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Message Eight

THE PERSON BEING GOD’S METHOD AND WAY

Brother Lee answered: The service of the elders has to do with the person of the elder. It does not
depend on the method, but on the person. In the New Testament it is very difficult to find out what is the
method or way to serve. Some places seem to speak about the method or the way, but actually the
emphasis is still the person himself. The person is the way, and the person is the Lord’s work. If God does
not gain a person, He will have no work, and He will have no way. A way is a course that a person takes.
If God does not gain man, He will have no course to take. Man thinks that the most important thing to do
is to find a good way. However, God’s work does not involve giving us the ways, but is a matter of
gaining the persons. If God can gain two or three brothers here, He will have a way. Even if I present to
you the best way to be an elder, it will be useless if the person is wrong. We, the person, should be gained
by God. We have to learn to be the proper person more than to learn to do the proper things. It is
meaningless for things to be done properly without the person being a proper one. What you are is what
you do. You cannot serve God beyond what you are as a person. Hudson Taylor said in his book Union
and Communion that what we are is more important than what we do. This word left a deep impression
on me.

GOD CARING FOR THE PERSON MORE THAN FOR THE THINGS

In the church the most important thing is the person. The importance of the person far exceeds that of
any work. In the world it is just the opposite; there, the work is more important than the person. But for us
the person is more important. Time stands between the two eternities; both creation and redemption are
within the span of time. During the span of time, God does many works. God’s main goal, however, is not
the works, but to gain persons through the works. God does not work for the sake of working, but for the
sake of gaining men through His works. God is not here merely to accomplish a work, but to use His
work to gain some people. Hence, our views have to be changed.

FIRST A PROPER HEART, THEN A PROPER PERSON

If a person’s heart is right, that person is right. Even if he does the wrong things, he will not veer off
very much. Even when he makes a mistake, he will not go too far off. Whether or not you can become a
blessing to others depends on your heart. If you are a proper person, wherever you go, you will become a
blessing there. If a person’s heart is not right, even if he were to accomplish monumental works, others
will still not receive the blessing. Some people have become a problem to us, not because of what they
have done, but because of their person. With the conscience, it is a question of righteousness. With the
heart, it is different; the heart only deals with the question of being for God or not for God. The heart
must be set on God, instead of set on the works. Many things in the church life, such as the persons, the
things, the events, the relationships one with another, the love toward the church and the brothers and
sisters—all these can turn man’s heart away from the Lord. (Messages Given during the Resumption of
Watchman Nee’s Ministry, Volume One, pp. 59-60, 189, 192)

BEWARE OF PRIDE
A NEW CONVERT SHOULD NOT BE AN OVERSEER,
LEST BEING BLINDED WITH PRIDE
HE FALL INTO THE JUDGMENT PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL

Hence, the apostle Paul taught that a new convert should not be an overseer of the church, lest being
blinded with pride he fall into the judgment prepared for the devil (1 Tim. 3:6). Here, new convert,
literally, “newly planted one,” denotes a person who has recently received the Lord’s life but has not yet
grown and developed in it. Blinded with pride literally means “beclouded with smoke.” Pride here is
likened to smoke that beclouds the mind, making it blind. This is a serious matter. When a person is
proud, he follows Satan, and consequently he will be judged with him to suffer the judgment prepared by
God for him.

ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT HUMILITY SAVES YOU


FROM ALL KINDS OF DESTRUCTION
AND INVITES GOD’S GRACE

Pride means destruction. Once you become proud, your family is destroyed; once you become proud,
your married life is destroyed; once you become proud, your job is destroyed. Always remember that
humility saves you from all kinds of destruction and invites God’s grace for you (James 4:6). God resists
the proud but gives grace to the humble. If you are humble, grace comes. If you are proud, grace goes
away; you have hindered grace.

PRIDE MAKES YOU A TOP FOOL

This is my realization of pride. The most foolish person is a proud person, and the most wise person is
a humble person. To be proud is to be a top fool.

