Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, by Witness Lee

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Christians today often speak of doing God’s will. Thirty-five years ago I also spoke in this way, but now I say that to speak of God’s will in this way is not accurate. We may illustrate God’s will in this way: If someone comes to me and asks me what my will is, I may reply, “Do you really mean business about doing my will? If so, here is my will,” and I will begin to paint him. My will is to make him a painted person. Similarly, if a brother asks me, “What color do you want me to have?”, I will indicate what color I want by painting it on him. By my painting, he knows what color I want. In the same way, if we ask the Lord what His will is about getting married, He will paint us. By this painting we will know His will about marriage.

First John 2:27 says, “And as for you, the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone teach you; but as His anointing teaches you concerning all things and is true and is not a lie, and even as it has taught you, abide in Him.” What does it mean that the anointing teaches us? It means that the painting teaches us. We are such foolish people. We always think that God is in the heavens, far from us. We may foolishly pray, “Should I go to college in San Francisco or in Los Angeles? O Lord, tell me and prove it to me by the outward environment.” I prayed in this way when I was young. Whenever I prayed to seek the Lord’s will, I prostrated myself on the ground. I was so humble and said, “Lord, You are so high, and I am so low.” This is the natural way to pray without any revelation. Today when I seek the Lord’s will, there is no need to bow down, kneel, or prostrate myself. Whenever I say, “Lord, what must I do?”, He paints me, that is, He anoints me with Himself.

A brother may ask, “Tell me whether or not I should get married. Tell me in plain English words.” This is foolish. Rather, the Lord will answer this prayer neither in English nor in Chinese, but with “paint”; He will simply paint him. By this anointing he knows what the Lord wants him to do. The next day he may ask, “Should I eat Chinese food or American food?” or “Should I buy a suit and shoes?” Again the answer will come by painting. The Lord’s teaching and His speaking are the painting, the anointing. Read 1 John 2:27 again; it says that His anointing teaches us. After a month’s time the brother will be full of the anointing. He will be a “painted” person, full of “paint.” This is exactly the meaning of this portion of the Word. When we ask the Lord what to do, He simply says, “Let Me anoint you.” After this kind of painting, knowing what to do is secondary; the primary thing is that we have more paint.


Many times when I was young, I was bothered that we are not very obedient to the Lord. Many times we know the Lord’s will, but we are not willing to obey Him. Later though, I was happy. I said, “Lord, whether I obey or disobey, as long as You anoint me, I have the ointment.” If we ask about the Lord’s will concerning marriage, He will paint us. After this painting, whether or not we agree with Him, we have been painted. If we obey, we are painted, and if we do not obey, we are still painted. Our aim is to do something, but His aim is the painting. Our aim and intention are to know God’s will, but His intention is to anoint us with Himself. We may disobey His will, but as long as He anoints us, He is happy. God’s intention is not for us to obey His will and do something for Him. God’s intention is to anoint us with Himself.

I know many real stories along this line. A young man was saved and began to love the Lord. Then one day he wanted to go to the movies again. He prayed, “Lord, is it right for me to go to the movies?” We cannot find the word movie in the Bible. In a peculiar way, we may dream about whether or not to go to the movies, but God may never tell us His will concerning movies. Rather, since we seek the Lord’s will, He may say, “Do you wish to know My will about movies? All right, I will simply paint you. I will anoint you within.” This young man had a certain anointing within him, and this anointing, this moving within, gave him the understanding that it was not right to go to the movies. However, he eventually went. He disobeyed, so he became sorrowful, and he came and confessed. I told him, “Praise the Lord, brother, I am so happy that you disobeyed. That you disobeyed means that you knew God’s will. How did you know God’s will? Did you find movie in the Bible? Rather, you sensed it. As long as you sensed it, that is good. This means God anointed you. Regardless of whether you obeyed or disobeyed, the painting was accomplished.” What is the painting? It is the imparting, the applying, of God to us. Therefore, I told the young brother, “Brother, I am very happy. I believe that after this you will have more of God in you. Before yesterday you may have had only a little of the element of God within you, but this morning I realize that there is more of God’s element within you. I don’t care whether you obeyed or disobeyed. I just care whether or not God has been painted in you.” The brother asked, “Then what about the next time?” I said, “Brother, do not worry about next time; just go on.”

God’s intention is to paint us with Himself as the paint. It is rather hard for God to speak to us. Sometimes we say that God speaks to us. That is right, but we all know that this kind of speaking is not in clear words, neither in Chinese nor English, nor in letters. In what way does God speak to us? It is by painting us with Himself—by moving, acting, working, and operating within us. In this sense, the Lord does not care whether or not we obey His word. As long as we come to Him and seek His will, He will paint us; that is good enough. He cares not for our marriage or schooling but for this painting. He wants to make us painted persons, full of paint. Whether or not we marry is not what matters. One day in the New Jerusalem the Lord will not see our wife or our BA, MA, or Ph.D.; He will see only His painting. He cares about this one thing, that is, that He paints us with Himself.

(Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)