VII. THE APPLICATION OF THE DISCIPLINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Application means a continuous acceptance. If the nature of the discipline is temporal, it passes away after we have accepted it. However, if the nature of the discipline is of an extended and long duration, we need not only to accept it, but to know how to apply it.
Take for example the illustration we gave earlier concerning the automobile accident. That was a temporal discipline. While the brother who was hit was on the hospital bed, he realized the cause of being disciplined and submitted. Soon after, he was healed, and thus the discipline passed away. However, when God prepares a wife, a husband, or a co-worker for us, one who is daily at our side, this kind of discipline is not merely to be accepted once, but to be applied continuously. To apply the discipline means that we cooperate with the Holy Spirit and help Him to discipline and deal with ourselves. When little children take medicine, they sometimes need an adult to squeeze their nose and force the medicine down their throat. It is not so when adults take the medicine. Although the medicine is bitter, they still take it by themselves. Therefore, in applying the discipline of the Holy Spirit, we must not be as little children taking medicine, having to be forced by God to accept it; we must rather voluntarily and willingly accept and apply it.
We should believe that all the environment we are confronted with is not just a temporal, accidental arrangement of the Holy Spirit, but that it has been prearranged by the Holy Spirit in the eternal plan of God. Before we were saved, and even before we were born, God has already prearranged our parents, husband or wife, children, church, or co-worker. In the whole universe, God has exercised His wisdom greatly to look for all these wonderful disciplinary measures in order to deal with us. Hence, we should not always desire that God would change the opposite party or the environment. We must continue to accept and apply His discipline until we are torn down and broken.
VIII. THE EXAMINATION OF THE RESULT
When we accept the discipline of the Holy Spirit, we need to look back after a certain period of time and examine how much result we have obtained from this discipline. Some people have been disciplined continually, yet there is no result whatsoever. A certain brother may have passed through ten or twenty years of discipline and tasted all sorts of troubles, such as being jobless, poverty stricken, sick, in distress and other bitternesses of life; yet with him there is no indication of any crack, wound, or breaking. He is just like an unbreakable iron shell. No matter how many dealings he has passed through, he remains sealed and untouched, without any result from the discipline. This is indeed regrettable!
Do not think that we have no wound because there has not been any discipline. Actually, none of us does not have discipline. Our God has never erred; His hand can be seen in all that we encounter. As a rule, each of us should be broken and show the result of having been disciplined. The longer a brother has been in the church, the more brokenness he should have. To be broken is to be torn down. By breaking after breaking, our natural constitution is terminated. However, if we pass through discipline, yet have not been broken, neither do we show any scar of having been struck or torn down, it proves our lack of accepting and especially our lack of applying the discipline of the Holy Spirit. We have simply submitted everything to fate and allowed the environment to pass meaninglessly by us as time goes on.
Therefore, each one of us should always look back and examine the result obtained from the discipline. The result will show whether our spiritual condition is rich or poor. The more we accept the discipline of the Holy Spirit, the greater will be the result and the richer the spiritual condition. However, if we accept little discipline, the result will accordingly be small and the spiritual condition poor.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)