V. THE SCOPE OF THE DISCIPLINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The scope of the discipline of the Holy Spirit is universal. Its dimensions are equal to those of the universe. All that is in the universe is included in this scope. Therefore, everything that comes to us, including people, things, and happenings, either great or small, is the discipline of the Holy Spirit. We must believe that nothing a Christian encounters is what the people of the world call coincidence or luck, but the arrangement and discipline of the Holy Spirit. It is not that certain aspects, certain kinds of things, or certain matters are the discipline and arrangement of the Holy Spirit, and all others are not. We must admit that in all our living, every matter is the discipline of the Holy Spirit. The reason you have such a job opportunity is due to the discipline of the Holy Spirit. The reason you meet such brothers and sisters is also due to the discipline of the Holy Spirit. You wish you were healthy, but unfortunately you are weak; this is the discipline of the Holy Spirit. You expect your work to expand so that you can render good service to the Lord, but unfortunately you encounter so many problems that you are unable to move at all; this also is the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Whether you can have a virtuous and prudent wife or marry the husband of your desire depends on the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Whether or not you have a perfect home life depends also on the discipline of the Holy Spirit. You do not care for many children, yet unfortunately your children are especially numerous; this is the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Or, you wish you had children, but unfortunately you have none; this is the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Even the loss of property, mismanagement of affairs, or failure in spiritual matters are the discipline of the Holy Spirit. We must apply the discipline of the Holy Spirit to all our living, to all our environment. We must especially admit that all those circumstances which are neither pleasant nor agreeable are within the scope of the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Thus, we will learn this lesson in a thorough way.
VI. THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE DISCIPLINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
To accept the discipline of the Holy Spirit we must take note of the following points:
A. Acknowledge That It Is Discipline
Acknowledgment precedes acceptance. When we receive the Lord as our Savior, we must first acknowledge that He is the Savior. Likewise, in accepting the discipline of the Holy Spirit, we must first acknowledge that all we encounter is of the discipline of the Holy Spirit. In other words, whenever we encounter something, we must realize that it is of the Holy Spirit and acknowledge it as the discipline of the Holy Spirit.
We have previously referred to Romans 8:28, which says that all things work together for our good. Matthew 10:29-30 says also, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father: but the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” These passages show that all things that come to us, even such a trivial matter as the falling of hair, have been permitted and measured by God to work together for our spiritual benefit. Therefore, with regard to all things, we must admit that they are the discipline of the Holy Spirit.
B. Find the Purpose
Since we acknowledge that whatever comes to us is the discipline of the Holy Spirit, we must discover what the purpose of the discipline is. For example, someone hit by an automobile cannot ignorantly think that since this is the discipline of the Holy Spirit, it is good enough to just praise the Lord; if so, he cannot reap the benefit. He must ask, Why was I hit by the automobile? What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit in giving me such discipline? Is it for chastisement, education, or breaking? He must have a longing heart and a prayerful spirit; he must be quiet before the Lord, seeking Him until he is clear that it is a particular problem or need which caused him to be disciplined by the Holy Spirit. In this way he can learn the spiritual lesson and obtain practical benefit.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)