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 Chapter One - Release Of The Spirit by Watchman Nee

The Release of the Spirit
by Watchman Nee

In reading this manuscript we have been impressed that it is a vital message needing to be shared and known by all the Lord's seeking ones who long to be a channel for His Life. One cannot read very far before sensing Watchman Nee's longing and prayer is that the Church may know the Lord in the fullest way, that God's people may be increasingly fruitful unto Him, that He may find a minimum of hindrance in us, and that He may be fully released through our quickened and controlled spirit.

Surely this is the hour when the battleground is in the soul. While the Lord is seeking to work through the quickened spirit, Satan is seeking to work through the natural soulish life which has not been brought under the control of the Spirit.

In his many years of laboring with fellow workers, Brother Nee has clearly seen the absolute necessity of brokenness. It is almost as if he were personally here upon the religious scene in America sensing the great need for brokenness among Christian workers. There may be some who are unprepared for such a bitter dose of spiritual medicine, yet we believe anyone with discernment and hunger will agree that the breaking of the soul-powers is imperative if the human spirit is to express the Life of the Lord Jesus.

Beloved, we are convinced that this matter of true brokenness before the Lord is the great need of this closing hour. One has well said that the Lord uses for His glory those servants who are most perfectly broken. Is not this what Isaiah meant when he exclaimed: "the lame that take the prey!" Surely when the beautiful alabaster box has received the breaking blow, the fragrance of the perfume is released to fill the house with refreshing and quickening.

It is with great rejoicing then, that we see this message go forth. We trust it shall reach every part of the Body of Christ and accomplish a release of His Life through the many channels who have been waiting for this very word to meet their need. May it be so for His eternal glory, praise and honor!

Dean Baker

Jn. 12:24
Heb. 4:12-13
Jn. 4:23-24
1 Cor. 2:11-14
2 Cor. 3:6
Rom. 1:9; 7:6; 8:4-8
Gal. 5:16,22-23,25


For the reader to properly appreciate these lessons, perhaps a few preparatory statements will be helpful:

Firstly, we must become accustomed to the terminology which Brother Nee uses. He has chosen to call man's spirit the inner man; he calls man's soul the outer man and for the body he uses the term, the outermost man. In the diagram we have pictured this. It will also help to realize that in designing man originally, God intended for man's spirit to be His home or dwelling place. So the Holy Spirit making a union with the human spirit was to govern the soul, and the spirit and soul would use the body as the means of expression.

Secondly, when Watchman Nee speaks of destroying the soul, it may seem he is using too strong a word as though to imply annihilation. Actually the whole substance of his message clearly points out that the soul, instead of functioning independently, must become like the organ or vessel for the spirit. So it is the independent action of the soul that must be destroyed. T.A. Sparks has wisely pointed out:

"We must be careful that, in recognizing the fact that the soul has been seduced, led captive, darkened and poisoned with a self-interest, we do not regard it as something to be annihilated and destroyed in this life. This would be asceticism, a form of Buddhism. The result of any such behavior is usually only another form of soulishness in an exaggerated degree; perhaps occultism. Our whole human nature is in our souls, and if nature is suppressed in one direction she will take revenge in another. This is just what is the trouble with a great many people if only they knew it. There is a difference between a life of suppression and a life of service. Submission, subjection and servanthood in Christ's case, as to the Father, was not a life of soul-destruction, but of rest and delight. Slavery in its bad sense is the lot of those who live wholly in their own souls. We need to revise our ideas about service, for it is becoming more and more common to think that service is bondage and slavery; when really it is a Divine thing. Spirituality is not a life of suppression. That is negative. Spirituality is positive; it is a new and extra life, not the old one striving to get the mastery of itself."

Thirdly, we must see how the soul has to be smitten a fatal blow by the death of Christ as to its self-strength and government. As with Jacob's thigh, after God had touched it he went to the end of his life with a limp. This would illustrate clearly that forever there must be registered in the soul the fact that it cannot and must not act out from itself as the source. Again T.A. Sparks writes: "As an instrument the soul has to be won, mastered and ruled in relation to the higher and different ways of God. It is spoken of so frequently in the Scriptures as being some thing over which we have to gain and exercise authority. For instance:

"In your patience you shall win your souls." (Lk. 21:19)
"You have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth." (1 Pet. 1:22)
"The end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (1 Pet. 1:9)

Finally, in these lessons we must see why Watchman Nee insists that the soul (outer man) be broken, be mastered and be renewed for the spirit to use. T.A. Sparks has said:

"Whether we are able yet to accept it or not, the fact is that if we are going on with God fully, all the soul's energies and abilities for knowing, understand, sensing and doing will come to an end, and we shall - on that side - stand bewildered, dazed, numbed and impotent. Then, only a new, other and Divine understanding, constraint, and energy will send us forward or keep us going. At such times we shall have to say to our souls, My soul, be silent unto God' (Psa. 62:5): and My soul, come with me to follow the Lord.' But what joy and strength there is when, the soul having been constrained to yield to the spirit, the higher wisdom and glory is perceived in its vindication. Then it is that My soul does magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior" (Lk. 1:46). The spirit HAS, the soul DOES - note the tenses.
So that unto fullness of joy the soul is essential and it MUST be brought through the darkness and death of its own ability to learn the higher and deeper realities for which the spirit is the first organ and faculty."[1]
As we approach the end of these lessons we shall have found the secret of fruitful living unto HIM. Do not fall into the snare, as so many have, of trying to suppress your soul or of despising it; but be strong in spirit, so that your soul may be won, saved and made to serve His fullest joy. The Lord Jesus has planned that we should find rest unto our souls, and this, He says, comes by way of His yoke - the symbol of union and service. We shall then appreciate how the soul finds its greatest value in service, not in ruling. True, until broken, the soul wants to be master. Through the Cross it can become a very useful servant.

1. The Importance of Brokenness

Anyone who serves God will discover sooner or later that the great hindrance to his work is not others but himself. He will discover that his outward man and his inward man are not in harmony, for both are tending toward opposite directions. He will also sense the inability of his outward man to submit to the spirit's control, thus rendering him incapable of obeying God's highest commands. He will quickly detect that the greatest difficulty lies in his outward man, for it hinders him from using his spirit.

Many of God's servants are not able to do even the most elementary works. Ordinarily they should be enabled by the exercise of their spirit to know God's Word, to discern the spiritual condition of another, to send forth God's messages under anointing and to receive God's revelations. Yet due to the distractions of the outward man, their spirit does not seem to function properly. It is basically because their outward man has never been dealt with. For this reason revival, zeal, pleading and activity are but a waste of time. As we shall see, there is just one basic dealing which can enable man to be useful before God: brokenness.

The Inward Man and the Outward Man

Notice how the Bible divides man into two parts: "for I delight in the law of God according to the inward man" (Rom. 7:22). Our inward man delights in the Law of God. "...To be strengthened with power by His Spirit in the inner man" (Eph. 3:16). And Paul also tells us, "But if indeed our outward man is consumed, yet the inward is renewed day by day" (2 Cor. 4:16).

