SERVICE ACCORDING TO RELIGION
The same principle that we saw above applies to all of our Christian experiences. Every Christian experience can have two aspects: the aspect of religion and the aspect of revelation. Not only our experience of salvation may have these two aspects, but after we are saved, our service before God may also have these two aspects. We may ask, “What kind of living and service is according to religion, and what kind of living and service is according to revelation?” After we are saved, we may spontaneously have a concept that from that point on we need to be more zealous, to have more love, and to treat our wife better. In the same way, after we are revived, all these concepts may also come to us. Formerly, our living was loose and lukewarm, but now that we are saved and revived, we feel that we should be more serious and zealous. We also feel that we should preach the gospel, maintain a good testimony at home, love the brothers and sisters in the church, and always read the Bible and pray. All these concepts may come to us. Moreover, we may also bring these matters to God and pray, “O Lord, I was really bad in the past, but now that I am saved and revived, I need to be zealous and love the brothers and sisters. Yet I realize that I will not be able to do it persistently. Please have mercy on me, and help me every day so that I may be able to do it.” Please remember that God listens to every kind of prayer except this kind of prayer.
When a wife who has a very bad temper and always argues with her husband at home gets saved and revived, the very first concept she has is that from that day on she should not argue with her husband or lose her temper with her children anymore. She realizes, however, that she is unreliable, so she brings this matter to God in prayer. Yet the fact is that God never listens to this kind of prayer. Even if she does make some changes, it will be because she was the one who listened to her prayer. She may not lose her temper on the first day because she is as careful as a person carrying a glass full of water. On the second day, however, she will not do as well as she did on the first day, but she still may not lose her temper. Then on the third day she may ask God again to increase His keeping power so that she will not lose her temper. On the fourth day, however, she will probably lose her temper in a terrible way, even more terribly than she ever did before she prayed. After being revived many people have similar experiences. What is this? This is nothing but religion. We already have these concepts without having to touch God or read the Bible.
For example, suppose that one day a brother who treats his wife poorly is revived. Even though he does not pray, touch God, or touch Christ, he already has the concept that he should be kind to his wife. What kind of concept is this? Is it of revelation or of religion? It is a concept that comes from religion. Let me ask you again, after a person is saved or revived, if he spontaneously has the concept that he should be zealous without having been exhorted by others, is this something of religion or something of revelation? It is something of religion. Perhaps we all will be discouraged after we hear such a word. It seems that whatever we do is religious. Even our attempts to love our wife, be zealous, preach the gospel, and distribute tracts can all be something of religion. Then should we not try to do anything? Here is the problem. A person who does not do a certain thing cannot do it even if he wants to, and a person who does a certain thing cannot help doing it even if he does not want to do it anymore. For example, if someone does not love his wife, we may exhort him to love his wife. Yet regardless of how hard he tries, he simply cannot love his wife. However, after he is revived, if he genuinely touches Christ, it will be impossible for him not to love his wife even if we asked him not to.
(The Path of Our Growth in Life, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)