| Re: The Soulish Christian|
Saints, here is a continuation of this excellent article:
"We have seen how the cross works and how the believers' flesh, the sinful nature, has been crucified on it. However, the life of the soul still remains. Although all sins come from the flesh, and the soul is merely directed by it and acts as its puppet, the soul is inherited from Adam, and though not fully defiled, it is unavoidably affected by Adam's fall.
It is true that there is a difference between the natural being and God's life. And though the filthy flesh within a believer has died, his soul remains the power behind his living. Although the nature of sin has died, the life of the self remains. Hence, inevitably, the man is still of the soul. Now, although the sinful nature - the flesh - has died, the soul remains the power behind man's conduct. In other words, although the flesh can no longer direct the soul, the soul remains the power behind man's living. Now that God's nature has replaced the flesh, naturally, all the inclinations, desires, and proposals should be righteous and no longer filthy as they once were. However, it is still the former soul-life that is executing the proposals and desires of this new nature.
This soul-life includes the mind, the emotion, the sensations, the will, and so forth. These functions (the mind, the emotion, and so forth) are the common possessions of the natural man.
Hence, for one to depend on the soul-life to execute the propositions of the spirit is to accomplish the supernatural divine goodness through natural worldly strength. To put it plainly, it is to meet God's demand with one's self-power. At this point, on the negative side, a believer may have already overcome sin, yet on the positive side, he is still childish in practicing righteousness. There is the danger that he may fail to develop the God-given life of the Spirit which is already within him and to apply the life-power of this Spirit to execute all the dictates of the new nature. Actually, at this time, the spiritual life is still in the infant stage and is not yet mature; it is still incapable of expressing all the virtues in God's nature. [i]This results in a believer trying by his own natural, soulish power to fulfill all the requirements God has placed upon His children. [/i]This walk and work is a mixture of the things of God and the things of man. It is to express the heavenly desire with the earthly strength! When a believer walks in such a way, he is not yet spiritual. Instead, he is soulish.
We have to realize that not all soulish experiences are evil or filthy. The flesh, insofar as the sinful nature goes, produces filthy and sinful things, but the soul is not necessarily like this. The soul-life is simply our original life, that is, the life that makes us a living creature. This life, once detached from the sinful nature, the flesh, may not always be evil in its thoughts. Many people have their original, inborn goodness, patience, love, and gentleness. These virtues come by birth. They are part of what the soul-life possesses. However, with some, these virtues are buried under the flesh and are not seen. Still some are not as blatant in the manifestation of their flesh. Their original virtues shine out a little more than others'. [i]After a Christian has crucified his flesh, he is in danger of one thing: executing the new propositions of God's nature by the power of the soul-life.[/i] To speak plainly, this is to do good by our own strength. Such a one may be partially successful. This is exactly where he deviates. When believers find it effective to "exercise their self," they will think that they have reached spiritual maturity. They do not realize that they are doing good by the power of the soul. They may be doing good, but they are still soulish."
- Watchman Nee
Paul Frederick West
| 2008/4/23 20:21||Profile|
Can the soul pre-anticipate the problem?
| 2008/4/23 20:36||Profile|
Los Angeles, California
- To put it plainly, it is to meet God's demand with one's self-power
- This results in a believer trying by his own natural, soulish power to fulfill all the requirements God has placed upon His children. This walk and work is a mixture of the things of God and the things of man. It is to express the heavenly desire with the earthly strength!...
- After a Christian has crucified his flesh, he is in danger of one thing: executing the new propositions of God's nature by the power of the soul-life. To speak plainly, this is to do good by our own strength. Such a one may be partially successful. This is exactly where he deviates. When believers find it effective to "exercise their self," they will think that they have reached spiritual maturity. They do not realize that they are doing good by the power of the soul. They may be doing good, but they are still soulish."
This is a great article and talks about much of the Lord has been showing me and laying on my heart lately. This is much of what I recently preached at local church last week not by power, or by might, but by my Spirit sayeth the Lord. The sermon is the featured sermon on my website and deals with the power of the Spirit by faith and rest in victory over sin vs. our struggling against sin in the flesh or as Watchman Nee says the soul. It also deals with the law of sin and death vs. the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. It is only part 1 so it just covers the basics, but the Lord has really been putting it on my heart to preach both on the streets and in the churches about entering into the spiritual life from the soul life and concentrating on the victory and power over sin, the flesh, the world, and Satan through the Holy Spirit and the finished work of Christ on the cross by faith and rest in the victory that has already been won. I believe there are many in the churches who have a true desire to serve God and do so to the best of "their" ability, but have never heard any teaching or preaching on entering into the rest of God, the spiritual life vs. the soul life and victory over sin and the flesh by faith and rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross at least this seems to be the case for those I have been running across lately and it seems there is at least somewhat of a hunger for such teaching and preaching. Thanks for posting this article Paul this is a blessing and confirmation.
| 2008/4/23 21:10||Profile|
This is a great article and talks about much of the Lord has been showing me and laying on my heart lately.
