Self-Knowledge and God's Light, by Watchman Nee


First, Christ is our light. John 8:12 says, "Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." The Lord Jesus is light. When we draw near to the Lord, we shall see light. Often we think that this is quite good and that is not bad. But when we tell the Lord the facts of a situation, asking Him for enlightenment, we find to our surprise that everything is wrong. Day after day we think there is nothing wrong. But when we draw near to the Lord, everything is manifested to be wrong. One is our own standard, while the other is God’s standard. When we draw near to the Lord, we will realize that our standard is not enough. If a Christian does not pray much for a revelation of his real condition, you can guarantee in nine cases out of ten that this Christian is in error. The more we draw near to the Lord, the more we will receive the light of God.

Second, the Word of God is our light. Psalm 119:105 says, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Verse 130 says, "The entrance of thy words giveth light." These two verses may be very familiar to us, but if we read them carefully before God we will know how deep these verses are. Is the path in which you are walking justified by man or is it justified by God? The work of the flesh cannot escape the shining of the light of God. It is not what man says; rather, it is what the Word of God says. Day by day we should not follow our feelings in judging whether a matter is right or wrong. Rather, we must let the Word of God decide whether it is right or wrong. We ourselves should not judge. Rather, we should let the Word of God make the judgment. Put yourself in the Word of God, and let the Word of God judge, let the Word of God point out your real condition. For this reason, we must read the Bible more, and we must trust that the Holy Spirit would manifest the Word of God to us so that we may know ourselves.

Third, Christians are our light. Matthew 5:14 says, "You are the light of the world." We are very familiar with this verse. Normally we think that this verse speaks only of a Christian’s good behavior. But actually there is a very deep meaning here. It says that a Christian is light. A Christian can illuminate the true condition of a man. Many Christians who are in the light of God, make other Christians afraid of seeing them because once they are seen, they will be condemned of their own sins. A weak Christian is not afraid of seeing another Christian who is in the same condition. But when you come close to a Christian who is in the light of God, you feel shameful. You were proud, but after being shined upon by him, you feel shameful. You were dishonest, but after being shined upon by him, you feel shameful. Brothers and sisters, we are the workers of God, serving God. If you do not have the light of God, you will not be able to work. People cannot be drawn closer to God by you if you do not have the light to illuminate them. If you draw near to God and are controlled constantly by the light of God, spontaneously you will illuminate the real condition of the people who are contacting you. If we want to obey the will of God and do the work of God, we need to be a light.

When you come close to Christians who are near to God, they make you feel God. They do not make you sense their tenderness and humility; rather, they make you feel God. When I began to work, I decided, at whatever cost, to obey the will of God. I thought I was obeying the will of God. However, whenever I went to see Miss Barber, after talking and reading a few verses from the Bible with her, I was aware that I was still lacking. Every time I saw her, I always felt something special—God was there. When you came close to her, you felt God. She had light. She was controlled by the light of God; therefore, when you came close to her, her light condemned your sin.

We must remember one thing. Whether by drawing near to Christ, by reading God’s Word, or by being with other Christians, all the light we receive comes from the revelation of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who manifests the unapproachable light in which God dwells. It is He who manifests His glory, holiness, and righteousness. By this we see the absolute standard of God, so that we see ourselves, know our own real condition, and realize how we fall short of the standard of God.

(Self-Knowledge and God's Light, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)