THE WORK OF LIFE
After a brother is saved, he may become clearer concerning all kinds of scriptural knowledge from Genesis to Revelation. He may be able to compose better prayers, and his prayers may begin to sound very nice. Actually, these are all mud; they are all put onto the side of the wall and are not added on top of the wall. These are works of men. Because of this, after five years, the wall will remain two feet high, and God’s life will not have grown in that brother.
On the other hand, suppose this brother beats his wife at home. What should we say to him? When many pastors, elders, and workers hear this, they will probably pray for this brother in private, and they will discuss how they should help him to read Ephesians 5. After this they may pray together, saying, "Lord, we are going to visit this brother. Please go with us, and make this brother open to our exhortations." Later they may go to this brother’s house, and they may say, "You are wrong as a husband." They may also say to the wife, "You are also wrong as a wife." After much speaking, the brother may confess that he is wrong, and he may agree that he will no longer lose his temper with his wife. The preacher may go on, praying, "Thank the Lord. This brother is now open to our exhortation. We now commit him to the Lord’s hand, and we pray that the Lord will cause him not to lose his temper anymore." Outwardly speaking, this way seems to work. But actually, what they are doing is but the work of a barber. They may cut a person’s hair today, but soon afterward, that person’s hair will grow back, and they will have to give him another haircut. This is the work of Confucius’ disciples. This kind of teaching is the teaching of the Chinese ethical classics. No wonder when Christianity came to China, the disciples of Confucius said that Confucius’ teachings are much better than those of this foreign religion. Therefore, if we take the Bible as a means for teaching others or improving others, we are taking the Bible as mere teachings only.
A wife once came to me and said, "My husband beats me. Don’t you know that he is your brother? Your brother always loses his temper at home." She went on with tears, "Yesterday he beat me again." What should I do? Ordinarily, when a man hears such a word, he would go to exhort the husband, with the hope that the husband would change his ways. You may say, "If I do not exhort him to change his ways, what should I ask him to do?" You can only do such a thing because you are a person who is given to exhorting others and helping others to improve themselves. This is all you can do. If you do not do this, you will be out of a job. Please do not misunderstand me. Although I will pray for such a husband, my prayer will be different from your prayer. If this brother comes to me, I will say to him, "How do you feel when you beat your wife?" He may say, "After I beat my wife, I feel terrible inside for a week." I will then tell him, "If you feel that you will feel comfortable inside by beating your wife, you can go ahead and beat her some more." I will not tell him not to beat his wife. Instead, I will ask him how he feels inside. If this brother is touched by God, he will feel deep within that he has offended God.
You can teach others from the Bible, and you can exhort others with your theology. But if you do this, you are not the disciple of Christ; you are the disciple of Confucius instead. By so doing, you will never convey God’s life to people. This is a pitiful work.
If you buy a pen and a piece of paper, you can draw a beautiful chrysanthemum flower. But if I take a chrysanthemum seed, plant it in the ground, water it regularly, and then go to sleep, soon what the chrysanthemum seed produces will be more beautiful than what I draw on the paper. Today, our work is not to teach others according to the Bible, but to plant God’s life contained in the Bible into others. The material, goal, and design of God’s work are simply God Himself, and this work is to work God into us.
GOD AND MAN MINGLED AS ONE
Do you want to know how to be a real husband or wife? The way to be a real husband is not to be a husband. The real way to be a wife is not to be a wife. Do not think that loving your husband means to do many things for him. To love your husband does not mean that you buy some fabric and make some clothing for him. The real love is for you not to do anything and for God to do everything. God is not doing many things for man; He is working Himself into man. The reason God was incarnated was to put Himself into man. This is real love. The real love is for you not to be yourself, but to be the other party. The highest point of God’s love is for Him to lay aside Himself; He would no longer be God. Instead, He would be a man and be the same as man.
Today we have to pray, "God, although I am a man, I would give up being a man. Hallelujah! I will accept You and allow You to work Yourself into me." This is the sweetest thought. In eternity God will say, "O man, you have God’s nature," while you can say, "O God, the majestic God, You also have our nature, the human nature." This is the picture in eternity. Christ bears our human nature. In heaven He is God, yet He still bears our human nature. What is His work today? It is to work Himself into man. One day, when eternity comes, man will say joyfully, "God is like man," and God will say joyfully, "Man is like God."
In Shanghai I met a couple who had been married for many years. The two were similar in their minds and in the way they thought and acted. They had loved each other for many years. As a result, the male was like the female, and the female was like the male. Why were they so similar? It is because the male no longer lived as the male, and the female no longer lived as the female. The male lived as the female, and the female lived as the male. In the end, the two had become more or less the same. This is the relationship between God and man. God is our spiritual Husband. Because He loves us, He lives in the likeness of a man. If we love God, we should also live in the likeness of God. In the end, God will be in man, and man will be in God.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 24, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)