THE NEED FOR A VISION OF GOD’S GOAL
The burden of this book is to show the Lord’s children that in these last days the Lord is going to recover this one thing, that is, Christ being wrought into the believers in order to be mingled with them, and all the believers being transformed in nature, in essence, in element, and in their very human substance into the image of Christ. Then we will become the many parts of Christ to constitute the Body of Christ, the living expression of Christ. This is our burden, our vision, our revelation. This is also the mark or goal of our seeking.
The religious people tell us that we human beings need a religion. They are wrong. What we need is Christ. Christ is the center, and Christ is everything. Christ is the hope of glory within us (Col. 1:27) as the transforming life. He is transforming us day by day from an earthly person into a heavenly person. When we are completely transformed from within to without, from our spirit to our mind, emotion, and will, we will become living members of Christ. Then we will spontaneously grow together. Christ is in us, transforming us to make us grow into one. Then we will be the Body in reality. So the Body is built up by the growth in life.
Do you think we can come together to build up the church by discussion? Do you think some brothers can build up the church by agreeing on certain matters? Maybe this time we can agree with one another after a lengthy discussion, but I am afraid that after a while something will come out of us to contradict one another. Then we will fight with one another and have more discussions. If we do this, we are forming a religious body or organizing a Christian "church." This is not the building up of the Body of Christ.
The church as the Body of Christ is something growing up in Christ and into Christ. You have to grow, and I have to grow. The more we grow, the more we will be built up together. This building up is not by organization but by the growth in life.
God’s goal, God’s mark, is not merely to make us good persons. God’s goal is to make us a part of Christ. For this we do not need so many doctrinal teachings. What we need is to grow up. We need to realize that Christ as the living One is the wonderful Spirit living within us. We need to contact Him.
Have you seen this vision concerning God’s goal? I would suggest that after reading this chapter, you find a time to be with the Lord. Have a genuine prayer before Him and ask Him to show you His goal, His mark. You may pray, "Lord, reveal this matter to me and open my eyes that I may see a vision, that I may have a revelation concerning Your Body, concerning Your goal, Your mark." You should pray in this way at least once, and the more the better.
Many years ago, for a long time day by day I prayed about this matter. Every day I had a living prayer before the Lord: "Lord, open my eyes that I may see Your purpose, Your mark, Your goal. I have studied the Word for many years, but I don’t know Your purpose, Your mark, Your goal, in the whole universe. Lord, reveal this to me. Open my eyes that I may see." I praise the Lord that He answered my prayer. At a certain time I was truly brought into the realization concerning the eternal purpose of God. Something so real was clearly revealed to me. I cannot deny that I did see something.
Following this, you need to have a definite and fresh consecration before the Lord. In Romans 12, before going into the truth of the Body, the apostle exhorted us to consecrate ourselves as a living sacrifice to God for His purpose and goal (v. 1). Maybe you have offered yourself already, but you need to offer yourself once again for the purpose of realizing God’s eternal goal.
If you would do these two things—have a genuine prayer before the Lord and offer yourself again to Him—I have the full assurance that you will have a clear vision about yourself. You will see that your very self is good for nothing but death and burial. You will realize the cross of Christ. All the time you will have the sense that you have been put on the cross and terminated by the cross. You are good for nothing but to be crucified.
At the same time, you will also have the sense, the registration, the apprehension, the realization, that the all-inclusive Christ is so real to you and that He is living and working in you. Then you will be brought into the reality of Christ as life, light, the law of life, and the anointing. So day by day you will experience something living, working, acting, moving, enlightening, regulating, and anointing within you all the time. You will know how to go along with Christ, not an objective Christ in the heavens but a subjective Christ in your spirit and heart.
Furthermore, you will always sense that you are one with Him. While you pray, He prays in you. While you walk, He walks in you. While you go to certain places, He goes with you and in you. You will always sense His presence, not just beside you but within you. And you will realize how real and available He is.
Unconsciously and spontaneously you will gradually be transformed in many things—in your way of thinking, in your desire, in your emotion, in your intention, in your attitude, and in all of your inward parts. You will be wholly occupied and possessed by Christ and filled with Christ. Because you are so saturated and permeated with Christ, all things other than Christ will gradually be dropped by you. Day by day something will be dropped. Then you will grow up into Him. You will grow to such an extent that it will become easy for you to be joined together and knit together with all those who love the Lord. Eventually, you will have the reality of the Body of Christ, the reality of the church life.
Brothers and sisters, I believe that I have suggested the best way that can help us to see the vision of God’s goal concerning the building up of the church. In brief, first, you have to realize that you have to die. If you are still living, there is no church life. You have to see that you need to be crucified and that you have been crucified (Rom. 6:6; Gal. 2:20). Second, you have to realize that Christ today is not only in heaven but also in you to be everything to you. Third, learn to go to Christ and contact Him by prayer. Do not pray for your own welfare. Instead, pray concerning Christ and the Body. Pray that you may see the living Christ within you. At the same time, offer yourself purposely and definitely for this matter. Tell the Lord, "Lord, I am here ready for Your purpose, for Yourself, for the experiencing of Yourself, and for the realization of Yourself." Fourth, learn to always maintain a good fellowship with the Lord who is in you. Go along with Him and take care of the inner anointing, the inner registration. These four points are good enough. If you practice them, many wonderful things will come out of you.
(The Life and Way for the Practice of the Church Life, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)