When God comes to indwell us, by His Spirit, Life and power, He comes into our spirit which we are calling the inward man. Outside of this inward man is the sou wherein functions our thoughts, emotions and will. The outermost man is our physical body. Thus we will speak of the inward man as the spirit, the outer man as the sou and the outermost man as the body. We must never forget that our inward man is the human spirit where God dwells, where His Spirit mingles with our spirit. Just as we are dressed in clothes, so our inward man "wears" an outward man: the spirit "wears" the soul. And similarly the spirit and sou "wear" the body. It is quite evident that men are generally more conscious of the outer and outermost man, and they hardly recognize or understand their spirit at all.

We must know that he who can work for God is the one whose inward man can be released. The basic difficulty of a servant of God lies in the failure of the inward man to break through the outward man. Therefore we must recognize before God that the first difficulty to our work is not in others but in ourselves. Our spirit seems to be wrapped in a covering so that it cannot easily break forth. If we have never learned how to release our inward man by breaking through the outward man, we are not able to serve. Nothing can hinder us as this outward man. Whether our works are fruitful or not depends upon whether our outward man has been broken by the Lord so that the inward man can pass through that brokenness and come forth. This is the basic problem. The Lord wants to break our outward man in order that the inward man may have a way out. When the inward man is released, both unbelievers and Christians will be blessed.

Nature Has Its Way of Breaking

The Lord Jesus tells us in Jn. 12:24, "Except the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it die, it bears much fruit." Life is in the grain of wheat, but there is a shell, a very hard shell on the outside. As long as that shell is not split open, the wheat cannot grow. "Except the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies..." What is this death? It is the cracking open of the shell through the working together of temperature, humidity, etc., in the soil. Once the shell is split open, the wheat begins to grow. So the question here is not whether there is Life within, but whether the outside shell is cracked open.

The Scripture continues by saying, "He that loves his Life shall lose it, and he that hates his Life in this world shall keep it to Life eternal." The Lord shows us here that the outer shell is our own Life, (our soul Life) while the Life within is the eternal Life which He has given to us. To allow the inner Life to come forth, it is imperative that the outward Life be lost. Should the outward remain unbroken, the inward would never be able to come forth.

It is necessary (in this writing) that we direct ourselves to that group of people who have the Lord's Life. Among those who possess the Life of the Lord can be found two distinct conditions: one includes those in whom Life is confined, restricted, imprisoned and unable to come forth; the other includes those in whom the Lord has forged a way and Life is thus released from them.

The question thus is not how to obtain Life, but rather how to allow this Life to come forth. When we say we need the Lord to break us, this is not merely a way of speaking, nor is it only a doctrine. It is vital that we be broken by the Lord. It is not that the Life of the Lord cannot cover the earth, but rather that His Life is imprisoned by us. It is not that the Lord cannot bless the Church, but that the Lord's Life is so confined within us that there is no flowing forth. If the outward man remains unbroken, we can never be a blessing to His Church, and we cannot expect the Word to be blessed by God through us!

The Alabaster Box Must Be Broken

The Bible tells of the pure spikenard. God purposely used this term "pure" in His Word to show that it is truly spiritual. But if the alabaster box is not broken, the pure spikenard will not flow forth. Strange to say, many are still treasuring the alabaster box, thinking that its value exceeds that of the ointment. Many think that their outward man is more precious than their inward man. This becomes the problem in the Church. One will treasure his cleverness, thinking he is quite important; another will treasure his own emotions, esteeming himself as an important person; others highly regard themselves, feeling they are better than others, their eloquence surpasses that of others, their quickness of action and exactness of judgment are superior, and so forth. However, we are not antique collectors; we are not vase admirers; we are those who desire to smell only the fragrance of the ointment. Without the breaking of the outward, the inward will not come forth. Thus individually we have no flowing out, but even the Church does not have living way. why then should we hold ourselves as so precious, if our outward contains instead of releases the fragrance?

The Holy Spirit has not ceased working. One event after another, one thing after another, comes to us. Each disciplinary working of the Holy Spirit has but one purpose: to break our outward man so that our inward man may come through. Yet here is our difficulty: we fret over trifles, we murmur at small losses. The Lord is preparing a way to use us, yet scarcely has His hand touched us when we feel unhappy, even to the extent of quarreling with God and becoming negative in our attitude. Since being saved, we have been touched many times in various ways by the Lord, all with the purpose of breaking our outward man. Whether we are conscious of it or not, the aim of the Lord is to destroy this outward man.

So the Treasure is in the earthen vessel, but if the earthen vessel is not broken, who can see the Treasure within? What is the final objective of the Lord's working in our lives? It is to break this earthen vessel, to break our alabaster box, to crack open our shell. the Lord longs to find a way to bless the world through those who belong to Him. Brokenness is the way of blessing, the way of fragrance, the way of fruitfulness, but it is also a path sprinkled with blood. Yes, there is blood from many wounds. When we offer ourselves to the Lord to be at His service, we cannot afford to be lenient, to spare ourselves. We must allow the Lord utterly to crack our outward man, so that He may find a way for His out working.

Each of us must find out for himself what is the mind of the Lord in his Life. It is a most lamentable fact that many do not know what is the mind or intention of the Lord for their lives. How much they need for the Lord to open their eyes, to see that everything which comes into their lives can be meaningful. The Lord has not wasted even one thing. To understand the Lord's purpose, is to see very clearly that He is aiming at a single objective: the destroying or breaking of the outward man.

However, too many, even before the Lord raises a hand, are already upset. Oh, we must realize that all the experiences, troubles and trials which the Lord sends are for our highest good. We cannot expect the Lord to give better things, for these are His best. Should one approach the Lord and pray, saying, "Oh, Lord, please let me choose the best"? I believe the Lord would tell him, "What I have given you is the best; your daily trials are for your greatest profit." So the motive behind all the orderings of God is to destroy our outward man. Once this occurs and the spirit can come forth, we begin to be able to exercise our spirit.

The Timing in Our Brokenness

The Lord employs two different ways to destroy our outward man; one is gradual, the other sudden. To some, the Lord gives a sudden destruction followed by a gradual one. With others, the Lord arranges that they have constant daily trials, until one day He brings about large-scale destruction. If it is not the sudden first and then the gradual, then it is the gradual followed by the sudden. It would seem the Lord usually spends several years upon us before He can accomplish this work of destruction.

The timing is in His hand. We cannot shorten the time, though we can certainly prolong it. In some lives the Lord is able to accomplish this work after a few years of dealing; in others it is evident that after ten or twenty years the work is still unfinished. This is most serious! Nothing is more grievous than wasting God's time. How often the Church is hindered! We can preach by using our mind, we can stir others by using our emotions, yet if we do not know how to use our spirit, the Spirit of God cannot touch people through us. The loss is great, should we needlessly prolong the time.

Therefore, if we have never before wholly and intelligently consecrated ourselves to the Lord, let us do so now, saying: "Lord, for the future of the Church, for the future of the gospel, for Your way, and also for my own Life, I offer myself without condition, without reservation, into Your hands. Lord, I delight to offer myself unto You and am willing to let You have Your full way through me."

The Meaning of the Cross

Often we hear about the cross. Perhaps we are too familiar with the term. But what is the cross after all? When we really understand the cross we shall see it means the breaking of the outward man. The cross reduces the outward man to death; it splits open the human shell. The cross must destroy all that belongs to our outward man - our opinions, our ways, our cleverness, our self-love, our all. The way is clear, in fact, crystal clear.

