Archive for the ‘Watchman Nee’ Tag

An Obedient Heart   Leave a comment

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This is from the blog A Word in Season:

“What he needs is not increased spiritual teaching but an obedient heart which is willing to yield his life to the Holy Spirit and go the way of the cross according to the Spirit’s command. Increased spiritual teaching will only strengthen his carnality and serve to deceive him into conceiving himself as spiritual”

–Watchman Nee

Posted September 19, 2019 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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Ephesians: Sit. Walk. Stand.   Leave a comment

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This is from the blog To Live Is Christ:

More than half a century ago Watchman Nee wrote a little book about Ephesians called Sit, Walk, Stand: the Process of Christian Maturity. In the book Nee points out Paul’s use of these three verbs to demonstrate how we are meant to grow in Christ.

SIT

First we must SIT or trust our position in Christ. The position that Paul spends all of chapter one and most of chapter two proclaiming to us as the spiritual blessings of Christ.

Ephesians 2:6. and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

“Most Christians make the mistake of trying to walk in order to be able to sit, but that is a reversal of the true order. Our natural reason says, If we do not walk, how can we ever reach the goal? What can we attain without effort? How can we ever get anywhere if we do not move? But Christianity is a strange business! If at the outset we try to do anything, we get nothing; if we seek to attain something, we miss everything. For Christianity begins not with the big DO, but with the big DONE. Thus Ephesians opens with the statement that God has ‘blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ’ (1:3) and we are invited at the very outset to sit down and enjoy what God has done for us; not to set out to try and attain it for ourselves.” – Watchman Nee.

WALK

Then only after we have learned to sit in God’s grace can we WALK – move out in good works towards others. Walking in love and light.

Ephesians 2:10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 5:1-2. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Ephesians 5:8. Now you are light in the Lord, walk as children of light.

Ephesians 5:15. Therefore be careful how you walk.

“What is the secret strength of the Christian life? Whence has it its power? Let me give you the answer in a sentence: The Christian’s secret is his rest in Christ. His power derives from his God-given position. All who sit can walk, for in the thought of God the one follows the other spontaneously. We sit forever with Christ that we may walk continuously before men” – Watchman Nee

STAND

Finally, after sitting in our position in Christ’s grace and walking in love and light we can truly STAND against our enemy. Not charge. Not attack. Not run into battle. STAND. Standing firm in Christ’s victory.

Ephesians 6:11, 13. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

“When you fight to get the victory, then you have lost the battle at the very outset. Suppose Satan sets out to assault you in your home or in your business. Difficulties mount up, misunderstandings arise, a situation that you can neither deal with nor escape threatens to overwhelm you. You pray, you fast, you struggle and resist for days, but nothing happens. Why? You are trying to fight into victory, and in doing so are relinquishing to the enemy the very ground that is yours.” -Watchman Nee

“To live is Christ” is to SIT then WALK then STAND. Like the order of grace-faith-works, this order is the same. First we trust. Then we move. Then, when attacked, we stand still in full victory knowing that we are more than conquerors already even before we have done a single thing.

Why are So Many Churches Desolate, Poor and in Ruin?   5 comments

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This is from the Singapore Christian blog:

Why are so many churches desolate, poor and in ruin. According to Watchman Nee, the late Chinese church leader and Christian leader, who was writing in his book ‘The Ministry of God’s Word‘, it is because they lack proper ministers whom the Lord can use to deliver His Word.

One basic problem in the church is the lack of proper ministers of the word. This does not mean that God’s word is rare or that the vision or light is unclear. It means that there is a shortage of men whom God can use. God desires that the spirits of prophets be subject to prophets. Who are the prophets to whom the spirits of the prophets will be subject? Can the spirits of prophets be subject to those who walk according to their own will, who give ground to the flesh, and who are stubborn in their mind and emotion? If a man does not bear the mark of the cross in his spirit, he is a wild and proud man. He may have suffered years of discipline, but he is not yet defeated. The Lord’s smiting hand may have been on him once, twice, or even ten times, but he is still not defeated. In spite of the Lord’s repeated chastisement, he is still unyielding. Such a man proves himself to be a useless vessel. Is the problem before us a shortage of vision, light, or the word? No. It is a shortage of prophets whom God can use.

