mind was clear and sober. His words were eloquent. Yet this striking Person said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing from Himself except what He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, this also the Son does in like manner….I can do nothing from Myself” (John 5:19, 30). The Son lived by another Person’s life. His own person was not His life. This One of such strong character did not live by Himself. He lived by the Father; He lived the Father. It was in this way that the Son expressed the Father. The Father’s life was revealed in the Son’s living.
GOD’S ONLY CONCERN
This is the principle which should govern our living also. We may have a strong character, but we must live by Him, not by ourselves. After I was saved, I began to seek after holiness. Because I am a quick person, I would easily lose my temper. I hated my hot temper and wanted desperately to be victorious over it. Now I have come to realize that God’s intention is not for me to be victorious or spiritual. His intention is that I live Christ. My problem was not that I was defeated, natural, and unholy. It was that I was short of Christ. In Christ victory over everything is mine. Holiness and practical spirituality are mine.
God, even from eternity past, never had the concept of gaining a group of “holy” people. God is not concerned about your “holiness.” If He wanted to, He could cure you of your temper without any effort on your part or on His.
What God wants is to have a people living by Christ that they may be Christ’s expression. There is a full picture of this in the Old Testament type of the tabernacle with the ark. In the wilderness over two million Israelites went from place to place, carrying the tabernacle. They would reach a certain point and then encamp around that tabernacle. Day after day this was all they did. They were victorious over their enemies. They had God with them in the pillar of fire by night and in the pillar of cloud by day. The tabernacle was God’s testimony. When the children of Israel were right with the tabernacle, all went well. When they neglected it, they were carnal, worldly, and defeated.
Today all too many Christians are ignorant of this testimony. God wants us to live by Another’s life. He wants Christ to be our life, our love, our kindness, our righteousness, and our holiness. He does not want us to aspire after any thing; in Christ is all we need.
CHANGING OUR CONCEPTS
Yet you are concerned about losing your temper. You keep regretting that you have not kept your marriage vow to love your wife or to submit to your husband. How you need your concepts changed! For you to live is Christ, not spirituality. For you to live is Christ, not love for your wife or submission to your husband. Stop trying to be even-tempered. God does not care about your being delivered from your temper. A statue never loses its temper, however much it is insulted. Do you think God wants you to be like that? God wants you to be full of Christ! Even if you are a very hot-tempered person, you can still live Christ. What we need is what God wants—Christ. God wants Christ to be lived out of us.
There’s a Man in the glory
Whose Life is for me.
His peace is abiding;
How patient is He!
He’s joyful and radiant,
Expecting to see
His Life in the glory
Lived out in me.
God wants a people corporately living Christ. This vision, which was made so clear the first ten years of the recovery in this country, must be recovered. May we all re-see the vision.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)