THE NEED FOR TRANSFORMATION FOR THE BUILDING
Both ends of the Bible contain many figures. These are not merely printed words; they are pictures. Therefore, we have to see their meaning. Adam was a man made of clay, the dust of the ground, but God put him in front of the tree of life. Beside the tree of life there was the flowing river, and in the flow of the river there was not clay but gold, pearl, and precious stones. Eventually at the end of Genesis 2 there is a woman as a bride, not born but built by God. This picture is very meaningful. We need the whole Bible to tell us what it signifies.
This figure signifies that man, as the dust of the ground, a piece of clay, needs to be transformed to become gold, pearl, and precious stone to be built together to become a bride. The bride at the end of the Bible is a city built with gold, pearls, and precious stones. What is needed for this is transformation. A piece of clay is not good for God’s building. The buildings of the enemy, Satan, are always with brick. The tower of Babel in Genesis 11 and the two cities of Pharaoh in Exodus 1 were built with bricks made of burnt clay (vv. 11, 14). Pharaoh charged the people of Israel to gather straw and burn clay into bricks. God’s building, however, is always with stone. God does not need anything muddy. God needs gold, pearls, and precious stones. In order to become these elements we have to be transformed.
BEING TRANSFORMED BY EATING CHRIST AS THE TREE OF LIFE
The way to be transformed is to take the tree of life into us, that is, to eat Christ. According to our experience, when we take Jesus into us as the tree of life, something within us starts to grow. When we take Jesus into us, we have a flow within. Now the tree of life is within us, and there is something flowing. We may have the intention to go somewhere, but something may flow within us, telling us, “Do not go. Rather, rise, pray, and get prepared for the meeting tonight.” We have such a flow within us. The more it flows, the more life we have, and the “muddy” things within are transformed into something golden. If we are still “muddy,” we need more flowing. When we call, “O Lord Jesus,” there is a flow within us.
We receive the flowing not by teaching but by eating Jesus. When we eat Jesus, we have the river of life within. In John 6:57 Jesus said, “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me,” and in 7:38 He said, “He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” In John 6 there is the eating, and in chapter seven there is the flowing. When the tree of life gets into us, it becomes the river. This river flows within us, and this flow transforms us into gold, pearls, and precious stones. We all have to say, “Hallelujah for the transformation! We are not only regenerated, but we are also being transformed.”
We are not fully transformed yet. A brother may like to play basketball, but by transformation by the flowing of the life of Christ, his playing of basketball will cease. In Los Angeles in the past few years a number of hippies came to our meeting. Night after night one such person would come with long hair, a beard, and bare feet to sit on the front row. Another came wearing a dirty blanket-like garment. A dear saint warned me at that time that the church was in danger of becoming a “hippy church.” I told this one simply to wait; the Lord would work everything out. Still, after several days and weeks I did expect to see that the brother would put away that blanket. This was a real test to me. Hallelujah, after a few months he did put away his blanket. Moreover, the brother with the long hair was cleanly shaven. When he walked into the meeting like this, everyone shouted for joy. However, his feet were still bare. For several more weeks I was still under the test. I was tempted to give a message on dressing properly, but the Lord said within me, “Do not do it. Do not trust in teaching. Trust in Me. Trust in the flowing, the watering life, the transforming life.” After not too long, this brother put on a pair of good shoes. This was transformation. Praise the Lord, we do have a transforming life.
(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)