[Indeed], the problem today lies entirely with the ministers. There is no scarcity of vision, light, or God’s word. The problem today is that God cannot find proper ministers. Many times God’s light ceases to be visible to others when it is put into our mouth. Many people speak about the Holy Spirit in their messages, but others do not touch the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, they touch the flesh. Many people speak about God’s holiness, but others do not sense any holiness in them. They only touch a frivolous spirit. Some speak about the cross on the platform, but others can sense that they have never passed through any dealings. There is not even a trace of the cross in them. Some like to speak of love, but only temper, rather than love, is expressed through them. All of these cases speak of a basic problem – something is wrong with the ministers. If all the preaching on this earth today were in the principle of ministry, the church would be very rich. It is unfortunate that there is very little of God’s word despite all of the preaching! This is the basic problem in the church today. Without ministers, there is no inspiration and no revelation. With many people, the more they preach, the further their speaking is from being an inspiration, from being the release of any light, and from being qualified to be called revelation. The problem is with the preachers; they are not the ones whom God can use. God cannot use such men, yet He does not want to speak alone. This is a problem. He has the word, yet He does not want to release this word by Himself. He does not want to be the minister of the word; He wants man to be the minister of His word.

Brothers, God will not speak by Himself. If ministers cannot speak His word, what will be the condition of the church? The church is desolate, poor, and in ruin because human elements have not come up to the standard of God’s word. If God can find a person who has been dealt with by Him, who is broken, and who is prostrate on his face, God’s word will flow through him. We are looking all the time for God’s word, but He is looking all the time for men whom He can use. We are looking for God’s word, while He is looking for ministers. If we are unwilling to be dealt with, we will not be able to work for God. We must not think that such dealings are optional. We should not presume that, after hearing a certain number of messages, we can release the same word. No! If a person is not proper, his message will not be proper. Man can hinder God’s word. The Holy Spirit is not released through the word alone. When God’s word comes to us, we must be free from all hindrances. We must be broken, and we must bear the mark of the cross. Our spirit must be a smitten spirit. God can only use such persons, and the Holy Spirit will only flow through such persons. If the Holy Spirit is locked within us, the hindrance and frustration is our outer man, our emotion, and our temperament. When such things are present within us, surely God’s word cannot flow through us. Even if we deliver a wonderful sermon, in reality it is nothing but words, teachings, and doctrines; there is not the word of God.

Posted December 17, 2016 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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A Chinese Christian Gives Me a Ride   Leave a comment

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This morning I got a ride from Ashton, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana with a couple of guys.  I don’t remember the driver’s name, but he was originally from China.  He has lived in LA for the past ten years.  He was with his son.  He spoke some English, but sometimes it was hard to understand him at times.

He was a Christian.  I asked him who were the first Christian missionaries to China.  He said the Portuguese were; I thought the British were.

They were from southern China.  He said something very interesting:  he said that someone from Shang-hai would not be able to understand someone from Hong Kong.  The national language is Mandarin and there is also a Cantonese language that is spoken in China.

I told him about Watchman Nee and that Nee was a well-known Chinese Christian writer who died in prison in 1972.  He had never heard of Watchman Nee.  Maybe Nee is better known in North America; maybe the Communists tried to suppress Nee’s writings.  I told him that The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee was a classic.

They dropped me off in West Yellowstone and we took some photos.  He said that his son would stay with him for a month and then go back to China.  It was a very edifying trip to West Yellowstone.

Watchman Nee
The Skies Over Beijing Turn Black in Middle of Day as Government Passes New Laws Against Christians

Posted July 13, 2016 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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Distinctiveness   2 comments

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This is from the blog White Raiment:

“If you are a called one, then you are a called out one. If God has called you at all then he has called you to live in spirit outside the world system. Originally we were in that Satanic system with no way of escape; but we were called, and that calling brought us out. True, that statement is a negative one, but there is a positive side also to our constitution; for as the people of God we have two titles, each of them significant according to the way we view ourselves: If we look back at our past history we are ekklesia, the Church; but if we look to our present life in God we are the Body of Christ, the expression on earth of him who is in heaven. From the standpoint of God’s choice of us we are ‘out of’ the world; but from the standpoint of our new life we are not of the world at all, but from above. On the one hand we are a chosen people, called and delivered out of the world system. On the other we are a regenerate people, utterly unrelated to that system because by the Spirit we are born from above. So John sees the holy city coming down ‘out of heaven from God’ (Rev. 21:10). As the people of God, heaven is not only our destiny but our origin.

“This is an amazing thing, that in you and me there is an element that is essentially otherworldly. So otherworldly is it indeed that no matter how this world may progress, it can never advance one step in likeness to that. The life we have as God’s gift came from heaven and never was in the world at all. It has no correspondence with the world but is in perfect correspondence with heaven; and though we must mingle with the world daily, it will never let us settle down and feel at home there.”

