THE WAY OF COOPERATION IN ORDER
TO DEVELOP WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN US
God has done everything on His part, so what shall we do? If we forget what God has given us, this is wrong. First Peter 1:5 says that along with what we have received of God, we have to add all diligence to do the developing work. God has given us the seed, the soil, the land, the sunshine, the air, and the rain. Everything is here. The Bible tells us that God has given us all things. Now we do not need to do a separate work by ourselves. We simply need to go along with what God has given, to develop what God has given. We do this by sowing the seed and watering it. Then it will be developed step after step until we have a harvest. This is the cooperation we need to render to God’s doing. God has done so much. Now we need to cooperate with God.
Do not just believe that since God has done everything, He will do everything. It is wrong to think that everything must be done by God and that there is no need for us to do anything. But there is also another wrong extreme. This is the thought that we have to do everything. The right way is that on the one hand, we realize that God has given everything. On the other hand, we realize that we need to cooperate with God. We need to develop what God has given. We have the seed, and now we need to sow it and water it. We need to render the proper cooperation to God.
Let us apply this principle in a practical way. The hardest job in the whole world to the wives is for them to submit to their husbands. Surely the sisters cannot submit in themselves. Then what shall they do? They may say, "I cannot have submission, but God can. God is the God of impossibilities. I cannot, but God can!" This is good doctrine, but it does not work. God can be your submission, but He needs your cooperation.
The way of cooperation can be seen in Ephesians 5:18-22 and Colossians 3:16-18. Ephesians 5:22 says, "Wives, be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord." Colossians 3:18 says, "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." Please notice that these verses end with the phrases as to the Lord and in the Lord.
We also have to read Ephesians 5:22 in the context of the previous verses. They say that we need to be filled in our spirit. Then we will be filled with God and filled with singing, praising, and thanking (vv. 18-20). This shows that the submission comes out of the enjoyment of God, that is, out of the singing, praising, and thanking. Some of the wives try to submit themselves to their husbands without singing, praising, and thanking. Instead they try by the "gnashing of teeth." It is no wonder that they cannot make it. They are short of singing, praising, and thanking. If they would say, "O Lord! Amen! Hallelujah," and exercise their spirit to rejoice in the Lord, spontaneously they would submit themselves to their own husbands. The real submission comes out of being filled in spirit.
God has given all things pertaining to life and godliness, and the submission of the wives is a small part of this godliness. Godliness is the expression of the life within, and this expression includes the submission of the wives. If we practice the right way to develop the seed within, this seed will grow into submission. This submission will be sweet and spontaneous. There is no need of self-effort by the gnashing of teeth. Instead, we need to be joyful in the Lord. Then submission becomes an enjoyment, not a suffering. It becomes our resting bed, not a burden. God has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness, including submission. Now we need to cooperate with God to develop this seed by being filled. Be filled in your spirit with the Spirit! Be filled with singing, with praising, and with thanking. The issue of this will be godliness, including submission.
(The Fulfillment of God's Purpose by the Growth of Christ in Us, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)