THE PROMISE OF EATING TO THE OVERCOMERS
On the positive side, the Lord Jesus mentions our eating of Him at least three times. Revelation 2:7 says, “To him who overcomes, to him I will give to eat of the tree of life.” This promise of the Lord brings us back to the beginning in Genesis 2. This is the real recovery of the Lord. In the garden of Eden there was no teaching; there was not even a Bible of thirty-nine plus twenty-seven books. What was there at the beginning in the garden was the tree of life.
The overcomers are the ones who overcome all the teachings, who turn from all the teachings to Jesus. The Lord Jesus promised the overcomers to eat of the tree of life. Then He also said, “To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna” (Rev. 2:17). The hidden manna is much better than the old manna. The old manna was open to the public, but the Lord gives the hidden manna. It is not public, not open; it is private for the overcomers. Lastly, the Lord Jesus said, “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me” (3:20). To dine is to feast. These verses speak of eating the tree of life, eating the hidden manna, and feasting with the Lord Jesus.
After reading Revelation 2 and 3, will you still be for the teachings? You may say no, but after a short time a certain doctor, a worldwide famous, great speaker, may come to your town. Will you go to hear him? Second Timothy 4:3 says, “For the time will come when they will not tolerate the healthy teaching; but according to their own lusts they will heap up to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” This verse speaks not only of one or two teachers but a heap of teachers. This is exactly the situation of today’s Christianity. Not many there care for the healthy word. Rather, most like to heap up teachers for their itching ears.
THE SECRET OF OVERCOMING
In what way can we be the overcomers? Clearly, it is by eating. There is no other way. We must not take the way of learning things, the way of picking up teachings. May the Lord be merciful to us that we would pick up this one way, the way of eating Jesus. Day by day we must eat Him as the tree of life, the hidden manna, and the feast. Then we will be the overcomers.
More than forty years ago I read many books about overcoming, and I put the points into practice. I must testify, however, that they did not work. For example, when I was young I was taught that when our temper rises up, we need to reckon that we are dead. I put this into practice not once or twice but many times. However, I found the secret that the more I reckoned I was dead, the more I was alive. Eventually I lost my temper even more. I tried this many times. When I asked others what the problem was, they told me that I was reckoning without faith. That puzzled me very much. No one could tell me what faith is. I spent much time to find out what faith is, but I could not find the definition, and I could not find the way to have faith.
I tried again to reckon myself dead, this time with faith. While I was reckoning, I declared, “I have the faith that I was crucified two thousand years ago.” However, after two minutes I lost my temper. Eventually, after more than ten years, by the Lord’s mercy I came to know a little what faith is. Faith is nothing less than Jesus. We cannot have faith in ourselves. Faith is a gift; it is something given by the Lord, and it is the Lord Himself. To be sure, if we have Jesus, we have faith. If we say, “O Lord Jesus! O Lord Jesus!”, we will have faith.
For many years, I did not have the secret of overcoming my temper, but eventually the Lord gave me the secret. The way to overcome our temper is to call, “O Lord Jesus.” Simply breathe Jesus in a little. Jesus is the strongest “chemical agent.” When He comes in, right away He neutralizes our anger. Even if we try to lose our temper, we will have no temper. I know this quite well. Previously, the more I reckoned, the more anger I had. But now when the anger comes, I call, “O Lord Jesus,” and He neutralizes it; moreover, He turns the anger into praising.
There is no other way to overcome. We do not overcome by holiness. I read many books about holiness. There are different opinions about holiness. According to the teaching of John Wesley, holiness is a sinless perfection. He was absolutely wrong about this. Then those in the “holiness churches” told people to wear certain colors, have dresses of a certain length, and not to paint their faces. At first, I thought they might be right. Then I realized that the rocks on the mountains also do not paint their faces. To not paint one’s face is not holiness. Many times I have told sisters who were trying to be holy in this way, “In many Catholic cathedrals there is a statue of Mary. To be sure, if holiness were a proper living, that statue would be very holy. It never loses its temper. It is always quiet and never gets irritated.” This is not holiness; this is deadness.
Following this, the Brethren said that holiness is a change of position. In one sense this is right. However, we eventually discovered that our holiness, our sanctification, is Jesus Himself. First Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” Sanctification is something living, shining, and precious. No human word can describe it, because it is Jesus Himself. When we say, “O Lord Jesus” day by day, we eat Him, enjoy Him, and have Him as our holiness. In this way it is difficult to designate what we are, for we become persons who are wonderful. This is the living Jesus as holiness to us.
(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)