Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), by Watchman Nee

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We should understand God’s way of leading as well as the relationship between man’s will and God’s will.

We must realize that a believer’s submission to God should be unconditional. Moreover when a believer’s spiritual life has reached a climax, his will should be one with God’s will. This does not mean that the believer no longer has his own will. The faculty of the will still exists, but the natural temperament is gone. God still needs the faculty of man’s will to work with Him for the accomplishment of His will. When we look at the pattern of the Lord Jesus, we can see that a person who is one with God still has the capability of his will. "I do not seek My own will but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 5:30). "Not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me" (6:38). "Yet, not My will, but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42). Here we can see that the Lord Jesus who is one with the Father has His own will besides the Father’s will. The verses do not say that He does not have His will; rather, they say that He did not seek, perform, or accomplish His own will. Therefore, whoever is really one with God should not eliminate the function of the will; rather, he should put his will on the side of God’s will.

Genuine leading does not mean that the believer should obey God like a machine. Rather, it means that the believer should actively carry out God’s will. God does not want the believer to follow Him blindly; He wants the believer to use his whole being sensibly to do His will. Lazy ones like to see God acting for them while they passively follow. But God does not want believers to be lazy. God wants believers to vigorously prepare their members and actively obey after they have spent the time to examine and understand God’s will. We have spoken previously on how to know God’s will through the intuition. Therefore, we will not repeat it here. If a believer desires to obey God, he must go through the following steps: (1) he must resolve to obey God’s will (John 7:17); (2) he must receive the revelation concerning God’s will through his intuition (Eph. 5:17); (3) he must be strengthened by God to resolve to carry it out (Phil 2:13); and (4) he must be strengthened by God to execute it (Phil. 2:13). God will not replace the believer in carrying out His will. After a believer understands God’s will, he should set his will to carry it out. After his will is set, he should claim the power of the Holy Spirit to carry it out practically.

A believer must claim the power of the Holy Spirit because his will is too weak to act alone. It is always the case that "to will is present with me, but to work out the good is not" (Rom. 7:18). Therefore, the Holy Spirit is needed to strengthen our inner man so that we can practically obey God. First God operates within us to make us willing. Next God operates within us for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13).

God reveals His will through our intuition. If a believer’s will is united to Him, God will multiply strength to the believer and enable the believer to set his will according to God’s will and carry it out. God wants the believers to be one with His will. Yet He does not want to replace His children in the application of their will. God’s purpose in creating and redeeming man is that man would become completely free in his will. Through the salvation accomplished by the Lord Jesus on the cross, believers today can freely choose and follow God’s will. This is why many commandments in the New Testament (all of them pertaining to life and godliness) require the exercise of the will on the part of the believer to choose or reject. If God wanted to eliminate the faculty of the will, would these commandments have any meaning?

A spiritual believer is one who has the full power to exercise his own will. He should constantly choose God’s will and reject Satan’s will. Although many times he cannot tell what is from God and what is from Satan, he can still choose and reject. He can say, "Although I do not know what belongs to God and what belongs to the devil, I will choose God and refuse the devil." Though he does not know what belongs to God, he can choose God in his "motive" and choose everything that is of God. He can adopt the attitude that he does not want anything that is from the devil, whatever it may be. Whatever comes upon him, he should choose and reject. It does not matter if he does not know; he still must always choose God’s will. He can say, "Whenever I know God’s will, I want it. I will always choose God’s will and reject Satan’s will." By doing this, God’s Holy Spirit will work within him, and He will strengthen the will that stands against Satan day by day to the point that Satan will lose his power day by day. Then God will gain one more faithful servant in a rebellious world. When one continuously rejects Satan’s will in his motive and asks God to prove what is according to Him, he will realize in his spirit the great role that the attitude of the will plays in the spiritual life.

(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 38, by Watchman Nee)