–Watchman Nee

Material for Building   6 comments

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An excerpt from What Shall This Man Do? by Watchman Nee:

Pages 117-118:  “It is weight that counts.  Wood, hay, stubble are cheap, light, temporary; gold, silver, precious stones are costly, weighty, eternal.  Here is the key to value.  The heavy metals, the gold of the divine character and glory, the silver of his redemptive work:  these are the materials he prizes.  Not merely what we preach, but what we are, weighs with God; not doctrine, but the character of Christ wrought out in us by God’s orderings, by God’s testings, by the Spirit’s patient workings.  Work that is of God is work that has been to the Cross.  When our work has been that way, we can rest assured that it will in the end survive the fire.  Not ‘Where is the need most evident?  What ideas and resources have I got?  How much can I do?  How soon can I put that doctrine into practice?’ but, ‘Where is God moving?  What is there of him there?  How far is it his will for me to go?  What is the mind of the Spirit on this?’—these are the questions of the truly crucified servant.  He recognizes God’s ‘Go’ and his ‘Speak,’ but also his ‘Wait,’ and his ‘Go, but say only so much.’  Aware of his own weakness and emptiness, his greatest lesson is to commit his way to God and learn to see him move.

“The problem lies in our failure to understand that, in God’s work, man in himself is of no use.  Wood, hay, stubble, these suggest what is essentially of man and of the flesh.  They imply what is common, ordinary, easily and cheaply acquired—and of course perishable.  Grass today may clothe the earth with beauty, but where is it tomorrow?  Human intellect may give us a grasp of Scripture; natural eloquence may have the power to attract; emotion may carry us along; feelings may seem to supply a guiding sense—but to what?  God looks for more solid values than these.  Many of us can preach well enough, but we are wrong.  We talk of the flesh but don’t know its perils; we talk of the Spirit but would we recognize him were he really to move us?  Too much of our work for God depends not on his will and purpose but on our feelings—or even, God forgive us! on the weather.  Like chaff and stubble, it is carried away by the wind.  Given the right mood we may accomplish a lot, but just as easily, in adverse conditions, we may down tools entirely.  No, as the fire will one day prove, work that is dependent on feelings or on the wind of revival is of little use to God.  When God commands, feelings or not feelings, we must learn to do.”

Revelation Knowledge   2 comments

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Excerpt from What Shall This Man Do? by Watchman Nee:

Page 31:  “Christianity always involves a personal knowledge of God through his Spirit, and not merely the knowing of his will through the medium of a man or a book.  Many Christians today have a book-knowledge of Christ; they know him indeed through God’s own Book, but they have no vital relationship with him.  Worse still, many know him only ‘by hearsay,’ from their pastor or from some other man, but they are not in direct communication with him.  Their knowledge is outward, not inward; and let me affirm that anything short of a personal, inward revelation of the Lord is not Christianity.  In seeking to know God’s will under the old covenant, men were restricted to the law and the prophets, but under the New Covenant God has promised that ‘they shall not teach each his fellow-citizen, and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord; because all shall know me in themselves, from the little one unto the great among them’ (Heb. 8: 11).  ‘You shall know him in yourselves,’ and knowing him thus it will be unnecessary to refer either to a ‘brother’ or a ‘neighbor’ for information concerning the Lord.  Christianity is based not on information but on revelation.  That is where the Lord began with Peter in the very passage before us:  ‘Blessed art thou, Simon, . . . for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.’  The Kingdom of God is founded on a personal knowledge of the Lord which comes through a direct speaking by him and a direct hearing by you and me.”

The Difference Between the Soul and the Spirit–Watchman Nee   Leave a comment

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Excerpts from The Messenger of the Cross by Watchman Nee:

Page 26:  “Let us read another Scripture passage to help us understand what is the difference between depending on natural life and depending on supernatural life.  ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit.  He that loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal’ (John 12.24, 25).”

Page 28:  “But what does this phrase ‘fall into the earth and die’ really mean?  By reading the succeeding words which the Lord utters here, we may readily understand:  ‘He that loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal’ (12.25).  In the Greek original, two different words are used for the several times ‘life’ is mentioned here.  One Greek word psuche has reference to the soul life or natural life; the other word zoe signifies the spirit life or supernatural life.  Hence what the Lord is actually saying here is:  ‘He that loveth his soul life loseth the spirit life; and he that hateth his soul life in this world shall keep the spirit life unto eternity.’  To put it simply, we should deliver the soul life to death, just as the grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies; and then by our spirit life many grains will come forth and be kept to eternity.  How we long to bear much fruit, yet we do not know how to let the soul life die and the spirit life live.

