When a local church has been established and has existed for a number of years, it has a tendency to become old. Degradation comes from oldness. We have to find out why we become old. The reason that we become old is because we are short of the Spirit, who is the processed Triune God. Today we are receiving the Spirit of the Triune God who has gone through the processes of incarnation, human living, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Although we have such a Spirit, we are short of this Spirit. We may have much knowledge, terminology, and doctrines, but we are short of the Spirit. The reality of all the doctrines is the Spirit. The Spirit is called the Spirit of reality (John 14:17). If there were no Spirit, God would not be real. God is not real to us without the Spirit because the reality of God is the Spirit. The reality of Jesus Christ and the reality of the resurrection of Christ are the Spirit. Without the Spirit, even the eternal life, the life of God, is not real. The Spirit is the reality of the divine life.
The Spirit is also the reality of so many other items such as righteousness. Without the Spirit, there is no righteousness. Without the Spirit, there is also no real humility. One may seem to be very humble, but that is not humility in actuality. In actuality the Spirit is the reality of our humility. Love without the Spirit is a falsehood. Our natural love is a falsehood because it is a love with a motive for ourselves. As long as our love is not the Spirit, that love is not real. The New Testament shows us that the Spirit is the reality of all the positive things in the universe, including God, Christ, resurrection, the divine attributes, and even the proper human virtues. The reality of the positive things in the universe is uniquely the Spirit. You may be a professor, a doctor, or a president, but without the Spirit, you are simply a vanity. To be a real man, we must be filled with the Spirit. This is our urgent need.
We do not need what we are in our natural life. Whatever we are is a falsehood. We must not trust our humility or kindness. Whatever we are is not trustworthy. Romans 3:4 says, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” If one thinks he is true, he must consider himself to be God. In Mark 10 a young man came to the Lord Jesus and said, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” The Lord Jesus replied, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except One—God” (vv. 17-18). To call one good means that you consider him to be God. If you say that you are true, you are blaspheming. Only God uniquely is true. We all are a falsehood. The reality, the real thing, is the Spirit.
The Spirit is all we need. Doctrines, terminologies, and points without the Spirit are condemned. Our “no” is condemned, and our “yes” is just as condemned. Evil is condemned, and good is likewise condemned. Genesis 2 speaks of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (v. 9b). The tree of evil is also the tree of good. Neither evil nor good is life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil brings us death (v. 17). Four things are related to this complicated tree: knowledge, good, evil, and death. Besides this tree there is the tree of life (v. 9a). It is purely and simply of life. There is no knowledge, good, or evil involved with it, so there is no death. The more knowledge you have, the more poison of death you have received. The more you talk about good and evil, yes or no, right or wrong, the more you have been poisoned with death. In so many years of service in the churches, I have rarely been to a church in which there is no talk about who is right and who is wrong. Wherever a serving one goes, some cases will be brought to him, and he will be asked to decide matters of “yes or no” and “right or wrong.” This is the poison of the serpent, which is the poison of death.
Our need is the Spirit. Christians always like to talk about revival. However, in the entire New Testament the word revival is not used. For many years I did not know the reason for this. However, today I realize that we do not need a revival; we need the Spirit. The Spirit is here today. If you are a person short of air, it is foolish to say you need a revival. The air is here. You simply need the proper breathing to take the air in. You even need some particular deep breathing several times a day. Those who are regenerated do not need a revival. The Spirit, who is life, is within us just like the air. We simply need to breathe Him in.
If we all drop everything else and take care of breathing the Spirit, we will be very healthy. Stop your gossiping with the saints and with your spouse. Simply pray. Do not pray for others, saying, “Lord, have mercy upon him that he might repent.” You do not need to pray in this way. You should rather pray for yourself: “Lord, shine over me and shine from within me.” After ten minutes of this kind of prayer, you will have a deep sensation that the Spirit is moving in you. You will be filled, not with knowledge but with the Spirit.
Many times we do not need to speak so much in prayer. Simply call, “O Lord Jesus.” If you would call on the name of the Lord for ten minutes without speaking anything else, you will experience the proper breathing. Speaking too much in prayer and mentioning too many things concerning others can terminate the proper breathing. The proper breathing is simply to call on the name of the Lord. You do not even need to confess your failures with so many words. The fewer words you use and the more calling you do, the better. While you are exchanging words with your spouse, you should change your arguing to calling “O Lord Jesus.” This will not only stop your arguing, but it will also cause you to be filled with the Spirit. To pray and be filled with the Spirit is all that we need.
(Our Urgent Need - Spirit and Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)