TRANSFORMED BY THE SHINING OF THE LAMPS
Our need now is transformation. “But we all, with unveiled face beholding and reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18, Gk.). To be transformed into the Lord’s image is from the Lord Spirit. The final expression of the golden lampstand is the seven lamps, which are the seven Spirits of God.
Our own spirit is also the lamp of God (Prov. 20:27). These two spirits, ours and God’s, have been mingled. Within our little lamp there is now also another lamp of greater intensity.
The function of a lamp is to shine. According to J. N. Darby’s footnote, Proverbs 20:27 can be rendered, “Man’s spirit is the lamp of Jehovah, searching all the chambers of the soul.” Before we were saved, our spirit was dead; the light of the lamp was extinguished. All our movements were under the direction of the soul. Our thinking and our doing were according to our whims. One day, however, the light of the gospel shined into us, and the lamp of greater intensity was placed in us. The spirit’s function revived. We repented and confessed our sins, enlightened by the conscience within our spirit. With our spirit enlivened, and the lamp of God’s Spirit added to our spirit, it became very bright within.
The light now searches all the inward parts of the soul. Under its twofold shining, we can see that the thoughts we were so sure of are wrong; that we loved what we should hate, and hated what we should love; that our joys and sorrows were for the wrong things; and that our intentions and decisions were wrong. Under the intensity of this light, we confess and repent to the Lord.
RESISTING THE LIGHT
Usually, however, there are some areas within us that resist the penetration of the light. When the Lord shines on some aspect of our emotions, the sisters may weep before Him, but they will not open this door to His searching gaze. When the Lord shines on our dislike for a certain brother, the brothers may argue and protest, but they stubbornly shut the door of their will to the Lord’s reproach. We may admit to the Lord our shortcomings, but we tell Him that He must forgive us, that our weakness is to blame, that such is the way He made us, or that others are at fault. Why does He not change the others? Why does He always pick on us?
When you close the door to the Lord in this way, you cannot be transformed. Year after year you read the Bible, pray, and go to the meetings. But you refuse to change your old ways. You will not allow the Lord to touch your feelings, your thoughts, or your possessions. You may pray, but what matters is what you say, not what God says. You may shed tears before the Lord, but you will not open the door of your emotions to Him.
If you allow this blockage to continue, the enlightenment will cease. You may still faithfully read your Bible. You may find it easy to pray. You may keep attending the meetings regularly. The tendency to cry may be gone. Outwardly you seem to be at peace. Inwardly, however, your growth has been arrested. God’s way of transforming is through enlightening. Wherever the light shines, life is supplied to that place. By rejecting the light, you are rejecting the supply of life.
OPENING TO THE LORD
Who experiences the greatest amount of transformation? It is the one who is absolutely open to the Lord.
“Lord, I am fully open to You. I want to keep opening to You. My whole being is open—my heart, my mind, my will, and my emotions. Keep shining. Search me thoroughly. Enlighten and enliven me. I will accept it fully.” In this way, the light will penetrate into every area, and life simultaneously will be supplied to you. The man of clay will be transformed into the image of Christ. As the gold is thus formed in you, there will be the seven Spirits shining forth and manifesting God.
Such is the church in reality. The golden lampstand is not only the Triune God; it also is the church, His manifestation. That the church may express the Triune God is what He is working to accomplish on earth.
May we all be open to Him to receive His enlightening and to let His life supply us. Then we shall be transformed and bear the image of Christ. As we are enlightened by the lamps within us, we shall become the golden lampstand in reality in our locality, manifesting the Triune God. Then He will have His testimony.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 28, by Witness Lee)