TURNING TO THE SPIRIT TO ENJOY CHRIST AS LIGHT
The secret of taking Christ as our food, water, air, light, and abode is to turn to our spirit. To illustrate, let us consider the matter of light. In order to maintain life, the first item is light. Without physical light in the universe, all the living creatures on this earth would be in darkness. We must realize that whenever we are not in spirit, we are in darkness. Regardless of how much knowledge we have or how much we read the Scriptures, as long as we are out of the spirit, we are in darkness. The place of light is in our human spirit (Prov. 20:27), regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. In our soul is darkness, and in our flesh, our body, is sin (Rom. 7:17-18). Outside of the spirit, we are either in darkness or in sin. If we are in our soul trying to seek the guidance of the Lord, regardless of how much energy or effort we exercise, we will still be in darkness. On the other hand, if we turn to the spirit and remain there, immediately we will sense the light, and everything will be clear and transparent. One minute everything can be transparent, and the next minute everything can be in darkness. In the morning we can be so clear, and later in the day we can be in darkness. The reason for this is that perhaps in the morning while we were praying, we prayed ourselves into the spirit. But after the prayer we came out of the spirit. If we simply turn back to the spirit again, the sky will be clear, and everything will be transparent. However, if we turn to the mind to analyze or consider, we will again be in darkness. To be clever in our understanding does not help. Whenever we have a problem, the best way to handle it is to turn back to the spirit. If we turn to the spirit, everything will be so clear. To be in the light is easy. Our problem is that we do not practice to be in the light by turning to our spirit.
Most of the time when we have problems, we exercise the mind to solve them, or we go to other people to help us solve them. The more people that we go to with our problems, the more complicated we become. The best way is to simply turn quietly to the spirit. This is so easy that even a new believer can practice it. We must learn to practice this reality. Christ, the living Lord, is so real; He is the dynamic center of the Christian life because He is the life-giving Spirit. Whenever we turn back to our spirit, we meet Him.
TURNING TO THE SPIRIT TO BREATHE CHRIST
AS THE FRESH AIR
The first item to maintain life is light. The second item to maintain life is air or breathing. The more we remain in the soul, the more we will be choked, the more we will sense the shortage of air. On the other hand, when we turn ourselves to the spirit, right away we sense the freshness of air. Through my experiences I have learned one vital lesson: to turn to the spirit. Instead of caring for so many outward things, we must learn to turn to the spirit all the time. We need to forget about our environment. When we are in spirit, we often have the sense that we are not on earth. Everything is so fresh and new in our spirit. This freshness and newness is Christ as our air. We Christians think, consider, and worry too much. Many times we will not turn to the spirit until we are forced to. If our business runs well, we do not turn to the Lord. Therefore, we often need troubles, trials, and painful sufferings, things we cannot get through, to force us to give up and turn back to the Lord. We must learn to be willing to turn to our spirit. Even if we could get through in some area outside of the spirit, we should still come back to the spirit. When we turn to our spirit, we sense the fresh air within us; we are refreshed, strengthened, and uplifted.
When we read the Bible, it is a good practice to read a little bit, maybe half a verse, and then say a little word to the Lord. Usually, however, our habit is just to read. When we merely read, we are often occupied in the mentality. We should not only use our mind but also exercise our spirit to contact the Lord. We may read half of John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word.” Then we can tell the Lord, “O Lord, praise You. You are the Word. In the beginning You were there.” The best way to read the Bible is not merely to read, solely exercising our mind, but to read a little and then say something to the Lord. We need to learn when reading to exercise our spirit by praying and not to exercise our mind too much. To pray is the best way to exercise our spirit. In the morning while we are dressing or washing, we can say something to the Lord from our spirit. We must learn to turn ourselves to the Lord at all times.
