Basic Principles of the Experience of Life, by Witness Lee

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The spirit is the innermost part of our whole being. It is the very center, the very reality, of the human being. We often speak of the sincerity of the heart, but the real sincerity is not in the heart. The spirit is even deeper than the heart, so the real sincerity is in the spirit. When we contact others with our emotions or mind, we are not sincere with them. Because we feel happy with others, we may treat them well; this is to contact them with our emotions, which is not sincere. Sometimes we may contact others with our mind or reasonings, but this also is not sincere. We contact others in sincerity when we contact them in the spirit, because this is a contact from the innermost part of our whole being.

The best time to realize that a person is contacting someone from his spirit is when he loses his temper. For someone to lose his temper is the most sincere contact, because it is easy to release the spirit when we lose our temper. If we can control ourselves, we can always pretend and say, “O brother, I love you.” This is a pretense. It is a love in word, or at most in our understanding or our emotion. But when one day we lose our temper, whatever is truly within us is released.

It is difficult for people to release the spirit. We can speak many things from the emotions and the mind without the release of our spirit. Sometimes a brother ministering from the platform ministers only from his mind or his emotion, and there is almost nothing released from his spirit. As ministers of the word and those who serve the Lord, we must learn how to release the spirit. Even in a prayer meeting, it is sometimes difficult to utter a prayer because we have too many considerations. We have self-consciousness, considerations about others, and problems with language, grammar, composition, and content, among other things. We are so much in our considerations that we are hindered from expressing a prayer. Sometimes we can express a prayer only in a timid way, saying, “Lord, I am so weak. Help me, Lord.” This may be merely out of our mouth and mind, having nothing from the spirit.

This is why many times we need the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. When the outpouring of the Spirit comes upon us, we release our spirit and pray from the depths of our whole being. We may only say, “Lord, be merciful to me,” but our spirit is released by this prayer. However, we should not think that to shout and pray loudly are to release the spirit. The spirit can be released without much emotion.


In order to serve the Lord and to practice the church life, sooner or later we will find that the biggest lesson to learn is the dealing with the spirit. We may illustrate this in the following way. A brother may receive a certain light from the Scriptures. This causes him to be very happy and rejoicing, and when he comes to the meeting, he is excited and can barely control himself. The first chance he gets, he stands up and releases his revelation. There is no doubt that he has heavenly, spiritual light, but he delivers his message with an impure spirit, a spirit that is not purified and is full of human excitement and the human essence and element. His message is one of heavenly light; it may even be a great and unprecedented revelation, something the church has never before seen. However, it may be released with a proud spirit.

We may go to a brother to speak something very spiritual, yet we may speak it in a spirit that is not meek, not humble, and not of love. Our message may be entirely right, good, and necessary, but our spirit is wrong. Now we can see what it means to deal with the spirit. If we do not deal with our spirit, we can never give people a pure flow of the pure, divine water. We can never be a pure channel for a pure flow of the pure inner life. In order to be a pure channel, we need to deal with our spirit. We may say that there is nothing wrong with our message. Our light is not wrong, and we are not sinful. However, what kind of spirit do we have? It may be a spirit that is not meek, not pure, not humble, and not of love.

Sometimes our spirit may not be one of sobermindedness. It may be a spirit of a foolish mind. When some brothers speak something in the meeting, they have the release of the spirit, but their spirit is one of foolishness; they have a foolish mind with the spirit.

(Basic Principles of the Experience of Life, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)