Chapter 6, Introduction
Kingdom Personnel's Understanding of the "Self"
It has been discussed previously that the gracious Lord saved us not only to free us from the power of sin and the bondage of Satan, He also saved us from "living for ourselves"! The reason He died and rose again is for us to live for Him! If not, we can only be "babes in Christ". How can babes be Kingdom personnel? In other words, the basic requirement and training for Kingdom personnel is a commitment not to live for ourselves! Whether it is daily living, eating, education and career..., they all should be the application and experience of the reality "I have been crucified with Christ". In order to have this experience, we must first be willing to die to our self. (If the reader desires to know what is to die to our self, please refer to my other book From the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to the Fullness of the Holy Spirit, pages 66 to 71 in the Chinese edition.) To be willing to die to oneself, we must first understand clearly what is self.
The verse "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" is the motto known by every believer. But for most believers, it is more of a spiritual slogan and there is no real understand the treachery of Satan, they have never understood the deceitfulness and techniques of the "self'. This is especially true among those who claim to be spiritual. It is very easy to see the activity of their "self' working among them! In situations where it is clearly an outburst of one's low self-esteem, they call it "zeal for the Lord". When it is clearly an attempt to build an empire to captivate ignorant people, they unshamefully call it "striving for the Kingdom". When it is clearly greed, they purposely deceive themselves and others by saying, "By faith we trust God!" In today's world of drugs, sex and money, in today's church that departs from the Scriptures and the Way, all these acts are played out by the ''self'! "I" want to have fame and it does not matter whether I deserve it or not. "I" want to have power and it does not matter if I have fulfilled my responsibilities. "I" want to have a doctorate degree and it does not matter whether it is from a paper mill. When you and I lie and steal together, we are blood brothers. When you are unwilling to collude with me, you are my enemy! The ''self" is able to create pride in one's self, self-utilization, self-interest, selfishness, self-fancy, self-insistence, superiority complex, self-deceit, bragging, self-satisfaction, a self-proclaimed deacon, and self-built living memorial. When the holy church of God ends up in such a state of affairs, it truly hurts the Lord! No wonder the Lord says, "I will spit you out of My mouth!" In summary, the ''self' is the nature and source of sin. If the Kingdom personnel do not correct this nature and purify this source, (Matt.7:23 uses the word 'lawlessness"), they cannot inherit the Kingdom of the Lord! How can one know that the nature of ''sin" is the ''self'? Let us see the analysis below.
The gracious Lord repeatedly stated to the churches in Asia Minor: "Hold fast" (Rev. 2:25.3:11). In the end, they could not hold fast and as a result, these seven churches have vanished. Therefore, to hold fast is no easy matter! Some believers today are also like this. When they first believe, they are willing to lay down everything for the Lord. Soon they become cold and eventually become deluded by sin. Their hearts are hardened and they cannot help themselves! This may be caused by multiple factors, the major one is probably due to a lack of understanding of what sin is. So, there is no starting point for being alert and putting up a defense! We all know that where there is sin, God is not present there but there will be room for Satan! But often, we do not even know what sin is. So how is it possible for us to deal with sin?
To k:now what sin is, the basic nature of sin must be known. When we want to find out the elemental substance of a certain material, we would first analyze it. When we analyze water, we find out that it is composed of two parts of hydrogen and one part of oxygen. Common salt is composed of sodium and chlorine. In the same manner, we have to analyze sin to find out its basic nature. In following, the basic nature of sin shall be examined through Old Testament history, New Testament theology and the life of Christ.