How to Know God's Will, by Watchman Nee


In order for a saved and regenerated believer to live out the Lord’s life, there are two steps that he has to take. The first is believing, which is receiving the new life. The second is consecrating himself, which means committing his outer man to the Lord to allow the new life within to be expressed. This is like a property consisting of a house and a plot of land around the house. We can assume that the house is the inner man and the plot around the house is the outer man. If the house belongs to a person, but the plot of land does not, there will be trouble. Consequently, as soon as a man believes, he should consecrate himself to the Lord. Consecration is committing one’s outer man to the Lord so that it will belong to the Lord in the same way that the inner man belongs to the Lord. Many believers today are neither in nor out. When you ask if they are saved, they answer yes. They are saved, but their outer man has never been dealt with. Their inner life is frustrated from being expressed. Hence, we must not just believe in the Lord, stopping at salvation and regeneration. We must also consecrate our outer man to the Lord. If a man is willing to consecrate his mind, emotion, and will to the Lord in an absolute way, he will live out the Lord’s life.

The problem today is that many have consecrated themselves, yet their consecration is not absolute. They consecrate according to their own preference. They consecrate only when they want to, and they do not consecrate when they do not want to. Most people live in their mind and emotion, living for the satisfaction of their flesh. Many communicate with the Lord through their mind and emotion. Few communicate with the Lord according to their will. We can find many Christians who love the doctrines in the Bible. When someone expounds Matthew 24 or Revelation well, they love to flock around and listen. It does not take much effort to listen to a message and no price is involved. After they hear a good message, they happily return home, but nothing further happens. There are others who are very strong in their emotion. They are always actively working for the Lord. Of course, they are better than the ones without emotion, but they are so unstable that they are like the waves of the ocean. They may zealously prepare a sermon. After delivering the sermon, they may secretly consider in their heart how successful they were, how the people were touched, and how the audience was persuaded. They may be so overjoyed that they cannot sleep that night. (Most people cannot go to sleep because of pain; but these cannot go to sleep because of joy.) They gratify themselves with the activities of the flesh. Although they are serving the Lord outwardly, in reality they are gratifying themselves. They have not committed their will fully to the Lord. They must consecrate their will absolutely to the Lord and be dealt with by Him. Before they can render genuine service to the Lord, they must also allow Him to control their mind and emotion so that they will not act according to their active mind or according to the impulse of their emotion.

(How to Know God's Will, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)