This growth by regulation has a goal, and this goal is maturity and function. We do not desire to train you with biblical knowledge according to the letter as they do in a seminary. We are cooperating with our God that He may give you more growth, that He may give you the maturity you need. Then you will be useful, and that usefulness is your function. The usefulness is function, and the function issues from maturity. The little babes cannot function in a useful way because they are short of the maturity in life. As a little child grows, his function increases. You cannot charge an elementary child to study college lessons. This little child has to grow to the full age. Then he will be able to study the college lessons. The function always comes out of maturity.
Since you desire to be very useful in the Lord’s hands, you need to realize that you need the maturity. This maturity comes out of growth. Without growth, even if you have the divine life, there is no maturity. The life plus the growth gives you the maturity. This growth always comes from the coordination of regulation with life. The divine life is precious, the regulation is lovely, and the growth is so valuable because it issues in maturity which gives you the function. Then you can fulfill your aim and goal of being a full-timer. This goal is to carry out God’s divine and heavenly commission.
I always consider that I am not doing a work. I am carrying out a commission with which I was charged by God years ago. What I am doing here is carrying out a commission, and this needs the proper function. Merely to learn the Bible in the way of studying four years in a seminary is altogether inadequate. You need to submit yourself to the regulation so that you may grow in the divine life. This growth in life brings you to maturity, and this maturity will afford you the function. It is by this function in maturity that you can fulfill your commission. Dear saints, this is my burden as an opening word for the full-time training. Do not take this training lightly. You must be serious with much prayer.
In the Scripture reading, I listed some verses in Matthew 25 concerning the virgins and concerning the slaves (vv. 1-4, 24-27). On the one hand, we are virgins and on the other hand, we are slaves. As virgins, we need the growth to reach maturity. Of course, the words growth and maturity are not mentioned in Matthew 25 but these two items are there.
This portion of the Word says that the wise virgins have oil both in their lamps and in their vessels (v. 4). The lamp signifies our spirit (Prov. 20:27), and the vessel signifies our soul, our being (Rom. 9:21, 23). Both in our spirit and in our entire being, we should be full of the oil, which signifies the Holy Spirit (Isa. 61:1; Heb. 1:9). This is not the outpoured Spirit but the infilling Spirit. This Spirit fills our spirit and our entire being. To fill our spirit is to light the lamp, and to fill our being is to fill the entire vessel with the spiritual oil. The infilling of the spiritual oil actually is the growth reaching maturity. The more you grow, the more you will be filled within with the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is the divine life, and the infilling of this Spirit of God is the growth of this divine life.
This is why we all must have a time with the Lord every day to make a thorough confession. In our prayer to fellowship with the Lord we must make a thorough confession of all our sins, transgressions, failures, defects, mistakes, wrongdoings, etc. The more we confess, the more we are filled in our entire being to have the growth of life unto the maturity in life. Every day in the training, we have to get our vessel filled with the Spirit. If a vessel is to be filled with precious things, it has to be empty. If that vessel is full of junk and dirt, nothing precious can get into it. Your confession of all your shortcomings and sinfulness is to empty all the dirt out of your being, your vessel. This is carried out not by yourself but by fellowshipping with the Lord. When you fellowship with Him, He will touch you and enlighten you. He will show you where you are and what your shortcomings are. Then you can follow His instructions and confess everything He shows you. This empties your vessel so that you can be filled with the Spirit. As long as the vessel is empty, the air gets in and the vessel becomes full of air, that is, full of the Spirit. We want to train you to build up this practice every day. Every day you need to get your being, your vessel, filled with the Spirit of God for your growth that you may reach maturity. Then you will have the function.
Matthew 25 also speaks of the slaves. What the slaves need is to function, and this function depends upon diligence. Diligence is another trait of a proper character. Your function needs maturity, but without diligence, you cannot function. Everyone who has reached maturity is a very diligent one. You need to fellowship with the Lord, pray to Him, receive His enlightenment, and be dealt with by Him. A slothful person would never contact the Lord regularly. In order to grow and reach maturity, you need to be diligent. The slave who would not invest his talent was evil and slothful. He would not use the talent given to him by the Lord. He hid his talent in the earth.
You must learn to be filled with the Spirit that you may grow in life to reach maturity. Then you need to exercise yourself to be diligent so that you can use the ability in maturity to serve the Lord to produce something for Him. Now you can see what the training wants you to do.
(Opening Word to the Full-Time Trainees Concerning Regulations and Opinions, An, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)