THE PURPOSE OF THE ANOINTING BEING NOT OBEYING BUT ABIDING
Many Christians today neglect this matter, yet we do experience it day by day. I cannot tell you how many times I experience this daily. If you obey God’s painting twenty times out of one hundred, you may be the best Christian on the earth. I must be faithful to say that many times I have not obeyed this painting, but praise the Lord, regardless of whether I obey or disobey, I am painted. Day by day God paints me. Therefore, I am happy. As far as things are concerned, I have done things wrongly and committed many blunders, but as far as God is concerned, I am painted; I am full of paint. We all need to learn this.
First John 2:27 says, “And as for you, the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone teach you; but as His anointing teaches you concerning all things and is true and is not a lie, and even as it has taught you, abide in Him.” This verse does not say, “Even as it has taught you, you shall obey.” The purpose of the anointing is not that we obey but that we abide. One day the Lord spoke to me, “Child, I do not care whether you obey Me or disobey Me. I only care that after I anoint you, you will abide in Me.” If I put paint on a brother, whether he takes my word or disobeys me, he still abides in the paint. The young brother who went to the movies, to whom I referred earlier, later told me, “Brother Lee, I cannot tell you how much God has given Himself to me just by my one failure.” I said, “To you that was a failure, but to God it was not a failure. To God that was a success. God painted you, and from that time on, more or less, you abode in God.”
Read verse 27 again. To our opinion, since it speaks of teaching, it should also speak of obeying. It is so strange, however, that the word obey is not there. Obey comes from the natural man. We speak so much about obeying. We have a good hymn that says, “Trust and obey.” I liked that hymn, but not now. Verse 27 says, “Even as it has taught you, abide in Him.” The purpose of the anointing is not obeying but abiding. This is the main point, which we must stress.
Some may say that my teaching is dangerous, that I encourage people to be disobedient. I do not have the intention to encourage you in this way. If you can be disobedient, then be disobedient. To stand is easy, but to fall is hard. Try it. How many times have you fallen down? It is not easy to fall, but it is easy to stand. Let us learn to say this. Change your mind. Do not be deceived by the enemy, saying, “Oh, it is so easy for me to fall.” It is easy only for dead persons to fall; in fact, they are fallen already. But it is not easy for living ones to fall. As long as you are living, it is hard to fall.
For more than three years, I have never fallen, physically speaking. Rather, I always stand. If I were dead, however, there would be no need to fall; all day long I would already be fallen. Are you dead or living? Some may answer by saying, “I am not talking about being dead or living. I am talking about being disobedient or obedient.” We must realize what the difference between religion and life is. Disobedience and obedience are the teaching of religion. Here we are speaking about the matter of life, so I do not want to teach you to obey or disobey. Forget about that. Learn to realize that you are living because He is living. He is living in you, so you are living. Praise the Lord, He is always anointing. Therefore, if you can be disobedient, then do it. Try, and see if you can. This is outside of the realm of God’s teaching. God’s teaching is of life, while religion’s teaching is of disobedience or obedience.
More than thirty years ago I received the light to see something about the anointing, but at that time I did not see that the purpose, the result, of the anointing is not obeying but abiding. However, in 1953 in a training in Taiwan, I came to see that the anointing within us is for abiding. I had seen the first part of 1 John 2:27, but until that time I had not seen the last part. It says, “Even as it has taught you, abide in Him.” “Even as it has taught you, obey Him” is wrong; that is the religious thought. Learn to abide according to His anointing.
It is hard to understand this passage until we have the experience. Without the experience, we cannot know what is taught here. The New Testament principle is that God does not speak to us in plain words, in speech, but by anointing, by painting. Moreover, the purpose of this anointing is not for us to do things rightly or wrongly, but for us to be painted by God, to be anointed by God that we may abide in Him.
(Practical Lessons on the Experience of Life, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)