The Hearing of Faith
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
“To know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:10
To deny our self is to forfeit our soul-life, our natural life. The cross is not merely a suffering; it is also a killing....Christ first bore the cross and then was crucified. We, His believers, first were crucified with Him and now bear the cross. To us, to bear the cross is to remain under the killing of the death of Christ for the terminating of our self, our natural life, and our old man. In so doing we deny our self that we may follow the Lord. (Footnotes 241 and 243 of Matthew 16, New Testament Recovery Version)
[To be conformed to Christ’s death is] to take Christ’s death as the mold of one’s life. Paul lived a crucified life continually, a life under the cross, just as Christ did in His human living. Through such a life the resurrection power of Christ is experienced and expressed. The mold of Christ’s death refers to Christ’s experience of continually putting to death His human life that He might live by the life of God (John 6:57). Our life should be conformed to such a mold by our dying to our human life to live the divine life. Being conformed to the death of Christ is the condition for knowing and experiencing Him, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings. (Footnote 104 of Philippians 3, New Testament Recovery Version)
In every situation related to our daily living, we need to ask ourselves whether we are living by the divine life or by our natural life. If we do this, quite often we will realize that we are living by our natural life, our self. At such times we need to go to the cross (Luke 9:23). To go to the cross is to be conformed to the death of Christ. Even while eating our meals we need to be conformed to the death of Christ. At times we may be tempted to complain about the kind or quantity of food that we are given to eat. However, to complain is to live by the self, not by God’s life....We are those who have been saved, regenerated, and separated to live not by our natural life but by the divine life. It is not a matter of whether we are doing something right or wrong; that is not the issue. The issue is, by what life are we doing it, by our natural life or by the divine life? To deny our natural life is a suffering to us. Every day and in every matter we struggle and fight with others to get what we desire. We like to do things by ourselves. To do something not by our life but by the life of another is a suffering. This is the Christian life. (The Christian Life, by Witness Lee, p. 173.
From Issue No. 8, December 1998