Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 01: The Christian Life and Warfare, by Watchman Nee


What we must do is lie on the altar. It is our High Priest’s job to apply the sharp knife to us to divide our soul from our spirit. If we have truly committed ourselves to the cross, our High Priest will surely fulfill His ministry and divide our soul from our spirit. This is His work; we do not have to worry about it. When He sees us fulfilling the condition for His work, He will surely divide our soul from our spirit at the most appropriate time. Now we have to consider the practical steps by which we, in coming to the cross, allow the Lord Jesus to divide our soul from our spirit through the word of God.


We have spoken of the working of the High Priest as a result of our accepting the cross. Now we want to consider how, in practice, we can have our soul divided from our spirit by the Lord Jesus.

1. Knowing the Necessity of Having the Soul Divided from the Spirit

Without this knowledge, there will not be the proper seeking. A saint must seek the Lord that He might show him the hatefulness of a life with a mixture of the soul and the spirit. He must know that in God there is a higher and deeper life that is perfect in spirituality and unaffected by the soul. He should know that a life with a mixture of the soul and the spirit is a life of loss.

2. Seeking to Be Divided

Moreover, he must genuinely seek to have this joining of the soul and the spirit divided. He must have the intense intention in his heart to see these two things divided.

3. A Specific Submission

If a saint desires to have the experience of the dividing of the soul from the spirit, he must be very specific and must put himself on the altar of the cross. He must be fully willing in his heart to accept the result of all the working of the cross. He must be willing to be conformed to the Lord’s death and must wait until there is a dividing of his soul from his spirit in his experience. Before he has this dividing experience, he should continually place his will on God’s side and should actively and aggressively set his preference on this dividing. In his heart he should desire that the High Priest would not stop His hand until the dividing work is complete.

4. Standing on Romans 6:11

The saints must be careful not to fall into sin while seeking for the experience of the dividing of the soul from the spirit. The basis of the division of the soul from the spirit is our attitude of being dead to sin. Hence, the saints must daily take up the stand of Romans 6:11 and consider themselves "dead to sin." In their will they must specifically choose not to let sin "reign in [their] mortal body" (v. 12). Only then will they be able to stop the soul-life from continuing to sin through the flesh.

5. Praying and Reading the Word

The saints should study the Bible by prayer and meditation. They should allow the word of God to penetrate deep within them so that their soul will be purified by the word of God. If the saints will truly walk according to God’s word, the activities of their soul-life will be stopped. This is what 1 Peter 1:22 means when it says, "Since you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth."

6. Taking Up the Cross Daily

If the Lord is to divide our soul from our spirit, He must make us bear the cross according to the needs in the environment. If the saints will bear the cross daily, if they will unceasingly seek to experience victory over sin and the self, not giving room to the flesh for a minute, the Holy Spirit of God will quietly divide their soul from their spirit.

7. Walking according to the Spirit

All these are the conditions for being preserved. They are also the clear conditions for the soul and the spirit to be fully separated. The saints should seek to walk according to the spirit in everything. They should distinguish what is from the spirit and what is from the soul and should resolve to follow everything that is from the spirit and reject everything that is from the soul. They should learn to know all the workings of their spirit and follow them accordingly.

These are the conditions that the saints have to fulfill. The Holy Spirit needs our cooperation. If we do not fulfill our part, the Lord will not be able to fulfill His part. If we have done what we should on our part, our High Priest will divide our soul from our spirit through the power of the cross and the sword of the Holy Spirit. Then all the things that belong to the emotion, the feelings, the mind, and the natural strength will be separated from the spirit one by one, and there will be no more mixture. When this happens, the spirit of the saints will be able to ascend to the heavenlies and will be joined to the Lord’s Spirit as one in their experience. In this way, the saints will be used by the Lord; they will become channels of life and will bear much fruit. The saints themselves will have a peaceful spiritual life, hidden with Christ in God.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 01: The Christian Life and Warfare, Chapter 7, by Watchman Nee)