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

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God will never be submissive to us. He is not happy with anything but His will and our submission to Him. Things that are fairer, better, greater, and more important cannot replace God’s will. What God will fulfill is His own will. If He does not fulfill His own will, it is hard to expect us to fulfill it. In God’s eyes, all the best things are corrupted as long as they contain the element of man’s self. Many things are wonderful and profitable if they are done according to the leading of the Holy Spirit of God. But if they are done by man himself, their value before God is completely different. Hence, it is not a matter of man’s tendency or a matter of the nature of things; it is a matter of what God’s will is. This is the first point to remember.

Now we need to ask how man’s will can be in harmony with God’s will. How can man be delivered from having the self-will as his center to having God’s will as his center? The key to the whole matter is the soul-life. The degree to which we are severed from the control of the soul-life is the degree of the union between God and us because nothing hinders our union with God besides the soul-life. We seek after God’s will to the extent that we lose our soul-life and to the extent that our will takes God as its center. This is because the new life is naturally inclined toward God and is suppressed only by the soul-life. The way to achieve the goal is to deliver the soul-life to death.

Without God, man perishes. Without God, everything is vain. Everything that is outside of God is of the flesh (the self). Therefore, outside of God, whatever is done by one’s own effort and according to one’s own thought is condemned. A believer must deny all of his own strength and desires. He must not care for himself in anything and not do anything with his self. He must completely trust God in everything and go forward step by step according to God’s ways, waiting upon God’s time, and according to God’s requirement. He must be willing to accept the strength, wisdom, goodness, righteousness, and work that is from God as his own. He must confess that God is the source of everything he has. Only in this way is harmony possible.

This is truly a "narrow way," but it is not a difficult way. It is narrow because each step is regulated by God’s will. This way has only one principle, which is to not reserve any ground for the self. As such, it is a narrow way. A little deviation from God’s will takes us away from this way. However, this is not a difficult way. When the soul-life is consumed, habits, hobbies, desires, and cravings are broken one by one, and nothing opposes God anymore. Consequently, one does not feel that it is a difficult way. Unfortunately, many believers have not even entered the door or walked on this way. There are also some who do not have patience and who leave this way before reaching the point of sweetness. But whether the period of hardship is long or short, one thing is certain: only this way is the way of life. This is the way of God. Therefore, it is true and sure. Whoever wants to have abundant life has no choice but to walk in this way.

(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 35, by Watchman Nee)