TURNING TO THE SPIRIT TO ENJOY CHRIST
AS THE LIVING WATER
The third item for the maintenance of life is the experience of Christ as our living water. Physically, we can live without eating longer than we can live without drinking. Thus, following light and air, we need water. If we keep ourselves in the spirit, we will sense that we are being watered. Many times we are dry within because we are in the soul. If we would turn to the spirit, we would sense water instead of dryness. In our spirit is the living water ready to water us all the time. When we pray, we need to follow the inner flow of life to utter something to the Lord. If the inner feeling or sense urges us to repent, we should say something according to the inner sense of life and not according to mere knowledge. Perhaps we would say, “Lord, I am sinful.” To say something according to this inner sense is to follow the flow. That flow is the springing up of the living water within us (4:14; 7:38). When the living water springs up and flows out of us, the first one to be watered is us. We are watered, and then we will water others. The secret is to keep ourselves in the spirit all the time.
Many know the doctrines, teachings, and sayings of the Gospel of John, but few have found the secret of how to get into the enjoyment of the things revealed there. If we are going to enjoy Christ as the living water, we must come back to the spirit. Many who have experienced the so-called gifts of the Spirit have said that they were watered through the practice of the gifts. But strictly speaking, these gifts are without, whereas the living water is within. The living water springs up from within our innermost being. We must learn to turn within. We should not pay attention to the outward teachings, forms, and gifts. Rather, we should turn and pay our full attention to the spirit within.
The all-inclusive Christ dwelling in our spirit is a heavenly mystery within us which no one can exhaust (Col. 1:26-28; 2:2). The more we turn ourselves to the spirit and remain there to contact the Lord, the more we will sense that He is the exhaustless One. As we turn to our spirit, we sense a flowing and springing up within which waters us, and spontaneously we will water others. Whoever contacts us will be watered by this living outflow. This is the way to enjoy Christ as the living water. This is not doctrine. Our need is to practice to turn ourselves back to the spirit and remain there with the Lord. Then we will enjoy Christ as the living water.
TURNING TO THE SPIRIT TO BE NOURISHED
BY THE LORD AS FOOD
The fourth item of the enjoyment of Christ is the matter of food. As we turn to our spirit, we sense enlightenment, refreshment, and nourishment. While we are reading the Word, we must learn not to exercise our mind too much. If we exercise our mind too much when we read, we will be exhausted instead of being satisfied. We must learn to exercise our spirit to contact the Lord, praying more than we read. As we do this, we will sense that we are being nourished, satisfied, and strengthened, having something of Christ ministered into us. If we would practice this, I cannot tell you what kind of sweetness, preciousness, and richness we would enjoy! Many Christians do not have a time with the Lord, and many of those who desire to be with the Lord, do so in a wrong way. Many of these brothers and sisters study the Word and read it by exercising their mind too much. They do not know how to turn themselves to the spirit in order to touch the Lord and meet with Him. Learn to turn to the spirit. This is the only way to enjoy Christ as light, air, water, and food. If we learn to turn to our spirit, the whole church will be turned, and there will be a great change in the church life.
TURNING TO THE SPIRIT
TO EXPERIENCE CHRIST AS THE ABODE
The last major item of the enjoyment in the spirit is Christ as our abode. It is only as we turn ourselves to the spirit and remain there that we abide in Christ. To remain in the spirit is to abide in Christ. When we are abiding in Him and He is abiding in us (John 15:4-5), we have the sense that we are one with Him, mingled with Him. At this time we realize that He is the vine (v. 1) and that we are the branches of the vine (v. 5) enjoying all the richness, sweetness, and fatness of the vine tree. As the vine He is everything to us. We are in Him and He is in us. We abide in Him, taking Him as our abode, and He abides in us to be the Dweller within us. What a wonderful life this is in oneness with Him! No human word can adequately explain this wonderful mystery. Our abiding in Him and His abiding in us is mysterious, yet this mutual abiding is a fact, a reality, to be experienced by us. Therefore, we must learn one thing and pay our full attention to this one thing, that is, to always turn back to the spirit. Whenever we turn to the spirit, we will be in the light, we will have air, flowing water, and nourishing food, and we will enjoy Christ as our abiding place, our abode. This is the proper way to enjoy Christ.
(Christ our Portion, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)