This morning I was reading Messenger of the Cross by Watchman Nee. Published in 1980, this text holds some profound revelations that seem like they’re both brand new and thousands of years old at the same time.
I’m only in as far as the first chapter, and already I’m sensing the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I want to share with you a few lines from this book that have been stirring me this morning:
- We are not to strive to be orators acclaimed by the people…; we instead ought to be mere channels through which His life will flow into human hearts. For example, when we preach the cross, we should be those who can impart the life of the cross to other people.
- Let us see that it requires a crucified person to preach the word of the cross
- To speak quite frankly, he who does not know the cross experientially is not fit to preach the cross.
- People who do not have the experience of the cross and hence lack the spirit of the cross are unable to impart the life of the cross to others.
- Let us therefore never be self-satisfied, thinking that our eloquence can sway the audience. Although they may be stirred momentarily, let us realize that what they get from us are simply thoughts and words. Failure to impart life contributes absolutely nothing to men’s spiritual walk. What is the use in giving people only thoughts and words?
- …what people lack is not good thoughts but life.
- But in ourselves we have no life to give that people may live and be nourished. For we are not the source, we are merely channels of life.
- Hence may the cross which we proclaim crucify us on it! May we bear the cross we preach! May we first receive the life which we intend to impart to others! May the cross which we proclaim be that which we experience daily in our lives!….Oh, let me remind you that sudden thought or knowledge obtained from books and study may please the audience temporarily, but it will leave no permanent impression. If our work is simply for human appreciation, then we have already done our duty by presenting mental and emotional source materials. Fortunately, though, our work is not for such purposes!
Are you catching the drift here? Those who wish to be “Christ’s witnesses” must first of all witness Him! And if we want to convey the Gospel to others, then we must allow the Gospel to take hold of us first!
This morning I noticed how far I’ve been drifting from these principles. There was a season in my life when I was so intensely given over to the cross of Christ, but I’ve since allowed circumstances and earthly cares to distract me. So here I am this morning repenting yet again and re-setting my focus on the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ that must complete their work in me.
How about you?