As soon as our outward man is destroyed, our spirit can easily come forth. Consider a brother as an example. All who know him acknowledge that he has a keen mind, a forceful will, and deep emotions. But instead of being impressed by these natural characteristics of his soul, they realize they have met his spirit. Whenever people are fellowshiping with him, they encounter a spirit, a clean spirit. Why? Because all that is of his soul has been destroyed.

Take as another example, a sister. Those who know her recognize that she is of a quick disposition - quick in thought, quick of speech, quick to confess, quick in writing letters, and quick to tear up what she has written. However, those who meet her do not meet her quickness but rather her spirit. She is one who has been utterly destroyed and has become transparent. This destruction of the outward man is such a basic matter. We should not cling to our weak, soulish characteristics, still emitting the same flavor even after five or ten years of the Lord's dealing with us. No, we must allow the Lord to forge a way in our lives.

Two Reasons for Not Being Destroyed

Why is it that after many years of dealing, some remain the same? some individuals have a forceful will; some have strong emotions, others have a strong mind. Since the Lord is able to destroy these, why is it that after many years some are still unchanged? We believe there are two main reasons.

First, many who live in darkness, are not seeing the hand of God. While God is working, while God is destroying, they do not recognize it as being from Him. They are devoid of light, seeing only men opposing them. They imagine their environment is just too difficult, that circumstances are to blame. So they continue in darkness and despair.

May God give us a revelation to see what is from His hand, that we may kneel down and say to Him, "It is You; since it is You, I will accept." At least we must recognize WHOSE hand it is that deals with us. It is not a human hand, nor our family's, nor the brothers' and sisters' in the Church, but God's. We need to learn how to kneel down and kiss the hand, love the hand that deals with us, even as Madame Guyon did. We must have this light to see that whatever the Lord has done, we accept and believe; the Lord can do no wrong.

Second, another great hindrance to the work of destroying the outer man is self-love. We must ask God to take away the heart of self-love. As He deals with us in response to our prayer, we should worship and say, "Oh Lord, if this be Your hand, let me accept it from my heart." Let us remember that the one reason for all misunderstanding, all fretfulness, all discontent, is that we secretly love ourselves. Thus we plan a way whereby we can deliver ourselves. Many times problems arise due to our seeking a way of escape - an escape from the working of the cross.

He who has ascended the cross and refuses to drink the vinegar mingled with gall is the one who knows the Lord. Many go up to the cross rather reluctantly, still thinking of drinking vinegar mingled with gall to alleviate their pains. All who say, "The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?" will not drink the cup of vinegar mingled with gall. They can only drink of one cup, not two. Such as these are without any self-love. Self-love is a basic difficulty. May the Lord speak to us today that we may be able to pray: "O my God, I have seen that all things come from You. All my ways these five years, ten years, or twenty years, are of You. You have so worked to attain Your purpose, which is none other than that Your Life may be lived out through me. But I have been foolish. I did not see. I did many things to deliver myself, thus delaying Your time. Today I see Your hand. I am willing to offer myself to You. Once again I place myself in Your hands."

Expect to See Wounds

There is no one more beautiful than one who is broken! Stubbornness and self-love give way to beauty in one who has been broken by God. We see Jacob in the Old Testament, how even in his mother's womb he struggled with his brother. He was subtle, tricky, deceitful. Yet his Life was full of sorrows and grief. When a youth, he fled from home. For twenty years he was cheated by Laban. The wife of his heart's love, Rachel, died prematurely. The son of his love, Joseph, was sold. Years later Benjamin was detained in Egypt. He was successively dealt with by God once, twice; indeed his whole history could be said to be a history of being stricken by god. Finally after many such dealings, the man Jacob was transformed. In his last few years, he was quite transparent. How dignified was his answer to Pharaoh! How beautiful was his end, when he worshiped God on his staff! After reading the last page of his history, we want to bow our heads and worship God. Here is one who is matured, who knows God. Several decades of dealings have resulted in Jacob's outward man being destroyed. In his old age, the picture is a beautiful one.

Each one of us has much of the same Jacob nature in us. Our only hope is that the Lord may blaze a way out, destroying the outward man to such a degree that the inward man may come out and be seen. This is precious, and this is the way of those who serve the Lord. Only thus can we serve; only thus can we lead men to the Lord. All else is limited in its value. Doctrine does not have much use, nor does theology. What is the use of mere mental knowledge of the Bible if the outward man remains unbroken? Only the person through whom God can come forth is useful.

After our outward man has been stricken, dealt with, and lead through various trials, we have wounds upon us, thus allowing the spirit to emerge. We are afraid to meet some brothers and sisters whose whole being remains intact, never having been dealt with and changed. May God have mercy upon us in showing us clearly this way and in revealing to us that it is the only way. May He also show us that herein is seen the purpose of all His dealings with us in these few years, say ten or twenty. Thus, let no one despise the Lord's dealings. May He truly reveal to us what is meant by the destroying of the outward man. Should the outward man remain whole, everything would be merely in our mind, utterly useless. Let us expect the Lord to deal with us thoroughly.


 2011/2/23 13:34

Joined: 2010/1/9
Posts: 247

 Re: Chapter One - Release Of The Spirit by Watchman Nee

This is a priceless book best read, (on your face) so to speak. Thanks for bringing it up.



 2011/2/24 8:23Profile


Much agreed Brother Ruf. Used to try to read it once a year back when, but it's been a while. Refreshing again.

 2011/2/25 0:41

  Chapter Two

Before and After Brokenness

The breaking of the outward man is the basic experience of all who serve God. This must be accomplished before He can use us in an effectual way.

When one is working for God, two possibilities may arise. First, it is possible that with the outward man unbroken, one's spirit may be inert and unable to function. If he is a clever person, his mind governs his work ; if he is a compassionate person, the emotions control his actions. Such work may appear successful but cannot bring people to God. Second, his spirit may come forth clad in his own thoughts or emotions. The result is mixed and impure. Such work will bring men into mixed and impure experience. These two conditions weaken our service to God.

If we desire to work effectively, we must realize that basically "it is the Spirit which quickens." Sooner or later—if not on the first day of our salvation, then perhaps ten years after—we must recognize this fact. Many have to be brought to their wits' end to see the emptiness of their labor before they know how useless are their many thoughts, their varied emotions. No matter how many people you can attract with your thoughts or emotions, the result comes to nothing. Eventually we must confess : "It is the Spirit which quickens." The Spirit alone makes people live. Your best thought, your best emotion, cannot make people live. Man can be brought into life only by the Spirit. Many serving the Lord come to see this fact only after passing through much sorrow and many failures. Finally the Lord's Word becomes meaningful to them : That which quickens is the spirit. To let the spirit be released means that sinners may be born anew and saints may be established. When life is communicated through the channel of the spirit, those who receive it are born anew. When life is supplied through the spirit to believers, it results in their being established. Without the Spirit, there can be no new birth and no establishment.