“Soul life is our natural life.  It is the soul life which enables our flesh to live.  It is therefore the life factor of the natural man.  A person’s natural endowment belongs to the soul—such elements as our will, strength, emotions, thought, and so forth.  These things which all natural lives share in common are accessories of the soul life.  Our cleverness, reasoning, eloquence, affection, and ability belong to the soul life.  The spirit life, though, is the life of God.  It is not an evolvement from any part of the soul life but is a life especially given to us by the Holy Spirit when we believe in the finished work of the cross of the Lord Jesus and are saved.  God is then in us to quicken this spirit life so that it may grow and thus become the power of all our good deeds and works.  It is the will of God for Him to put our soul life in the place of death (note, however, that this is different from the death prescribed in 2 Corinthians 4).”

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An Intellectual Dilemma
Spiritual or Mental?

The Deeper Work of the Cross by Watchman Nee   3 comments

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“When we forsake physical happiness and mundane pleasures we are apt to conclude that the cross has finished its perfect work in us. We do not perceive that in God’s work of annulling the old creation in us there remains a deeper cross awaiting us. God wishes us to die to His joy and live to His will. Even if we feel joyous because of God and His nearness (in contrast to being joyous because of fleshly and earthly things), God’s aim nevertheless is not for us to enjoy His joy but to obey His will. The cross must continue to operate till His will alone is left. If we rejoice in the bliss God dispenses but renounce the suffering He also dispenses, then we have yet to experience the deeper circumcision by the cross.”
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“This is a practical cross by which the Lord reveals to us whether we are living for Him by faith or living for ourselves by feeling. Frequently have we heard people say, ‘I live for Christ.’ What does this really convey? Many saints assume that if they labor for the Lord or love the Lord they are living for Christ. This is far from being exactly so. To live for the Lord means to live for His will, for His interest, and for His kingdom. As such, there is nothing for self–not the slightest provision for self-comfort, self-joy, or self-glory. To follow the mind of God because of comfort or joy is strictly forbidden. To recoil from, to cease or delay in, obedience because of feeling depressed, vapid or despondent is positively impermissible. We ought to know that physical suffering alone may not be regarded as enduring for the Lord, for often our bodies will be bearing pain while our hearts are full of joy. If we actually suffer for Him, then not only do our bodies suffer but our hearts feel pained as well. Though there is not the least joyfulness, we yet press on. Let us understand that to live for the Lord is to reserve nothing for self but to deliver it willingly to death. He who is able to accept everything gladly from the Lord—including darkness, dryness, flatness—and completely disregard self is he who lives for Him.”
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“We should inquire once again as to what the life of faith is. It is one lived by believing God under any circumstance: ‘If he slay me,’ says job, ‘yet would I trust in Him’ (13.15 Darby). That is faith. Because I once believed, loved and trusted God I shall believe, love and trust Him wherever He may put me and however my heart and body may suffer. Nowadays the people of God expect to feel peaceful even in the time of physical pain. Who is there who dares to renounce this consolation of heart for the sake of believing God? Who is there who can accept God’s will joyfully and continuously commit himself to Him even though he feels that God hates him and desires to slay him? That is the highest life. Of course God would never treat us like that. Nevertheless in the walk of the most advanced Christians they seem to experience something of this apparent desertion by God. Would we be able to remain unmoved in our faith in God if we felt thus? Observe what John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, proclaimed when men sought to hang him: ‘If God does not intervene I shall leap into eternity with blind faith come heaven, come hell!’ There was a hero of faith! In the hour of despair can we too say, ‘O God, though You desert me yet will I believe You’? Emotion begins to doubt when it senses blackness, whereas faith holds on to God even in the face of death.
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“How few have arrived at such a level! How our flesh resists such a walk with God alone! The natural disinclination for cross-bearing has impeded many in their spiritual progress. They tend to reserve a little pleasure for their own enjoyment. To lose everything in the Lord, even self-pleasure, is too thoroughgoing a death, too heavy a cross! They can be fully consecrated to the Lord, they can be suffering untold pain for Him, they can even pay a price for following the will of God, but they cannot forsake that obviously trifling feeling of self-pleasure. Many cherish this momentary comfort; their spiritual life rests on this tiny twinge of feeling. Were they to exercise the courage to sacrifice themselves to God’s fiery furnace, showing no pity or love for self, they would make great strides on their spiritual pathway. But too many of God’s people remain subservient to their natural life, trusting what is seen and felt for safety and security: they have neither the courage nor the faith to exploit the unseen, the unfelt, the untrodden. They have already drawn a circle around themselves; their joy or sorrow hinges upon a little gain here or a little loss there; they accept nothing loftier. Thus are they circumscribed by their own petty self.
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“Were the Christian to recognize that God wishes him to live by faith, he would not murmur against God so frequently nor would he conceive these thoughts of discontent. How swiftly would his natural life be cut away by the cross if he could accept the God-given parched feeling and could esteem everything given him by God as excellent. Were it not for his ignorance or unwillingness, such experiences would deal with his soul life most practically, enabling him to live truly in the spirit. How sad that many succeed at nothing greater in their lives than the pursuit of a little feeling of joy. The faithful, however, are brought by God into genuine spiritual life. How godly is their walk! When they examine retrospectively what they have experienced they readily acknowledge that the ordering of the Lord is perfect: for only because of those experiences did they renounce their soul life. Today’s crying need is for believers to hand themselves over completely to God and ignore their feeling.
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“This should not at all be misconstrued to signify, however, that henceforth we shall become joyless persons. ‘Joy in the Holy Spirit’ is the greatest blessing in the kingdom of God (Rom. 14.17). The fruit of the Holy Spirit, moreover, is joy (Gal. 5.22). If this is so, then how can we reconcile this apparent inconsistency? Simply come to see that though we do lose joy in our feeling, nevertheless the joy we gain issues from a pure faith and cannot be destroyed. Joy of this caliber runs far deeper than emotion. In becoming spiritual we abandon the old desire for self-pleasure and hence additionally the former search for bliss; but the peace and joy of the spirit which arises from faith remains forever.”
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–Watchman Nee
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New Testament Circumcision
Opening your eyes to seeing the work he is already doing in you!
Obedience:  The Bondage Breaker
The Spiritual Man
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Burdens of the Spirit   Leave a comment

