THE PRESSURE OF WORK
Many of God’s works have to go through pressure before they will have good results. (The co-workers should pay special attention to this point.) However, few workers have this experience or want to have this experience. If you are a faithful person, you may have had this experience already, and you may very well have more in the future. If you have never had this experience before, you will surely have it in the future. God has to bring all of your works through death. He does not like death, but He has to bring your work through death before it will be in resurrection.
Some people see many souls being saved at the beginning of their work; they find their work prosperous, and everything goes smoothly. But to their amazement, this condition does not last long. After some time, the initial work stops. The ones who were saved do not seem to grow anymore. Still later, not only is the work stopped, but everything seems to have become cold and dead. They still want to carry on, but nothing seems to work. It appears as if they have lost all power, and they wonder why this is the case. They feel as if all hope is gone. God does not seem to be blessing their work anymore. At these times, God will give the light and search their heart. Then they will realize whether they were for God in the first place or for themselves. They will realize whether they were doing things in competition with others or doing them for God’s glory. Who are they working for? When the work is prosperous, they will think they are doing everything for God. But when the work is under pressure, they will realize whether they are working for God or whether their work is mixed with their own element.
Whoever has had this experience knows that these are the most bitter times. You feel that everything is depressing and deadening. You are pressed to such an extent that you ask, "God, why are things this way? Why is there no one saved? Why are all the believers dead?" You are so pressed that you cannot help but ask what you should do and where you are heading. You see that your past strength is not sufficient to deal with the present environment and that your past experiences are not enough to meet the present needs. God will probably show you that at the time of prosperity, you were self-contented and self-satisfied; you were secretly harboring spiritual pride and were zealous for your own glory. You loved to compete with others, and many things were done for the sake of men and not for God. It is only right that your work pass through death. Then you will realize that pressure in your work is very profitable to you.
Moses had to understand what circumcision was before he could work. Before he became the bloody husband, God wanted to put him to death. God cannot allow the flesh to be mixed in with His work. God wants you to be pressed to a point that you will not care if the work dies, if anybody is saved, or if all the brothers are dispersed. This is because the work and everything else belongs to God, not to you. Then you will say, "As long as God glorifies His own name, it is all right if He casts everything down or allows everything to go wrong." In this way you will pass through death. This is the most important principle in God’s dealing with His workers. After this God will once again put the burden of the work on you in a clear way. But it will be totally different. Previously, the work belonged to you, and you did it because of your interest in it. Now the work belongs to God, and your interest is not a matter of importance. The work is God’s, and He should take the credit; you should not take it. Under these circumstances, you will ask God to give you the strength to fulfill His work in the darkest and dullest hour. You will be pressed, but you will ask God to revive His work. Soon you will find new changes, and a prosperous situation will return! But then you will see clearly that it is not you, but God who is working. This pressure will grant new power to accomplish your work. Previously, it was you who worked. Now it is God who works. God has brought your work through death and has turned it into something in resurrection. After you pass through this, you will see that nothing can stop your work.
But unfortunately many of God’s workers are not willing to put themselves in His hand. If you are faithful and obedient, you will surely suffer great pressure. There will not be an easy day for you. Someone asked a brother, "How is life in Shanghai? Is it easy? Are there any trials?" He laughed and asked, "Is there anyone that God uses who does not suffer trials and who has an easy life?" The first person had nothing more to say.
Our power can never exceed the pressure we have. The greater pressure God gives to man, the greater is the power within man. God works through death. If a man has never passed through death, he can do nothing. I am afraid that most people do not put their pressure to the right use. Pressure to them is like the steam in the boiled-water shop; it cannot drive even the smallest car half a mile. During the past two years, I have felt one thing deeply: pressure brings in power. If you have such experience, you will say, "All my power comes from the pressure. The power I have in my contact with others comes from the pressure." In that day when we stand before God, we will realize what pressure our Lord Jesus Christ suffered, what pressure was upon the apostles, and what pressure was upon all those who were very much used by God.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 10: The Present Testimony (3), Chapter 21, by Watchman Nee)