SIN, THE SELF, AND THE WORLD
Two great problems are sin in the body and self in the soul. In addition, as we will see in the next chapter, there is the problem of the world outside of us. These three things—sin, the self, and the world—are three strands of a strong cord that binds us. No one can release himself from this binding cord, a cord that is a composition of sin, the self, and the world.
Christians may be quite clear about sin, but not many are clear about the self and the world. In their experience one of the three strands—sin—has been broken, but the other two strands—the self and the world—have not been broken. As a result, they are still under the bondage of the self on the inside and of the world on the outside. In this chapter we need to see that the strand of the self must be cut. In the next chapter we will see that the strand of the world must also be cut. Only when all three strands of this binding cord have been cut will we be released from bondage.
THE SELF BEING THE SOUL WHICH IS
DECLARING INDEPENDENCE FROM GOD
We have seen that the origin of the self was Satan’s injecting his thought into the human mind. Now we need to see that the self is the soul being independent of God. Whenever the soul is not dependent on God but is independent of Him, the soul immediately becomes the self. This means that whenever we do something by ourselves without depending on God, we are in the self. No matter what we are and no matter what we do, as long as we are independent of God, we are in the self.
God created man as a soul to be always dependent on Him. Man is a soul (2:7), and as a soul he should depend on God for everything. We may use married life as an illustration of the dependence of the soul on God. A wife should depend on her husband. This is indicated by a bride’s wearing a head covering on her wedding day. Her wearing a head covering signifies that she will take her husband as her head and will depend on him. Otherwise, there will be two heads, and this will lead to contradicting, fighting, and even divorce. Just as a wife should depend on her husband, so the soul should depend on God.
However, the soul has become the self. The self is simply the soul declaring independence from God. If we have the vision of the self, we will see what the self is—the soul declaring its independence from God. If we see this vision, we will realize that we can no longer be independent of God. Then we will say, “I must depend on God all the time. Whatever I do, I must depend on God. Whatever I am, I must depend on God.”
THE SELF BEING THE GREATEST PROBLEM
TO THE BUILDING UP OF THE BODY
Because the self is something independent, the self is the greatest problem to the building up of the Body. We should be dependent not only on God but also on the Body, on the brothers and sisters. Whenever we are independent of the brothers and sisters, we are in the self, in the independent soul. For us today, being independent of the Body is equal to being independent of God. This is a matter not of doctrine but of experience. If you check with your experience, you will realize that when you were independent of the brothers and sisters, you had the sense that you were also independent of God. Likewise, when you were isolated from the brothers and sisters, you had the sense that you were also isolated from God.
When some hear this, they may say, “Isn’t the Lord omnipresent? Since the Lord is everywhere, I can have His presence anywhere. I can have the Lord’s presence in my home or in any other place.” However, having the Lord’s presence depends on whether or not you are dependent on the Body and are rightly related to the Body. If you are rightly related to the Body, you will have the Lord’s presence in every place. But if you are not rightly related to the Body, then no matter where you may be, you will not have the Lord’s presence. Therefore, having the Lord’s presence depends on our relationship with the Body. If we are wrong with the Body, we will not sense that we have the Lord’s presence. If we are right with the Body, wherever we may go we will have the sense of His presence.
In order to be dependent on the Lord, we must be dependent on the Body. If we are dependent on the Body, then we will also be dependent on the Lord. You may wonder why you do not have a deep sense of the Lord’s presence. You do not have the Lord’s presence, because you are isolated from the Body, because you are not properly related to the members of the Body. Endeavor to be built up and to be right with the Body. If you are right with the Body and are built up in the Body, you will surely sense the Lord’s presence.
(The Heavenly Vision, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)