TAKING IN THE COMPOUND SPIRIT
A few days ago I had a painful toothache. I had to have it treated in the emergency room of the hospital. I had gotten an infection from a dead tooth which was decaying. After some surgery, I was given thirty tablets of antibiotics to kill the infection. There was no need to ask the surgeon to kill the bacteria. I myself had to take the tablets. Then the killing power would get into me and take care of the germs. In our natural being there are many germs. The antibiotic is the compound Spirit! We must take Him in.
Besides an antibiotic to kill the germs, we need nourishment. Antibiotics kill infection, but they do not provide us with nourishment. We need the proper food to supply us and maintain us in good health. The antibiotic of the death of Christ kills the germs, and the nourishing food of the resurrection of Christ supplies us.
Of course, we must be sure to take the antibiotics and the food. If I had left my tablets on the table instead of taking them as I had been directed, there would have been no killing of my infection. I may be provided with the most nourishing food, but if I do not eat it, it will not do me any good. Without the medicine and the food, my infection might flare up again in a few days.
How do we take in the compound Spirit?
Over fifty years ago I heard our pastor say that Jesus is the heavenly manna, the bread of life that came down from heaven. He spoke many times from John 6 but never told us how to take this bread or eat the manna. I really did not discover the secret until 1958, thirty-three years after I got saved. Then I gave a message in Taipei on eating Jesus. After the meeting a brother who was a professor came up and shook hands with me. He said, “Brother Lee, tonight’s message is good.” I waited, because I knew something was not good! “But to use the word eat,” he continued, “especially to say that we must eat Jesus, is a little wild.”
“Brother,” I replied, “I am not the first one who is wild. The Lord Jesus was. He said in John 6:57, ‘He who eats Me shall also live because of Me.’ The Lord did tell us to eat Him.”
You may have heard sermons on Jesus as the bread of life. Were you ever told how to eat this bread? You were probably told that to eat the living bread is to meditate on the Word of God. I tried that way. I would read a portion of the Word and then close my eyes to meditate. Before very many minutes went by, the fowls of the air would come to visit! My father-in-law would come to mind, or my thoughts would travel to Hong Kong, or London, or New York!
It was not until 1958 that the Lord showed me how necessary it is that we eat Him. How are we to eat? From John 6 it is clear that the Lord Jesus cannot be separated from the Spirit. After saying that we must eat of this bread (v. 51) and that He Himself is eatable (vv. 55-57), the Lord goes on to say, “It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life” (v. 63). In this one verse are two key words: the Spirit and the word. We have the word in the Bible and the Spirit within us. These are the means by which we can eat and drink of the Lord.
By Pray-reading the Word
The way to eat the Lord is to pray the Word. Even before 1958 we did have some experience of coming to the Bible in a prayerful way. We would read a portion, and then pray over the verses we had read. We would even use the verses themselves as our prayer. We came to the Word not with a reading mind but with a praying spirit. In this way we were nourished.
After 1958 the saints who were helped by that message began to practice eating Jesus by eating the Word. Gradually pray-reading became common among us. We found out that the best way to get spiritual nourishment from the Word of God is not only to read it but also to pray it. When we read, we use our eyes to see, our mind to understand, and our heart to receive. When we pray, we exercise our spirit to digest what we understand and receive. To pray-read the Word of God is to exercise our spirit to digest the Word rather than our mind to understand it. All of us who pray-read can testify what nourishment we receive from it. To eat, then, is to take the Lord in by praying His Word.
(The Mending Ministry of John, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)