THE FELLOWSHIP OF LIFE BEING THE FLOW OF LIFE WITHIN US
We know that life is Christ Himself, but for many years I considered what the fellowship of life might be. I believe we now have the right words to describe and define the fellowship of life. It is the current, or flow, of life. We may compare it to the flow of blood in our body. There is one life in our body. The finger does not have one life, the nose another life, and the ears a third life. There are many members in our body, yet they have one life, and in that one life the entire body has one fellowship. Among all the members in the physical body there is the fellowship of life, which is the flow of the blood. The blood circles in our body very quickly. While I am still speaking, the blood already may have made one or two complete circuits. We may also compare the fellowship of life to the current of electricity. If we go to the electric meter, we can see that the current is flowing. If the current stops, the lights go out.
The flow of the blood in our body is the blood itself, just as the current of electricity is the electricity itself. If the electricity is stationary, there is no current, but when it moves, it is the current. In the same way, the fellowship of life is the flowing, the current, of life within us; it is life itself flowing. Since we were saved, there has been something flowing in us. The life which we received in Christ is a flowing life, and when it flows, it becomes the fellowship of life. In this fellowship, you fellowship with me, I fellowship with you, we fellowship with the other saints, and we all fellowship with the Lord. There is something living and flowing within us all the time. Therefore, after we consecrate ourselves to the Lord, we must care for this inner flowing, because consecration is for life. Consecration is for us to be worked on by the Lord, and the Lord works in us by the flow of life.
The flow of blood within us does much work for the physical body. It supplies the nourishment the body needs, and it carries away discharges. It molds the body and strengthens its functions. This is a good illustration of the fellowship of life. What the Lord works in us, upon us, and into us depends entirely on the flowing of life. When we have the flow, the fellowship, of life, this flow kills the germs of death within us and carries them away, and it also nourishes us with a supply and molds us into a certain shape. We cannot be molded by teachings. Teachings help, but what type of Christian we are mostly depends on the inner molding by the flow of life.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF LIFE PRODUCING OUR INNER FUNCTION
In addition, our function comes from the inner flow of the fellowship of life. In Christianity today there are many different practices, such as the formal practice, the fundamental practice, the Pentecostal practice, and the Brethren, Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian practices. Which of these is prevailing? It seems that none is prevailing, because for the most part Christians neglect the function that comes out of the inner flow of life, thinking that their function is something that comes from outside of them. I may be the best dentist, but if I take teeth from outside of you and put them into you, they will not function as real teeth. In the same way, an eye specialist can put two new eyes into you, but they will not work. The function of the members must come from within. Consider a baby. He is born without even one tooth, but if we feed him properly, the blood within him will constantly flow, and the more it flows, the more the teeth will come. The kind of teeth that come from the flow of life function properly, but teeth inserted from the outside do not work. In a similar way, seminaries have “teeth experts,” but the “teeth” they put into people do not work.
Some believe that 1 Corinthians tells us that when we have the gifts, we have the function. In more than forty years I have never observed that the baptism or outpouring of the Holy Spirit develops the inner function. It is only when we have the inner function that the outpouring, the baptism, helps. The proper function of all the members of the Body comes from within, not from the outside. Is there a function in any member of our body that comes from the outside? Rather, all the members’ function comes from within. Therefore, we must have a strong, pure current of blood flowing all day long. Whatever we should not have, it will carry away, and whatever we need, it will supply. It will afford the function we need, and it will build us up into the right shape or mold. Our shape and mold all depend upon the inner flowing. If we stop the current, everything in us will stop.
Today what we need is the flowing of life within. All the precious experiences of Romans 6, 8, and 12 depend on the flowing of life within, that is, on the fellowship of life. The problem in the church is a problem related to the inner fellowship of life, and the problems of all the saints are also problems related to the inner fellowship of life. Therefore, we must pay our full attention to this inner life, to the inner flowing, the fellowship of life. We have received Christ as life, and with this life within there is the flowing, the current. This flowing is the fellowship of life.
(Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)