Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 24: The Overcoming Life, by Watchman Nee


I would like to bring to your attention 1 John 5:11-12, which says, "And this is the testimony, that God gave to us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life." Have you seen this? How is the overcoming life given to us? It is given to us in the Son. There is no way for us to receive the overcoming life except through the Son. He who has the Son of God has life, and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. When God gives us His Son, He is not giving us just the prescription but the very Doctor Himself. God does not merely give us life; He is giving us this life in His Son. Having the overcoming life is not just a matter of receiving life; it is a matter of receiving the Son of God. Therefore, when our relationship with Christ is improper, problems develop. Once we doubt Christ’s faithfulness and His promises, we will have problems within. God does not give us patience, meekness, or humility independently of Christ. He gives us patience, meekness, and humility in His Son. The minute we are not right with His Son, we lose our victory. This is why we need a proper relationship with Christ every day.

Every day we should say, "Lord, You are my Head, and I am Your member. Lord You are still my life, and You are still my holiness." If we turn our eyes to ourselves, we will find none of these things. But if our eyes are turned to Christ, we will have everything. This is faith. We cannot hold on to holiness, victory, patience, or humility apart from Christ. Once we have Christ, we have holiness, victory, patience, and humility. The Chinese have an expression: "As long as the green mountain remains, there is no fear of the shortage of firewood." God is not giving us "firewood"; He is giving us the "mountain." As long as the "mountain" is there, the "firewood" will be there. We believe that God’s Son is living within us. The biggest reason for failure in many Christians is that they live by feelings and not by faith.

When we fail, it does not mean that everything we have experienced up to that point is void and invalid. It merely means that something has gone wrong in our believing. We should never think that a person needs to fail after he has overcome. Before we overcome we have to fail; God wants us to fail and fail miserably. But after we overcome, there is no need to fail! Even when we fail, such failures should only be occasional ones. When we are in Adam and we feel cold, callous, and unclean, it means that we are indeed cold, callous, and unclean. But when we are in Christ, we should tell ourselves that we have holiness and victory. Whatever we say we have, we will have.


Finally, let us consider what growth means. We agree that we should still grow after we overcome. Some are too proud; they think that after they have overcome and are sanctified there is no need to go further. It may be true that we have overcome and have been sanctified, but we have to realize that entering into an experience is the same as passing through a gate. Without passing through a gate, we cannot walk on the way. We can only grow after we have overcome. We should realize that man has a free will; he is rational and he has feelings. When we overcome, we overcome only the sins that we know of; we cannot overcome the sins that we do not know. This is why there is the need of growth.

What is the one sin that you are aware of? Suppose you have a bad temper. If you have truly overcome in Christ, you will have the patience to overcome your temper, and you cannot grow any further as far as patience is concerned. Your patience is the ultimate patience because this patience is from Christ. This patience is the same patience that Christ had when He was living on earth during His thirty-three and a half years. If your patience is not a false patience and if this patience is the patience of Christ, you cannot be any more patient, because you have the patience of Christ.

We can only overcome the sins that we are aware of. There are, however, sins that we are not aware of, and these are not included in our experience of the victory of Christ. Consequently, we need John 17:17, which says, "Sanctify them in the truth." On the one hand, we have 1 Corinthians 1:30, which says, "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom to us from God: both righteousness and sanctification and redemption." On the other hand, we have John 17:17 which says, "Sanctify them in the truth." Christ sanctifies us, and truth increases the measure of sanctification. Is there a brother that knows the whole Bible from the first day? No, we know it gradually. Truth tells us what is right and what is wrong. For example, two years ago, we might not have known that a certain thing is sin. Now we realize that it is sin. We might not have known two weeks ago that something is a sin, but today we realize that it is sin. Many things which we considered to be good and which we approved of before become sin to us later.

There is a difference between the past and the present because the more truth we know, the more sin we discover, and the more sin we discover, the more we need Christ to be our life. The greater the capacity we have, the more we need Christ. Daily we have to study God’s Word carefully so that we will see what is sinful. The more we see our sins, the more we have to tell the Lord, "God, show me in these matters that Christ is my victory and my supply." Brothers and sisters, if we want to grow, the light of the truth is indispensable. The light of the truth will reveal our mistakes and show us our own vulnerability. Once the light of the truth exposes our condition, our capacity will be increased, and the more our capacity is increased, the more we can assimilate.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 24: The Overcoming Life, Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)