Monday, January 25, 2010

Spiritual Reality or Obsession by Watchman Nee

This is a short, 5-chapter, 64 page book about having what Nee calls, "Spiritual Reality" The first 3 chapters discuss spiritual reality, and basically make the point that fakery is no good when it comes to spiritual matters. I think that the material here is extremely helpful, especially for someone who believes themself to saved yet don't show signs of the Spirit or people who share and pray at meetings and seem to give off a fakey or unedifying vibe. He makes the point that the BOC and a relationship with God are about more than mere external forms - they are about "spirit and truth" (Jn 4). He also makes the point that some of the sweetest-seeming Christians are actually being too shallow in their relationships, because as he puts it: "It is a fact that sometimes it is more valuable to reprove than to shake hands. Though we may maintain a gentle appearance which causes people to praise us, there is no spiritual value before God." (p.28)
In this section he also discusses how to develop spiritual discernment, serving others privately (without recognition), and coming to church filled up by what God supplies so as to share that with others.
He speaks to the question, How can I get in touch with spiritual reality? by saying that we must be disciplined and taught by the Holy Spirit. In turning to God in our distress and discipline, the Lord will enlarge our enjoyment and appreciation of Him. And he states that this "enlargment" (or growth) will endow us with spiritual riches to share with others. But that many people forfeit their chance to be enlarged by becomming overwhelmed by distress and murmuring against God.
The last 2 chapters talk about "Spiritual Obsession" - which could also more bluntly be described as being a self-deceived and unteachable stubborn Christian. Nee describes, "He does not see the true character of a thing; yet considers himself clear. What he thinks and does is wrong, but he reckons himself to be most right. Such a condition we call 'obsession.' The obsessed person needs the light of God; otherwise he will not be able to come out of his obsession; obsession is self-deception...he who deceives people is a liar; he who deceives himself is obsessed...Obsession is a matter of the heart. When the obsessed does something wrong, his heart insists that he is right." This section is very similar to the chapter called "Be Not Subjective" in the Normal Christian Worker.
He talks about how to be freed from obsession by saying that Christians need to not "love the darkness (Jn3)", but rather walk in the light. Also, Nee blames pride as a main reason for "obsession", and refusing to receive love. (p.58-60) His answers to this problem then, are light, humility, and acceptance of love (or a lack of self-protection).
I'd really recommend this little book. I think it's awesome.

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