We will cover the matter of elevation again this week as it was a specific burden on Brother Titus’s heart during the 2018 Summer Vision Week training.
Besides the next paragraph, all of the content below is edited segments from the transcript of message seven of the training. During this message Titus focused on the danger of our self-life being elevated once we have success in serving, and how that can be a limitation for serving according to only God’s desire. These are strong but helpful warnings for all of us who are learning to serve the Lord and to give ourselves to Him and Him alone:
When Watchman Nee wrote about the time that Abram spent in Haran, he said “He [Abram] wanted to leave his father’s house, but it was too difficult for him, and he ended up taking it along with him.” “He did not see his ministry and did not know what God was doing. As a result, his days in Haran were wasted days, delayed days, and useless days.” (See The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for more)
See how strong he [Watchman Nee] is? Yes, you’re elevated, but your self-life is involved. These days in Haran were wasted days. No value. Delayed days. Prolonged, for here you are not able to follow the Lord directly. And useless days. Actually, I can even say they are days you damage the church. So many people try too hard to make a success without realizing that in this elevation, there are two elements. One, your view is enlarged, your person elevated, you are developed. On the other hand, where your view is enlarged, you are elevated, you see more things according to God—your self-life is still there. With your self-life, you will cause a lot of problems.
If you knew your self-life, you would always be ready in fellowship. You’re willing to accept fellowship. You seek after fellowship. You would always be ready to live a corporate life. Not a congregation you can control, you can lead—you live a corporate life. Do you understand what I’m talking about? That’s what we are short of the most. We get the church. We work the church. “The church is mine. Then I develop the church.” That’s Haran! That can very much be the self-life. If you really see how the Lord moves you will realize, “my self-life is the enemy of God.”
Do you know what our problem is life-long? Your problem life-long is not that you don’t love the Lord. You already love the Lord. It’s not your consecration. You are already consecrated. It’s not your operation. Sooner or later, you will develop more and more. Am I right? So what’s your problem, life-long? Your self-life. Your self-life will always choose, “What can I do? What fits me?”
Sometimes, some brothers see me. When they depart from my room, I can see they’re so upset. I understand why; it’s because I didn’t agree with their self-life. But if I say yes, I cheat myself. I’m not fair to the co-workers. I’m not fair to the church. But if you are honest, they just can’t take it. “I had success already, what are you talking about!” Actually brother, there are no successes.
You have to learn to go through a process where your self-life is exposed and your self-life is manifested; where your self-life causes you to be so afraid to take any steps. You have to realize, “If I don’t see my self-life, I can never really serve the Lord. If I serve the Lord, I must learn to deny myself. Yes, I like this. No, I don’t do it.” Why don’t you do it? “Because I like it. I enjoy this, yes. But I don’t do it.” Why? “I enjoyed it.” I don’t know if you understand what I say. Do you understand what I say?
But let me tell you, none of you understand what I say because you don’t have a chance to expose your self-life. The most you have are some opinions. “It should be done this way. Should be in that way.” That’s mini. When your self-life takes control of your person, you never know how serious that is. “This is mine! This work is mine! These people are mine!” Then you tell him, did you beget them? “No, but they are now under me.” It’s scary when you really see your self-life. Sometimes a brother says “Oh, brother, you misunderstand me.” I’m sorry if I misunderstand you. But I tell you—I’ve been misunderstood to the uttermost. But I know: don’t fight. If you fight, you are in your self-life. So I put myself in a very hard place.
Ask this strong question: Do you have a ministry? Do you have God’s calling? Do you have a burden? Do you have a commitment? If you have a ministry, if you have a commitment, if you have a calling, if you have God’s leading—what are you afraid of? You can just simply follow the Lord. But in principle, if anyone treasures himself…Didn’t the Lord say something like that? If anyone loves his soul-life, he will lose it. If anyone loses his soul-life, he gains it. If you do not know how to give up your self-life, how to deny your self-life, how to stand only one with the Lord, then, Brother, don’t say you have no success. The most success you get is you damaging some other people. There’s no future. We need to see the Lord’s mercy when we go up. You know when we go up, Watchman Nee’s word is to realize that when elevation comes up, the self-life comes up at the same time. You need to go to the good land to really see the self-life, to really come out of the self-life, and live according to Christ.
Out of the journey in frustrations, an elevated life was produced from a valley (Ur) to a mountain (Haran). This prepared Abraham for the next step after his father’s death. Now when he followed the Lord, he was able to start in a high place. It’s very interesting. Your self-life is terrible, but for some reason, God uses it. God uses it, but you cannot trust it. He’s [Abram] elevated. Spiritually, he’s elevated. View-wise, understanding-of-life wise, he’s elevated. In understanding God’s elevation, he is in a higher place to apprehend what God is doing. He is no longer in a valley; he is at the top of the mountain. But his self-life is very much there, so Watchman Nee says ‘these days are wasted days.’ You think you have success? Wasted days. You think you made it? Wasted days and delayed days.
Abram was in Haran until his father died, until what he could rely on by his natural man died, until his refuge disappeared, until his covering was taken away by God. Then this opened up for God to appear to him again with the same calling: “Go unto the land I will show you.”
For the full message these excerpts are from, click here