THE RIGHT WAY TO COME TO THE WORD
When we come to the Word, we need to open four layers of our being. To begin with, we must open our eyes. If they are shut, we cannot read! Then we must open our mind in order to understand what we are reading. But reading and understanding are not enough. We must thirdly open our heart to receive what we read. Lastly, we must open our spirit to realize what we have received.
The way to be helped by the Word, then, is to read, understand, receive, and realize. This requires our opening of our eyes, mind, heart, and spirit. The Bible is not a simple book. Reading it profitably involves all four layers of our being.
To open these four parts takes an effort. Yes, keeping our eyes open to read is simple. Our mind, however, is another matter. As soon as we sit down to read the Word, our mind takes off on a 747! We must call it back and insist that it concentrate. To open our mind means simply to concentrate on what we are reading. If we do this, we shall uncover what is hidden in the Word.
As to opening our heart, we do this by loving the Lord. We may open our mind and pray-read the Word in a superficial way, but if we do not love the Lord, we are drawn off by thoughts of other things we love. When our time in the Word seems dry and lifeless, it may be that our heart is not open to Him to give Him our love.
The way to open our spirit, the deepest layer, is by genuine prayer. Once our eyes see, our mind understands, and our heart receives, we can pray the Word into us. Then the Word will become our life supply, bringing to us God, Christ, the Spirit, and all the divine virtues.
The result of our opening to the Lord in this fourfold way is that this living One replaces religion, ethics, and our natural virtues. When He comes, all that is not of Him must go.
This is the reason it is so urgent that we come to the Word. With the reading, the understanding, the receiving, and the realizing, the Word becomes ours. It will grow and be formed in us. The Lord is both the Word and the Spirit. The Word also is the Spirit. Thus it is that in the Word we find the Lord, the Spirit, and life.
Time after time come to this Word, each time opening your eyes, your mind, your heart, and your spirit. Then you will be not only reading, but also understanding, receiving, and realizing. You will grow, and the church will be built up, by this way of life. All the substitutes for Christ will be replaced with Himself.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)