OUR SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES NEEDING TO BE IN THE DISPENSING OF THE TRIUNE GOD
The life of Christ in us is altogether a story of the Spirit; it is not a matter of seeking to be perfect through ethical pursuits, and it has nothing to do with the personal cultivation of morality. Several days ago I hurt my back, so I have not been able to move around too much. One day I heard my wife singing a chorus, “Each blow I suffer / Is true gain to me” (Hymns, #626). I immediately remembered stanza 1 of that hymn which says, “Olives that have known no pressure / No oil can bestow; / If the grapes escape the winepress, / Cheering wine can never flow.” Of course, she was not intentionally singing this to me, but I felt that this hymn is not bad—it is half right and half wrong. Do not think that as soon as you toss something into the winepress, oil and wine will come out. What comes out depends on what you toss in. If you throw stones, coal, or wood into the winepress, you will only get some powder; you will have no way to press out a drop of oil or wine. Hence, in order for oil to be pressed out, the thing that is being pressed must have oil within it. Whether or not each blow is a true gain depends on whether or not we have oil within us.
The disciples of Confucius and Mencius, the Confucianists, do not have oil within them, so no matter how much they are pressed, no oil will come out. But we thank and praise the Lord that we Christians are the fruit of the olive tree. Once we are pressed, a large amount of oil will come out. For the purpose of pressing out the oil, the Lord prepares marriage for us. In fact, marriage is a winepress, and to get married is to get into a winepress. This is not a joke. The difference is that when the unbelievers get into the winepress, nothing comes out except pieces of coal, wood, and stone. Christians, however, have oil in them, so when they are pressed, oil comes out.
It is very sad that in Christianity when people speak about bearing the cross and experiencing the cross, they mostly stress self-improvement and care only for moral cultivation. They forget the matter of the oil and do not care for the inner life. Please remember that all the experiences of our spiritual life must be in the dispensing of the Triune God. If we are not in the dispensing, we are just wood, grass, and stubble. Regardless of how much we are pressed, there will not be any oil but only wood chips and grass clippings. We may be genuinely broken, but what matters is whether or not there is oil. For this reason, we must contact the Triune God continuously and fellowship with Him moment by moment. Therefore, the New Testament tells us that we should pray unceasingly and give thanks in everything (1 Thes. 5:17-18). This means that we have to contact Him unceasingly. To contact the Triune God is to allow Him to add oil into us continually. In Matthew 25 there are ten virgins. The five prudent virgins have oil added into them all the time; that is, they maintain a constant flowing in of oil so that their vessels always have oil (v. 4). From this we see that we must learn to contact the Lord all the time and allow the Triune God to dispense Himself into us moment by moment.
Suppose that the electricity is suddenly interrupted. All the lights will go out, and all the electrical appliances will stop operating. The Spirit may be likened to electricity. When the Spirit stops flowing, all our spiritual functions come to a halt. Hence, do not pray by yourself and then try to do good by the determination of your own will. This is the way things are done, and must be done, in the realm of self-improvement in Confucianism, but this way is altogether useless in the realm of the spiritual experience of a Christian. The only effective way for us to take is to contact the “electrical source” and the “oil field,” so that we will be filled with oil and connected to the current continually. This is to continually contact the Lord so that the dispensing of the Triune God can be carried out in us unceasingly.
(The Economy of God and the Mystery of the Transmission of the Divine Trinity, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)