THE MINISTERING SPIRIT
The life-giving Spirit is also the ministering Spirit. Second Corinthians 3:8 speaks of the ministry of the Spirit. In this second Epistle, the gifts of the Spirit are replaced with the ministry of the Spirit. Balaam’s donkey received the gift of speaking in a human language, of speaking in tongues, but that was not a ministry. The donkey received such a gift suddenly, but a ministry takes time to be built up. A ministry is produced in a person because Christ has been wrought into him for many years, not just overnight. The ministry is produced through years of the Lord’s working, dealing, and building up bit by bit.
Sometimes when a saint speaks, you can realize he is exercising his gift. But when another saint speaks, you realize that he has a real ministry because something has been built and wrought into his being through many sufferings over a period of time. Once something of Christ has been wrought into you, nothing can take it away. When you experience Christ through sufferings, the ministry of Christ with you is enriched, strengthened, and uplifted. Then what you speak comes out of your constitution, your very being. This is not a gift but a ministry.
When the apostle Paul ministered, he was not merely exercising his gift. Paul ministered Christ so richly because something of Christ had been wrought into him and built into him to become one with him. Actually, Paul was the ministry. Not only his word but also his person was the ministry. The ministry does not minister knowledge, doctrine, or the exposition of the Bible. It ministers the riches of Christ. The ministry of the Spirit imparts all that Christ is into us. If you listen to certain speakers, you may feel that you only receive knowledge without anything watering or feeding you. But you may listen to someone who is not so eloquent, yet you have the deep feeling that you are nourished, watered, and vivified. This is the ministry of the Spirit. This is the Spirit of life ministering Christ into you.
The Spirit is the reality of what Christ is. Christ is life. If you do not have the Spirit, you do not have the reality of life. Christ is light. If you do not have the Spirit, you do not have the reality of light. Christ is love. If you do not have the Spirit, you do not have the reality of love. Christ is everything. If you do not have the Spirit, you do not have anything. Instead, you have mere biblical terminology without reality. The reality of every item of Christ’s riches is the Spirit. The Lord said that all that the Father is and has was given to Him, and whatever He received was passed on to the Spirit of reality. Then the Spirit of reality passes on what He has to us (John 16:13-15). This means that He leads us into all the reality of what Christ is. He ministers Christ as everything into us.
(The Experience of Christ as Life for the Building Up of the Church, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)