Second Corinthians 4 shows us clearly that where there is reality, there is the supply. Paul said, “Always bearing about in the body the putting to death of Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (v. 10). This shows us that when the death of Jesus is manifested, His life is also manifested. In other words, the life of Jesus is seen in us because the death of Jesus is seen in us. When a group of people knows the death of Jesus, life is made manifest in them. Paul then said, “So then death operates in us, but life in you” (v. 12). In verse 10, he spoke of the manifestation of life. In verse 12 he spoke of the supply of life. When the manifestation is in us, it is life. When the manifestation is in others, it is supply. But the source is the same—the death of Jesus. Therefore, hollow preachings are vain. Preachings that do not touch any reality do not render any supply to the Body of Christ. When the death of Jesus operates in us, the life of Jesus operates in others. This is not a matter of preaching or work, but a matter of the supply of life. Of course, preaching has its use. But if there is no reality behind one’s preaching, there will not be the supply of life. When we have the “death of Jesus” in us, the Body of Christ receives the supply. Where there is reality, there is supply. If we do not know what the “death of Jesus” means and if we have not borne the cross in silence, we do not have the supply. Brothers and sisters, we have to remember that as far as spiritual reality is concerned, no work should be “performed” by us. When we pass through something in a real way, the Body of Christ spontaneously receives the supply. On our side, we should know the “death of Jesus,” and on the side of the Body of Christ, there will be the supply spontaneously.
Therefore, there is no need for us to tell others that we are forgiving others. There is no need for us to blow the trumpet and tell others that we are loving them. We do not need to draw attention to our bearing of the cross. If we touch reality, spontaneously, others will receive the supply. It does not matter whether or not we know that others are supplied, and it does not matter whether or not we feel it. One fact is certain: “Death operates in us, but life in you.”
Our trouble is that we know too many doctrines already. We act merely according to teachings and do not have the supply of reality. We need to realize that supply is not superficial behavior; supply is the reality. If we know what “the death of Jesus” means before the Lord, “the life of Jesus” will operate in the church spontaneously. If it is life, there will be the supply spontaneously. Supply gives life to others; it is not an exhibition of our own work. Supply edifies others, rather than broadcasts our own experience. The most important thing for us to do is have the supply through possessing the reality. Every time we pass through “the death of Jesus,” there will always be some brothers and sisters who receive the supply of life. There will be no need for us to wait to write an autobiography before others will receive the supply. As soon as we receive life from the Lord, the church will have the supply of life.
We must realize that the help many receive transcends consciousness and feelings. As long as we have the reality, others will receive the supply whether or not we feel it. Life is a fact. Whenever we are truly bearing the cross before the Lord, the Body of Christ will receive the supply. If we do not know the meaning of the supply of life, we will not understand what Paul meant when he said, “Death operates in us, but life in you.” Moreover, he told the Colossian saints, “I now rejoice in my sufferings on your behalf and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His Body, which is the church” (Col. 1:24). What is this? This is the supply of life. If we see that the Body of Christ is one, spontaneously there will be the supply. This is why Paul was able to suffer for the sake of the Body of Christ, and this is why he could fill up the lack of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh. If we do not see that the Body of Christ is one, we will not realize how the lack of the afflictions of Christ is being filled up.
May the Lord open our eyes to see that the Body is one. Those who truly see that the Body is one will see that everything they have has been received (1 Cor. 4:7). Everything we have is received; everything we have is a supply to others. The reality that we alone touch before God is a supply to the whole Body. The supply of the Body transcends any physical contact. Paul told the church in Corinth, “For I, on my part, though being absent in the body but present in the spirit, have already judged, as if being present” (5:3). Paul touched the reality of the Body. Therefore, he could say that he was present with them in his spirit, as if he was present with them in his body. This is not a wish. This is touching the reality. If we see that the Body of Christ is one, our spirit will be with the Body, and this is supply. This supply transcends words, transcends work, and transcends all physical contact. If we know God and are in contact with Him, all of our experiences will become the riches of the Body.
(The Holy Spirit and Reality, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)