THE EMBODIMENT OF THE FULLNESS OF GOD
“It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” (1:19). God is rich, full, and complete; all His fullness dwells bodily in Christ (2:9).
This very Christ portrayed in Colossians is our life (3:4). This all-inclusive, excellent, wonderful One is our life. We have a physical life. If that life were gone, we would not have one to live. Christ is for us to live. We should not live American or Chinese; we should not live old folks or young people; we should all live Christ. Whether you are humble or proud, pleasant or tough, does not matter. Not only when you hate people but even when you love them, you may not be living Christ. The Bible is not a book of ethics, teaching you to love rather than hate; its message is that we should live Christ. We are to be neither moral nor immoral. We are called Christians, which means “Christ-men.” Thus we must live Christ.
Religion’s wrong concept is that God wants us to be good. If God wanted good men, He could create billions of them. But He cannot create people who live Christ. God is omnipotent, but He cannot live Christ for you. He needs you to live Christ. The world has many good people, but where are those who live Christ?
When you were married, you were a “raw” husband, a beginner. But now your crudeness and toughness have worn off, and you seldom offend your wife. Please be assured that God does not want your kindness and gentleness any more than He wanted your crudeness and toughness. He wants you to live Christ.
In 1933 I was a young man staying in Shanghai. Two or three times a week I would go to visit Brother Nee and spend the afternoon with him. One afternoon we sat down together, he in a rocking chair and I on the sofa. After a long, long silence he suddenly asked, “Witness, what is patience?” Everyone knows what patience is; why would he ask me that? I dared not answer, but he just kept rocking and again asked, “What is patience?” I repeated his question, and he did too. Finally the long time of waiting forced me to say, “Patience is enduring and suffering when one is mistreated.” In Chinese the character for patience is a knife pierced into a heart. My answer was obviously right, but Brother Nee shook his head. Another long silence ensued. Then he said, “Patience is Christ.” I was puzzled. “What do you mean, Brother Nee?” I asked. He would not explain further, though I kept begging him to do so. He just went on rocking and repeating, “Patience is Christ.” Evening came on, and I had to leave for dinner at my lodging place. So I said, “Sorry, Brother Nee, I have to leave now.” He replied, “Patience is Christ.” I said good-by, and again his answer was, “Patience is Christ.” When I got back to the church guest house, I had no heart to eat. I went to my room, knelt down, and, nearly weeping, prayed, “Lord, what is this? Patience is Christ. What is this?” The Lord heard my prayer and that of Brother Nee, who was also praying for me. Within a few days, the light came. I saw that patience is Christ because Christ is my life. Every human virtue is Christ. Because He is my life, He is my everything. I was so exhilarated I felt like a bird soaring in the air. That very day I began to delve into the book of Colossians. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (3:4).
Do you live Christ? Don’t say this is poor English! Every day we should live Christ. He is “the hope of glory” (1:27). Now He is life to us; in the future He is glory to us. That glory is our hope. Our hope is in knowing that glory is coming and that that glory is also Christ. Christ is in me now as my life and before me as my glory. This is the genuine Christ, our portion. Do not take Christianity’s wrong picture of Him. Do not be put off because this Christ is beyond your understanding. The things of life are hard to explain but easy to experience. I don’t understand about the vitamins contained in wheat and what good they do me, but it is easy for me to eat bread and get its nutritional value anyway. This Christ too I can partake of without understanding.
PARTAKING OF CHRIST
Christ is our portion, our life, and our glory. How can we touch Him? Colossians says to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (3:16). The word “dwell” here is a more solid word in Greek than the word “abide”; its root means house. We are to let the word of Christ make its home in us; here is the key to enjoying Him. Christ is abstract, mysterious, and intangible. But the Bible is tangible, solid, and receivable. Christ as the life-giving Spirit is embodied in the word of the Bible as our food.
You can see now why it is so important to be in the Word daily. However busy you are, you must begin your day in the Word. Buy an alarm clock if you need one to help you to get up early enough to set aside at least ten minutes for the Word. Then don’t just read it; pray it with your spirit. Let the word of Christ thus make its home in you. With Christ embodied in the Word and the Word embodied in you, you will live Him. If you have not digested Him through His Word, how can you live Him? When you are saturated with His Word, you will be saturated with Him.
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)