THE FATHER’S STRENGTHENING
If there were no God, no man could write a passage like Ephesians 4, because this chapter is too profound. It far exceeds the limit of man’s imagination. This Triune God has passed through all kinds of processes—creation, incarnation, human living, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension—to become the life-giving Spirit. Today, He is not only in us the believers, but He is also making His home in our hearts. As such, He is our life and content. This is why Paul said that Christ Jesus is the treasure within us (2 Cor. 4:7). Our knowledge of such a One is excellency itself (Phil. 3:8).
In order that the saints might see and experience this, Paul bowed his knees and prayed to the Father. The Father is the source of everything. Of Him every family in the heavens and on earth is named. Not only are we the regenerated believers of Him, but the whole created human race, the house of Israel, and even the angels are all of Him. The apostle prayed to such a Father that He would grant the believers, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man. When I read this passage in my youth, I did not understand the meaning of being “strengthened with power…into the inner man.” After a few decades, I was still not too clear. But gradually, during the last twenty years, due to my understanding of the Bible plus the spiritual experiences I have gained, I have come to realize this matter much more clearly.
In order to make you clear, I would put it this way. Man is of three parts. Outwardly there is the body, which is for contacting the physical world. Within there is the soul, with its self-consciousness; it is the seat of our personality. The deepest part is the spirit, with its God-consciousness. With the spirit we can contact God. Before we were saved, our spirit was dead and had lost its function. We lived by the body and the soul. Some are strong in their bodies. Others are strong in their souls. One day, we were saved. God forgave our sins, and His Spirit entered into our spirit, quickening us and enlivening our spirit. From then on, we were regenerated and now possess the life of God. However, our body and soul are not changed much. Those who are strong in their bodies remain strong in their bodies. Those who are strong in their souls remain strong in their souls. Most of the brothers are still strong in their mind. They like to argue. The sisters, on the other hand, are strong in their emotions; their hearts are more calculating and careful. Now we all are saved and are coming together to have the church life and the family life. Because our spirits are not strong enough, the brothers may still live habitually in the mind, and the sisters may still live habitually in the emotion. As a result, we produce conflicts and difficulties. For this reason, we need Paul’s prayer, that the Father would grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man, which is our regenerated spirit.
When we are strengthened into the inner man, and when our spirits become strong, the sisters will be able to overcome their unstable emotions, and the brothers will be able to overcome their debating mind. In this way, when everyone turns to the spirit and allows the Lord to be the Lord, and when everyone walks by the Spirit, there will spontaneously be no conflicts or difficulties. In the family life, how can there be no arguments between the husband and the wife? The only way is through the strengthening into the inner man. When the spirit is so strong that it prevails over the emotion and the mind, no argument can go on. Otherwise, the more one talks, the more reasonings there are; the more one argues, the more there is to argue about; and the more two people argue with each other, the more their souls are strengthened. In the same way, in the church life, we need to have a strong spirit. How can we be without murmuring and striving? How can we be without criticisms and judgments? How can there be no rights or wrongs? Only by a strong spirit can all these be removed. The strongest part of our being should be our spirit. It should be stronger than our soul and should control our mind, emotion, and will. Only then will we have a proper, healthy Christian family life and church life.
(Messages Given to the Working Saints, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)