Dear brother, I just finished reading Nee's [url=http://www.eaglevision.com.my/lps.htm]The Latent Power of the Soul[/url] and highly recommend it to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the work of the spirit versus the work of the soul. The book should have a caveat, though: Readers beware, for you will never look at modern Christianity and all its techniques and tactics and trappings the same again. I heard the book mentioned by Arthur Katz once in one of his sermons...and he was unreservedly promoting it, saying, in essence, that it should be required reading for all believers.
If you haven't read it yet, I highly suggest you getting it. I've lately been thinking about creating a thread dedicated just to taking excerpts from this powerful book and expounding them here...but I fear an ugly debate will be precipitated by the proponents of the signs and wonder camp. In any case, this book holds some mature, vital teaching I believe every believer should be equiped with. Some of the things Nee writes about - the loud, repeated choruses, for example, being sung before the preaching to set the stage for emotional testimonies and implorings - are alomost prophetic in their inception. It's amazing how much similarity you see between what Nee was talking about and what we have today with our modern so-called revivals and their loud instruments and drums and almost hyptnotic chants and mantras, and Nee was writing and warning about all this back in the early 1920's. The book really opens your eyes.
Paul Frederick West
| 2008/4/23 22:01||Profile|
| Re: SOULISH EVANGELISM|
"Students of the great Welsh Revival (1900-1903) say that the wonderful stream of Divine Life little by little lost its saving efficacy, as another stream from a very different source, naturally very filthy, began to mingle with the River of Water of Life proceeding from the Throne and from the Lamb. 'Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them' (Job 2: 1). Beware of false fire. Beware of the counterfeit glow. When the soulish takes the place of a pure working of the Holy Spirit, you have a 'revival' whose fires, though they purport to be from Heaven are more likely to be from Hell. There are any number of 'doors' through which Satan may enter to get control of revival. An undue stressing of the emotional; excitement which grieves and suffocates the Holy Spirit who works quietly; a glorying in the evangelist rather than in the Saviour he preaches; dap-trap methods; self whatever the form in the ministry itself, obstructing Christ, veiling His cross and His glory; these are some of Satan's keys" (F. J. Huegel)- The entire religious world is today walking in fleshly wisdom which seems so logical to the carnal mind. Fleshly wisdom always seems to "make more sense" than does the wisdom of God! Satan causes carnal wisdom to prosper because it is denial of the life of the Spirit, so that many times Christians and churches operate contrary to the Spirit with the argument, "It works!" Their method of evangelism is contrary to the ways of the Spirit, but since it works they continue in it. The "program" of the church is contrary to true spirituality, and is built generally around flesh-appeal activities of ceremonies, concerts, social activities, sports, Sunday School contests, puppet shows, movies, special speakers, sensationalism and other carnal tactics and techniques, but the organizations continue in it because "it works" and causes the "church" to prosper in numbers and in finances, while their spirits remain dwarfed and hideously shrivelled and stunted, if indeed they have been quickened at all! It must be remembered that if anyone or anything prospers on principles other than the life of the Son of God, that person or thing is being prospered by the Devil and not by God!
Gal. 3: 3 and Phil. 3: 3-4. "Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" "We are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit. . .and have no confidence in the flesh' In this antagonism of the flesh to the Spirit the flesh has TWO DISTINCT STRATEGIES. On the one hand, the flesh lusts against the Spirit in its committing sin and transgressing God's commands. This is the evil of the flesh. On the other hand, its hostility to the Spirit is no less manifested in its seeking to serve God and do His work! This is the good of the flesh. In yielding to the flesh, the soul sought itself instead of the God into whom the Spirit could have raised it. Self-effort and self-development prevailed over God's life. And now, so subtle and mighty is this spirit of self, that the flesh, not only in sinning against God, but even when the soul learns to serve God, still asserts its power, refuses to let the SPIRIT ALONE LEAD, and in its effort to be religious, wants to serve God independent of the Spirit and is still the great enemy that ever hinders and quenches the Spirit. It is because of this cunning deceitfulness of the flesh that there often takes place what Paul speaks of to the Galatians; "Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Unless the soul is brought into absolute submission to the Spirit, the surrender to the Spirit being very entire, and the holy waiting on Him be kept up in great dependence and humility, what has begun in the Spirit, very early and very speedily passes over into confidence in the flesh.
