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

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Although God’s children are saved, they have not fully obeyed God’s will. As a result, God has to use many ways to lead the believers into full submission. God moves the believers with His Spirit and stirs them up with His love so that they will submit to His will and not love, pursue, or do anything outside of Himself. It is a pity when God’s moving and stirring do not produce the desired results in the believers. Then God has to stretch forth His hand to bring the believers to the place where He wants them to be. His hand is primarily manifested in circumstances. God applies His hand heavily upon the believers to crush, break, and bind them so that their will can no longer be hardened before Him.

As long as the believer is not deeply united with the Lord, God is not satisfied. The purpose of God’s salvation is to have the saved ones in complete union with His will. In order for God to bring us to this point, He has to use the environment; He causes us to encounter many frustrations. He causes us to be heartbroken, distressed, and afflicted. He causes many practical crosses to come upon us. Through these things, He causes us to bow our head in submission. Our will is very strong, and unless it is hit by God in many ways, it will not submit to Him. If we are willing to come under the mighty hand of God and accept His discipline, the will which occupies our life will experience a cutting work again and again and will be delivered to death again and again. If we resist God, heavier afflictions will come upon us and subdue us.

God wants to strip us of everything. After believers are truly regenerated, they all have one thought—to do God’s will. Some openly make this kind of promise, and some hold this intent in secret. God will prove whether such a promise (or intent) is true or not. He causes the believers to pass through a stripping that they do not like. He causes them to lose material things, health, fame, position, and usefulness. He eventually causes them to lose the happiness and zeal in their feeling, as well as His presence and sympathy. He will bring the believers to the point where everything other than God’s will is expendable to them. He wants them to realize that as long as something is according to His will, they should receive it, even though they may suffer physically or in their feelings. If God delights in afflicting them, stripping them of everything, taking away their "spiritual usefulness," or causing them to become dry, dark, and lonely, they should accept it willingly. God wants the believers to realize that He saved them, not for the purpose that they would enjoy anything, but for His will. Therefore, whether there is gain or loss, happiness or dryness, the feeling of God’s presence or forsaking, believers should always be mindful of God’s will. If it is God’s will to forsake us, can we take pleasure in being forsaken? When a sinner first believes in the Lord, his goal is heaven. This is all right. After being taught in God, he will come to realize that it is for the will of God that he believed in God. Even if the result of believing in God is to go to hell, he would still believe. After the believer has been thoroughly taught, he will no longer be mindful of his own gain or loss. If he can glorify God by going to hell, he is willing to do so. This is, of course, only an example. But believers must see that their believing in the Lord, while living on earth, is not for themselves, but for the will of God. Their greatest happiness, greatest privilege, and greatest glory are to forsake their own corrupted, natural, and fleshly will and unite with the will of God to fulfill God’s heart’s desire. The creature’s gain and loss, glory and shame, bitterness and happiness, are not worthy to be considered. If the Most High One can be satisfied, whatever the lowly one may become is of no concern. This is the unique way for a believer to lose himself in God!

(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 35, by Watchman Nee)