THE MARK OF GOD’S ECONOMY
CONCERNING THE PARTS OF MAN
On His part, God has wrought Himself into us in His three persons. On our part, we are containers for God. However, we are not simple. Medical doctors tell us that a human body is very complicated and delicate. Do not think that we are simple vessels, like a Coca-Cola bottle. Rather, we were made with many different parts. Just as we must know the three persons of God by whom He works Himself into us, we also have to know the different parts of our being. Then we will be able to know how to hit the mark of God’s economy. God’s economy is in His three persons, and the mark of God’s economy is in the different parts of our being. In order to be a good driver, we must learn the parts of a car and how to deal with them. We may say that to know the parts of a car is the mark of handling a car. In the same way, we all have to know the different parts of the human being, because our human being is the vessel, the container, to contain God.
In order for us to realize how to contain God, we have to know the different parts of our being. Second Corinthians 4:4 speaks of the thoughts of the unbelievers, referring to the mind. Then verse 6 says that God has shined in our heart. This short passage speaks of at least two parts, the mind and the heart. I am concerned, however, that even someone who has been a Christian for many years may not know the difference between the mind and the heart. We may never have considered that two parts of the human being are mentioned here.
We may illustrate 2 Corinthians 4 with a camera. The purpose of a camera is to take in the scenery. Originally, a person or object is outside the camera, but after a picture is taken, that person or object is inside the camera. In order to do this, a camera needs three main things: a lens on the outside, film on the inside, and the shining of the light. Once while I was traveling, I took a good camera with me. However, when I returned home and sent the pictures to be developed, I found that the film was blank. I realized that while I was on the train hurrying to take the pictures, I forgot to take off the lens cover. The camera was “blinded” by the cover. In the same way, someone may hear a wonderful message of the gospel, and everyone may expect him to be saved. However, Satan, the enemy of God, may blind his mind, his understanding organ. Regardless of how good the message is and how much he has heard, his understanding is blinded and covered. If his understanding is blinded, he can take in nothing.
One day over thirty years ago, Brother Watchman Nee was preaching the gospel. He told the people that God’s intention is not for us to do good; we cannot do good, and even if we did do something good, it would not mean anything to God. He stressed this very much and made it so clear. At that time, a brother had brought a friend to the meeting. During the message, the brother looked at his friend and watched him nod his head over and over. The brother was very happy, thinking that his friend was listening and taking in everything. After the meeting the brother asked him concerning the message. The friend replied, “Yes, all religions tell people to do good.” His understanding was blinded by the enemy. Many times, even in the gospel message meetings, we need to pray that God would bind the god of this age and his blinding work. This is to take off the “lens cover.”
After the lens cover is removed, the film must still be adjusted rightly. The film is something within the camera. If the film is not right, then even if the lens is right, the camera will not work correctly. Our understanding, our mind, is the lens, and our heart is the film within. Our heart has to be rightly adjusted; it must be put aright. We need a proper “lens,” and we also need the right “film.” We need the understanding of the mind, and we need a receiving heart. Our heart must be pure, clean, right, adjusted, and corrected.
Suppose that we have an uncovered lens and the proper film, that is, the understanding of the mind and a pure heart. Then we still need the divine light to shine. This is what is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 4. The mind is right, the heart is right, and the divine light shines God’s glory into us. Then within us is the image, the picture, of Christ. This very image of Christ is the treasure in the earthen vessel.
By all of the above, we can realize that we must know how to deal with our mind and our heart. If we do not know how to handle the “lens” and the “film,” we can never receive a proper picture. The genuine spiritual experiences are simply the taking of pictures. We are like a camera, so we must learn how to handle this camera correctly to take in God and Christ as the picture. Regrettably, many Christians do not know that they are “cameras”; they do not know how to handle their mind and their heart. The Christian life is not a religion to teach people to do this and that. The Christian life is Christ, the living One Himself, wrought into us. He is the very object, the figure, and we are the camera. This figure has to be wrought into us through the lens and onto the film by the shining, the flashing, of the light. Day by day and moment by moment we need the flashing of the light to take in more of the image of the Savior through the understanding of the mind and the receiving of the heart. Therefore, we all have to know how to handle our mind and how to adjust our heart.
All of our spiritual experiences are the different pictures taken into our heart as the spiritual film. With some Christians, however, the lens is almost always covered, and the film is almost never properly fixed. If we could look onto their film, we would see no pictures. Their film is blank; that is, they have very few experiences of Christ. However, if we could look into the apostle Paul, we would see a picture of Christ on every piece of film. He had much film, full of beautiful pictures of Christ. How many pictures of Christ we have depends on how much we know how to adjust the “film” and take care of the “lens,” that is, how much we deal with our mind and adjust our heart. Then whenever the divine light shines on us, the image of Christ comes into us, and we have a picture of Christ within us. This is God’s economy and the mark of God’s economy. By this we can see the importance of knowing our different parts. We were made as vessels to contain God in our many parts, so we have to know all these parts, not just the mind and the heart. We must see in more detail these different parts, their functions, and how to deal with them.
(Dealing with Our Inward Parts for the Growth in Life, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)