SUFFERINGS FROM THE RELIGIOUS WORLD
If you are one who is simply seeking spirituality for your personal satisfaction, you will not suffer much. Rather, all the people of God will appreciate you and speak well of you because you are seeking spirituality. If you would go further to meet the need of others, you would be even more admired. All the religious people would never give you any trouble. But once you begin to see the need for the building up of the Body and to give yourself to this, you will suffer. Most of the suffering will not come from the world, but from Christianity.
The Lord Jesus suffered for the producing of the Body, not from the Gentile world, but from the Jewish religious world. Paul and the other apostles suffered very little from the Gentiles, but they suffered very much from the Jewish religion and even to some extent from the Christian religion. Philippians chapter 1 shows us that even some Christian preachers persecuted him. That was simply because Paul was for the building up of the Body.
Today it is exactly the same. If we would seek just to be spiritual and to care for others, not seeking to care for the Body, all Christianity would be happy with us. They would welcome us, invite us, and make a great name for us. We could become a famous preacher, pastor, or missionary. But once we see the vision of the Body and forget about all our individual seeking and caring for others in order to build up the Body, all Christianity will rise up against us. We must suffer to fill up what is lacking of the suffering of Christ for His Body’s sake.
Even after the seeking one in the Song of Songs has reached the fourth attainment of being a garden, the Body still has not been attended to. There has been no building up of the city. She needs a further step to fulfill God’s eternal purpose of building up the Body. If we would take this further step, surely we must share in the sufferings of Christ. This is why the Apostle Paul used the term “the fellowship of His sufferings” in Philippians 3:10. We must share and participate in His sufferings, not for redemption, for that has already been accomplished, but for the building up of the Body, which has not yet been fully accomplished. We all must participate in the fellowship of His sufferings that we may be conformed to His death for His Body’s sake.
Christianity will not condemn us for our personal spirituality. They will not condemn us for our preaching the gospel to others and helping others to know the Lord. None of this would offend them. But when we go on to care for the ground of the church for the building up of the Body, they will be thoroughly offended. Just this one phrase, “one city, one church,” offends them all and will stir up all Christianity to oppose us. They would say, “What? Are you the church and we are not?” But what can we do? Can we only care for our personal spirituality, go to the mission field, set up a seminary to teach others, or teach some Bible study classes? What shall we do? If we would care for the Body, all our dear friends will become our enemies. They will do this not because we are heretical or because we are wrong in seeking spirituality and preaching the gospel. They will do it simply because we are for the building up of the one, unique Body.
THE CONSUMMATE ATTAINMENT
Finally, in the consummate attainment, the Lord likened the seeking one to six things: the city, the army, the dawn, the moon, the sun, and the dance of two armies. Now she is full of light, and there are no more shadows. Her day has fully broken. She is a builded city for the Lord and a strong army to the enemy. She even appears as the dawn, the moon, and the sun, as well as celebrating the victory by the dance of two armies. She has really reached the final attainment.
(Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)