THE GROWTH OF THE SEED
This seed of the divine life and nature needs to grow. As it grows, it develops and spreads from the spirit into the soul, especially into the mind, the leading part of the soul. If we allow this seed to grow without hindrance, it will spread even to our mortal body.
In Romans 8:2 we find the term Spirit of life. In verse 10 we are told, “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is life because of righteousness.” From this verse we can see that it is the spirit which is regenerated, not the body. Our spirit is life, but our body is still dead. How about our soul? Whether our mind is life or death depends upon where we set it. “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace” (v. 6). The Spirit of life, then, comes into our spirit and enlivens it; the mind, in contrast, is only life when it is set on the spirit.
More is said about the body in verse 11. “But if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from among the dead dwells in you, He Who raised Christ Jesus from among the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit Who indwells you.” The word dwell in this verse is stronger than the word abide; the meaning is “to make home.” To say that the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead makes His home in you, is to indicate that you are giving more ground to Him as the indwelling Spirit. The result will be that this Spirit will give life to your mortal body.
I trust that from these verses we can all see that at the time of our regeneration, only our spirit is born of God. This is why after regeneration we need to experience transformation in our soul and also await the transfiguration of our body. Through these three stages, God’s life is thoroughly worked into us. We have already experienced regeneration. Now we are in the process of being transformed in our soul. Some day we shall reach the goal, when our body will be transfigured. Then every aspect of death will be swallowed up by life.
ALLOWING THE SEED TO SPREAD OUT FROM OUR SPIRIT
Our regenerated, reborn spirit does not sin. This is not true of our soul, however, nor of our flesh. These two we must renounce and all the time go along with the spirit. If we set our mind, even our whole being, on the spirit, then the Spirit will have free course to spread into our mind, making it also life. Then if we give this divine life still further opportunity, it will spread even into our mortal body.
This seed has been sown into our inner being. As it is given opportunity, it spreads further and further. Such is the mystery of the seed within our spirit. It is altogether at variance with religion, even Christianity. Religion attempts to regulate people and help them to improve. God’s way of life is not like this. His way is to sow His life and nature as a seed into the heart of our being. We can stop our striving and efforts to correct our shortcomings.
We can pray, “Lord, I am nothing and can do nothing. But I am open to You. Thank You that You are the seed within me, waiting for the chance to sprout and grow. I would not do anything except open to You and let You have free course to grow and spread in me.” If we do this, a tender sprout will come forth from the seed within us.
It is hard for us to limit ourselves to praying in this way. Our religious thought rises up to say, “What! I don’t need to do anything? Doesn’t the Bible tell us to love our wives and submit to our husbands? Shouldn’t I try to control my temper?”
Your efforts to control your temper will be in vain. If you lose your temper today, do not wonder what you will do tomorrow. Let tomorrow take care of itself. There is nothing for you to do. You are not qualified to do anything. It is not God’s intention for you to do something. It is your fallen nature that makes you think you can rescue yourself.
Praise the Lord for the wonderful seed that has been sown into you! Do not try to do anything. Suppose you plant a seed in the earth. Then every day you dig in the soil to check how the seed is doing. Will that seed grow? Is it not better to leave the seed in the soil and go to bed and sleep in faith that the seed will grow?
The enemy is subtle. Before you love the Lord, he makes you careless and indifferent about your conduct, all the while making you think you are a well-mannered gentleman. Once you turn to the Lord, however, the enemy will come in to condemn, persuading you that you are the worst of the saints and that your behavior is far below the standard. This tactic of his causes you to resolve to improve, forgetting the spirit. Your salvation is not in your mind, but in your spirit. All your efforts to make up your mind are his device to turn you from the spirit.
What is needed is to contact the Lord that the seed may be watered. Spontaneously the seed will grow. This is salvation. Salvation is in this seed of life. It is not in our doing. It is not in our striving.
You will come to realize that this seed is nothing less than the Person of the Triune God, the Triune God Himself. He is the One in you who is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). This greater One is living in you as the seed of life. Put your full trust in this One who is greater than Satan, greater than your self, and greater than your flesh.
(Seven Mysteries in the First Epistle of John, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)