THE SENSE OF LIFE
Verse 6 goes on to say, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” This verse speaks of death on the one hand and of life and peace on the other. How can we know whether or not we are in the spirit? It is simply by checking whether or not we have life and peace. If we have life and peace, we are in the spirit. If we do not have life and peace, we have death, which proves that we are not in the spirit.
It is easy to understand the way to sense, or realize, that we have peace. The peace mentioned here is not an outward peace in our circumstances but an inward peace, a peace in our spirit, in our heart, and in our whole being. We know that we have peace in our whole being because we can sense it and have a consciousness of it. There are at least four items related to the inward peace. The first is joy, or happiness. To not have joy means that we do not have peace; if we have peace, to be sure, we will have joy. Joy always goes along with peace. Peace is the “elder sister,” and joy is the “second sister.” In addition, we have rest. Peace is a matter of joy in rest. Comfort and ease are also related to peace. When we have peace, we have joy, rest, comfort, and ease. All these can be sensed by us as the consciousness of life. Do we have joy, rest, comfort, and ease? If we say yes to the first item, we must say yes to all the other items. We cannot say that we have joy and not the other items. We know that we have these because we sense them as the consciousness of life. This proves that we are in the spirit.
As believers we may sin, but while sinning, we still have a heart to love the Lord. At that very moment we sense something contrary to peace. We do not have peace, joy, rest, comfort, and ease. Rather, we have unrest and something within disturbing us. We know we are in spirit, in life, by the deep inner sense, the inner consciousness. Likewise, we know we are not in life when we sense that we do not have peace but conflict, something contradicting and disturbing. By the word peace in this verse, the apostle speaks of the inner sense, the inner feeling. If our mind is set on the spirit, we have peace. This is something of a consciousness, a sense.
Life follows the same principle as peace. When we have Christ, we have life, and when we are in life and enjoying life, we have a certain sense. First, we sense strength. The weakest person is a dead person. Physically speaking, a person may be so weak that he cannot even walk or stand, and when he is weak to the extent that he cannot even breathe, he dies. Similarly, when we are not in life, we are weak to the degree that we cannot even pray. If we do not have life, we do not have strength. Some come to the meetings in a weak condition, because the whole afternoon they are in death. If we are strong throughout the entire week, we will come to the meetings in a strong way. Something will energize us to jump up like popcorn and speak. We will not be able to sit silently. This is the first item related to life.
The second item related to life is the life supply. After eating a good meal, we have strength, energy, and satisfaction. In the same way, if we have life and are in life, we are satisfied and full of the life supply. We are not hungry or thirsty. To feel that we are hungry and thirsty in the spirit simply means that we do not have a sufficient life supply.
The third item related to life is that we have light; we are not in darkness. The fourth item is liberty. When we are in life, we have strength, satisfaction, light, and liberty. We should check with our experience. If we are in life, in the spirit, we have peace, which includes joy, rest, comfort, and ease. We also have life, which includes energy, satisfaction, light, and liberty. However, if we do not walk in the spirit, we have death. Death includes all the items contrary to the above eight matters related to life and peace. When we are weak and in darkness, this means we are in death. We can sense whether or not we have life and peace. All these items are a consciousness to us, and we can sense them.
Therefore, the way to experience Christ as life is simple. Romans 8:2 and 6 give us the way. Christ as the Spirit within us has a law. When we are in life, this automatic law always regulates us to sense peace, joy, happiness, comfort, and ease. When we are not in the Spirit of life, this law regulates us to feel that we are in darkness, that we are weak and do not have peace and rest. We must simply go along with the inner feeling, which comes automatically with the law of the Spirit of life. If we are about to say something that is not in the spirit, not in life, right away the automatic law spontaneously regulates us within. This is something within Christians that is wonderful yet mysterious.
How can we know that we are saved? We have been regenerated with a new heart and a new spirit, and the Triune God as life dwells within us. Our longing heart that loves the Lord is a strong proof that we are saved. In addition, with the Triune God dwelling within us, there is a natural, automatic, regulating law, living and spontaneously regulating us. If we have no law regulating us, it is doubtful that we are saved. When I was young, before I was regenerated, the more I quarreled with others, the more I felt self-glorified. Now after having been regenerated, there is something different within me. The more I quarrel, the more I am sorry. How do we know that we are saved persons? It is simply by the inner, living, automatic, spontaneous regulation. Even when we make a small mistake, something within regulates us. It is a law which is delicate and tender, yet deep and strong. Do not despise this law.
We have a spontaneous regulating law within us. This is the simple way to experience life. Sometimes, simply because we do not have this knowledge, we may go to the Lord and pray that He will help and strengthen us. However, if we neglect this law, no matter how much we pray we will still not be strong. Within us is an automatic law working spontaneously, and this law is unlimitedly powerful.
Praise the Lord, the Triune God as life is within us, and with this life is the automatic law which spontaneously regulates us! If we are in life, this law regulates us to sense life and peace, and when we are not in this life, this law regulates us to sense that we are in death, weakness, and darkness without joy, comfort, satisfaction, and all the items on the positive side. This is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We should simply receive it and apply it day by day. Then we will realize how powerful the law of the divine life is.
(Basic Principles of the Experience of Life, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)