ONE WHO KNOWS GOD
If you know God and have experienced God’s dealings, you will know at which point someone cannot get through. Since you may have experienced dealing with God more than fifty times in certain matters, you can help others go through the same. You are not just telling someone about the Bible, but are telling them about God.
Last summer many famous people were speaking at a very popular spiritual conference. Someone told me that I should attend because a certain one gave good messages during those few days. I went there once. The subject of the message was "The Infilling of the Holy Spirit." The Scriptures he used were quite adequate, and the parables and logic were also very good. But after he spoke for ten minutes, I asked myself, "Is this the so-called infilling of the Holy Spirit?" His preaching was good, but several laymen’s words slipped out from his mouth; therefore, I knew that he did not know God in this matter at all. He did not know anything about the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Mere Bible knowledge cannot make one know God or minister God. We must learn to take the way of the cross and must experience God’s dealings. The Lord did not say, "I am the Son of God, so I do not need to worry about God’s will." On the contrary, He prayed to the Father once, twice, and even three times, until He finished the prayer. Then He said, "The cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11).
The apostle Paul also prayed to the Lord again and again until the Lord spoke to him: "My grace is sufficient for you" (2 Cor. 12:9). Later Paul was misunderstood by the Corinthians. Second Corinthians express Paul’s sorrow, while Philippians expresses Paul’s joy. Only these two books among Paul’s epistles express his emotions. But I love to read the Epistles to the Corinthians more than the Epistle to the Philippians. The Corinthians misunderstood him and said that he was not honest and that God consequently made him sick. Paul did not ask God to remove his thorn in an attempt to avoid being laughed at by the Corinthians. He said, "Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you" (2 Cor. 12:8-9a). Because God had spoken, he did not ask God to change His will. Paul said, "Most gladly therefore I will rather boast in my weaknesses that the power of Christ might tabernacle over me" (2 Cor. 12:9b). No one can know God without first having dealings with Him. I have told several brothers that if anyone wants to progress, the only way is to be dealt with by God. If you do not accept God’s dealing, you will never progress. If you want Bible knowledge, all you have to do is study hard and receive some help from those who have Bible knowledge. But if you want to know God, there is no way except to deal with God personally and be dealt with by Him.
I often treasure very much the experience of those who know God. I know from their words that they are experienced in knowing God and that they truly know God. One sister from the West was truly a person who was waiting for the Lord’s second coming. (Many scholars of prophecy do not even know what it is to wait for the Lord’s second coming!) Whenever I went to her, I was afraid of doing anything, because as soon as she opened her mouth, I realized that she was a very experienced person. I remember that I prayed with her on the last day of 1925. She said, "Lord, are You really going to let 1925 go by? Do You really want to wait until 1926 before You will come back? Even on this last day, I will still ask You to come today." I knew what she was praying for. Several months later I met her on the street. She held my hand and said to me, "Brother, it is strange. Why has He still not come back today?" These words proved that she not only was a scholar of prophecy, but was also a person who had fellowship with God and who truly waited for the Lord. She knew God and was experienced in the matter of the Lord’s coming again.
Once I talked to another sister. I thought she was not very experienced in spiritual things. But after a short conversation, I knew that she was very experienced. She was one who had passed through God’s dealings and was a person who had dealt with God.
In Peking I met an old believer. He did not have much knowledge of the Bible. I did not think highly of some of his behavior either. But he really knew God. While I was talking to him, he said, "Christ is responsible for everything." He was rather poor, but both he and his wife were happy. He said that although he encountered many difficulties, Christ was responsible for everything. I asked him, "What then are you responsible for?" He said, "I am responsible for singing the praise." This is like King Jehoshaphat who, when going into battle, ordered the singers to sing before the battlefield (2 Chron. 20:21-22). I said, "Since you gave up everything for Christ, do you have any regrets at all?" He answered straightly, "You do not understand. Christ is responsible for everything; I am not responsible for it." You can see that regarding the matter of the Lord bearing our responsibility, he was far ahead of us. We can only be his student. He is an experienced person regarding the Lord’s bearing of our responsibility. What he has is not just Bible knowledge, but knowledge that he has learned from God. Some have really experienced God’s dealing, and they know what it is to be dealt with by God.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 10: The Present Testimony (3), Chapter 13, by Watchman Nee)