One rather remarkable thing is that God does not mean to distinguish between His Spirit and our spirit. There are many places in the Bible where it is impossible to determine whether the word "spirit" indicates our human spirit or God's Spirit. Bible translators, from Luther down to present day scholars, who labored on the English versions, have been unable to decide if the word "spirit," as used in many places in the New Testament, refers to the human spirit or to the Spirit of God.

Of the whole Bible, Romans eight may well be the chapter where the word "spirit" is used most frequently. Who can discern how many times the word "spirit" in this chapter, refers to the human spirit and how many times to God's Spirit? In various English versions, the word "pneuma" (spirit) is sometimes written with a capital letter; other times with a small letter. It is evident that these versions do not agree, and no one person's opinion is final. It is simply impossible to distinguish. When in regeneration we receive our new spirit, we receive God's Spirit too. The moment our human spirit is raised from the state of death, we receive the Holy Spirit. We often say that the Holy Spirit dwells in our spirit, but we find it hard to discern which is the Holy Spirit and which is our own spirit. The Holy Spirit and our spirit have become so mingled; while each is distinctive, they are not easily distinguished.

Thus, the release of the spirit is the release of the human spirit as well as the release of the Holy Spirit, Who is in the spirit of man. Since the Holy Spirit and our spirit are joined into one, they can be distinguished only in name, not in fact. And since the release of one means the release of both, others can touch the Holy Spirit whenever they touch our spirit. Thank God that inasmuch as you allow people to contact your spirit, you allow them to contact God. Your spirit has brought the Holy Spirit to man.

When the Holy Spirit is working, He needs to be carried by the human spirit. The electricity in an electric bulb does not travel like lightning. It must be conducted through electric wires. If you want to use electricity, you need an electric wire to bring it to you. In like manner, the Spirit of God employs the human spirit as His carrier, and through it He is brought to man.

Everyone who has received grace has the Holy Spirit dwelling in his spirit. Whether he can be used by the Lord depends not on his spirit but rather on his outward man. The difficulty with many is that their outward man has not been broken. There is not that blood-marked path, those wounds or scars. So God's Spirit is imprisoned within man's spirit and is not able to break forth. Sometimes our outward man is active, but the inward man remains inactive. The outward man has gone forth, while the inward man lags behind.

Some Practical Problems

Let us review this through some practical problems! Take preaching, for instance. How often we can be earnestly preaching—a well-prepared, sound message—but inwardly feel as cold as ice. We long to stir others, yet we ourselves are unmoved. There is a lack of harmony between the outward and the inward man. The outward man is dripping from the heat, but the inward man is shivering with the cold. We can tell others how great the love of the Lord is, yet we are personally untouched by it. We can tell others how tragic is the suffering of the cross, yet upon returning to our room we can laugh. What can we do about this? Our mind may labor, our emotions may be energized, yet all the time one has the feeling that the inward man is merely observing the proceedings. The outward and the inward man are not one.

Consider another situation. The inward man is devoured by zeal. He wants to shout, but he does not find utterance. After speaking for a long time, he still seems to be circling around. The more he is burdened within, the colder he becomes without. He longs to speak, but he cannot express himself. When he meets a sinner, his inward man feels like weeping, but he cannot shed a tear. There is a sense of urgency within him, yet when he ascends the pulpit and tries to shout, he finds himself lost in a maze of words. Such a situation is most trying. The, root cause is the same : the outer shell still clings to him. The outward does not obey the dictates of the inward : inwardly crying, but outwardly unmoved ; inwardly suffering, but outwardly untouched ; full thoughts within, but without, the mind a seeming blank. The spirit has yet to find a way to pierce the shell.

Thus the breaking of the outward man is the first lesson for everyone who would learn to serve God. He who is truly used by God is one whose outward thought and outward emotion do not act independently. If we have not learned this lesson, we shall find our effectiveness greatly impaired. May God bring us to the place where the outward man is completely broken.

When such a condition prevails, there will be an end to outward activity with inward inertness ; an end to inward crying with outward composure; an end to an abundance of inner thoughts for which there is no utterance. You will not be poor in thought. You need not use twenty sentences to express what can be said in two. Your thoughts will assist instead of hinder your spirit.

Likewise, our emotions are also a very hard shell. Many who desire to be happy cannot express joy, or they may wish to weep yet cannot. If the Lord has stricken our outward man either through the discipline or the enlightening of the Holy Spirit, we are able to express joy or sorrow as we inwardly dictate.

The release of the spirit makes it possible for us to abide increasingly in God. We touch the spirit of revelation in the Bible. Without effort we can use our spirit to receive divine revelation. When we are witnessing or preaching, we send forth God's word through our spirit. Furthermore, we may most spontaneously contact the spirit in others by our spirit. Whenever one speaks in our presence, we can "size him up"—evaluate what kind of person he is, what attitude he is taking, what sort of Christian he is, and what his need is. Our spirit can touch his spirit. And what is wonderful, others easily contact our spirit. With some, we only meet their thoughts, their emotions, or their will. After conversing with them for hours, we still have not met the real person, though we may both be Christians. The outer shell is too thick for others to touch the inner man. With the breaking of the outward man, the spirit begins to flow and is ever open to others.

Launching Out and Retreating

Once the outward man is broken, man's spirit very naturally abides in the presence of God without ceasing. Two years after a certain brother trusted in the Lord, he read "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence. After reading it, he felt grieved at his failure to abide unceasingly in the presence of God like Brother Lawrence. At that time he had hourly appointments to pray with someone. Why? Well, the Bible says, "Pray unceasingly," so they changed it to "Pray every hour." Every time they heard the clock strike the hour, they would pray. They exerted their utmost effort to retreat into God because they felt they could not maintain themselves in the continuous presence of God. It was as if they had slipped away while working and thus needed to retreat quickly back to God. Or they had projected themselves out while studying, and now they must withdraw swiftly to God. Otherwise they would find themselves away the whole day. They prayed often, spending whole days in prayer on the Lord's Day and half-days on Saturday. Thus they continued for two or three years. Nevertheless, the trouble remained : in withdrawing they enjoyed God's presence, but in going forth they lost it. Of course this is not their problem alone ; such is the experience of many Christians. It indicates we are trying to maintain God's presence by our memory. The sense of His presence fluctuates according to our memory. When we remember, there is the consciousness of His presence ; otherwise, there is none. This is sheer foolishness, for God's presence is in the spirit, not the memory.

To solve this problem, we must first settle the question of the breaking of the outward man. Since neither our emotion nor our thought has the same nature as God, it cannot be joined with Him. The Gospel of John, Chapter four, shows us the nature of God. God is a Spirit. Our spirit alone is of the same nature as God; therefore, it can be eternally united with Him. If we try to get the presence of God by directing our thought, then when we are not concentrating, His presence seems to be lost. Again, if we seek to use our emotion to summon the presence of God, then as soon as our emotion relaxes, His presence seems to be gone. Sometimes we are happy, and we take this as having the presence of God. So when happiness ceases, the presence flees! Or we may assume that His presence is with us while we mourn and weep. Alas, we cannot shed tears all our life. Soon our tears will be dry, and then God's presence disappears. Both our thoughts and our emotions are human energies. All activity must come to an end. If we try to maintain God's presence with activity, then when the activity ceases, His presence ends. Presence requires the sameness of nature. Only the in ward man is of the same nature as God. Through it alone can His presence be manifested. When the outward man lives in activities, they can disturb the inward man. Thus the outward man is not a helper but a disturber. When the outward man is broken, the inward man enjoys peace before God.

