THE BASIC NEED
We do praise the Lord that many have been turned to the Lord and attracted to the church life. This is really wonderful. Several are also having many outward changes, and this too is wonderful. Our basic need, however, is not just an outward turn, but a turn within that we may see what God desires. It is not what you are, but what Christ is within you. We must learn by the help of the Lord to repudiate and hate ourselves. Regardless of whether our self is good or bad, we must hate the self, because it is an enemy and adversary to Christ. We not only have the outward enemy, but the inward adversary to Christ. So we must say to the Lord, “Lord, I hate myself. Whatever I do, whatever I am, whatever I speak is hateful. I hate what I do, I hate what I am, and I hate what I speak. I hate it because it is an enemy to You.”
We all need such a basic turn so that Christ can become our life. It is not just an outward turn, but an inward turn. It is not sufficient to turn from Babylon to the church. This is wonderful, and I praise the Lord for it. It is good to turn from Babylon to Jerusalem, but this is still just an outward turn. We all need a deeper, inward turn within to realize that Christ, as a Person, is our life. We not only have another life, but also another Person. Jesus, the unique Person, the divine and human Person, is now our life. To take Him as our life, we must take Him as a whole Person. This is why Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20). It is no more I, but Christ. I was the old person, and now Christ is the new Person. The old person has been nullified, crossed out on the cross. Now it is the new Person, Christ, who is living in me. Paul did not say that it is the life of Christ that lives in me. No, he said that it is no more I, but Christ that lives in me. It is no more the old person, but now a new Person who is wonderful and unique. This new Person is divine as well as human, and this unique, strong Person lives in me as my life. Oh, may the Lord open our eyes! We must go to the Lord and say, “Lord, show me something deeper, show me something higher that I may have such a basic inward turn.”
Many times I have seen things in the churches which were not so good. Yet I never dared to correct or regulate, because I realized that outward correction and regulation mean nothing. The most precious thing is an inward turn. We must forget our old person, which is our self, and turn to our new Person, which is Christ. If we take this new Person as our life, we will see the result. There will be the flow of life. To take Christ as our life releases the flow of life. Later on we will see that by this flow of life comes transformation. Pieces of clay are transformed into precious stones. But this is not by any outward doing. I thank God for our turn from Babylon to Jerusalem; yet we all need a basic inward turn from our old person to the new Person. This is life. Life is not knowledge, it is not gifts, neither is it power. Life is a wonderful, unique, and strong Person.
A PERSONAL CONTACT
Since this life is such a Person, we must contact Him. He is not a teaching to learn, and He is not some kind of faith to believe in. Life is a living Person to contact and deal with. If I am staying with a certain brother, I must continually contact him as a living person. If he is away, I still must call him frequently; otherwise, I cannot say that I know this brother very well. I may have considerable knowledge about him, but how much I know means nothing. To really know him as a person, I must contact him all the time. I cannot say that, because I have known him for twenty years, I have no need to contact him now. If so, I will miss his presence. I constantly need a personal contact with him.
Since Jesus as our life is a Person, we must contact Him. Do not tell others that you have known Jesus for twenty years. That means very little. You may have known Jesus for over twenty years and yet today miss His presence. Perhaps I came to know Him just five minutes ago, but I am in His presence. Thus, I get Him, and you miss Him. We must forget about our knowledge and past experiences. We even need to forget all that we know about Jesus. It means little. We need the present presence of Jesus. We need His presence at this very moment and day by day. We need the present Person all the time, no matter how much we have known Him and experienced Him in the past. We need a new contact with Christ all day, moment by moment. He is a living Person within us, so we must contact Him. We must tell Him, “Lord Jesus, I love You! O Lord Jesus, I love You! I hate and repudiate myself. I put myself aside so that I may take You as my life, moment by moment and day by day.”
Thus we can see that life is not knowledge, gifts, or power. I appreciate these things in their proper place, but I can tell you from my experiences that nothing but life can build up the church. And this life is just Christ as the unique, living Person. When we take Him as our life, we are in the process of being built up. Praise the Lord! This is all we need.
(Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)