The Spiritual Man

The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee
Volume II
Part Six: Walking After the Spirit
Chapter 2: The Laws of the Spirit

(5) Burdens of the Spirit

“The burdens of the spirit differ from the weights on the spirit. The latter proceed from Satan with the intent of crushing the believer and making him suffer, but the former issue from God in His desire to manifest His will to the believer so that he may cooperate with Him. Any weight on the spirit has no other objective than to oppress; it therefore usually serves no purpose and produces no fruit. A burden of the spirit, on the other hand, is given by God to His child for the purpose of calling him to work, to pray, or to preach. It is a burden with purpose, with reason, and for spiritual profit. We must learn how to distinguish the burden of the spirit from the weight on the spirit.

“Satan never burdens Christians with anything; he only encircles their spirit and presses in with a heavy weight. Such a load binds one’s spirit and throttles his mind from functioning. A person with a burden or concern from God merely carries it; but the one who is oppressed by Satan finds his total being bound. With the arrival of the power of darkness, a believer instantaneously forfeits his freedom. A God-given burden is quite the reverse. However weighty it may be, God’s concern is never so heavy as to throttle him from praying. The freedom of prayer will never be lost under any burden from God: yet the enemy’s weight which forces itself upon one’s spirit invariably denies one his freedom to pray. The burden imparted by God is lifted once we have prayed, but the heaviness from the enemy cannot be raised unless we fight and resist in prayer. The weight on the spirit steals in unawares, whereas the concern of the spirit results from God’s Spirit working in our spirit. The load upon the spirit is most miserable and oppressive, while the burden of the spirit is very joyous (naturally the flesh does not deem it so), for it summons us to walk together with God (see Matt. 11.30). It turns bitter only when opposed and its demand is not met.

“All real works begin with burdens or concerns in the spirit. (Of course, when the spirit lacks any concern we need to exercise our minds.) When God desires us to labor or speak or pray, He first implants a burden in our spirit. Now if we are acquainted with the laws of the spirit we will not continue on carelessly with the work in hand and allow the burden to accrue. Nor will we neglectfully disregard the burden until it is no longer sensed. We should lay everything aside immediately to ferret out the meaning of this burden. Once we have discerned its import, we can act accordingly. And when the work called for is done, the burden then leaves us.

“In order to receive burdens from God our spirit has to be kept continuously free and untrampled. Only an untrammeled spirit can detect the movement of the Holy Spirit. Any spirit which is already full of concerns has lost the sharpness of its intuitive sense and hence cannot be a good vessel. Due to his failure to act according to the burden which he already has received from God, the believer often finds himself painfully burdened for many days. During this period God is unable to give him any new one. Consequently, it is highly necessary to search out the meaning of a burden through prayer, with the help of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of one’s mind.”

The Spiritual Man