RENEWING OF THE WILL AND EMOTION
We must also be renewed in our emotion and will. Do you love others? What is the source and nature of your love? Do others sense something of Christ in your love? Do you have a strong will? What is the source and nature of your strong will? Do you give others a sense of Christ in your strong will? Years ago I stayed in the home of a certain brother. Though he was really a nice brother and full of love, yet I must confess that I was exceedingly troubled by his love. It was a real suffering to me. I could never sense in it one bit of Christ. Everything he did for me was good and full of love. But there is a vast difference between natural love and spiritual love. We need to be transformed from our natural emotion and will into the emotion and will of Christ. We must gain more and more of Christ in our emotion, in our will, in our love, and in our purpose. Then, eventually we will have Christ not only as our mind, but also as our emotion and as our will. Christ will be our thoughts, and Christ will also be our love and our purpose. Christ will be our everything.
What is the way of transformation? How can we be transformed from our natural being into the image of Christ? The only way is to deny the self and bear the cross. By comparing Luke 9:25 with Matthew 16:26, we see that the self is our soul. In Luke 9:25 the Lord says, "gain the whole world, and lose himself"; but in Matthew 16:26 He says, "gain the whole world, and lose his soul." This means that the self is the soul. Thus, to deny the self is to deny our soul. Since we have seen that our soul is composed of the mind, the emotion, and the will, then to deny our self simply means to deny our mind, emotion, and will—that is, to deny our thoughts, our concepts, our desires, our likes, our choices, and our decisions. This is real self-denial. If we would be transformed in our soul, we must deny our natural mind, emotion, and will. We must realize that our natural being—our mind, our emotion, and our will—has been crucified on the cross. Our old man has been crucified, not only the evil part, but also the good. All that we are, all that we have, and all that we can do have been crucified on the cross. We must fully realize this by faith. Based upon this fact we deny our natural mind, emotion, and will.
If we know the Lord’s way of transformation, we will continually look to the Lord that He may strengthen us to do one thing: whenever we are going to think, to love, or to choose something, to say, Stop! Stop! Stop! When we are going to be humble, we must check ourselves: Is our natural humility on the cross? If not, we had better say, Stop! When we are going to love someone, we must first check to see if our natural love is on the cross. If not, Stop! This is acknowledging the cross in a practical way. Sometimes when we are about to speak, our mind is very active. We must check ourselves to see if our natural mind is crucified. If not, then stop! Stop thinking. If we are going to make a decision, we must check ourselves. Am I crucified or not? If not, then refrain from making any kind of decision.
What does it mean to stop? Simply to put our natural man to death. The result will be resurrection. With unbelievers, stop means stop. But with us who have been regenerated, stop means resurrection.
Once Brother Watchman Nee and I were having a time of fellowship together. He said: "Brother, here is a piece of sand, a little piece of stone. If you bury this piece of sand in the ground, what will result? Will anything come out? No, it is finished. But here is a grain of wheat. When you bury this grain of wheat, after a certain time something will grow up." This is a picture of us who have Christ within. We are not a piece of sand, but a grain of wheat. If we are willing to be buried, something within us will grow out. If we stop our thinking, Christ within us will be our thinking. If we cease from our mind, Christ within us will be our mind in resurrection. If we stop our love, Christ within us in resurrection will be our love. This is transformation. Then when we love others, they will not only sense our love, but they will also sense Christ. If we truly learn to realize the crucifixion of the Lord, whatever we do will convey the sense of Christ. Whatever we think, whenever we love, whatever we decide, we will impart a real sense of Christ. We will be transformed from our natural being into the image of Christ.
We have Christ the Lord within us as our life, and the only way for us to live this life is by the cross. We must learn to accept the cross, which means that all we are and have were crucified and put to death. This must be a reality in our daily lives. The practical way to realize the cross is to check ourselves whenever we are about to think, whenever we are about to show love to someone, or whenever we are about to make a decision. We must learn always to say, Stop! We must not only be stopped from doing evil things, but even more from doing good things. When we are going to pray, Stop! When we are going to do anything good, Stop! If we would stop ourselves, Christ will come out in resurrection. Stop, put ourselves to death; then death will bring in resurrection. We must be transformed by the cross in the Spirit. This is the practical way to experience the cross and Christ.
But don’t think that saying Stop is so easy. Many times we say Stop, but we don’t stop. It is not so easy to stop. Can you stop a brother with a strong mind from thinking? Can you stop him from considering? Can you stop a sister full of natural love and kindness from loving others with her natural emotion? The more you say Stop, the more she will love. Can you stop a brother with a strong will from doing what he decides to do? Impossible! In this matter we do need the Lord’s grace.
(The Parts of Man, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)