RIVALRY IN THE LORD’S WORK IS NOT ONLY A SIGN OF AMBITION


BUT ALSO A SIGN OF PRIDE

We often are in rivalry with people in the Lord’s work. For instance, a certain place began with thirty
people meeting together and now they have reached one hundred thirty. Your locality began with forty
people meeting together, but now you have only sixty. Because you cannot stand someone being more
successful than you, a heart of rivalry arises within you. In the world, competition brings progress. In the
Lord’s work, however, there must not be rivalry; rivalry kills. We need to humbly say to the Lord, “O
Lord, I am an unprofitable servant. Even though there are more people meeting here with me than with
the other brother, I am still an unprofitable servant.” In the Gospel of Luke the Lord told us that after a
servant of the Lord performs many tasks during the day and comes home in the evening, he still has to say
to his Master, “I am an unprofitable slave” (17:10). We all must admit that we are unprofitable servants.
We should neither compare ourselves to nor compete with others. If there is an increase in the church
where we serve, it is altogether the Lord’s mercy.
In my prayer my greatest delight is to praise the Lord for His abundant mercy. He will have mercy on
whomever He will have mercy, and He will have compassion on whomever He will have compassion.
You have many people in your locality; it is the Lord having mercy on you. I have few people in my
place; this may be because I am proud before the Lord, so I need the Lord’s mercy. Always remember His
mercy and His blessing. Brother Watchman Nee said that we should not be afraid of making mistakes, but
we should be afraid of not having the Lord’s blessing. If there is the Lord’s blessing, even though we
have made a mistake, we are still blessed.

CARING FOR YOUR PRESTIGE AND NEGLECTING OTHERS’ DIGNITY


ARE A SIGN OF SUBTLE PRIDE

Caring for your prestige and neglecting others’ dignity are a sign of subtle pride. Coworkers and elders
who are older are prone to commit the error of caring too much for their prestige. Such a person would
often say that he has been working for the Lord for many years, he has established churches in certain
places, and he has nourished certain localities. He always cares for his prestige. Everyone has his dignity,
so you should not rebuke anyone carelessly. If you do, that means you are displaying your prestige
without caring for the other person’s dignity. This is also a sign of subtle pride.

REFERRING TO YOUR CAPACITY, SUCCESS, PERFECTION, AND VIRTUE


IS A CARELESS FORM OF PRIDE
Referring to your capacity, success, perfection, and virtue is a careless form of pride. Do not carelessly
mention your success, your capacity, your perfection, and your virtue. Instead, always say to the Lord,
“Lord, I don’t have any capacity nor do I have any success in Your work. Furthermore, I don’t have any
perfection; all that I have is imperfection. Also, I don’t have any virtue; all that I have is failure.” This
will preserve you from becoming proud.

THINKING MORE HIGHLY OF YOURSELF THAN YOU OUGHT TO THINK


IS ANOTHER FORM OF PRIDE

Paul told us that if we desire to live the life of the Body of Christ, we must not think more highly of
ourselves than we ought to think (Rom. 12:3). Never measure yourself too highly; measuring yourself
lowly is safe. To think more highly of oneself than one ought to think is another form of pride. (How to
Be a Co-worker and an Elder and How to Fulfill Their Responsibilities, pp. 65-68)

THE LIVING IN THE BODY


WHAT GOD DESIRES BEING THE BODY AND NOT INDIVIDUALS

Now we must consider the matter of the living in the Body. On the one hand, the Body is for the
expression of Christ; on the other hand, it is for the corporate service to Christ. For expression, its
emphasis is on life, and life requires a kind of living. We have to see clearly that not only our service is a
matter of the Body, but even our living is a matter of the Body. Practically speaking, however, we are not
used to living a Body life. This matter depends on the degree of our understanding. Strictly speaking,
according to the revelation of the New Testament, a person who truly touches God’s heart and is an
overcomer in the eyes of God is one who is living in the Body and practicing the Body life. He is not
spiritual individually and is not overcoming individually. Rather, he understands clearly that he is a
member in the Body.
No member can live apart from the Body, yet almost all of us live an abnormal life. We may think that
as long as we do not love the world or lust after sin, we are all right. But in fact this is not enough. The
most important thing is whether or not we are living in the Body. Is our loving of the Lord and being
spiritual, sanctified, and overcoming something in ourselves or something in the Body? If it is in
ourselves, it is not worth much. Humanly speaking, it is better to be spiritual than not to be spiritual, and
it is better not to commit sin than to commit sin. But from the view of God’s eternal economy, unless we
are in the Body, whether or not we are spiritual and whether or not we sin are not worth much. God is not
after a group of spiritual and sinless people. Rather, He is after a Body. Only our being in the Body will
have eternal value in the eyes of God. (The Oneness and the One Accord according to the Lord’s
Aspiration and the Body Life and Service according to His Pleasure, pp. 38-39)

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