The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Release of the Spirit, by Watchman Nee


Why do so many people remain unchanged after being dealt with for years? Others have a strong will, strong emotions, or a strong mind, yet the Lord can still break them. There are two main reasons that many people are not broken in spite of the passing of years.

First, these ones are living in darkness. They do not see God’s hand. God is working and breaking, yet they do not know that God is doing the work. They are short of light, and they are not living in the light. They only see men, thinking that men are opposing them. Or they only see the environment, complaining that it is too harsh. They put all the blame on the environment. May the Lord grant us the revelation to see God’s hand. May we kneel down and say, "This is You. This is You. I accept it." At a minimum we have to know whose hand is dealing with us. At a minimum we have to know that hand and see that it is not the world, our family, or the brothers and sisters in the church who are dealing with us. We have to see God’s hand. God is the One who is dealing with us. We have to learn from Madam Guyon, who would kiss such a hand and treasure such a hand. We must have this light. We have to accept and believe everything that the Lord has done. He can never be wrong in what He does.

Second, a person is not broken because he loves himself too much. Self-love is a great obstacle to breaking. We have to ask God to remove all self-love from us. When God plucks this self-love from us, we have to worship Him, saying, "Lord! If this is Your hand, I accept it from my heart." We have to remember that all misunderstandings, complaints, and dissatisfactions arise from only one thing—secret self-love. Because we love ourselves secretly, we try to save ourselves. This is a big problem. Many times problems arise because we try to save ourselves.

Those who know the Lord go to the cross without taking the vinegar mingled with gall! Many go to the cross reluctantly. They try to taste the vinegar mingled with gall in an attempt to relieve their feelings. Those who say, "The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?", will not take a cup that is filled with vinegar mingled with gall. They only take one cup, not both cups. These ones do not have any self-love in them. Self-love is the root of our problem. May the Lord speak within us today, and may we pray, "My God! I now see that everything comes from You. My experiences of the past five, ten, or twenty years have all come from You. All of these things were done with only one purpose in mind—that Your life would be expressed through me. I have been foolish. I did not see this. Through self-love I have done many things to save myself, and I have wasted much of Your time. Today I see Your hand, and I willingly consecrate myself to You. I commit myself to Your hand once again."

(The Breaking of the Outer Man and the Release of the Spirit, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)