Our spirit is given to us by God to enable us to respond to Him. But the outward man is ever responding to things without, thus depriving us of the presence of God. We cannot destroy all the things without, but we can break down the outward man. We cannot put a stop to all the things without; these millions and billions of things in the world are utterly beyond our control. Whenever anything happens, our outward man will respond ; thus we are not able to enjoy God's presence in peace. We conclude, therefore, that experiencing the presence of God is contingent upon the breaking of our outward man.

If, through the mercy of God, our outward man has been broken, we may be thus characterized : Yesterday we were full of curiosity, but today it is impossible to be curious. Formerly our emotions could be easily aroused, either stirring our love, the most delicate emotion, or provoking our temper, the crudest. But now no matter how many things crowd upon us, our inward man remains unmoved, the presence of God unchanged, and our inner peace unruffled.

It becomes evident that the breaking of the outward man is the basis for enjoying God's presence. Brother Lawrence was engaged in kitchen work. People were clamoring for things they wanted. Though there was the constant clatter of dishes and utensils, his inward man was not disturbed. He could sense God's presence in the hustle and bustle of a kitchen as much as in quiet prayer. Why? He was impervious to external noises. He had learned to commune in his spirit and deny his soul.

Some feel that to have God's presence, their environment must be free of such distractions as the clatter of dishes. The farther away they are from mankind, the better they will be able to sense the presence of God. What a mistake! The trouble lies not in the dishes, nor in other people, but in themselves. God is not going to deliver us from the dishes; He will deliver us from our responses! No matter how noisy it is outside, the inside does not respond. Since the Lord has broken our outward man, we simply react as if we had not heard. Praise the Lord, we may possess very keen hearing, but due to the work of grace in our lives, we are not at all influenced by the things pressing on our outward man. We can be before God on such occasions as much as when praying alone.

Once the outward man is broken, one no longer needs to retreat Godward, for he is always in the presence of God. Not so with one whose outward man is still intact. After running an errand he needs to return, for he assumes he has moved away from God. Even in doing the work of the Lord, he slips away from the One he serves. So it seems the best thing for him is not to make any move. Nevertheless, they that know God do not need to return, for they have never been away. They enjoy the presence of God when they set aside a day for prayer, and they enjoy the same presence in much the same degree, when they are busily engaged in the menial tasks of life. Perhaps it is our common experience that in drawing near to God, we sense His presence; while if we are engaged in some activity, in spite of our vigilance, we feel that somehow we have drifted away. Suppose, for example, we are preaching the gospel or trying to edify people. After a while we feel like kneeling down to pray. But we have a sense that we must first retreat into God. Somehow our conversation with people has led us a little away from God, so in prayer we must first draw closer to Him. We have lost God's presence, so now we must have it restored to us. Or we may be occupied with some menial task such as scrubbing the floor. Upon completing our fob, we decide to pray. Once again we feel we have taken a long trip and must return. What is the answer? The breaking of the outward man makes such returns unnecessary. We sense the presence of God in our conversation as much as in kneeling in prayer. Performing our menial tasks does not draw us away from God, hence we need not return.

Now let us consider an extreme case to illustrate. Anger is the most violent of human feelings. But the Bible does not forbid us to be angry, for some anger is not related to sin. "Be angry but sin not," the Bible says. Nonetheless, anger is so strong it borders on sin. We do not find, "Love but do not sin, nor "Be meek but do not sin," in God's Word, because love and meekness are far removed from sin. But anger is close to sin.

Perhaps a certain brother has committed a serious fault. He needs to be severely reprimanded. This is no easy matter. Rather would we exercise our feelings of mercy than bring our feelings of anger into play, for the latter can fall into something else with the least carelessness. Thus it is not easy to be properly angry according to the will of God. However, one who knows the breaking of the outward man can deal severely with another brother without his own spirit being disturbed or God's presence interrupted. He abides in God just as much in dealing with others as in prayer. Thus, after he has taken his brother to task, he can pray without an endeavor to retreat to God. We acknowledge that this is rather difficult, yet when the outward man is broken, such can well be the case.

The Dividing of the Outward and the Inward Man

When the outward man is broken, outside things will be kept outside, and the inward man will live before God continuously. The trouble with many is that their outward man and inward man are joined together, so what influences the outward influences the inward. Through the merciful working of God the outward man and inward man must be separated. Then what affects the outward will not be able to reach the inward. Though the outward man may be engaged in conversation, yet the inward man is fellowshipping with God. The outward may be burdened with listening to the clatter of dishes, while the inward abides in God. One is able to carry on. activities, to contact the world with the outer man, yet the inner man remains unaffected, for he still lives before God.

Consider an example or two. A certain brother is working on the road. If his outer and inner man have been divided, the latter will not be disturbed by outside things. He can labor in his outward man, while at the same time he is inwardly worshipping God. Or consider a parent : his outward man may be laughing and playing with his little child. Suddenly a certain spiritual need arises. He can at once meet the situation with his inward man, for he has never been absent from the presence of God. So it is important for us to realize that the dividing of the outward and inward man has a most decisive effect upon one's work and life. Only thus is one able to labor without distraction.

We can describe believers as either "single" or "dual" persons. With some their inner and outer man are one ; with others the two have been separated. As long as one is a "single" person, he must summon his whole being into his work or into his prayer. In working he leaves God behind. In praying later, he must turn away from his work. Because his outward man has not been broken, he is forced to launch out and retreat. The "dual" person, on the other hand, is able to work with his outward man while his inward man remains constantly before God. Whenever the need arises, his inward man can break forth and manifest itself before others. He enjoys the unbroken presence of God. Let us ask ourselves,. Am I a "single" or a "dual" person? Whether the outward man is divided from the inward does make all the difference.

If through the mercy of God you have experienced this dividing, then while you are working, or outwardly active, you know there is a man in you who remains calm. Though the outward man is engaged in external things, these will not penetrate the inward man.

Here is the wondrous secret! Knowing the presence of God is through the dividing of these two. Brother Lawrence seemed to be busily occupied with kitchen work, yet within there was another man standing before God and enjoying undisturbed communion with Him. Such an inner division will keep our reactions free from the contamination of flesh and blood.

In conclusion, let us remember that the ability to use our spirit depends upon the two fold work of God: the breaking of the outward man and the dividing of spirit and soul, i.e., the separating of our inward man from the outward. Only after God has carried out both of these processes in our lives are we able to exercise our spirit. The outward man is broken through the discipline of the Holy Spirit; it is divided from the inward man by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. (Heb. 4:12).

 2011/2/25 9:23

Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3569

 Re: Chapter One - Release Of The Spirit by Watchman Nee

Excellent book for every serious Christian that desires to bear much fruit, and would be a vessel of honor that the Lord can flow through.

