The Life and Way for the Practice of the Church Life, by Witness Lee


Now I want to mention three main categories of things which perplex today’s Christians. First, there are the formalities of Christianity, including forms, rituals, regulations, etc. Next, there are a lot of teachings and doctrines. Last, there are the gifts. Brothers and sisters, allow me to tell you humbly but frankly that you do not need any kind of forms, rituals, regulations, rules, charters, constitutions, etc. What you need is the living Christ. Then, how about the teachings? I would not say that you do not need any kind of teaching. You need some teaching. But the teachings must be something for Christ and of Christ. They must help you to know Christ and experience Christ.

Now concerning the gifts, I would say that you and I do need some gifts. But we need to realize that gifts are merely gifts, not Christ Himself. Gifts are not for gifts but for Christ. All the gifts must be a help for us to know Christ, to know life, and to experience Christ as life. Do not be satisfied with the gifts. Gifts only open the door and pave the way for us to go to Christ.

Therefore, what you need today is the living Christ. When you are fully saturated, permeated, filled, occupied, and possessed by Christ, you will become a part of Christ and your very person will become a living gift. Wherever you go and wherever you are, you will be a great help to the church and to the children of God. Your person will be a real ministry of life to others. Then automatically the church life will come out. Today what we, the Lord’s people, need is the living Christ constituted and wrought into us for us to be made parts of Christ. This is God’s goal, God’s mark, God’s eternal purpose.

The most important lesson that we need to learn, however, is to experience Christ as the wonderful Spirit working, regulating, and moving within us. We need to take care of this One. One time a brother came to me, saying, "Brother Lee, I have something to talk with you about." But I knew in my spirit that he came to quarrel with me. So I asked him if at that moment he had the inner anointing to talk with me. He replied, "To be honest with you, I don’t have the inner anointing. But I still want to talk with you." Many times we have done the same thing. We know that we do not have the anointing to do a certain thing, but we still want to do it. This is a problem.

Many times even while you are going to preach the gospel, you are disobedient to the inner anointing. And sometimes while you are praying, you are disobedient to the inner anointing. Within you the anointing tells you to pray for a certain thing, yet you do not pray according to the anointing. Rather, you want to pray in your way. The more you pray, the more you sense you are disobeying the anointing. Again, I say, this is our problem.

If we all simply take care of the inner anointing, there will be no quarrel, argument, or hatred. Instead, there will be harmony, oneness, love, unity, and the building up among us. The building up of the church does not depend on anything else but the growth in life by constantly taking care of the inner anointing. Therefore, we need to learn to exercise our spirit to take Christ as our life and to go along with the inner anointing. In this way we maintain a good fellowship with Him and are one with Him all the time.

Let us forget about so many things in our Christian background and just be so simple before the Lord. We have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer we who live, but it is Christ who lives in us (Gal. 2:20). This living Christ as the Spirit is not far from us but right within us. He is so available and practical. He is moving within us. I just fellowship with Him and go along with Him.

Now you understand why in one of his hymns A. B. Simpson said, "Oh! it is so sweet to die with Christ,/To the world, and self, and sin;/Oh! it is so sweet to live with Christ, /As He lives and reigns within" (Hymns, #482, chorus). It is really so. It is so sweet to die with Christ, and it is so sweet to live with Christ. Do not be complicated; just be simplified. If you ask so many questions about this and that, I am afraid you are like a seminary student who has been complicated by a lot of study. In the Far East, I have met a great number of believers who are one hundred percent Gentiles without any Christian background. After they have been brought to the Lord, they are very simple. Many of them are highly educated people, yet they are wonderfully simple. It is so easy to help them to know Christ.

May the Lord have mercy on us that we may put aside everything from our old Christian background and just be so simple to go along with the living One who dwells in us. Then we will have the real Christian life and the real church life.

(The Life and Way for the Practice of the Church Life, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)