THE INWARD SHINING
Man’s spirit is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inward parts (Prov. 20:27). The Spirit of God is also God’s lamp (Rev. 4:5); in fact, there is a sevenfold intensity to His shining. This is the meaning of the “seven lamps of fire… which are the seven Spirits of God.” Man’s spirit and God’s Spirit are both lamps, together enlightening the inward parts.
There are some people who live according to the flesh. Their only concern is the pleasure of the moment. They may drink, or dance, or take drugs with no consideration except their own gratification. Such people are generally held in low esteem.
Others live according to their soul. They are elated when things go well for them, but depressed when their circumstances are not favorable. Sometimes they are pleasant toward their associates, but other times they are critical or even hateful. They may be in a genial mood, or they may be in a fit of rage. These people are not well thought of by others either.
There are others who also live according to their soul, but are highly regarded by those who know them. Rather than being changeable like the weather, they act rationally and think ahead as to what course of action they will take. Their behavior is controlled by their thoughts.
These three kinds of people include almost everyone. There are very few who live according to the spirit. You were in one of these three categories until one day when you heard the gospel. The Spirit of God touched your conscience, which is part of the spirit. Your spirit was activated, leading you to repent and confess your sins. Your spirit is now a lamp indwelt by the Spirit of God, who is also a lamp. The spirit wants to enlighten every part of your soul. By responding to the spirit’s shining, you will be walking “according to spirit” (Rom. 8:4).
Sometimes when God wants to shine in us, we will not open to Him. This is why, after we have been praying for a while, we sometimes have nothing more to say. When we use our spirit to pray, it functions as a shining lamp, searching all the parts of our soul. It may shine on our thoughts, but we refuse to have the Lord probe there. We may not say, “No, Lord! Don’t touch there!” but that is what we mean. The spirit may shine on our emotions, especially the sisters’, but we close up, sometimes even weeping, begging the Lord not to touch that area. The same thing may happen with our will, especially the brothers’; if we close our will, the spirit cannot fulfill its function of shining. When we close the doors to the Lord’s shining, we no longer have any words to pray.
When we pray properly, using our spirit, there is a lamp shining. If we sense it shining on our thoughts, we can say, “Lord, I open my mind to You. Shine in me. Expose my thoughts.” In His light we confess our sins. When He shines on our emotions, we can open and confess what He reveals to be wrong. Then He will shine on our will, and we can open this room also to Him. As we open all these chambers one by one, the spirit will shine and we shall confess our sins. We can keep praying for a long time. The more we pray, the more we are enlightened. Our inward parts will all be thoroughly searched by the Lord. After such a time of prayer, we shall feel bright and transparent, filled with God. This is one aspect of the lamp, our spirit shining within.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 34, by Witness Lee)