Living in the Spirit, by Witness Lee


We must look to the Lord that He would enable us to see clearly that today our God, our Redeemer, is the Spirit. In His essence He is Spirit, in His economy He is ultimately the Spirit, and in His resurrection He actually became the Spirit. Not only did He become flesh to accomplish redemption for us, He also became the Spirit to come into us to be our life. We must see that today our God, our Redeemer, is the wonderful, all-inclusive Spirit. This wonderful Spirit is not only in the third heavens but is also dwelling specifically in our spirit.

Romans 8 says that Christ is in us, and that as a result, our spirit is life (v. 10). Today Christ as the Spirit is in our spirit, so our spirit, which contains Him as life, is life. We may use electricity to illustrate this. When electricity enters into a light bulb, the light bulb becomes light. This revelation of our spirit being life is made crystal clear in the New Testament. The Lord who became flesh, who died and shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins, and who was resurrected is now the Spirit. He is not only with us in our spirit but is also mingled with our spirit as one spirit. This truth has been taught among us for many years, and this message has been released numerous times. However, there has not been much response or practical application because we are still very much limited by old concepts, old backgrounds, and other teachings.

Recently I attended a Lord’s Day meeting in which a message was given on the topic of “pressing on” based on Philippians 3:13-14 (ASV). The message was about pressing on, the saints sang hymns about pressing on, and many of the saints were shouting, “Press on!” However, much of the shouting was natural and without revelation, and thus, the brothers and sisters who attended that meeting left without receiving any help. In that meeting there was much talk about pressing on, yet no one explained how to press on, where to start pressing on, and where to press on to. There was much shouting of words but no revelation. As I was listening there, I wondered, “Where are the ones sharing these things going to lead the church? Are they going to lead the church into the matter of pressing on?” It is true that Philippians 3:13-14 contains the thought of pressing on. However, we need to read through Philippians chapter three before we can understand what it means to press on. To press on is to put away religion. Paul said, “Beware of the dogs…beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, the ones who serve by the Spirit of God…and have no confidence in the flesh….If any other man thinks that he has confidence in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day…a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, persecuting the church; as to the righteousness which is in the law, become blameless. But what things were gains to me, these I have counted as loss on account of Christ…. I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ” (vv. 2-8). Instead of merely shouting about forgetting the things behind, we need to realize what the things behind are and what the things we need to forget are. If we had the revelation, we would realize that the things which are behind are things such as our religious concepts, our keeping of the law, and our zeal. We need to forget about our service as a responsible one in a small group, in a home meeting, or in a meeting hall. We need to forget about being so busy and working so hard to carry out those responsibilities. From where do we start to press on? We need to start by forgetting about our responsibilities in the home meetings and our busyness. We should not turn Philippians 3:13-14 into mere slogans, shouting things such as, “Forgetting the things which are behind,” “Stretching forward to the things which are before,” and, “Press on toward the goal.” What is our goal? Our goal is Christ, who is in our spirit. In that Lord’s table meeting, why is it that no one declared, “Press on to the spirit! Our goal is the spirit!” The goal is not in our responsibility or in our service. The goal is Christ, who is in our spirit. We may have heard this message many times, yet in our practical application we have failed. We have heard the truth, but we have not seen the revelation.

If we have truly seen the revelation, we should be able to give ten thousand messages, each with a different subject yet with the same principle. However, if we speak about pressing on without having seen the revelation, then the church will not be edified, because our leading of the church will have no direction or goal. What should our direction be? Our direction and our goal should be the Christ who lives in our spirit. We can speak this message and apply it to thousands of matters, even to the way we cut our hair. Whether we should leave our hair long or cut our hair short is not a matter of regulation. We should not inquire of the elders or search the Scriptures concerning such a matter. Instead, we should inquire of our spirit and turn to our spirit. We should not promote short hair or long hair. Instead, we should turn to our spirit! Whatever message we speak, this should be the principle.

Those without this vision are groping in the dark and speaking nonsense. We may speak about prayer—how to pray and what to pray—but unless we have seen this vision, our prayers will be nonsensical prayers. Before he was saved, Saul of Tarsus probably prayed more than any of us. After receiving the letters from the high priest and while he was on his way to Damascus to arrest the saints, he must have intensified his prayers and prayed thoroughly. Yet his prayers were in cooperation with Satan. He was praying to God, yet he was being utilized by Satan. Whoever has not seen this vision is liable to fall into the scheme of Satan, no matter what he does.

(Living in the Spirit, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)