READING THE BIBLE AND SPIRITUAL BOOKS
During our private time with the Lord, we should also read and study the Bible. I am concerned that many of the young people do not read the Bible or study it. Yes, you may read the Bible in times of corporate fellowship or in the meetings. But you also need to have a private time to read the Word. You need to lay a good foundation in the Word of God by reading through it consecutively from Genesis to Revelation. Read book after book without selection, choice, or preference. Try to read the Bible through once every year or every two years. It is important to build up the habit of reading and studying the Word.
Ephesians 6:17 and 18 cover both the matter of prayer and the Word. These verses tell us to take the Word by means of all prayer (Gk.). This refers to pray-reading, or, at least, to reading the Bible prayerfully. We need to pray and to read the Word, putting these things together.
Along with prayer and reading the Word, we should also read some spiritual books or life-study messages. It may not be adequate to read the messages just once. I can testify that although I give the messages, I am nourished by reading the printed messages again and again. I do not care who prepared the food, whether I prepared it or someone else did. As long as it is food, I take it and I am nourished by it.
In our eating, we need variety. For example, for breakfast it is not sufficient to have toast and milk every morning. My breakfast includes more than twenty items, a real variety of food. This rich nourishment makes me very energetic. The principle is the same in reading spiritual books. Along with reading the Bible, we need to develop the habit of reading some profitable and nourishing spiritual books, doing this in a very balanced way and not eating too much at one time. Rather, it is better to eat several times a day. You may read four pages of a message at one time and then read more later in the day or the next day. In reading spiritual books, do not try to take in too much at once. If you build up the habit of reading the Word and spiritual books, you will be healthy spiritually and you will grow.
We also grow by being enlightened by the Lord. Whether through prayer or reading the Word, the most important thing is to be enlightened by the Lord. If you pray, study the Bible, and read spiritual books for several days without receiving any light, you have some problem. In every time of prayer and reading the Word, we should receive light, because the Word of God is light. If you take the Word without receiving light, there must be a problem within. There can be no problem with the Word, for the Word is light. Because you do not receive light, you need to ask the Lord to show you what is wrong, to show you why you have not been receiving light from Him. When you receive light on certain matters, accept the light and confess to the Lord immediately without excusing yourself. Make a thorough confession according to the Lord’s light.
BEING FILLED WITH THE LORD
The last item I would mention is being filled with the Lord. In Ephesians 3 Paul prayed that the Father would strengthen us with power by His Spirit in our inner man so that Christ may make His home in our hearts, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. In Ephesians 5:18 he tells us not to be drunk with wine, but to be filled in our spirit. We need to be filled in spirit with the fullness of God. The way to be filled is the same as the way to grow in life: to pray properly, to take the Word of God, to read some nourishing spiritual books, and to be enlightened. If we pray, read the Word, and are enlightened, we shall spontaneously and immediately be filled with the Lord, and the Lord will be added to us. This is the growth in life.
Although we may see the highest vision, the vision presented in the book of Ephesians, without a private time of prayer, reading the Word, being enlightened, and being filled with the Lord, the vision will fade away. It will be something that we enjoy for a moment and then it will disappear. If we want all the visions we have seen to be wrought in our being, we need to have a private time with the Lord to pray, to read the Word, to read some nourishing messages, to be enlightened, and to be filled with the Lord. Then we shall grow in life.
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)