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Living a life in fellowship is a matter of exercise. The first exercise for living such a life is related to two things: knowing and abiding. When we do not know something, then it is not really ours. But even when we know something it may still not be ours. We have to learn how to abide in what we know. Living a life in fellowship is a matter of both ‘knowing’ and ‘abiding.’ There are two things we need to know, and one thing in which we must abide.
God is Spirit
Firstly, we need to know the Spirit. When we think of God there should be an instinctive reaction within us: God is Spirit! (John 4:24). But if someone were to ask us to use one word to describe God, we would not answer with “Spirit.” We would probably think of a word like “powerful,” “mighty,” “loving,” or “kind.” This is because we do not understand who our God really is. Our God is Spirit. Yes, He has done a lot of things, and He has a lot of bright attributes and virtues, but God is just Spirit. We can say that God is love, God is light, and God is holiness, but this does not say who He really is. To say that God is love is to say that the Spirit is constituted and composed of love. If we were to come to God and ask Him, “Who are You?” He would say, “I am Spirit.” It is important to realize that God is Spirit, otherwise how could we ever touch Him?
We Have a Spirit
After knowing that God is Spirit, we must also know that we ourselves have a spirit. When God was creating the universe, He first made the heavens and then laid the foundations of the earth. Then what did He do? He formed the spirit of man within him (Zechariah 12:1). To God, the human spirit is crucial.
Not only do we have a spirit, but our spirit is regenerated. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6). Because we have a regenerated spirit, we are able to worship God (John 4:24). We must realize that we are joined to the Lord as one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). We are one spirit with the Lord. When we really know that we have a spirit, then we treasure it.
God’s Provisions for Fellowship
Secondly, we need to know the divine provisions for a life in fellowship. What does the Lord provide for us to have a life of fellowship with Him? The first provision is the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses us from every sin (1 John 1:7, 9). A true servant of the Lord treasures the operative effectiveness of the blood of Jesus Christ. The blood is operative, effective, and living. This blood takes care of us by cleansing us from all our sins.
The Spirit Witnesses
The second provision is closely related to the first one. After we are cleansed with the Lord’s blood, the Spirit witnesses with the effectiveness of the blood (1 John 5:6). When we come to the Lord’s presence, first there is the blood, and then there is the Spirit. The Spirit is the anointing element. When we take the blood, the anointing comes.
The Spirit Operates
The third provision for a life in fellowship is that the Spirit washes us, justifies us, sanctifies us, and calls us righteous (1 Cor. 6:11). First there is the blood, then there is the Spirit, and then there is the Spirit’s operation. The Spirit not only comes to witness with the blood, but it also washes us, justifies us, and sanctifies us, calling us righteous.
The Word of God
The fourth provision is the very word of God, the Bible that God has given to us. This word is also the Spirit. The Bible says, “The words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). This means that the Bible is a provision to us. The Bible is spirit and life. When we have the Bible without spirit and life it becomes merely a book of doctrine. Every time when we come to the Bible we should practice this. We should open up our Bible with the realization that we are opening up Spirit and life. When we come to the Bible, we are coming to Spirit and life. When we take in the Bible, we are taking in Spirit and life. The Lord has not only given us the Spirit, but He has given us the Bible. The life-giving Word is Spirit and life.
Having a Proper Exercise
Thirdly, after knowing these things we must abide in a proper exercise. To abide in something means to not get away from it.
Call Upon the Lord’s Name
The first practice is knowing how to call. We should know how to call upon the Lord’s name. The Bible tells us, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10: 13). When Saul of Tarsus was arresting the saints in the book of Acts, he was arresting all those who called upon the name of the Lord (Acts 9:14, 21). In other words, at the beginning of the church age, immediately after the Lord had done a marvelous work in Jerusalem, all of the saints were callers. They knew how to call upon the Lord. This should also be our practice. While we are driving, or working, or just by ourselves, we should call on the name of the Lord.
Read-Praying and Pray-Reading
We should not only learn to recite and speak the word, but we should learn to read-pray and pray-read the word. What is the difference between pray-reading and read-praying? Pray-reading is a strong exercise, while read-praying is related to sensing the anointing and turning the word into prayer. For example, to pray-read the beginning of Genesis is to exercise like this: “In the beginning! Amen! In the beginning, God! Amen!”
If you read-pray the verse, it may be like this: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” After reading this there is no feeling, so you move on to the next verse. “And the earth was waste and empty….” There is still no feeling. But then when you come to “the Spirit of God,” something touches you. “The Spirit of God moved.” This touches you again. Then you turn what touches you into prayer: “The Spirit of God moves! Lord, thank You! Everything can be void, everything can be hopeless, but You move as the Spirit. Lord, please move in me. Please move over me.” This is called read-praying. First you read, and then you pray. This should be our healthy exercise.
The last exercise we need is the habit of prayer. Prayer should become part of our person, even to the degree that we don’t know when we are praying because we are praying all the time. In the beginning when we learn to pray we need to spend time and discipline ourselves. But eventually prayer just becomes our person. We simply have a habit of prayer. When we drive a car, we begin to pray. We might speak out loud, or quietly within our heart. When something happens to us, we just begin to pray. This means that prayer has become our person.
In what way should we have a habit of prayer? By speaking to the Lord, regardless of who we are and what we have done. Whatever we have done, we should just tell Him. Even when we are in the midst of something that we know is wrong, we should just pray right there at that moment. There is nothing to be afraid of. At such a time we should remember the divine provisions. We have the Lord’s blood, the Spirit witnesses with the blood, and the Spirit operates to cleanse us, justify us, and sanctify us. This will turn us to the Lord’s presence. When we speak to the Lord this way, it will eventually become our habit of prayer.