OUR NEED TO PERSECUTE CHRIST
In order to experience Christ, in this sense we need to persecute Him. When some hear such a word, they may say, "It is heresy to say that we, the lovers of Christ, should persecute Him." Yes, we need to persecute Christ. We should say, "Lord Jesus, I don’t care whether You are willing or unwilling, You must be for me. Even if You say that You are not ready for me to experience You, I shall persecute You to make You ready." When this is viewed in a positive sense, it is not too much of an extreme. Mary Magdalene was an example of one who persecuted the Lord Jesus in a positive way. Early in the morning on the day of His resurrection, she pursued Him. She persecuted the resurrected Christ and persuaded Him to do something that He was not willing to do. We all need to seek the Lord in such a way.
FORGETTING THE THINGS BEHIND
Have you ever persecuted the Lord Jesus in a positive way? Probably not. Have you ever sought the Lord by persecuting Him until He goes along with you? Whenever you persecute Him in such a positive way, you will forget the things behind. Only those who are lukewarm, who are neither cold nor hot in loving the Lord, consider the things of the past and remember their experiences of years ago. But when you persecute the Lord, you have no time to think about the past. Thus, the best way to forget the past is to be fully occupied with pursuing the Lord right now. If we are not occupied in this way, we shall be continually occupied with the things of the past, either positive things or negative things. We must be busy with pursuing Christ and persecuting Him in a positive way. If you get into the spirit of Paul, you will realize how busy he was in persecuting Jesus and in compelling Him to be his enjoyment. There was no room in his mind for considerations about the past. To repeat, to consider the past is a sign of being lukewarm. But when you are burning and are persecuting the Lord Jesus in a positive way, you have no room in your mind to think of the past. Instead, you are occupied with pursuing toward the goal.
THE GOAL AND THE PRIZE
Both the goal and the prize are Christ. Christ is within us, but He is also before us at the end of the race as the goal that we are striving to reach. To say that Christ is the goal means that He is the highest enjoyment. The Christ who is in us for our enjoyment today is not the goal. The goal is the highest enjoyment of Christ, that is, the out-resurrection. No matter how much we experience Christ today, we have not yet reached the goal of the highest enjoyment of Christ. This experience of Christ is still before us. As soon as we reach the goal, the goal will immediately become the prize. When you obtain the prize, you may shout with the enjoyment of the highest experience of Christ. At that time, you will have the out-resurrection as the top enjoyment. Therefore, the enjoyment is Christ, the experience is Christ, the goal is Christ, and the prize is Christ. Christ is the enjoyment within us, and Christ is the goal set before us. We need to pursue toward the goal so that we may gain the prize.
To pursue Christ in this way we need to be aggressive and to exercise ourselves very much. No lazy person can be a persecutor of Christ. Every persecutor of Christ has a strong character. I say again that we all must pursue Christ in a persecuting way. We need to pray, "Lord Jesus, I intend to persecute You. All day long I shall be Your persecutor. I will compel You to be for me and to be my experience." Have you ever prayed in this way? We need to pray like this, telling the Lord that we shall persecute Him until He becomes our experience. If we do this, eventually we shall arrive at the goal and receive the prize.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 20, by Witness Lee)