Authority and Submission, by Watchman Nee


For unbelievers and Israelites, submission is a difficult matter because they are not related to other unbelievers and Israelites in life. We, however, are related in life. Therefore, it is not a difficult matter to submit, for within we are all one, sharing the same life and the same Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit directs all things. Mutual submission brings in a happy state and a lifetime of rest for us. If we take all burdens upon ourselves, it will be a tiring job. If they are distributed among the members, it will be a relaxing matter. If we are willing to be restricted by the Lord, we will have true rest. Hence, to submit to the authority of the members is a great release. Otherwise, we stand in the position of others, while causing ourselves to be under great strain. For us, submission is spontaneous, and disobedience is awkward. Why do we have to devour one another? Why do we have to criticize one another? For us these should be awkward things.

The Lord has taught us not only to learn submission in the family and in the world, but also in the Body, in the church. If we learn submission well in the Body, we will learn it well everywhere else. This is the only place to start. Hence, the church is the place of testing. It is also the place of perfection. If we do not learn well here, anything done elsewhere will not be successful. If the lesson is learned well in the church, the problem of the kingdom is solved, the problems in the world will be solved, and the problems in the universe will be solved.

In the past authority has been too objective to many, and submission also has been objective. We have tried to apply outward submission to a subjective body. Today authority has become a matter of life. In other words, it has become an inward matter. In the Body of Christ, authority and submission meet in one Body, and both have become subjective, living, and united. This is the highest expression of God’s authority. Authority and submission are in one Body, and they are being brought to the highest peak. Let us be perfected here. Otherwise, there will be no way for us to go on. The place to meet authority is in the Body. The Head as the source of authority is in the church. The members who operate according to the measure of each one part, with a mutual supply between those who represent authority and those who submit to it, are also in the church. If we do not meet authority here, there is no hope for us elsewhere.

(Authority and Submission, Chapter 8, by Watchman Nee)