IX. THE TESTING OF THE DISCIPLINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The discipline of the Holy Spirit is not only given to deal with us or to break us, but also to test us.
Some people have been in painful trials, but after a certain period their sufferings have passed away and their life has become easy. There is no criticism given them, but praise; no suppression, but exaltation; everything goes well. Such a prosperous environment tests where we are.
Therefore, the discipline of the Holy Spirit consists not only of trials of sufferings, but also of tests of prosperity. Some brothers and sisters can endure the trials of poverty, but cannot pass the tests of being rich. Some can endure criticism and attack, but cannot pass the test of being praised or exalted. Some who have never been exposed to riches claim that they do not love money. That is not dependable. Not until gold and silver are within their grasp will it be proved whether they really love money or not. Some say that they would love their wife, but that is because they do not have a wife; once they have a wife for them to love, it will be proved whether they love or not. In order to expose our inner condition we need the Holy Spirit not only to use a trial through a painful environment, but we often need the Holy Spirit to put us in a favorable environment to test us. Therefore, the discipline of the Holy Spirit works through both trials and tests simultaneously. But normally, the discipline of the Holy Spirit through trials by suffering is always more frequent than through tests of prosperity.
X. A FINAL WORD
The discipline of the Holy Spirit is an important lesson to the saints. There are many positive lessons for the saints, but this is the only negative one. Although there are other lessons of dealings which have to do with the negative aspects, yet all these require the coordination of the discipline of the Holy Spirit. The forefathers in the Bible and all the overcomers in the way of life as recorded in church history have had rich and definite experiences along this line. Although they did not necessarily use this term, the discipline of the Holy Spirit, yet it is abundantly evident that they experienced various environments confronting them as trials and tests. The Apostle Paul in Philippians chapter 4 tells us that he knew how to be abased and how to abound; this is because he learned the lessons of the discipline of the Holy Spirit amidst all circumstances. Much more should we who seek the growth of life pay full attention to this lesson, not only to know the points fully, but to accept the dealings thoroughly. Then we will allow the hand of the Potter to mold and shape us, the pieces of clay, that we may become a fit vessel, filled with the glorious image of His Son.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)