The Parts of Man, by Witness Lee


The more we are with the Lord in the spirit, the more keen we will be in our mind. Before we take the Lord as life, we may be quite dull in our thinking. But if we deny ourselves and take the Lord as our life, we will be very keen in our mind. In China there were quite a number of older sisters who never had any kind of education; yet they dearly loved the Lord and learned how to give up themselves and take the Lord as their life. After two or three years they became very keen in their mind, especially when one shared something of the Lord with them. If you told them the first word, they would know the last word. But with those who have little love for the Lord, even though they have a Doctor’s degree, there is little comprehension of spiritual things. When you speak with them of the Lord, they say, "What is that? I cannot figure it out."

It is the same with the emotion. Do you think the Lord demands that we abandon the faculty of our emotion? No; the Lord demands that we give up the life of our emotion. If we love the Lord and are really filled with the Lord Spirit, we will be very emotional. A person who is not emotional can never be spiritual. You cannot ask a chair to be spiritual, for nothing without emotion can be spiritual. A spiritual person is a very emotional person. If you do not know how to love, how to weep, how to be happy, how to be sorry, I am afraid you are not a Christian. The most spiritual person is the most emotional, yet their emotion is under the control of their spirit. They are spiritually emotional. The Apostle Paul was very emotional. We read that many times he wept and was quite tender in feeling, in love, in mercy, and in compassion. He was not naturally emotional, but spiritually emotional. His emotion was under the control of his spirit.

A spiritual person is not only keen in the mind and tender in the emotion, but also strong in the will. Not one spiritual person mentioned in the Scriptures is like a jelly-fish, without any backbone. It is the naturally emotional person who is like a jelly-fish. All the spiritually emotional persons are tender, yet very strong in the will. The more you are in your spirit, the more strong you will be in your will. A spiritual person is one who is keen in the understanding of his mind, sensitive in the feeling of his emotion, and strong in the purpose of his will. This reveals that all the faculties of the soul are still there, but renewed and improved.


We must realize, therefore, that it is not the faculties of the mind, emotion, and will that must be crossed out. It the life of the soul that must be given up. We need to realize that the natural life of the soul has already been put to the cross and that we must take Christ as our life. But the faculties of our soul still remain as instruments to be used by the Spirit to express the Lord Himself.

There may be two brothers who are very thoughtful, but one is naturally thoughtful while the other is spiritually thoughtful. With the first, while he is very thoughtful, there is no sense of anything spiritual or of the Lord. But with the other, whenever he speaks, you sense something out from the spirit and of Christ. It is the same with two brothers who are ministering. One brother ministers in the mind, and the other ministers with his mind also; but with the first there is no sense of anything of the Lord. With the second, however, you sense that he is rich in thought, yet strong and fresh in his spirit with something of the Lord. While he is speaking in his spirit through his mind, the richness and freshness of the Lord are there. With the first, the source is his mind; but with the second, the source is not his mind, but the Lord in his spirit. Something comes out of the Lord from his spirit through his mind.

One of the best translations of Romans 8:6 is: "For the mind set on the flesh is death; but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace" (New American Standard New Testament). Our mind is a part of the soul, yet when it is set on the flesh it becomes a mind of the flesh, and when it is set on the Holy Spirit with our spirit, it becomes the mind of the spirit. This means that when our mind is used, controlled, and directed by the Holy Spirit with our spirit, it is the mind of the spirit. In this way the mind is not the life of the soul, but a faculty of the soul to be controlled, directed, and used by the Holy Spirit with our spirit. Then it becomes the mind of the spirit.

We must learn the lesson of denying the natural mind, emotion, and will, and putting them all under the control of our spirit with the Holy Spirit. We must deny the life of the soul and take the Lord as our life in the spirit to control all the parts of the soul that they might be used to express Himself.

First Corinthians 2:11 tells us that the spirit of man knows. The mind is an organ to be used by our spirit to know. Then 2 Corinthians 7:13 says that the spirit of Titus was refreshed with joy. This shows that our spirit joys or rejoices through the emotion. In the Epistles of Paul we are told many times to exercise our mind and emotion in the spirit. Many times he encourages us to be joyful, to be happy, to rejoice, and even to enjoy ourself in the Lord. We must exercise our spirit to use our mind and emotion. Then Acts 19:21 says, "Paul purposed in the spirit." This simply means that Paul exercised his will in his spirit. He made a decision with his will under the control of his spirit. This does not mean that he was a man in the will, but that his spirit directed his will. Paul was so much in his spirit that his mind, emotion, and will were all used by the Holy Spirit with his spirit.

(The Parts of Man, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)