Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 21: The Christian (1934-1940), by Watchman Nee


Is eating the meat of the lamb all that we have to do? No, this is not enough. We may have left Egypt, but there is still a wilderness journey which we have to take. In the wilderness we still need to eat the daily food. The meat of the lamb is eaten only once. This means that we need to receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior only once. But after this, we still need daily food in order to have strength for our daily life. Every day we have to face works, confrontations, affairs, and warfare. We need strength to deal with all of them. What is this food? John tells us that this food is the Lord. I would like to ask you a very frank question: Since the time you received the Lord Jesus as your Savior, how much experience have you had of eating the manna? Since the day you received the Lord, have you discovered new sins that you need to deal with? This is the most important issue. A person cannot stop eating after one meal; he has to eat every day. The same is true with our spiritual food. We cannot stop eating after taking one meal of the lamb at the Passover. After that meal, we must take in daily food. We can never neglect this. If we do, we will die in the wilderness, and there will be no possibility of going further.

What is this daily manna? Is it the reading of the Bible? It appears to be, but it is not. Is it prayer? It appears to be, but it is not. Is it waiting on the Lord? No. These are only the means. The manna itself is the strength of Christ. We merely use these things as the means to take in the strength of Christ. Why do we study the Bible in the morning? Is it for understanding the Bible? If it is merely for the understanding of the Bible, I feel sorry. We rise up early in the morning to study the Bible so that we would receive the strength of Christ to sustain us to live our daily life. We should rise up early to spend a half hour or hour to pray in order to contact God and draw the life-power from Him to be our strength.

Let me relate a real story. I have a friend who is a co-worker. She is very afraid of water buffalos and dogs. But we co-workers encounter these two animals all the time when we preach in the villages. Every time this sister saw a strong, black water buffalo, she would run away. Once she was walking along a country lane and a few dogs were barking continuously from behind, while a herd of strong, black water buffalos were coming toward her from the front. She was so scared that she almost fainted. If she tried to run away from the dogs, the water buffalos would be in front of her, and if she tried to avoid the water buffalos, the dogs would be in her way. The lane was narrow, and there was no way to turn. She was about to pass out under this double stress. At that instant, she prayed and said, "Lord, give me the life and the strength." As she took one step, she would repeat the prayer over and over again. Eventually she managed to pass all twelve water buffalos peacefully. This is what it means to appropriate His strength.

I have another friend who prays a wonderful prayer every morning: "God, I consecrate myself to You once again today." I asked him what he consecrated himself to God for, and he answered that he consecrated himself to God so that He would fill him up. This is indeed the best prayer for us every morning.

If we do not contact the Lord in the morning in this way, we cannot make it through our day. We study the Bible to gain Christ, and we pray to draw in strength. What does it mean to draw in strength? To draw in strength is like eating food; every time we take in food, the food becomes our strength. We draw in our spiritual strength in the same way. We have to taste Him day after day. Sometimes we are drawn by the taste of prayer. This is to eat of the manna. If we have a fresh touch with God every day in this way, He will take us on in our daily journey. The Bible tells us that no manna can be saved for the next day. Every day we have to touch God in a fresh way and receive fresh strength from Him. We have to develop such a habit of gathering the manna. Daily we need to receive a fresh message and fresh impact from God, and we need to have a fresh touch with Christ. Why do we have to read the Bible and pray every day? It is because this is a habit. We have to make drawing our strength and gathering manna a habit. It is useless for us to know the Bible without knowing Christ, so let us pursue after the precious experience!

We have read Numbers 11:5-6, which speaks of the murmuring of the Israelites. "We remember the fish we ate in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our soul is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna before our eyes." One thing is certain: when we are tired of the manna, the food of Egypt will appear before our eyes. Leeks, onions, and garlic are strong in flavor. The Egyptian food has a strong flavor, and every food that has a strong flavor tends to stick in our memory; we remember it very readily. It is interesting that the Israelites only remembered the good food of Egypt; they had forgotten the sufferings in Egypt, how their male babies were drowned in the river, how they labored and toiled to make bricks, and how they were beaten by the taskmasters. Many backslidden ones have forgotten the frustration of sin, the bondage of Satan, and the struggle they experienced when they were under these things. They only remember that they could do this and that before they believed in the Lord, and that their present life is too much of a bondage and suffering. You can say that they have a good memory, because they can remember so much. You can also say that they have a poor memory, because they have forgotten even their own salvation. Many Christians cannot bear fruit because they have forgotten their initial salvation. Strictly speaking, it does not matter even if there are the leeks, onions, and garlic. These are merely strong in taste. What is indispensable is the manna. All those who are tired of contacting Christ have been distracted in their mind to Egypt; the smell of garlic is in their nose. Therefore, every Christian should maintain his daily portion of manna. Most Christians eat only once every three or five days, or only a little on the Lord’s Day. This is not sufficient. We have to touch Christ every day. Only this kind of contact will afford us the strength.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 21: The Christian (1934-1940), Chapter 8, by Watchman Nee)