"Whether we are able yet to accept it or not, the fact is that if we are going on with God fully, all the soul's energies and abilities for knowing, understand, sensing and doing will come to an end, and we shall - on that side - stand bewildered, dazed, numbed and impotent. Then, only a new, other and Divine understanding, constraint, and energy will send us forward or keep us going. At such times we shall have to say to our souls, My soul, be silent unto God' (Psa. 62:5): and My soul, come with me to follow the Lord.' But what joy and strength there is when, the soul having been constrained to yield to the spirit, the higher wisdom and glory is perceived in its vindication. Then it is that My soul does magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior" (Lk. 1:46). The spirit HAS, the soul DOES - note the tenses.
So that unto fullness of joy the soul is essential and it MUST be brought through the darkness and death of its own ability to learn the higher and deeper realities for which the spirit is the first organ and faculty."[1]
As we approach the end of these lessons we shall have found the secret of fruitful living unto HIM. Do not fall into the snare, as so many have, of trying to suppress your soul or of despising it; but be strong in spirit, so that your soul may be won, saved and made to serve His fullest joy. The Lord Jesus has planned that we should find rest unto our souls, and this, He says, comes by way of His yoke - the symbol of union and service. We shall then appreciate how the soul finds its greatest value in service, not in ruling. True, until broken, the soul wants to be master. Through the Cross it can become a very useful servant."


 2011/2/25 11:06Profile

Joined: 2010/8/15
Posts: 272


What is it about this teaching that raises a red warning flag in me?

The first section quoted including the introduction quoted scriptures, but then, goes on to misinterprate the scriptures quoted by substituing their own words and phrases for scriptural words and phrases.

The introduction clearly says

"Firstly, we must become accustomed to the terminology which Brother Nee uses. He has chosen to call man's spirit the inner man; he calls man's soul the outer man and for the body he uses the term, the outermost man"

But should we accept this terminology without question? His whole teaching is based on these new phrases, giving them a meaning which scripture does not give.

Where the bible uses the word fleshly or carnal, Nee uses the term outer man. He also talks of "those who live wholly in their own souls". How can we live in our souls? We, as human beings, are living souls, and Christ has brought salvation to our souls. Where Paul writes "always carrying about in the boy the dying of the Lord Jesus", Nee writes that the outward man must be broken. Does Paul ever write about being broken by the Lord? No, except "Take, eat, this is my body which IS broken for you"

The second section "Brokenness and The Dividing of the Inner and Outer man" abandons scripture (and christianity) altogether

What Brother Nee writes is an enticing theology which uses testimony and human wisdom, but it is another gospel.
Back to the sciptures



 2011/2/25 18:56Profile


Have to agree Br David. It doesn't make sense to me either.

 2011/2/25 19:07

 "The Spiritual Man" by Watchman Nee

From Volume 1 of 3 Volumes:

Chapter 1


The ordinary concept of the constitution of human beings is dualistic-soul and body. According to this concept soul is the invisible inner spiritual part, while body is the visible outer corporal part. Though there is some truth to this, it is nevertheless inaccurate. Such an opinion comes from fallen man, not from God; apart from God's revelation, no concept is dependable. That the body is man's outward sheath is undoubtedly correct, but the Bible never confuses spirit and soul as though they are the same. Not only are they different in terms; their very natures differ from each other. The Word of God does not divide man into the two parts of soul and body. It treats man, rather, as tripartite-spirit, soul and body. I Thessalonians 5.23 reads: "May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." This verse precisely shows that the whole man is divided into three parts. The Apostle Paul refers here to the complete sanctification of believers, "sanctify you wholly. "According to the Apostle, how is a person wholly sanctified? By his spirit and soul and body being kept. From this we can easily understand that the whole person comprises these three parts. This verse also makes a distinction between spirit and soul; otherwise, Paul would have said simply "your soul." Since God has distinguished the human spirit from the human soul, we conclude that man is composed of not two, but three, parts; spirit, soul and body.

Is it a matter of any consequence to divide spirit and soul? It is an issue of supreme importance for it affects tremendously the spiritual life of a believer. How can a believer understand spiritual life if he does not know what is the extent of the realm of the spirit? Without such understanding how can he grow spiritually? To fail to distinguish between spirit and soul is fatal to spiritual maturity. Christians often account what is soulical. as spiritual, and thus they remain in a soulish state and seek not what is really spiritual. How can we escape loss if we confuse what God has divided?

Spiritual knowledge is very important to spiritual life. Let us add, however, that it is equally as, if not more, important for a believer to be humble and willing to accept the teaching of the Holy Spirit. If so, the Holy Spirit will grant him the experience of the dividing of spirit and soul, although he may not have too much knowledge concerning this truth. On the one hand, the most ignorant believer, without the slightest idea of the division of spirit and soul, may yet experience such a dividing in real life. On the other hand, the most informed believer, completely conversant with the truth concerning spirit and soul, may nonetheless have no experience of it. Far better is that person who may have both the knowledge and the experience. The majority, however, lack such experience. Consequently, it is well initially to lead these to know the different functions of spirit and soul and then to encourage them to seek what is spiritual.

Other portions of the Scriptures make this same differentiation between spirit and soul. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4.12). The writer in this verse divides man's non-corporal elements into two parts, 11 soul and spirit. The corporal part is mentioned here as including the joints and marrow organs of motion and sensation. When the priest uses the sword to cut and completely dissect the sacrifice, nothing inside can be hidden. Even joint and marrow are separated. In like manner the Lord Jesus uses the Word of God on His people to separate thoroughly, to pierce even to the division of the spiritual, the soulical, and the physical. And from this it follows that since soul and spirit can be divided, they must be different in nature. It is thus evident here that man is a composite of three parts.


And Jehovah God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Gen. 2.7 ASV). When God first created man He formed him of dust from the ground, and then breathed the breath of life into his nostrils. As soon as the breath of life, which became man's spirit, came into contact with man's body, the soul was produced. Hence the soul is the combination of man's body and spirit. The Scriptures therefore call man a living soul. The breath of life became man's spirit; that is, the principle of life within him. The Lord Jesus tells us it is the spirit that gives life (John 6.63). This breath of life comes from the Lord of Creation. However, we must not confuse man's spirit with God's Holy Spirit. The latter differs from our human spirit. Romans 8.16 demonstrates their difference by declaring that it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God. The original of the word life in breath of life is chay and is in the plural. This may refer to the fact that the in-breathing of God produced a twofold life, soulical and spiritual. When the in-breathing of God entered man's body it became the spirit of man; but when the spirit reacted with the body the soul was produced. This explains the source of our spiritual and soulical lives. We must recognize, though, that this spirit is not God's Own life, for the breath of the Almighty gives me life (job 33.4). It is not the entrance of the uncreated life of God into man, neither is it that life of God, which we receive at regeneration. What we receive at new birth is God's Own life as typified by the tree of life. But our human spirit, though permanently existing, is void of eternal life.

"Formed man of dust from the ground" refers to man's body; "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" refers to man's spirit as it came from God; and "man became a living soul" refers to man's soul when the body was quickened by the spirit and brought into being a living and self-conscious man. A complete man is a trinity the composite of spirit, soul and body. According to Genesis 2.7, man was made up of only two independent elements, the corporeal and the spiritual; but when God placed the spirit within the casing of the earth, the soul was produced. The spirit of man touching the dead body produced the soul. The body apart from the spirit was dead, but with the spirit man was made alive. The organ thus animated was called the soul.

