THE LORD HAVING REGARD NOT FOR WHAT WE DO
BUT FOR OUR DEPENDENCE ON HIM
We have seen that the self is the independent soul. In doing things, our motive, intention, aim, and goal may all be right, but if we are independent, we are in the self. This may be our situation even in preaching the gospel, for we may preach the gospel in the self and by the self. We may also do certain other works for the Lord, but we may do them in the self and by the self.
I am very grateful to the Lord for Matthew 16:21-26. Here Peter was not doing something evil to the Lord. On the contrary, he was acting out of love for Him and intended to do something good for Him. Nevertheless, because Peter was independent of the Lord, the Lord turned to Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan!” This indicates that no matter what we do, even if it is something very good, we are in the self whenever we are independent of the Lord.
From this we see that the Lord Jesus does not have regard for what we do; rather, He has regard for our dependence on Him. If we see this, we will pay attention not to what we do but to whether or not we are dependent on the Lord. We need to ask ourselves: Am I independent of the Lord or am I dependent on Him? If we are independent of the Lord, we are in the self. If we are dependent on the Lord, we are spontaneously dependent on the Body.
SEEING THE VISION OF THE SELF AND HATING
OUR INDEPENDENCE FROM THE LORD AND THE BODY
The Lord and the Body are one. If you are dependent on the Lord, you are dependent on the Body. If you are dependent on the Body, you are dependent on the Lord. If you are independent of the Body, you are spontaneously independent of the Lord and are in the self, no matter how many good things you intend to do. Furthermore, because you are in the self, you are incorporated with Satan. In this corporation the self is the general manager, and Satan is the president.
Oh, how we need to see the vision of the self! If we see this vision, we will hate our independence from the Lord and the Body. Then we will love the dependence on the Body, on the brothers and sisters, and on the Lord. As long as we have no dependence on the Lord and on the Body, the self is here. But when we have dependence, the self is gone.
DEPENDENCE BRINGING GENUINE PEACE
Dependence brings peace. Actually, dependence is the real peace. How do we know that we are dependent on God? We know it by the genuine peace within us. When we are dependent on God, we are full of peace.
Some brothers who are independent of the Body may claim that they are doing something for God. However, they do not have peace within them. The more they claim that they are doing something for God, the more they have the sense that they are not at peace. But if you ask them if they have peace, they will say that they have peace. They may argue, saying, “I have peace. What need is there for me to be related to you people? I am preaching the gospel and doing the work of the Lord, and I have peace.” What kind of peace is this? It is not the genuine peace; it is a self-made peace, a peace that is made and maintained by the self.
When we are dependent on the Lord and on the Body, there is no need for the self to manufacture a kind of peace and then strive to maintain this peace. A man-made peace is a peace which needs the self to sustain it. As soon as the self stops working at sustaining this kind of peace, the peace disappears. Genuine peace does not need to be sustained by the self. If you have a real dependence on the Lord and on the Body, automatically the peace will be there. You will know and others also will know that you are truly at peace.
Those who are independent of the Body not only do not have genuine peace within but also are exercised to talk with others in order to get the confirmation which they are seeking. Because they do not have peace, they expect others to tell them that they are right and to give them confirmation. They try to get confirmation in this way because they are not at peace. No one who is independent of the Body ever has real peace. Instead of peace, they have the self.
THE SELF BEING THE ENEMY OF THE BODY
Seeing the vision of the self has much to do with the Body. Today we are in the Lord’s recovery, and the recovery will eventually come to this crucial matter—the building up of the Body. The enemy of the Body is the self. The greatest problem, the greatest frustration and opposition, to the Body is also the self. When we have the self, we do not have the Body. When we have the Body, we do not have the self. In order for the Body to be built up, the self, the independent soul, must be dealt with. The self is the independent “I,” the independent “me.” When we are independent, we are in the self, the Body is gone, and we do not have peace.
Once again I say that we need the vision of the self. I would urge you to pray about this matter. May the Lord be merciful to us and show us the vision of the self.
(The Heavenly Vision, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)