Just where the flesh seeks lo serve God, there it becomes the strength of sin. Do we not know how the Pharisees, with their self-righteousness and carnal religion, fell into pride and selfishness, and became the servants of sin and the children of the Devil? Satan has no more crafty device for keeping men out of life than inciting them to a religion, even a serving of God, in the flesh. He knows that the power of the flesh can never conquer sin nor please God, that in the flesh and the serving of the flesh no one will ever become a son of God, for those who become sons not only defeat the Devil in the wilderness of temptation, but also deny their owns souls, wills, plans, abilities, desires, ambitions, hopes and dreams lo declare: "I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And He that sent me is with me; for I do always those things that please Him. The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things so ever He doeth, these also doeth the Son. The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works" On. 8: 28-29; 5: 19; 14: 10).
If there is one lesson a son of God needs to learn it is this: If I am to deny self in my relationships with others, to conquer selfishness, anger, and lack of love, I MUST FIRST LEARN TO DENY SELF IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! There the soul, the seat of Self, must learn to bow to the Spirit, where God dwells. Listen, my brother, my sister, to the voice of the blessed Spirit of God. It is confidence in the flesh that motivates men to busily and craftily work for God rather than seeking the Lord until He works. It is Self doing what the Spirit alone can do; it is the Soul taking the lead, in the hopes that the Spirit will second its efforts, instead of trusting the Holy Spirit to lead and to do all, and then waiting on Him. Oh, brethren! How we need to watch this! All that is not of life, of the Spirit, is merely the good of mansoulish. How much of our religious exercises have been soulish! I can tell you of a truth that most of the "power" in the modern "revival meeting" is nothing at all but soul power. Have you not noticed yourself that in many church services, revival meetings and crusades a kind of atmosphere is first created psychologically to make the people feel warm and excited? A chorus is repeated again and again to warm up the audience. The people are feverishly urged to "get into the spirit" of the meeting. Some stirring stories are told. Special music is sung. The people are instructed to stand up, sit down, say "Amen!" and "Praise the Lord!" When the atmosphere is thoroughly heated up, the preacher will then stand up and preach. If he does his job skillfully he can anticipate a large "altar call." These are methods and tactics, but they are not the power of the Holy Spirit! Many preachers today think they have power (even many so-called sons of God); but they are merely employing psychological soul power to influence people and manipulate congregations. Many have become self-made experts in manipulating people and crowds. The Bible Schools of babylon's religions offer a course for ministerial students called homiletics. Homiletics is the art of writing and preaching sermons. The sad truth is that the vast majority of religious activities is just thatan art. You can go to school and LEARN HOW TO DO IT! How to prepare sermons. How to speak persuasively. How to use gestures. How to tell jokes. How to preach. How to stir people by the skillful use of sentimental stories about death, repentance, hell, heaven, needs, miracles, etc. This all seems so desirable, so good'. But I say to you that you can learn these very same psychological techniques, apply them in the business world, and sell vacuum cleaners! The fact is, most all salesmen employ these same proven procedures of presentation, sentimentalism and pressure to sell insurance, automobiles, real estate, and thousands of other items daily! They don't need any Holy Spirit to do that! All that is necessary is some good human personality mixed with some proven techniques and one can persuade people to buy almost anything! These are means and methods, but they are not the power nor work of the Holy Spirit. They are no more spiritual when used religiously than they are when employed commercially. In the Kingdom of God they are flesh!. To which our Lord says today, as He did to Peter in that long ago, "Get thee behind MeSATAN!"
