THE STRENGTHENING SPIRIT
Ephesians 3:16 says that we need to be strengthened into our inner man through the Spirit. Many times when I am hungry, I feel weak, so I need to eat some food to be strengthened. I feel weak because I am empty within. I need the inner strengthening. After eating a good meal, I am fully strengthened and energized from within. Physically, we need to be strengthened by taking food into our being. Spiritually, we need to be strengthened into our inner man with Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings more and more of Christ into our inner man and we are energized and strengthened. This means that we gain more life supply.
In 1948 I was laboring in Brother Watchman Nee’s hometown of Foochow, which was a place famous for producing oranges. I stayed there for about three weeks and labored day and night in the Lord’s work. When I became tired after a meeting, I would drink a glass of fresh orange juice; within a short period of time, I was energized, strengthened, and refreshed. In the same way that our physical being receives the life supply from orange juice, we need the life supply of the Spirit, the inner strengthening of the Spirit. Many times we may feel weak or depressed. At these times we need to open ourselves to the Lord and say, “O Lord, Amen.”
We need to learn to breathe in the Lord deeply from within. When we breathe in the Lord, we can sense the inner strengthening and energizing of the Holy Spirit. When we call on the Lord, the Holy Spirit strengthens us with Christ as the life supply. I cannot define the elements that are within a glass of fresh orange juice, but I can enjoy its nourishment and refreshment. There is some element in the orange juice that nourishes, energizes, strengthens, and refreshes. There are also some real, divine, heavenly, spiritual elements in the breath of the Holy Spirit. When we breathe Him in, we get strengthened into our inner man.
The more that we are transformed, renewed, sanctified, anointed, and strengthened by the Spirit, the more life supply we enjoy and the more growth in life we will have. The husky and tall American men have grown in their human life because they have enjoyed the riches of America. Likewise, our spiritual weight and growth in life come from the riches of Christ. As the Spirit of Christ daily liberates, transforms, renews, sanctifies, and anoints us, He adds Christ into us so that we gain an additional weight of Christ. This addition of Christ into our being issues in our growth in life.
By taking in all the rich food of America, an American child will grow and be changed metabolically over a period of time. As the Spirit of Christ adds Christ into our being, we grow and are transformed metabolically. The Spirit liberates, transforms, renews, sanctifies, and anoints us for the one purpose of putting Christ into us so that He can be the very element of our inward being. We need to cooperate with the Spirit of life, who is dispensing more and more of Christ into us little by little in many ways. We are not interested in mere teachings because teachings can never replace the ingredients of Christ Himself. We trust in the life-giving Spirit because this Spirit works to liberate us, transform us, renew us, sanctify us, and anoint us, bringing Christ into us and adding Christ into us little by little and day by day. As we cooperate with the work of the life-giving Spirit, we are increasing in the riches of Christ, and we are gaining more life so that we can grow in life.
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Galatians 5:22 refers to the fruit of the Spirit. Fruit is the expression and the outflow of the inner life. Out of the inward renewing of the Spirit comes the fruit of the Spirit. As Christ is added into our being through the transforming, sanctifying, and anointing Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit will come forth from us. This fruit is the outward expression of the inward working of the Spirit, which is the Spirit’s renewing. The more we are renewed, transformed, sanctified, and anointed by the Holy Spirit, the more fruit we will bear of the Spirit. The Spirit brings forth fruit full of life through our inward enjoyment of Christ.
The fruit of the Spirit is singular, but the expression of the fruit is listed in Galatians 5:22-23 with nine items as illustrations. The fruit of the Spirit has other aspects, but only these nine are listed in Galatians 5. The fruit of the Spirit is Christ Himself in many aspects expressed in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control. This fruit of the Spirit is the one Christ expressed in many aspects. The fruit brought forth by the Spirit is simply Christ. When Christ is brought into us, He is the nourishment. When Christ is brought forth out of us, He is the fruit. The working of the Spirit of life is to bring Christ into us and to bring forth Christ out of us. The fruit of the Spirit is absolutely a matter of life.
(The Crucial Revelation of Life in the Scriptures, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)