THE LORD GRANTING TO US THE PRECIOUS AND EXCEEDINGLY GREAT PROMISES
The divine power of our God has already granted to us all things related to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). This granting is something living. It is like an electric current flowing into us. It was by this divine power that God called us. We were drawn like being caught by a fishing line. This is what it means by the Lord’s calling us through His glory and virtue. From now on, we are like a fish hooked and caught; we cannot run away any longer. This is the calling of God. It was the glory and virtue of God that captured us. Moreover, through this glory and virtue, He granted unto us precious and exceedingly great promises (1:4). This word virtue in the original language means excellency, denoting the energy of life to overcome all obstacles and to carry out all excellent attributes. When we heard the gospel, were enlightened, and called on the Lord Jesus, there was something attracting us within, causing us to feel that the Lord is good, glorious, and excellent. This is the Lord’s virtue becoming our calling through which He granted to us many promises.
We may say that every word of the entire New Testament is a promise. I have selected two of the more obvious portions. First, on the spiritual side, Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12 that he had a thorn in his flesh causing him to suffer. He prayed three times to the Lord that the thorn might depart from him. But the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness” (vv. 7-9). This shows us that the Lord’s grace and power were sufficient to sustain and supply Paul and bring him through these sufferings and difficulties. Therefore, Paul said that he would rather boast in his weaknesses so that the power of Christ might tabernacle over him. The original meaning of the word tabernacle here is to fix a tent or a habitation upon something. This portrays the power of Christ, which is Christ Himself, being like a tent tabernacling over us, overshadowing our weaknesses.
Every time when we feel heavily burdened, we need to listen to the Lord’s voice saying, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is perfected in weakness.” If we consider ourselves to be strong, then we will not be able to enjoy the Lord’s power. Therefore, our weakness is precious. It is due to our weaknesses that the Lord’s power has the ground to manifest itself and we are able to enjoy His power. What a promise this is!
Concerning material things, the Lord said in Matthew 6, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed? For all these things the nations are seeking; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (vv. 31-33). Formerly I always prayed to the Lord concerning my daily needs. But gradually I became clear about the Lord’s revelation. I do not need to pray for all these things; He knows all these things already, and He will take care of me as long as I seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. His kingdom is the church, and His righteousness is Christ.
As long as we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, whatever we might need, He will add to us. He will not only give us the kingdom and the righteousness, but also will add to us whatever we need in our living, such as what we need to eat, drink, and clothe ourselves with. I have not yet seen a person who followed the Lord die of hunger or freezing. I have only seen those who love the Lord and experience the Lord being richly clothed and adequately fed. Therefore, we do not need to worry about our living, because this is altogether in His hand. We should do our duty and work diligently, experiencing the Lord as the overshadowing power within us. At the same time, we should also believe that He will bear the responsibility regarding all our outward circumstances, daily needs, and financial arrangements.
Therefore, in the way we use our time, we should also have some arrangement. You work five and a half days a week. Each day, besides working, eating, and resting, there are at least two hours which can be used, plus half a day on Saturday and a whole day on the Lord’s Day. These times can be used for serving the Lord, for preaching the gospel by visiting people, for caring for the saints, or for attending home meetings, group meetings, or district meetings. Even if there are some who, because of family burdens, need to work two jobs, I absolutely believe that regardless of how busy they are during the week, they can set apart at least half a day to attend a meeting. This is altogether dependent on our feeling and our viewpoint toward things.
God’s creation follows a set of laws. If a person knows only to work, without adequate rest, then it will not be too long before he cannot make it anymore. Man also needs to have entertainment. According to my human experience, the best and the highest entertainment is to live the church life. The church life not only gives people joy and satisfaction, but also uplifts the standard of morality of human beings. Although many worldly entertainments do afford pleasure, yet they may cause us to suffer loss, or even to be defiled by downgrading our morality. Only the church life causes us to be blessed. It is beneficial to our body, heart, and spirit. If in our whole life we do not practice the church life, love the Lord, and serve the Lord, then not only is there a great effect on ourselves, our family, and our children, but the loss we will suffer is beyond estimation.
(Messages Given to the Working Saints, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)