TAKING THE COMMANDMENTS IN THE WORD AS THE LORD HIMSELF
I have been a Christian for more than forty years. Even up until now, I do not know the proper language to express what I have learned. However, I may illustrate it in this way. All the commandments of the Scriptures, both in the Old and New Testaments, are the Lord Himself. To love your husband is a commandment, but this commandment is the Lord Himself. If it is not the Lord Himself but merely a commandment in letters, it will kill and condemn. This never helps or nourishes us. We should tell the Lord, “Lord, this commandment to love my husband must be Yourself. So Lord, I will not take this word apart from You. I must take You as this word, and I must take this word with You. Lord, if You do not come into me, if You do not impart Yourself into me, then even if I seem to keep this word, I still cannot love my husband. The love which I need for my husband must be You, Lord. You must come into me. I am not taking merely this commandment; I am taking You as this commandment.” How can we take the Lord as the commandment? It is by praying about what we understand. While we pray in this way, we will absorb the Lord into us.
We should not deal with the word alone. Rather, while we are dealing with the word, we have to deal with the Lord. When we deal with any commandment, we must deal with the Lord at the same time to make the Lord one with His word. As we have illustrated, a wife may have fought with her husband for many years, but then she becomes a Christian. She loves the Lord to a certain degree, and she knows that she should read the word. When she reads in Titus 2 that she should love her husband and her children, she is inspired by this word. However, it is not good enough that she keeps this word in her mind and makes the decision to keep the Lord’s word from that day onward. If she does only this, she has a kind of religion, not a salvation. Even the teachings of Confucius among the Chinese are almost the same as this. This is the wrong way.
The right way is that when we read this word, we realize that the Lord can never be separated from His word. Every word of the Lord is something breathed out of Himself. It is the breath of the living Lord. All the commandments must be the Lord Himself. Therefore, we take this word to the Lord to pray with and about this word. We contact the Lord through this word and spend time with the Lord by taking this word, praying, praising, thanking, and looking to Him. In this way, it seems that we are taking the word into our mind, but even the more we are absorbing the Lord into us. There is no need to make up our mind to love our husband. If we simply read by praying to the Lord about what we understand, we will absorb Him into us. Eventually the Lord will fill us, and we will love our husband spontaneously and unconsciously. We will love him because we are absorbing the Lord and being filled with Him. If we pray for twenty minutes in the morning about, for example, loving our husband and our children, we will be filled not only with the word of the Lord but with the Lord Himself. Then the Lord Himself in His word will be our love.
PRAYING BEING THE REVOLUTIONIZING WAY TO READ THE WORD
The revolutionizing way to read the word is to pray. Pray about every word you understand. If you do not understand something, then forget about that part. The Bible is too rich. Some friends brought me into an American supermarket and said, “Brother Lee, do you see how rich America is? See how big the supermarket is with so many items.” I tell you, the Bible is bigger than the supermarket and richer than America. There are so many items in it. I have been laboring on this book for more than forty years, but today I still do not understand many things. Many items are new to me day by day. Therefore, there is no need to be tempted to know more. The supermarkets in America are not poor. There is no need to search for things. There are plenty of items; just pick something. In the same way, simply come to any corner of the “supermarket” of the Bible and stretch out your hand, and you will get something.
We should not read the word only to read the word. The right way to read the word is that as soon as we understand something, we should put it into prayer. We should not spend more time in reading than in prayer. Rather, we should pray more than read. We must learn to change our way.
Some may say that they do not understand much about the Bible. Praise the Lord that you do not understand much. I am afraid that many people seem to know the Bible too much. I can assure you that by taking the word with prayer the Bible will be very open to you after only five years. You will know this book in a living way. The first time you read it you may not understand much; still you understand something. The second time, however, you will understand more, and the third time even more. Even so, I would advise you not to try to understand more. Rather, always try to pray more.
(Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)