III. THE BARRENNESS OF THE DEGENERATING BELIEVERS
Finally, we need to overcome the barrenness of the degenerating believers. Today, many believers have become old and degenerating.
A. To Be Conquered in Desperation
This barrenness can be conquered only in desperation. Real desperation is an attitude that something is a matter of life or death.
1. Fearing to Be Cut Off from the Enjoyment of Christ’s Supply in This Age
We should fear to be cut off from the enjoyment of Christ’s supply in this age (John 15:2a). If we are barren, we should not believe that we are continuously enjoying Christ. We may feel that we are, but actually we are not. Our enjoyment of Christ has become stale. We are enjoying Him in the same way that we were years ago with no improvement. The Lord said that if a branch does not bear fruit, the Father will cut it off. We should have some fear regarding this.
2. Caring for the Discipline in the Coming Age
Matthew 25:24-30 tells clearly how the lazy, evil servant will be disciplined by the Lord in the coming age by being cast into outer darkness. We may know this portion of the Word, and yet not really have much regard for the discipline in the coming age. John 3:16 is the word of the Lord. Matthew 25:24-30 is also the word of the Lord. If John 3:16 is trustworthy, Matthew 25:24-30 should also be trustworthy. We have to bear fruit. Otherwise, we are running the risk of being cut off from the enjoyment of Christ. Also, Matthew 25 tells us that if we do not make a profit with the Lord’s talent, we will be disciplined in the coming age. This is a very serious matter.
We all have to hate deadness, lukewarmness, and barrenness. We must seek to be vitalized in desperation, considering this to be a matter of life or death. The practice of the vital groups will not work if we take it lightly. We must fellowship about the matter of barrenness with our companions. Then the Lord may lead us to make a decision to fast once a week. When Brother Watchman Nee was a student, he decided to fast and pray every Saturday for the next day’s preaching of the gospel. We may also feel led by the Lord to fast and pray for our fruit-bearing.
We must carry out the practice of the vital groups in desperation. We should pray desperately for the Lord to give us some fruit and remove our barrenness. This should be a matter of life or death with us. If we are desperate, I believe that the fish will come to us. The Lord will send them to us. But if we are indifferent, no fish will come to us. The hardest thing is for us to be made desperate. The most crucial thing for us today is to be desperate to conquer the deadness of Sardis, the lukewarmness of Laodicea, and the barrenness dealt with by the Lord in John 15.
(The Training and the Practice of the Vital Groups, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)