THE SECRET OF ENJOYING THE INDWELLING SPIRIT
In this message we have seen five secrets: the first is that to do all things we need to be in Him; the second, that to be in Him we need to abide in Him; the third, that to abide in Him we need to take care of the anointing; the fourth, that to take care of the anointing we need to remain on the cross; and the fifth, that in order to stay on the cross we must depend upon the indwelling Spirit. Although we have seen these five secrets, we must still consider a sixth—the secret of how to enjoy the indwelling Spirit. First Thessalonians 5:16 through 18 say, "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Instead of periods after verses 16 and 17, there should be commas. This change of punctuation indicates that rejoicing evermore, praying without ceasing, and giving thanks in everything are the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us. God has a will regarding us. This will is that we must constantly rejoice, pray, and give thanks. This is the sixth and last secret, the practical secret. Without it, all the other secrets mean nothing.
Because we are so forgetful, we need to practice remembering all these secrets. Therefore, let us go over them again. The first secret is that if we would be able to do all things, we need to be in Christ. The second secret is that to be in Him requires that we abide in Him. The third secret is that to abide in Him we need to take care of the inner anointing. The fourth secret is that in order to take care of the inner anointing we must remain on the cross. We have seen that we in ourselves are not able to stay on the cross; instead, we often come down from the cross. Hence, we need to know the fifth secret: remaining on the cross by means of the indwelling Spirit. But all this is of no avail without the sixth secret, the secret of how to enjoy the indwelling Spirit. This secret is to rejoice always, to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in everything.
Suppose as I am ministering, a brother stands up and says, "Brother Lee, I don’t agree with your speaking. You must stop." At such a time I need to rejoice. To fail to rejoice is to get off the cross. Thus, if a brother rebukes me and tells me to stop speaking, I should say, "Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! How happy I am!" The sisters should also do this when their husbands give them a difficult time. Sisters, instead of being troubled by your husbands, rejoice in the Lord. Whenever we are not rejoicing, we come down from the cross. The indwelling Spirit works with us in our rejoicing.
For years I have encouraged the saints to release the spirit and to exercise the spirit. Now I wish to point out that the best way to release the spirit is to rejoice. To rejoice is not merely to be happy; it is to make a joyful noise. When we are joyful, we rejoice.
In 1 Thessalonians 5 the word "rejoice" is modified by the word "evermore," and the word "pray" by the words "without ceasing." Furthermore, in everything we are to give thanks to God. This means that even if a sister’s husband gives her a difficult time, she should praise the Lord. Rejoicing always, praying unceasingly, and giving thanks in everything is the will of God. These three things, which have been ordained by God, are like small screws in a machine. But without these screws, the entire machine cannot operate.
Whenever we fail to give thanks in something, the indwelling Spirit is choked. In 1 Thessalonians 5 the matter of not quenching the Spirit is related to rejoicing evermore, to praying without ceasing, and to giving thanks in all things. If you do not rejoice, you quench the Spirit. If you do not pray or give thanks, you also quench the Spirit. The way to stir up the Spirit is to rejoice always, to pray unceasingly, and to give thanks in everything. The Spirit here is the power of resurrection. Although we have this Spirit within us, the Spirit is often choked because we do not rejoice, pray, or give thanks.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 23, by Witness Lee)