SUBDUED BY COMING
TO GOD’S CHOSEN PLACE
We may think that this requirement is ridiculous. God’s thought, however, is higher than ours. By being limited to God’s chosen place, we are kept from abusing God’s grace, and we are subdued with respect to our desires, temperament, and disposition. We all have our particular natural disposition, temperament, and characteristics. But no matter what our peculiarities may be, we all must be subdued. If we remain in our natural life and in our natural disposition with its particular characteristics, it will be impossible for us to have the kind of worship God is seeking. We all must be subdued by coming to the unique place, to the unique ground. This means that we all need to be subdued by the church. If we are not willing to be subdued, we shall fight with the elders, with the other brothers and sisters, and even with our husband or wife. Even concerning spiritual things, the things of God, we shall have disagreements with others. We may prefer matters to be a certain way, but someone else may prefer another way. How we all must be subdued by taking the way of the church!
In the Life-study of Colossians we pointed out that the peace of Christ must arbitrate in our hearts. However, apart from the church life, it is difficult to experience the arbitrating peace of Christ. Yes, the peace of Christ does arbitrate within our hearts, but it does so in the context of the church life. In a very real sense, it is the church that is the arbitrator. The way of the church is the way of being subdued. Because we are subdued by the ground of the church, we are preserved in oneness. The unique place of God’s choice keeps us from abusing God’s grace and it also subdues us. Furthermore, this unique way gives us the real enjoyment of Christ. When we have the genuine enjoyment of Christ, we are one. We are one in the enjoyment of Christ, that is, in the eating of the rich produce of the good land. But as we have pointed out, we can present our offerings of this produce only in the place of God’s choice. Like the psalmist, we must bring our offerings to the house of God.
INCENSE TO GOD
Psalm 66:15 says, "I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams: I will offer bullocks with goats." I am fond of the phrase "with the incense of rams." The Chinese version speaks of the fragrant offering of rams. When our offering becomes an incense to God, it means that there is fragrance in our offering. When we bring our burnt offerings to the church and offer them to the Lord in the church, there is incense to match our offerings. This incense is fragrant and pleasant to the Lord.
It is possible to present offerings to the Lord outside the church, but with these offerings there is no fragrance. However, when we offer something to the Lord in the church, we sense that we present our offerings "with the incense of rams." Oh, the fragrance of the offerings presented to God in the church! Although this fragrance is especially for God, we can sense it also. We cannot experience such incense apart from the church life. Only in the church life can the offerings be presented to God in a proper way, in a way that is fragrant and satisfying to Him.
(The Genuine Ground of Oneness, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)