THE CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE BEING
GOD’S WORKING HIMSELF INTO US
A Christian should not think that as long as something is good, he can do it, and that as long as something is not good, he should not do it. God does not care for right or wrong. What He cares for is to work Himself into us through the things that we encounter.
We can consider the experience of Jacob. He passed through many experiences from his youth to his old age. He did many evil things; he deceived his father, his father-in-law, his brother, and his wives. After so much experience and so many dealings from the Lord, we can say that there were not many things in his life that he had done right. Nearly everything he did was wrong. But the one precious thing is that God had worked Himself into Jacob. This is why in his old age his name was changed to Israel. By that time, he was no longer a man only, but a man filled with God. He became the prince of God, God’s Israel. Maturity is not to change from being an evil man to being a good man. It is to be filled with God through His many and prolonged dealings.
Today the material, the method, the goal, and the power of our work is simply God Himself. If a carpenter makes a table and it is short of a leg, he would not use his own leg to be the material. But when God created man, He used Himself as the material. When God gives you power, He is actually giving you Himself. Power is simply God Himself. The material with which God works is simply God Himself. Suppose you do not have love, and you ask God for love. He does not give you a bag of love. Rather, He gives you Himself. Many people pray to God like beggars begging money from a rich man. When they have the money, they turn away from the giver. Many people think that once they have the love and the power, they can put God aside. We have to realize that love, humility, patience, and holiness are all God Himself. Anyone who does not allow God to work in him will not have lasting humility. Perhaps he has a temporal humility, but it is not an eternal humility. All the spiritual virtues, such as faith, love, and holiness, are simply God Himself. The same is true with prayer. Only when a man allows God to work Himself into him will he have real prayers. All the virtues, love, and goodness are not individual items of things. When God comes in and comes out of a man, that is love, that is goodness, and that is virtue. What is faith? Some say that faith is just to believe in God’s word and His promises. But I have to tell you that faith is simply God Himself. When God comes in and out of you, that is faith. What is patience? When God comes in and out of you, that is patience. What is prayer? Many people say that prayer is to talk to God. But the real prayer is for God to come in and out of us. Our real prayer is one that allows God to pass through us. All those who do not allow God to pass through them do not have genuine, worthwhile prayer. What then is real prayer? Real prayer is simply God praying to God. Andrew Murray said that real prayer is the Christ in us praying to the Christ on the throne. This means that the God in you prays to the God in the heavens. Real spiritual power is a matter of God passing through us. His passing through is the power. The wife’s submission, the husband’s love, and all other virtues are a matter of God passing through us. This passing through will fill us with God’s fullness, and in the end God will become our content.
Brothers and sisters, I can tell you that there are many people who know the Bible and who understand its teachings. But there are few people who have God’s fullness in their mind, their character, and their nature. The way many people understand the teachings of the Bible is like wearing gold rings on their fingers without having gold in their heart. You may be serving God, building up churches, helping the brothers and sisters, and bearing some responsibilities in the church. But the key to all these works is to allow God to work Himself into you. When a man builds a chapel, he needs to use many kinds of materials, such as bricks, stone, and iron. Today, we are building the church of God. As such, the material must be God Himself.
Many times we hear people say, "So-and-so is a good brother. He loves his wife, and he is never angry with her." I would say, "Oh, no! I am afraid that this brother has never allowed God to pass through his love toward his wife. He may never have lost his temper with his wife, but God’s element has not increased in him either." After a brother has been saved for five years, if he grows spiritually, it would be like building a wall two feet high. If he continues to allow God to pass through him, the wall will become four feet high. But if he only exercises himself to be a good man, it would be like adding more mud beside the two-foot wall. The wall will become thicker, but it will not become higher.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 24, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)