THE SERVING ONES NEEDING TO KNOW THE WAY OF THE CROSS AND TO RECEIVE THE BREAKING OF THE CROSS
Today many do not know the way of the cross, they do not know what the breaking of the soul means, and they do not understand what it means for the flesh to be dealt with. This is due to the fact that the serving ones have not shown them the way of the cross; even the serving ones themselves have not gone through this path and have not lived this kind of life. Due to their lack of this kind of reality and experience, and due to the dullness of their sight, they usually appoint responsible ones based on capability and education. As a result, opinions, naturalness, and the flesh are brought into the service of the church, causing the church life and the service to be damaged.
The reason the believers do not recognize their natural life and their flesh is that they do not see the way of dealing. Because this way—the breaking of the cross—is not opened wide enough to the children of God, the life of Christ has no way to be expressed through the brothers and sisters in a local church. As a result, very few in the church service are able to bear the responsibility of taking care of practical affairs. Although in the church there are many saved ones who all have the life of Christ, there are very few who manifest the life of Christ. This is due to the lack of the breaking of the cross. If we employ any method or use any scheme to produce responsible ones in the church, then one day they will become problems in the church and in the Lord’s work. In the church life and in the service of the work there is no place for methods and schemes, which ought to be rejected; there is room only for life and the Holy Spirit.
WORKING BY LIFE, SOWING THE SEEDS OF LIFE, AND REAPING THE FRUIT OF LIFE
Galatians 6:8 says, “For he who sows unto his own flesh will reap corruption of the flesh, but he who sows unto the Spirit will of the Spirit reap eternal life.” If we sow seeds out of our own flesh, we will bear the fruit of the flesh; if we sow seeds out of our own will, we will bear the fruit of our own will. However, if we sow seeds out of the Spirit, we will reap the fruit of the Spirit. If our work is produced by the life of the cross, the fruit we reap will be the work of the life of the cross. Whatever we sow is what we will reap; whatever we do is what we will gain. It is possible to fake many things, but it is impossible to be fake in doing the things related to the Lord’s work and the church.
When a serving one works by the life of Christ and sows the seeds of life, spontaneously he will reap life. If he has been broken by the cross—that is, if he has learned his lessons, been dealt with and broken, and is thereby living in the Lord—then the seeds he sows will surely produce a normal church life and testimony. Not only so, if those who serve manifest life and those who minister have the leading of the Holy Spirit, then among them there will be not only life but also authority. There will be not only the riches of life but also the ruling of authority. Those who know the flesh and the natural life are those who live under the cross, who allow only Christ to live out through them and allow only the Spirit to rule in them. Thus, by life and by the Spirit they prepare the Body for Christ, which is Christ’s expression. Therefore, we must learn the same lesson, have the same vision, walk the same path, live the same life, and do the same work, so that we may produce the same result.
RECEIVING THE BREAKING OF THE CROSS TO CARRY OUT A REAL WORK
How are workers raised up? Are they produced by human methods such as encouragement, enthusiasm, training, and arrangement? If we carry out the Lord’s work by the arrangements of our human will, then we are in a situation of degradation, and we are using the method of the world. We cannot use such a method or take such a way because it is not found in the Bible. All those who serve the Lord must receive the breaking of the cross and allow Christ to be lived out so that they may minister Christ and life. Only in this way can they have real work. If there is no Christ, there is no work; real work is the overflow of life and the expression of Christ.
Immediately after a person is saved and has received the Lord’s life, he must see the way of the cross. He must know that he has to be broken and dealt with so that the life of Christ may be manifested through him. When the life of Christ is manifested in the believers, the functions for the various services will be manifested in them. Some of the believers will be manifested as elders, while others will be manifested as deacons. An illustration of this is a nursery with many green sprouts. When the sprouts are tender, it is difficult to tell what kind of plants they are. However, after fertilizing and watering them, the sprouts gradually grow and manifest themselves as a peach tree, an almond tree, a plum tree, an apple tree, and so forth. It is the same with the newly saved ones. Although they all have the life of Christ, their functions are not discernible. After they have grown in life, passed through the breaking of the cross, experienced consecration, and dealt with their natural life and their flesh, then Christ can be manifested in them. In this way, after a period of time various functions will be manifested in them.
The manifestation of function is absolutely not through human inciting nor through human encouragement. Please remember this principle: Any work stirred up by men is useless. Christ can be expressed only by our ministering the life of Christ, experiencing the way of the cross, and dealing with the natural life and the flesh. The various services can be manifested only through the manifestation of the life of Christ.
(Dead to Law but Living to God, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)