There is no life in methods, techniques, or formulas. How much better it would be if the Lord's servants would expend their energies, like Mary of old, at His feet, learning to know Him and to know His ways. How much better it would be were the time spent on our knees, low and humbled before God, that He might place within a deep distrust of the flesh. How I pray that God would truly reveal to all those apprehended to sonship that the one great hindrance to the life of sonship is the power of the flesh and the efforts of the self-life. Open our eyes, we pray Thee, to this snare of Satan. May we all see how secret and how subtle is the temptation to have confidence in the flesh, how easily we are led to try and perfect in the flesh what has been begun in the Spirit May we learn to trust Thee to work in us by Thy Holy Spirit, both to will and to do only those things which THOU ART DOING! Today, after hearing the Father's call to sonship, after partaking of the deep and vital dealings of the Spirit of God, I have had to totally repudiate all such soulish wisdom of the carnal mind, all such fleshly tactics of Babylon's kingdom to bend low before the disciplines of the Father of sons, to travail mightily that God would bend me, break me, bind my soul power, bridle my Self, and block all that would proceed from my carnal mind. If I have learned anything of the ways of the Father I have learned this one thing: He who would be a son of God must be able to discern what is done from his soul power and what is done by the Spirit of God; further, he must confess and utterly forsake all that pertains to his own soul power, nailing it to the cross of Christ, that ultimately his own faith, as well as that of his hearers, may be found to stand solely in the power of God and not in the wisdom of the flesh. This is the only route, my dear brother and sister, into the glorious reality of sonship to God. All the good works of the soulish realm can never, in a billion years, deliver the creation from its bondage to the tyranny of corruption. Only the mighty working of THE LIFE OF THE SON OF GOD can accomplish this. It is the Spirit that QUICKENETH; the flesh PROFITETH NOTHING. Therefore"Get thee behind me, SATAN!"
Can you not see now how it is, my beloved, that when the sons of God present themselves before the Lord, Satan comes also among them? This very same experience happened to none other than our blessed Lord Jesusthe Pattern Son. Did you notice how strangely Matthew and Mark speak of Christ's temptation? "And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil" (Mk. 1: 12; Mat. 4: 1). What a strange statement! The Holy Spirit of God drives the sinless Son of God into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan, the arch enemy of all righteousness, a murderer from the beginning, and the father of lies! Ah, but it was necessary for the Son to be PROVEN, to be made STRONG, to OVERCOME in these realms before proceeding on into His glorious ministry and the agony and death of the cross. (William Law)
| 2008/4/23 22:33|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: The Latent Power of the Soul|
Dear brother, I just finished reading Nee's The Latent Power of the Soul and highly recommend it to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the work of the spirit versus the work of the soul. The book should have a caveat, though: Readers beware, for you will never look at modern Christianity and all its techniques and tactics and trappings the same again. I heard the book mentioned by Arthur Katz once in one of his sermons...and he was unreservedly promoting it, saying, in essence, that it should be required reading for all believers.
Couldn't find what I was looking for in the archives here, but well recall this book. Here is an older post also, unsure if it is just a few chapters or the whole;
[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=2119&forum=35]The Latent Power of the Soul by Watchman Nee[/url]
| 2008/4/24 0:02||Profile|
Los Angeles, California
Dear brother, I just finished reading Nee's The Latent Power of the Soul and highly recommend it to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the work of the spirit versus the work of the soul.
Thanks - bro - I just printed it out and will start it tonight.
I just bought a whole mess of Watchman Nee books on Amazon so I'll be busy for a while.
"Do all To The Glory Of God"
"A Living Sacrifice"
"Christ The Sum Of All Spiritual Things"
"The Spirit Of Judgment"
"God's Plan And The Overcomers"
"Whom Shall I Send"
"Not I, But Christ"
Nee and Andrew Murray are my favorite Christian authors - the Lord has really used the insight He has given them to speak into my own life and help me understand what has already happened to and how to go deeper.
| 2008/4/24 0:36||Profile|
Hence, for one to depend on the soul-life to execute the propositions of the spirit is to accomplish the supernatural divine goodness through natural worldly strength. To put it plainly, it is to meet God's demand with one's self-power. At this point, on the negative side, a believer may have already overcome sin, yet on the positive side, he is still childish in practicing righteousness. There is the danger that he may fail to develop the God-given life of the Spirit which is already within him and to apply the life-power of this Spirit to execute all the dictates of the new nature. Actually, at this time, the spiritual life is still in the infant stage and is not yet mature; it is still incapable of expressing all the virtues in God's nature. This results in a believer trying by his own natural, soulish power to fulfill all the requirements God has placed upon His children. This walk and work is a mixture of the things of God and the things of man. It is to express the heavenly desire with the earthly strength! When a believer walks in such a way, he is not yet spiritual. Instead, he is soulish.
(So important a subject it needs to be "bumped"!)
I so appreciate the opportunity to once again be reminded of Brother Nee's teaching on this issue. One thing that I remember from reading the Spiritual Man, many years ago, was the expressions of the author- Bro. Nee- that one must be careful in reading that we do not seek to apply what we have read by means of our own strength.
A very difficult task indeed!
Yet, by the mercies of God, as a child of God, we are taught by the Holy Spirit, corrected in SO many different avenues through the Holy Spirit.
