Basic Lessons on Life, by Witness Lee

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Paul told Timothy, "But you, O man of God, flee these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, meekness" (1 Tim. 6:11). Among these many items which Timothy was to pursue, the central item is godliness. We need to pursue godliness to be a man of God. Actually, godliness is just "God-likeness." To be godly means to be like God, to express God. In other words, godliness is to live God out. Someone who lives God out is a man of God. Because he lives God out, he is like God. He bears God’s likeness, so he is a man of God. A man of God has to pursue, to seek after, God-likeness.


Second Timothy 3:12 speaks of those who "desire to live godly in Christ Jesus." To live godly means that our life must be a godly life. Godliness must be our living, and this again depends upon the exercise of our spirit.


Second Timothy 3:5 speaks of the power of godliness. Paul said that in the degradation of the church, some only have the outward form of godliness, but they do not have the power. The power must be by the exercise of our spirit. Some religious people may have ordinances about how to dress in an outward form of godliness, but there is no inward power with them. We have to exercise our spirit in all the things in our daily life so that we have the power of godliness. When we exercise our spirit, what we do is not a mere outward performance or form, but a display of the genuine godliness with the inward power. This power, which comes from the inner exercise of our spirit, is the real and practical virtue with a living influence to express God.


At the end of 2 Timothy, Paul says, "The Lord be with your spirit" (2 Tim. 4:22). The conclusion of this book emphasizes the Lord’s being with our spirit.

A. Contacting the Lord by Exercising Our Spirit

The Lord is with our spirit but we have to respond, to cooperate, by exercising our spirit. The air is with us, but we have to breathe in the air to enjoy it. The air can be enjoyed by us continuously because we have a breathing organ to get the benefit of the air. In the same way, the Lord, the Spirit, is with us, but we need to exercise our spirit, our breathing organ, to breathe in the Lord as our spiritual air (John 20:22). If our spirit is not exercised, we cannot receive His benefit. The Lord being with our spirit surely implies the exercise of our spirit.

B. Thus Receiving Grace

In 2 Timothy 4:22 there are two sentences. First, Paul said, "The Lord be with your spirit." Then he said, "Grace be with you." If we exercise our spirit to contact the Lord, to breathe Him in, we receive grace to stand against the downward current of the church’s decline and carry out God’s economy. Grace is the Lord received, enjoyed, and experienced by us. Second Timothy 4:22 is a subjective matter, not an objective benediction. The Lord’s being with our spirit is something for us to experience by the exercise of our spirit.

(Basic Lessons on Life, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)