THE VANITY OF THE MIND
The fourth negative thing in Ephesians is the vanity of the mind. In 4:17 Paul says, "This therefore I say and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the nations also walk in the vanity of their mind." Not only do unbelievers walk in the vanity of the mind, but even millions of today’s Christians also walk in the vanity of the mind. This was the reason Paul gave the charge recorded in 4:17. In their mind unbelievers do not have God, Christ, or the Spirit; they have nothing except vanity. In the words of Solomon, apart from God everything under the sun is vanity (Eccl. 1:2). Only Christ, the embodiment of the Triune God, is reality. We must take heed not to walk in the vanity of the mind. If we would experience Christ and the church, we must be delivered from the vanity of our mind.
SATAN AND HIS EVIL POWERS
Finally, as the fifth negative element in Ephesians, we have Satan, the Devil, and his dark powers in the air. In no other book is there such an unveiling of Satan and his evil powers as in Ephesians 6. The church has a commission to fight against these powers of darkness.
OVERCOMING THE NEGATIVE THINGS
Although the gospel has been preached for more than nineteen centuries, the church still has not been built up because of these five categories of negative things—blindness, ordinances, the winds of doctrine, the vanity of the mind, and the evil powers in the air. These negative things are more serious than those in the book of Galatians. Nevertheless, in Ephesians we are given the way to overcome each of them. To overcome blindness, we need a spirit of wisdom and revelation to enlighten the eyes of our heart. To overcome ordinances we need to be strengthened with power through the Spirit into our inner man so that Christ may make His home in our hearts through faith. Then, having been rooted and grounded in love, we shall be strong to apprehend the breadth, length, height, and depth and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ that we might be filled unto all the fullness of God. To overcome the winds of doctrine and the vanity of the mind, we need to be renewed in the spirit of the mind. Furthermore, there is a way for us to wrestle against the evil powers of darkness.
THE WORD, FAITH, AND
Now we must consider the secret of overcoming these negative things and of experiencing Christ and the church according to Ephesians. The secret in Ephesians is a continuation of that found in Galatians. Ephesians 1:13 is a very important verse related to this secret: "In whom you also, hearing the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise." This verse speaks of hearing the word of truth, of believing in Christ, and of being sealed with the Holy Spirit. Is this not a continuation of the matter of receiving the Spirit by the hearing of faith mentioned in Galatians? In Ephesians 2:8 we see that we are saved by grace through faith. Where does this faith come from? According to 1:13, faith comes from the hearing of the Word. Hence, the first basic factor of the secret of experiencing Christ and the church is the Word.
The Word is related both to faith and to the Spirit. In our experience the Word becomes faith and Spirit. Through faith we have been saved. Moreover, according to 3:17, Christ makes His home in our hearts through faith. If we do not have this faith, there is no way for Christ to make His home in our hearts. The faith through which Christ makes His home in our hearts comes by hearing the Word and receiving the Word. As we hear the Word and receive it, something is infused into us, and this infused element becomes living faith. Therefore, if Christ is to make His home in our hearts, we need to hear the Word, deal with the Word, contact the Word, pray-read the Word, sing the Word, muse upon the Word, and dwell in the Word. The more we contact the Word in this way, the more Christ will spread into our inner being and make His home in our hearts.
(The Secret of Experiencing Christ, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)