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

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Soulish believers are not behind others in the matter of works. They are very active, zealous, and willing. However, this is not to say that they labor this way because of God’s command. Rather, they do so as they like and according to their own enthusiasm. They think that it is always good to do God’s work, but they do not know that it is really good only when they do the work which God gives them. They do not have a heart of trusting nor a time of quietness. They have not sincerely sought the will of God. They work according to their own ideas; their mind is full of plans and schemes because they labor in such a way that they consider themselves far more advanced than idle brothers. Little do they know that if they have obtained God’s grace, it is easier for them to have a spiritual walk in life than zealous believers.

The works of soulish believers are mainly based upon feelings. They are able to work when they feel happy within; otherwise, they stop completely. When they have the sensation of a burning in their heart and are thrilled with an unspeakable joy, they can witness to people for hours without feeling weary. However, if they do not have such a feeling and instead feel a coldness in their heart and are not excited, even when facing the greatest need, such as someone dying, they simply speak a few words or even do not speak at all. Once they have the feeling, they can run a thousand miles; otherwise, they will not move even a step. They cannot ignore their feelings and talk to the Samaritan woman with an empty stomach or speak to Nicodemus with weary eyes.

Soulish believers enjoy busy work. However, unlike spiritual believers, whenever there is much to do they cannot maintain the quietness in their spirit to accomplish God’s command unhurriedly. Whenever there is much to do, their heart is greatly disturbed. When there is confusion in outward affairs, their hearts also become confused. Their heart is governed by external matters. "Drawn about with much serving" (Luke 10:40) and "troubled" in heart are the characteristics of the works of every soulish believer.

Soulish believers are easily discouraged in their works. They do not have a steadfast faith to trust God who is able to accomplish His own work. They do not understand God’s "law of faith." They are regulated by their own feelings and the external environment. Whenever they feel they have failed, although this may not necessarily be true, they become discouraged. When they see the outward environment is gloomy, they faint. They have not yet rested in God.

Soulish believers do not have long-range views; therefore, they are easily discouraged. What they see is merely in the present. The present victory causes them to rejoice, and the present defeat makes them sad. They have not yet learned to see the end of a matter with faith. They desire to have some momentary victory to comfort the longing of their heart. Without this, they cannot trust God in the dark and go on unwearily.

It is very easy for soulish believers to find shortcomings in others although they are not necessarily stronger than others. They are apt to criticize others and rarely can forgive. They cannot follow others’ original intentions. When they investigate and correct the shortcomings in others, they often have a sense of self-satisfaction, exaltation, and pride. Sometimes when they help people, what they do may be good and legitimate, but often their motive is not proper.

(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 11, by Watchman Nee)