THE SHORTCOMING OF THE SPIRITUAL BOOKS
What I am sharing with you is the fruit of what I have learned and experienced these many years. As I have said, in the early years we collected many spiritual books on the way to have a holy, victorious life. We read them and attempted to practice what they taught. Actually those books did not help us very much.
On the matter of overcoming sin, for example, most writers referred us to Romans 6. You must die, they said, because once you die you are free from sin. When we tried to practice this, however, we could not find the way to die. Eventually we concluded that reckoning was the answer. As A. B. Simpson’s hymn says,
There’s a little word that the Lord has giv’n
For our help in the hour of need:
Let us reckon ourselves to be dead to sin,
To be dead and dead indeed.
Let us reckon, reckon, reckon,
Let us reckon, rather than feel;
Let us be true to the reck’ning,
And He will make it real.
I did a lot of reckoning and discovered that if I did not reckon, sin was somewhat dormant. The more I reckoned, however, the more alive sin became in me. That way did not work, nor did most of the other ways recommended by the Christian writers.
Eventually we discovered that the way is Christ (John 14:6). The way to overcome sin is Christ. The way to die is Christ; when you take Him, you die. The way to holiness is Christ. The way to pray is Christ. The way to study the Bible is Christ. The way to love your wife or submit to your husband is Christ. He is the way.
JOINED TO THE LORD
When we are saved, we are joined to Christ (1 Cor. 6:17). Salvation is not merely to be rescued from hell; it is primarily to be joined to the Lord as one Spirit. We are one with Christ. Consequently, His life becomes our life.
Christ today is hidden. He does not live Himself out. No one on the whole earth can see Him directly. Where is He? Christ has two concealments, one in heaven and the other on earth. We are His earthly concealment. When Christ was on earth, the Father was hidden; the Son lived the Father out. Today the principle is the same. The Son is hidden. We are charged to live Him out. The life is the Son’s, and the living is ours.
To realize this is a help when you touch the Word. Give up your concept that Christ wants to teach you and correct you. The central thought in the Bible is that Christ must be your life and you must live Him out as your living. You may ask, “Don’t I have my own life?” Yes, you do, but that life is not the real life. It is a life of form, not of reality; it is a container, not the content. Your life is a container to hold Christ as your life. He wants to be the content of your life. This is the concept you must bring to your reading of the Bible. If you come to the Word for teaching, you are behaving like a disciple of Confucius, not like a believer in Christ! Come to the Bible for more supply of this life. Every morning, when you turn to the Bible, do not look for teachings. This natural concept is in our blood. When we read other books, we are looking for knowledge. Drop this thought when you turn to the Word. You are coming to it for nourishment, not for instruction.
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 39, by Witness Lee)