What is in our Soul and Spirit?
It is the limit of who we are, and what we can REALLY do for Jesus……
Whether we can do the Lord’s work depends not so much on our words or actions, but rather on what comes forth from us. We are not able to edify others if we say one thing and emit from our lives another thing, if we act one way and live another way. What emanates from us is an important consideration.
We often say that our impression of a certain person is good or bad. How do we receive such an impression? It is not just from his words, nor even from his actions. A mysterious something expresses itself while he is speaking or acting. It is this that gives us the impression…. We may be able to control our speech or action, but we are unable to restrain that which expresses our nature. What we are, we cannot but reveal….
We should ask ourselves, what impression do I give to others? How often we have emphasized the need for our outward man to be broken. If this brokenness is not accomplished, others meet the impact of our outward man. Whenever we are in their presence, they are made uncomfortable by our self-love, or pride, or obstinacy, or cleverness. Perhaps the impression we leave is a favorable one, but is God being satisfied?… If God is not satisfied, and the church is not helped, any impression we leave is for naught.
Beloved, God’s full intention requires that Jesus’ spirit be released. It is imperative for the growth of the church. How urgent then, that our outward man be broken! Without this breaking our spirit cannot come forth, and the impression we leave with others will not be a spiritual one, or of any true value—no matter how religiously, Biblically, or emotionally impressive it may be coming forth from the sister or brother.
Suppose a brother is speaking of the Holy Spirit. Though his subject is the Holy Spirit, his words, his attitudes, and his illustrations are full of himself. Perhaps without knowing why, those around him inwardly suffer while listening to him. His mouth is full of the Holy Spirit, yet the impression he leaves with his listeners is of himself. What is the spiritual value of such empty talk? None. None whatsoever. Little but harm was done, in truth.
Rather than stressing teaching, let us place more emphasis on what it is that comes forth from us. God is not watching to see if our teaching becomes deeper; He wants to lay hold of us as individuals. If our nature is not properly dealt with, we may give forth so-called spiritual teaching, but there is not spiritual impartation. How tragic when we merely impress the outward man yet do not impart something of a life impression to the inward man!
Again and again, God arranges our circumstances to break us in our strong point. You may be stricken once, twice, but still the third blow must come. God will not let you go. He will not stay His hand until He has broken that prominent feature in you.
What the Holy Spirit accomplishes when we are being disciplined is totally different from what happens when we are hearing truths. A message we hear may often remain in our mind for several months, possibly even years, before its truth will become operative in us. Thus the hearing often precedes the real entering into life. However, through the disciplining of the Holy Spirit, we more quickly see the truth and thus possess it.
How strange that we grasp mere knowledge through a message much faster than we learn reality through discipline! Once we hear, we remember. But we may be disciplined ten times and still wonder why. The day discipline accomplishes its purpose is the day you really “see” the truth and enter into its reality. So the work of the Holy Spirit is to break you down on the one hand and to build you up on the other. Thus your heart will say: “Thanks be unto the Lord. Now I know that His disciplining hand upon me for these past five or ten years has been just to break this strong point in me.”
At times, the discipline is shown in circumstances aimed at leveling our outstanding feature; at other times, God graciously shines upon us to enlighten us. The flesh, as we know, lives hidden in darkness. Many works of the flesh are allowed to exist because they are not recognized by us as such. Once His light, through His voice, circumstances, or His Body reveals the flesh to us—we tremble, not daring to move….
Whatever is revealed “in the light” is slain by it…. We are not first enlightened and then, with the passage of time, gradually brought into death. Rather we fall down instantaneously at the coming of light. As the Holy Spirit reveals, we are dealt with. Revelation, then, includes both seeing and slaying. It is God’s unique way of dealing. Once the uncleanness is really exposed, it cannot remain. Therefore light both reveals and slays.
This being slain by the light is one of the most needful Christian experiences. Paul did not rush to the roadside and kneel down when the light shone upon him. He fell to the ground. Though naturally capable and self-confident, he reacted to the light by falling down somewhat perplexed, yet inwardly exposed. How effectual was this light which struck him to the ground! Let us note that this happened all at once. We might assume that God first enlightens our understanding and then leaves us to work it out. That is not God’s preferred or normal way. God always shows us how hateful and polluted we are, and our immediate response is: “Alas! What a wretch I am—so unclean, so despicable!” For God to reveal our true self is to fall down as dead. Once a proud person has been truly enlightened, he cannot so much as make an attempt to be proud anymore. The effect of that enlightenment will have its mark upon him all his days….
Such enlightenment, such self-abhorrence, such shame and humiliation, such repentance delivers us from the bondage of long years. When the Lord enlightens, He delivers. Enlightenment is deliverance, and seeing is freedom. Only thus does our flesh cease to operate, and our outward shell is broken….
Has the Lord for years disciplined us, but instead of recognizing His hand we blamed it on other people or on fate? May we be reminded that everything is measured by God for us. He has predetermined its time, its boundary, and its force, in order to break our hard-to-deal-with outstanding feature. Oh, may we have the grace to recognize the meaning of His hand in seeking to shatter this outward man. Until that happens, people will only meet that imperious self when they come in contact with us. Until that breaking is effected, our spirit cannot flow forth freely toward them…. The issue is: can God be fully released through our spirit—or will we cling to the forever limiting and destructive “comforts” of our self-life, and thereby ruin our lives to relative valueless flesh?
When the spirit is released, it supplies the needs of the world. No work is more important or thorough than this, and nothing can take its place. The Lord is not so much concerned with your knowledge or good deeds or contacts as He is with the impression you give—the spirit you are of, in the INNER man. What is it that comes from you—that is the final yardstick? Do you impress people with yourself or with the Lord? Do you let people touch your words or personality, or your Lord? This is really vital, for it determines the value of all your labor and work and life for Him. Most will build from “wood, hay, and stubble”—and though they remain loved, their work is worthless, a clanging gong, only to be burnt up. Regardless of the applause of men, and the pleasure of man’s ego of good deeds, only the spirit of Christ in the inner man can do anything of true value. Let us not fool ourselves, as we may fool only fools, but never God. Let us truly prepare a place for HIM to come forth by offering ourselves to brokenness and repentance, willingly.
Beloved, be assured the Lord pays far more attention to what comes out of your inner life than what comes out of your mouth or mind or study and prayer disciplines, or your so-called “ministry.” It must be said that this concept and translation “ministry” are foreign to the Book that God has written, and is a further propagation of ego and control of men. “Not so with you,” and “you are all but brothers” are not understood or practiced in the religions of flesh and control. Gifts and respect and submission in relationships must be a part of the daily Life of the Church. Hierarchy based on title or position must be eradicated as they destroy Life and Gift in the People of God. Since the flesh of “my ministry” will rob you of a vital relationship with the Father and His Son, and greatly harm others (while the visible goal may be to help them), it must be mentioned here.
Do not forget that in every contact you make with another, something comes out of you. It is either yourself or God flowing forth, whether your outward man or the spirit. Finally, I would ask, when you’re with people, what is it that comes forth? And lest we are too quick to give an answer, let us remember that this basic question can only be rightly answered “in His light.” Only the deep calls to the deep. What is flesh will only birth flesh. Choose to allow God’s Spirit to break you and penetrate your fleshly veil, and bring you home to Him in the inner man, in this present lifetime. Volunteer for death to self. For those who will allow the Spirit’s work to break them, the pain and rarity only make the gemstones shine all the brighter, unto the full Day.