THE TEMPTATION TO TURN FROM THE CRUCIFIED LIFE
As we are being conformed to Christ’s death, temptations will come to induce us to live by ourselves instead of by the divine life within us. In John 12 the Lord Jesus faced such a temptation. After the resurrection of Lazarus, many Jews had come to believe in Him. The crowds that were in Jerusalem for the Passover heard of this miracle and even saw the resurrected Lazarus. When the Lord Jesus came to Jerusalem, He was given a warm welcome. The Pharisees even said that the whole world had gone after Him (John 12:19). Apparently, this was the golden time for the Lord Jesus, the man from Nazareth. Some Jews from Greece wanted to see Him. Not daring to approach Him directly, they asked Philip to speak to Him for them. When the Lord Jesus heard that they desired to see Him, He said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24). The Lord Jesus was not excited by the warm reception given Him. Rather, He said that He would fall into the ground and die. He came to Jerusalem, not to be welcomed, but to die that many grains might be brought forth.
In John 12:25 the Lord Jesus said, "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it unto eternal life." In the next verse He continued, "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there also shall My servant be." The Lord Jesus is in death, and all who want to serve Him must follow Him there. The Lord’s emphasis was that we must always live, move, and act under death to terminate our human life so that we may be germinated with the divine life to live in the way God desires. This is the kind of life that we should live today. This is the highest righteousness.
Even the Lord Jesus was tempted to live according to His human life instead of according to the divine life. As we are in the process of being conformed to His death, we shall be tempted again and again to turn away from the crucified life. The temptations seek to induce us away from living a crucified life and to revert to living by our natural life. When we are tempted, we need to say, "I am no exception. Unless I die, I cannot bear fruit or release the divine life. Unless I die, I cannot live out Christ or say, ‘To live is Christ.’ I must keep myself always under the death of baptism and be conformed to Christ’s death."
Being conformed to the death of Christ is the issue of all the foregoing items in Philippians 3. I am sorry that so few Christians have seen this. The more we have the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, the more we shall be conformed to His death. The more we count all things loss for Christ, the more we shall be conformed to His death. The more we know Him, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, the more we shall be conformed to His death. It is in being conformed to His death that we enjoy Christ, the divine life, and live out God as our righteousness. This is the way to experience Christ.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)