II. THE EXPERIENCE OF REIGNING
We must seek the experience of reigning. For this, two things must not be lacking.
A. Knowing Our Position
Firstly we must know our position. We have mentioned in the previous chapter, Knowing the Ascension, that the basis of spiritual authority is the position of ascension. To have power depends on one’s condition, but to have authority depends on one’s position. A car with sufficient gasoline and horsepower will have power. This is a matter of condition. But a traffic policeman standing at his assigned post has authority to direct the cars, that they may proceed in order. This is a matter of position. Therefore, authority depends entirely on position. If we are in the position of ascension, we have authority and can reign. If we are not in the position of ascension, we do not have authority and cannot rule.
Even in the case of the Lord Jesus, the basis of reigning depended on His position of ascension. Not till after His resurrection and ascension did He obtain all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18) and have dominion over all things (Eph. 1:20-22). Therefore, if we would reign, we must be in the position of ascension.
But if we want to be in the position of ascension and reign for God, we need to accept all the dealings of the cross, that we may pass through death into resurrection and thereby experience ascension. In other words, the experience of reigning is the result of all the foregoing experiences. Only after we have experienced death, resurrection, and ascension, can we obtain the experience of reigning.
God’s children today show forth very little of the reality of reigning. The main reason is that we are not in the position of ascension. Many still live in an earthly condition. They are still involved with sins and the world. They have not put off the flesh and their temper. They have not denied the self and their natural constitution. Even though there are some who have put these off and have a little experience of ascension, yet because they cannot maintain this experience, they become defiled again with those things pertaining to the old creation; thus they lose the position of ascension. Both conditions can cause us to lose the basis of reigning, and as a consequence we cannot rule for God. Once there was a brother who was constantly hindered by his wife from drawing near to God and serving Him. One day he could bear it no longer; so in his anger he rebuked his wife and beat her, saying, “Today, the Lord wants me to really discipline you.” Obviously, this is not reigning. Because he lost his temper, he the position of ascension and fell into the hand of the enemy. How then could he deal any more with the enemy? Therefore, in order to reign we must know and keep the position of ascension.
Our reigning is based not only on the position of ascension, but also on the position of order arranged by God. Therefore, if we want to reign for God, not only do we need to be in the position of ascension, but we must also keep the position of order given to us by God—that is, to submit to the authority to which we should submit. All the authority of the traffic policeman previously mentioned depends not only on his standing at the assigned post, but also on his submitting to his superior. If he leaves his assigned post, he will not be able to direct the cars. If he rebels against his superior, he will lose even his official rights. Therefore, a policeman’s executing of his authority depends on keeping the position of his duty on one hand, and on keeping the position of his rank on the other hand. The position of his duty is equivalent to our position of ascension, and the position of his rank is equivalent to our position of order.
Matthew 8:5-13 tells us of a centurion who came to ask the Lord to heal his servant’s sickness. His faith was based on his knowledge of the position of order. He said, “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having under myself soldiers: and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” Since he himself was under authority, he could command those under him. Therefore, he believed that the Lord needed only to exercise His authority and give a word of command, and the matter would be done. He really knew the relationship between the position of order and authority. He knew that in order to reign, he had first to submit to the reigning. In order to be the authority, he had first to submit to authority.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)