(on chastening/correction: "....but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness." Heb 12:10)
How humbling, how heartbreaking, how sore!, when so often I have recognized the failure in the leadership of the soul: my inability to convey life giving truth; the focus of difference vs. deference with regard to brothers and sisters; the misunderstood moments of communication and tendency to jump to conclusions; my own inability to make myself "pure".
Learning to recognize that precision sharp instrument wielded by the Holy Spirit to divide asunder soul and spirit, by that living Word of God, is not some simple excersise! Often it means that we must receive this Word from vessels that we may recognize as "soulish". (Not always in the form of correction from them, although it may be, sometimes it is just simply how we treat them, think of them, pray or not pray for them, etc, etc.)
The law of Christ constrains me, that if He so loved the world, including the Pharisee, that He would give ALL of Himself: wash His own disciples feet; speak only what He heard from the Father; be compassionate to the harassed and bound crowds; be honest to both sinner and scholar without regard of their "face"; and so much more I can barely comprehend it all.
I must with patience, and grace endeavor, strive, persevere to allow God His own perfect way in my imperfect life, to mold me, to shape me, to humble me, to teach me, to correct me, to break my heart, to show me the "true" me, to show me my own strengths I rely on- and the weaknesses He would use. (That "patient continuence" spoken of in Romans 2:7)
I am overwhelmed by the mercy and patience of God towards such a one as I; my prayer is that I extend such mercy and patience towards those Christ died to save.
Thank you again, it was an honor and a blessing to have this opportunity to read this!
And thank you, Mike, for the link to the past article regarding the book!
Sincerely with Love in Christ,
| 2008/5/1 10:19||Profile|
| Re: The Danger of Working in Soul Power|
The Danger of Working in Soul Power
"Let me use some common illustrations to show the difference between the workings of the spirit and of the soul. And again, I will not mention those miraculous cases because I have already touched upon them. We may say that it is quite customary in the church today to work by psychic means. How often psychological methods are used in ministry meetings to attract people! How psychic ways are engaged in in believers' meetings to stimulate the audience. By observing the methods used, one can judge what kind of work is being done. Let me say frankly that many sermons can only help people's souls, but not their spirits. Such messages are merely spoken out of the soul, hence they can only reach man's soul and afford him a little more mental knowledge. We ought not labor this way, because such work never penetrates into man's spirit.
How are many revival meetings conducted? (I am not against the reviving of believers, this I must make abundantly clear. I am only asking if the way of conducting such meetings today is of the spirit.) Is it not true that in many revival gatherings a kind of atmosphere is first created to make people feel warm and excited? A chorus is repeated again and again to warm up the audience. A few stirring stories are told to precipitate the giving of testimonies. These are methods and tactics, but not the power of the Holy Spirit. When an atmosphere is almost fully heated up, the preacher will then stand up and preach. As he is preaching he is already aware of the kind of result he will achieve that day. He has various strategies ready. By clever maneuvering he can anticipate that a certain class of people will shiver and another class of people will cry-that there will be confession and the making of resolutions.
Such type of revival needs to be renewed every one or two years because the effect of the medicine given previously will wear off and the old condition return. Sometimes the effect of an earlier revival will even fade away after only a few weeks or a few months. Great zeal and willingness are indeed exhibited at the start of a revival, but after a while everything is over and done with. This is due to no other reason than a lack of life.
If the stories of many believers were ever recorded, they would comprise a history of revivals: revivals after falls, and falls after revivals. The stimulant used at the first revival has to be increased in dosage for the second one. In order to be effective, the method employed in the second instance must be more emotional and more stirring. I would therefore suggest that this kind of method could best be described as an injection of "spiritual morphine." [i]It needs to be injected time and again.[/i] It is evident that the soul can only live by itself, it has not the power to make others live. Working through soul power even if people weep, make resolutions, and become zealous is, practically speaking, worth nothing."
- Watchman Nee
Paul Frederick West
| 2008/5/1 19:03||Profile|
Yet, the disputes causing many denominations and the divisions causing many sects are advanced in the name of "bearing testimony for the truth"! The soulish Christian often exaggerates differences, creating a disparity of opinions, resulting in divisions in the church of God.
I heartily amen to that. I have been personally grieved over the divisions over many non essential doctrines. Much of it is childish and at the heart of the matter is a lack of love in the name of zeal.
I also believe that Watchman Nee knew what it was to be a spiritual man. And, many a man and Christian today know not as Nicodemus though He was a teacher of Israel. A sad thing indeed to be a carnal scholar and not know what spirit you are of.
John 3 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
John 4 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
| 2008/5/1 20:53||Profile|