THE NEED TO LIVE CHRIST
In these recent months the churches have been brought back to the Word and to prayer. I believe also that the churches are seeking to live Christ, a life that builds up the church. We thank the Lord for this. The messages that have been given on the book of Philippians have greatly helped the churches. The same is true of the messages given in the trainings on Ephesians. Yet not too long ago the Lord rebuked me. He pointed out what a lack there is of Christ in the churches. Christ is not practically lived out in the church life. As I knelt there before Him, I took the lead to confess my shortage of Christ. May the Lord reveal to us how we lack the practical living by Christ. I was not rebuked for raw sins or worldliness; by His mercy and grace I can testify that these things do not touch me. But the Lord said, “You may not be worldly or immoral, but how much Christ do you live?” I had to confess that it is very little.
I believe that most of you also can say that you do not easily fall into rough sins or worldliness. Such things have little appeal for you. But in your daily walk, how much of Christ has been wrought into you? Your policy is to behave properly. You feel condemned if you tell a lie, for example. But do you ever feel condemned that you have not lived Christ? If you act properly, you have no sense of condemnation. This indicates that unknowingly you are paying attention to ethics and morality, caring for human virtues.
NOT GOOD BEHAVIOR
Occasionally I take a look at my diary. A number of times I have recorded that I did not do well in something, or that I was wrong, or that I was mistaken. But rarely does an entry say, “Today I was short of Christ.” Does not this indicate how much I cared for good behavior?
Our attention is on virtuous behavior. When we are proud, we regret that we lack humility. But when we treat others kindly, we may be short of Christ. We may be prompted by our natural love. We are in naturalness. It is possible for us to live a life which expresses the human virtues, like kindness and consideration of others, but to live by Christ is foreign to us.
Why is it so hard for us to live out Christ? Even back in 1970 we heard many messages on Christ being our life and on taking Him as our person. Those messages were well received by the saints, and a number of hymns were written on taking Christ as our person. But the messages have become a faded memory, and we are left with only the doctrine and some hymns.
PRESERVED IN CHRIST BY PRAYER
Many times you have had the experience, while praying, of praying yourself into the spirit. At these times you were taking Christ as your person. At such times of prayer, when you were one with the Lord, taking Him as your life, you wanted to linger with Him, even to be raptured. But once that time was over, it seemed you immediately slipped back into yourself.
It is because of this that the Word tells us to pray unceasingly (1 Thes. 5:17). Unceasing prayer is the only way for us to be preserved in Christ. I have tried other ways, like exercising faith, but from experience I tell you, without praying we are outside of Christ; with prayer we are in Him.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)