Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), by Watchman Nee

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Many believers cannot perceive the damage of their soulish experiences. They only consider that to sin in doing "things of the flesh" could pollute the spirit, and this is the thing that should be truly rejected and eliminated. The soul-life is the common life of all people, and all animals have this life. Is it not reasonable for us to live by this life? We are not committing any sins, just living by the natural life. Is anything wrong with this? If a believer merely receives teachings in his mind, then no matter whether he opposes or agrees, he can never see in his heart the reason for the biblical teaching that the soul-life should be rejected. For instance, if he does transgress the law of God and sin against God, that, of course, is not right. But if he tries his best to do good and develop all the good virtues within him, what is wrong with this? As he is fervently doing work for God, even though he does not depend on God’s power, he thinks he is doing God’s work. Maybe there are many things which are really not God’s will for him to do. However, what he is doing is not sinful but is the best. What can be wrong with this? Since God has given me many gifts and intelligence, why am I not allowed to work with these? While I work, is this not the right time for me to utilize my talents? If one does not have any talent, of course, there is nothing to say. But if one has talents, is this not a good opportunity for him to bring forth his talents and use them?

Furthermore, of course, it was wrong in the past that one did not pay attention to the Word of God. But now, how can it be wrong for him to use his mind most diligently to seek the meaning of the Bible? Can there be evil in reading the Bible? As there is much truth which I do not yet understand, if I did not exercise my mind to study it, would it not be the case that I have to wait for a long time before I have the opportunity to understand it? When God gave us a mind, did He not intend for us to use it? When we use our mind to plan God’s work, we are not committing a sin. Rather, it is all for God’s sake. Why can we not do this?

Furthermore, it is also out of our most sincere heart to seek the feeling of the presence of God. When my life has sometimes left me dry and my work became of no interest, God many times has caused me to have a feeling of the love of the Lord Jesus as though there were a warm fire burning in my heart, making me feel very happy. I could feel that He was with me as though I could have touched Him. Is this not the peak point of our spiritual life? Many times when I lost this kind of feeling, I felt that my life was very dry, tasteless, cold, and without merit. At such times, I would earnestly desire, seek, and pray in order to get back this kind of good feeling. How can this be wrong?

The above are the things which many believers may want to say in their hearts, for they cannot differentiate between what is spiritual and what is soulish. They have not yet received the personal revelation from the Holy Spirit that can make them aware of the evil of their natural life. They have to be before God more often and be willing to learn more, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to them how many evil things are in their own natural good lives. To do this, one must be honest, humble, and willing to eliminate what the Holy Spirit enlightens him to eliminate. Having done this, the Holy Spirit will at a suitable time show him how corrupt his own natural life is.

(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 12, by Watchman Nee)