THE ABSENCE OF FEELING
I would like to tell you the secret of abiding. This is based upon my experience, not on the black and white pages of the Bible. Matters concerning life are not characterized by feeling. If you have a stomachache, you know something is wrong. If you have a pain in the chest, you need to see a doctor. When you are in good health, however, you are not conscious of any particular feeling. The same is true when you are abiding. As soon as you are out of Christ, you are aware of it. If you criticize a brother, you know deep within that you are not abiding. Even in a small matter, like smiling a little, you may sense that you are not abiding. You may say yes to a question and sense that your answer was a political one, spoken apart from the abiding.
When you find yourself in a difficult situation, do not react. If you feel you are not abiding in Christ, do not say anything. If your wife starts an argument with you and you feel you are not abiding, do not answer or even look at her. Do not even pray. Let her keep talking. Do not say, “Praise the Lord!” That would be coming from your flesh and would only further aggravate her. Practicing not to do anything is the negative secret of abiding in the Lord!
If you feel drawn to love something apart from the abiding, refrain from loving it. “Lord, I turn away from whatever does not come from my abiding in You.”
By this divine birth two spirits have been joined into one. The divine part within has the desire to worship the Father; the divine Spirit would worship by your human spirit. This divine part also loves and appreciates the words spoken by the Lord, His instant practical speaking. This divine part further tells you that the Father and the Son are making an abode with you, and that you are abiding in Him. Whenever you sense within that you are not abiding, say, “Lord, forgive me and cleanse me. I don’t want to be out of the abiding. I want to stay in You all the time.”
In this abiding we pray without ceasing. Our prayer while we are abiding is simply our spontaneous trust in the Lord.
SIGNS OF ABIDING
How many of you will practice this? Those who do will find that they are in practice one with the Lord. They are one in the mingled spirit. At times they will not say even a word. They will not take any action. They will not express an opinion. They simply remain in the spirit that involves the two spirits. In this abiding they have holiness; victory over sin, the world, Satan, the flesh, and the self; spirituality; the actuality of being a member of the Body of Christ; the normal Christian life; and the proper church life. No problem remains, for they are one with the Son of God, who has conquered all the negative things. Instead of striving, they enjoy what He has accomplished. Their unceasing prayer is the expression of their constant trust in this living One who is now one Spirit with them.
This should be the experience of all of us. I have tried various ways in the past to overcome sin and be victorious. Now we have learned that the secret of all the hows is in the abiding.
When we abide in this mingled spirit, every spiritual blessing is ours, because it is wrapped up in this dear One. In Him, this all-inclusive life-giving Spirit, is the processed God; the uplifted humanity; the all-inclusive death and resurrection; redemption; and ascension. Let us abide in Him and enjoy His all-inclusiveness.
LOVE AND VISION
To believe in the Lord is adequate for us to have the divine birth. But to enjoy the divine birth by abiding, we need to love Him. The Gospel of John first tells us to believe in Him, then to love Him. “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him” (14:23). This making of the mutual abode depends upon a constant love on our part. (On His side the love is always there.)
Keep this vision always before you. Do not allow any veil to cover your eyes. Do not be side-tracked by the enemy. Do not say you cannot stand a certain brother, that the church life is not so good in your locality, or that the recovery has gone downhill these past years. Any such remark will keep you out of the abiding. One complaint can cut your lifeline. To criticize or murmur is like slashing your wrists. Your life will ebb away. It is not for you to evaluate whether the church is high or low, or whether the brothers are spiritual or fleshly. Your business is to abide in Him. If the church is really poor, by your abiding it will be uplifted and enriched. The remedy for the church comes from the abiding.
Stay in this divine place, involving the two spirits. Worship here. Receive the instant word of the Lord. As you live in Him and He dwells in you, there is a mutual abode. In this place you are holy. Your Christ will be no longer merely doctrinal. He will be your experience all the time. You will be able to testify that you are one with Him and He with you, even that you are abiding in this oneness.
I believe we have all experienced abiding in this way. The problem has been that we have not made it a constant matter. Now we must come to the place of constant abiding. The whole world will be under our feet! We shall not utter a vain word. Whatever we are will be Christ. Whatever we do will be Christ. Whatever we say will be Christ. “For to me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21) will be our testimony. Galatians 2:20 will be true of us, that we have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless we live; yet not we, but Christ lives in us. It will be hard to distinguish whether this is He or we. We and He are one. This is the abiding. The Lord’s recovery needs this. There is the need of this abiding life that the church life may be enriched.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)