Man became a living soul expresses not merely the fact that the combination of spirit and body produced the soul; it also suggests that spirit and body were completely merged in this soul. In other words, soul and body were combined with the spirit, and spirit and body were merged in the soul. Adam in his unfallen state knew nothing of these ceaseless strivings of spirit and flesh which are matters of daily experience to us. There was a perfect blending of his three natures into one and the soul as the uniting medium became the cause of his individuality, of his existence as a distinct being. (Pember'sEarth's Earliest Age) Man was designated a living soul, for it was there that the spirit and body met and through which his individuality was known. Perhaps we may use an imperfect illustration: drop some dye into a cup of water. The dye and water will blend into a third substance called ink. In like manner the two independent elements of spirit and body combine to become living soul. (The analogy fails in that the soul produced by the combining of spirit and body becomes an independent, indissoluble element as much as the spirit and body.)

God treated man's soul as something unique. As the angels were created as spirits, so man was created predominantly as a living soul. Man not only had a body, a body with the breath of life; he became a living soul as well. Thus we find later in the Scriptures that God often referred to men as souls. Why? Because what the man is depends on how his soul is. His soul represents him and expresses his individuality. It is the organ of man's free will, the organ in which spirit and body are completely merged. If man's soul wills to obey God, it will allow the spirit to rule over the man as ordered by God. The soul, if it chooses, also can suppress the spirit and take some other delight as lord of the man. This trinity of spirit, soul and body may be partially illustrated by a light bulb. Within the bulb, which can represent the total man, there are electricity, light and wire. The spirit is like the electricity, the soul the light, and body the wire. Electricity is the cause of the light while light is the effect of electricity. Wire is the material substance for carrying the electricity as well as for manifesting the light. The combination of spirit and body produces soul, that which is unique to man. As electricity, carried by the wire, is expressed in light, so spirit acts upon the soul and the soul, in turn, expresses itself through the body.

However, we must remember well that whereas the soul is the meeting-point of the elements of our being in this present life, the spirit will be the ruling power in our resurrection state. For the Bible tells us that it is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body (I Cor. 15.44). Yet here

is a vital point: we who have been joined to the resurrected Lord can even now have our spirit rule over the whole being. We are not united to the first Adam who was made a living soul but to the last Adam who is a life-giving spirit (v.45).


It is through the corporal body that man comes into contact with the material world. Hence we may label the body as that part which gives us world-consciousness. The soul comprises the intellect, which aids us in the present state of existence, and the emotions, which proceed from the senses. Since the soul belongs to man's own self and reveals his personality, it is termed the part of self-consciousness. The spirit is that part by which we commune with God and by which alone we are able to apprehend and worship Him. Because it tells us of our relationship with God, the spirit is called the element of God-consciousness. God dwells in the spirit, self dwells in the soul, while senses dwell in the body.

As we have mentioned already, the soul is the meeting point of spirit and body, for there they are merged. By his spirit man holds intercourse with the spiritual world and with the Spirit of God, both receiving and expressing the power and life of the spiritual realm. Through his body man is in contact with the outside sensuous world, affecting it and being is affected by it. The soul stands between these two worlds, yet belongs to both. It is linked with the spiritual world through the spirit and with the material world through the body. It also possesses the power of free will, hence is able to choose from among its environments. The spirit cannot act directly upon the body. It needs a medium, and that medium is the soul produced by the touching of the spirit with the body. The soul therefore stands between the spirit and the body, binding these two together. The spirit can subdue the body through the medium of the soul, so that it will obey God; likewise the body through the soul can draw the spirit into loving the world.

Of these three elements the spirit is the noblest for it joins with God.

The body is the lowest for it contacts with matter. The soul lying between them joins the two together and also takes their character to be its own.

The soul makes it possible for the spirit and the body to communicate and

to cooperate. The work of the soul is to keep these two in their proper order so that they may not lose their right relationship ---namely, that the lowest, the body, may be subjected to the spirit, and that the highest, the spirit, may govern the body through the soul. Man's prime factor is definitely the soul. It looks to the spirit to give what the latter has received from the Holy Spirit in order that the soul, after it has been perfected, may transmit what it has obtained to the body; then the body too may share in the perfection of the Holy Spirit and so become a spiritual body.

The spirit is the noblest part of man and occupies the innermost area of his being. The body is the lowest and takes the outermost place. Between these two dwells the soul, serving as their medium. The body is the outer shelter of the soul, while the soul is the outer sheath of the spirit. The spirit transmits its thought to the soul and the soul exercises the body to obey the spirit's order. This is the meaning of the soul as the medium. Before the fall of man the spirit controlled the whole being through the soul.

The power of the soul is most substantial, since the spirit and the body are merged there and make it the site of man's personality and influence. Before man committed sin the power of the soul was completely under the dominion of the spirit. Its strength was therefore the spirit's strength. The spirit cannot itself act upon the body; it can only do so through the medium of the soul. This we can see in Luke 1.46-47: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior" (Darby). Here the change in tense shows that the spirit first conceived joy in God, and then, communicating with the soul, caused it to give expression to the feeling by means of the bodily organ. (Pember's Earth's Earliest Age)

To repeat, the soul is the site of personality. The will, intellect and emotions of man are there. As the spirit is used to communicate with the spiritual world and the body with the natural world, so the soul stands between and exercises its power to discern and decide whether the spiritual or the natural world should reign. Sometimes too the soul itself takes control over man through its intellect, thus creating an ideational world which reigns. In order for the spirit to govern, the soul must give its consent; otherwise the spirit is helpless to regulate the soul and the body. But this decision is up to the soul, for therein resides the personality of the man.

Actually the soul is the pivot of the entire being, because man's volition belongs to it. It is only when the soul is willing to assume a humble position that the spirit can ever manage the whole man. If the soul rebels against taking such a position the spirit will be powerless to rule. This explains the meaning of the free will of man. Man is not an automaton that turns according to God's will. Rather, man has full sovereign power to decide for himself. He possesses the organ of his own volition and can choose either to follow God's will or to resist Him and follow Satan's will instead. God desires that the spirit, being the noblest part of man, should control the whole being. Yet, the will---the crucial part of individuality-belongs to the soul. It is the will, which determines whether the spirit, the body, or even itself is to rule. In view of the fact that the soul possesses such power and is the organ of man's individuality, the Bible calls man's a living soul.


Do you not know, writes the Apostle Paul, that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? (1 Cor. 3.16) He has received revelation in likening man to the temple. As God formerly dwelt in the temple, so the Holy Spirit indwells man today. By comparing him to the temple we can see how the tripartite elements of man are distinctly manifested.

We know the temple is divided into three parts. The first is the outer court, which is seen by all and visited by all. All external worship is offered here. Going further in is the Holy Place, into which only the priests can enter and where they present oil, incense and bread to God. They are quite near to God-yet not the nearest, for they are still outside the veil and therefore unable to stand before His very presence. God dwells deepest within, in the Holy of Holies, where darkness is overshadowed by brilliant light and into which no man can enter. Though the high priest does enter in once annually, it nonetheless indicates that before the veil is rent there can be no man in the Holy of Holies.

