Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), by Watchman Nee

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The more we consider the function of our emotional life, the more we know its fluctuation and undependability. If believers do not live according to the spirit but according to their emotion, is it any wonder that their living undulates like the waves? Many believers feel sad about their living because their experiences are so unstable. Sometimes they seem to be in the third heavens transcending everything of the human life; at other times they seem to descend and share in the lot of ordinary men. Their life is a series of ups and downs. It does not require something outwardly heavy and big to change them; as long as a little thing is contrary to their wish, they are unable to withstand it. Subsequently, they fall.

This phenomenon relates to the fact that a believer is controlled by emotion and not by the spirit. Since his emotion is still the major element of his life and has not been taken to the cross, the spirit cannot be strengthened by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the believer’s spirit is still weak; he cannot control his whole being, nor can he overcome his emotion so that it becomes secondary, completely under the control of the spirit. If a believer can hand over his emotion to the cross through the Holy Spirit and accept the Holy Spirit as the Lord over all things, he surely can avoid this kind of undulating life.

Emotion may be considered as the greatest enemy to the life of a spiritual believer. A believer should walk according to the spirit. To do this, he must heed every leading of the spirit within him. The sense of the spirit is gentle, fine, and keen. Unless the believer attentively waits to receive and discern the revelation of his spiritual intuition, he can never obtain the guidance of his spirit. Hence, the total silence of the emotion is a prerequisite to walking according to the spirit. The small and delicate sense of the spirit is often confused and ignored by the believer because his feelings are roaring like billows. We cannot ultimately attribute any fault to the softness of our spirit’s voice. Actually we can adequately feel the sense of the spirit, but when other feelings are mixed with it, we cannot possibly have discernment. Whoever keeps his emotion calm will see that it is easy to detect the voice of the intuition.

The rising and falling of the emotion not only hinders the believer from walking according to the spirit, but also directly causes him to walk according to the flesh. Since he cannot walk according to the spirit, he naturally walks according to the flesh. If he cannot secure guidance in his spirit, he naturally walks according to the impulse of his emotion. Whenever the spirit ceases to guide, the emotion starts to guide. At that moment a believer will spontaneously take the emotion as his inspiration and the impulses of the soul as the moving of the spirit. An emotional believer can be likened to a pond full of mud and sand. As long as no one comes to disturb the water, it looks clear; but once it is disturbed, it becomes muddy.

(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 26, by Watchman Nee)