Man is God's temple also, and he too has three parts. The body is like the outer court, occupying an external position with its -life visible to all. Here man ought to obey every commandment of God. Here God's Son serves as a substitute and dies for mankind. Inside is man's soul which constitutes the inner life of man and which embraces man's emotion, volition and mind. Such is the Holy Place of a regenerated person, for his love, will and thought are fully enlightened that he may serve God even as the priest of old did. Innermost, behind the veil, lies the Holy of Holies into which no human light has ever penetrated and no naked eye has ever pierced. It is the secret place of the Most High, the dwelling place of God. It cannot be reached by man unless God is willing to rend the veil. It is man's spirit. This spirit lies beyond man's self-consciousness and above his sensibility. Here man unites and communes with God.

No light is provided for the Holy of Holies because God dwells, there. There is light in the Holy Place supplied by the lampstand of seven branches. The outer court stands under the broad daylight. All these serve as images and shadows to a regenerated person. His spirit is like the Holy of Holies indwelt by God, where everything is carried on by faith, beyond the sight, sense or understanding of the believing one. The soul resembles the Holy Place for it is amply enlightened with many rational thoughts and precepts, much knowledge and understanding concerning the things in the ideational and material world. The body is comparable to the outer court, clearly visible to all. The body's actions may be seen by everyone.

The order, which God presents to us, is unmistakable: your spirit and soul and body (I Thess. 5.23). It is not soul and spirit and body, nor is it body and soul and spirit. The spirit is the pre-eminent part, hence it is mentioned first; the body is the lowest and therefore is last mentioned; the soul stands between, so is mentioned between. Having now seen God's order, we can appreciate the wisdom of the Bible in likening man to a temple. We can recognize the perfect harmony, which exists between the temple and man in respect to both order and value.

Temple service moves according to the revelation in the Holy of Holies. All activities in the Holy Place and in the outer court are regulated by the presence of God in the Holiest Place. This is the most sacred spot, the place upon which the four corners of the temple converge and rest. It may seem to us that nothing is done in the Holiest because it is pitch dark. All activities are in the Holy Place; even those activities of the outer court are controlled by the priests of the Holy Place. Yet all the activities of the Holy Place actually are directed by the revelation in the utter quietness and peace of the Holy of Holies.

It is not difficult to perceive the spiritual application. The soul, the organ of our personality, is composed of mind, volition and emotion. It appears as though the soul is master of all actions, for the body follows its direction. Before the fall of man, however, the soul, in spite of its many activities, was governed by the spirit. And this is the order God still wants: first the spirit, then the soul, and lastly the body.

 2011/2/25 19:33

Joined: 2010/6/8
Posts: 191


It is just terminology bro, is all, it probably was the manner in which he had to address those in whom he taught, but mostly, it is probably the way the terminology comes across to him.

That's OK,

Let me make this clear to some, I dont towt myself to know much of anything over another, nor do I get involved in needless controversial conversation if I can help it, but I firmly believe through experience and life that we take the bible to textually and contextually. In other words, we always seem to want to make everything fit doctrinally, but that isnt always gonna happen.

I do not believe that Jesus Christ is a Lord of any one specific doctrine or any such dogma, we, that are humans exalt doctrine, and insist that it must be necessitated in every day life as it pertains to routine and religious activity.

What happened 2000 plus years ago was good for that day, that is to say, it may not work nor is it necessary that it works that way for every Christian, for if that be the case, then it becomes just as much of a task of Law, and not of love and out of a heart, and existence of grace. I am not so much talking about Christ's teachings, but many of the things that were spoken of in the epistels and other letters demanded, and that isnt to say that Paul was wrong nor would it be wrong if u or I did employ any particular thing he taught.

The Lord is teaching all of us that walking with him isnt anything that we can effectively do, he must empower us in his due timing and purpose to understand the full extent of doctrine, let us remember that the letter kills, but the spirit makes alive.

Please before one responds, really think about it, we all think we understand the scripture, but we do not know it all nor do we have an excellent answer, we just think we know because of what many of us have heard from others such as, leaders, clergy and men & women that have been revered by believers.

let us look further into the matter

 2011/2/25 19:40Profile


Bless you ManOfGod.

Yes, he didn't write in a fashion that we're accustumed to.

The reason I started this thread is because I hear the question being asked often enough - "How do we walk in the spirit?"

Nee was one of the first teachers that I read when I was newly saved - but since then, I've yet to hear any teaching on "How to walk in the spirit."

It's a lost topic. We walk by intellect, feelings, our own understanding, knowledge we've obtained from others, etc. - but a sound teaching on how to walk, as one who is being led by His Spirit, has been lost for at the least the last 25 yrs, generally.

Nee is only hard to understand, because he's touching a spiritual topic and because we're so used to "reading with our minds and operating through the mind (soul)" that we cannot discern spiritual things anymore. It has to come from someone's "knowledge or intellect" anymore, unless it's not understood.

Very few preachers, teachers speak directly from the Spirit - though that was GOD's intent - that they "speak the very oracles of GOD." But today - men think that means that it just needs to have Scriptural backing - which is does - but the soul/mind/human effort can "preach the Word" but His Spirit not be involved in it at all.... that's the "wood, hay and stubble" - those things that are authored by and initiated by the soul of a man and not His Spirit.
We get no congratulations for our own words - despite how lofty they can come and despite of how much Scripture we use to back our own 'understanding' that we preach to others.
Unless it is 'birthed' from The Spirit of GOD - it is "flesh".

GOD does not want us "serving Him in the flesh" or "leaning on our own understanding" but to speak the very words that HE is giving at the moment.
The same with "serving GOD". Flesh/self can do many honorable deeds, and yet He can say - "I never told you to do that."

If we continue to walk in the flesh or according to our souls understanding, desires, good intentions, we have failed Him because He commanded that we "walk in the spirit" and to be led by His Spirit - as Jesus walked and told us to walk in that same way ---- not autonomously - but soley dependent on The Father, by The Spirit, for the words to speak, the actions to do - just as Jesus did.
Jesus walked the walk that we are to. He made Himself as one of us - and prayed to The Father and said "the words that I speak, are not mine but the one who sent Me." and He said the same His works - "the works that I do .....".

He is our only Example of how to walk in total dependence on the Spirit of GOD and not walk in the dictates, regardless of how honorable they may seem, of ourselves/flesh/soul/mind. These being synonymous. But we being what we are - we want the 'glory' for 'self' so we won't "die to self" and learn dependence, as He exhibited for us, while He was on the earth as a man.

THIS is what Nee is teaching. In words that some may stumble over but nonetheless, in his almost alien & wordy way - that's what he taught the best.

I went from being very unsaved to understanding Nee and when I left Bible College, my first ministry in 1980 was to a bunch of simple housewives. Their "Women's Ministry" was nothing more than very simple books and then coffee and chatter when I was given that position. They knew little Scripture but that changed. They went from knowing little, to knowing much of His Word, and walking in the Spirit and were able to read Nee without a problem. They just needed to believe that they could walk in the Spirit and devour His WORD, through His Spirit and not with their minds alone.

The WORD of GOD will never get stale if read in the spirit.
It will bring Life and that it did with them.

Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Pro 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Pro 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
Pro 3:8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Nee may be wordy, I agree, but no one taught "dying to self" and "walking in the spirit" as well as he did back then.


Edit to add link:

 2011/2/25 21:20

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