A Balanced Christian Life

by Watchman Nee, 1981
A Balanced Christian Life

A collection of ten messages taken from various times during Watchman Nee’s ministry. They all deal with some area of Christian life which tends to get ignored while another area is emphasized. The importance of a balanced approach to Christian maturity is very effectively presented.

Unfortunately, the danger in presenting these points is that the reader may become unbalanced in the opposite direction, by emphasizing these concepts and ignoring those that are better known. Indeed, religion tends to divide believers on one side or the other of a doctrine while preventing them from benefitting from the truth of it.

  1. The Gate and the Way
    Uses the analogy of the gate and the way to illustrate the need for both in the Christian walk. The gate represents a decision to be made or a crisis to be weathered. The way represents the path to walk daily after the decision has been made or the crisis has passed.
    • Faith — Many people enter the gate, but fail to walk in the way.
    • Obedience — Many people try to walk in the way, but fail because they have not yet entered the gate.
  2. The Objective and the Subjective
    Too much emphasis on the subjective will result in only seeing what is lacking in our experience. We must know the objective work of God and trust that the Spirit is working the subjective experience of it into our lives.
    • Two Categories of Truth — Compares the objective truth of Christ’s work with the subjective truth of the Spirit’s work.
    • Fact One — Christ died for our sins, the Spirit works salvation in us through our faith.
    • Fact Two — Christ was resurrected, the Spirit works the power of resurrection in us through our obedience.
    • Fact Three — Christ ascended into the heavens, the Spirit transforms us by the renewing of our minds; thinking on things above, not on things of this earth.
    • Fruit-Bearing — Fruit is produced when we believe on the objective truth of Christ and enable the Holy Spirit to work subjectively in our lives.
  3. Work In and Work Out
    Explains the apparent paradox between the idea of God working in us and the command to work out our own salvation. Also briefly covers the three periods of salvation: salvation from the penalty of sin, salvation from the power of sin, and salvation from the presence of sin (Salvation is more fully covered in The Spiritual Man). Discusses our inability to save ourselves in any of these periods and shows how God supplies the necessary power to do all His works.
  4. Rest Given and Rest Found
    Christ reveals the secret of inward peace as He discusses the two types of rest available to all people.
    • The Rest of Salvation — This is the rest given to those who labour and are heavy laden (i.e. everyone). This rest comes from our relationship with the Father.
    • The Rest of Victory — This is the rest found by Christians when they have learned to do two things:
    • Bear the Yoke of Christ — Daily obedience. The unbalanced believe that all circumstances are orchestrated by God and that we must meekly submit to them. But there are circumstances that arise through the actions of men and of the enemy. Our rest in and victory over these is in our relationship to the Father, while our rest in that which God has truly commanded lies in obedience to the Will of God.
    • Learn of the Lord — His attitudes and actions. Beware of the religious ideas of Jesus that are often substituted for really getting to know Him.
  5. Watch and Pray
    For all those who wish to obey the many calls for Christians to "watch," this message expounds the relation between watching and praying.
    • First: The Time of Prayer — Watch that you preserve a regular time for prayer.
    • Second: At the Time of Prayer — Watch that you are not hindered in that important prayer time.
    • Third: Prevent All That Is Not Prayer — Watch that your prayers are clear, concise, and complete.
    • Fourth: Praying at All Seasons — Watch that you pray so that nothing is left out that needs prayer.
    • Fifth: Watch after Prayer — Watch for a change in the situation that you have prayed about so that you may give thanks and modify your prayers to match the new situations.
  6. The Other Aspect of the Trespass-Offering
    Discusses how the Old Testament offerings foreshadowed Christ, focusing specifically on the trespass-offering. Also, describes the difference between trespasses and sins.
    • The Relationship of the Trespass-Offering to the Other Four Offerings
      1. Burnt-offering
      2. Meal-offering
      3. Peace-offering
      4. Sin-offering
      5. Trespass-offering
    • The Two Aspects of the Trespass-Offering — Trespasses against God, and trespasses against men.
    • The Importance of the Trespass-Offering — How our communion with God is affected by our trespasses.
    • The Aspect of the Trespass-Offering towards Men — Chapter six of Leviticus lists some actions which trespass against men. These are considered here in relation to how they might appear in everyday life.
    • Some Trespasses against Men
      1. Being unfaithful in trust
      2. Dealing falsely in bargain
      3. Robbing other people
      4. Oppressing a neighbor
      5. Dealing falsely with lost things
      6. Swearing to a lie
    • How to Deal with Such Trespasses — How restoration is to be made to God and to men.
    • Add the Fifth Part More — Why it is good to restore more than the original value of the trespass.
    • The Time to Restore — When restoration should be made and why.
    • Bring in the Trespass-Offering — How Christ’s blood acts as the trespass-offering so that restoration and confession may result in forgiveness.
  7. Blessed are the Meek
    Uses Moses as an illustration of how God works with men to teach them to meekly rely on God’s wisdom rather than on their own. How God deals in turn with man’s wisdom, strength, and vainglory.
    1. God’s Operational Tactic: Dealing First with the Man — God doesn’t look for people with great talent, but for people who are useable.
    2. God Needs the Man Who Knows the Cross — If we know nothing except Christ, and Him crucified; if God has dealt with us first, only then can we be used by Him.
    3. God Deals with Moses
      • How God Deals with Moses’ Fleshly Wisdom and Power — Moses was well-educated as an adopted Egyptian. God had to reveal to him his own foolishness and weakness by putting him in the wilderness.
      • Reckoned Himself As Powerless — Moses understood his own inabilities.
      • Acknowledged His lack of Eloquence — Moses knew his natural talents were worthless, and that he needed the Lord to guide his words.
      • Excessive Withdrawal in His Not Knowing the Power of Resurrection — Moses knew he could not do what God required, but he had not yet come to know the power of God. Illustrates the importance of relying on God to perform His work, and of being willing not to work if God has not commanded it.
      • Was Circumcised — The importance of putting off the old body of flesh.
    4. The Principle of the Cross — Has God dealt with us? Has our natural talent been dealt with? Have we experienced the crucifixion of Christ and the power of His resurrection? Are we working for God with our own strength or with His?
  8. Poor Indeed
    Discusses spiritual poverty — "the attitude and mind of Laodicea." Many people think they are spiritually rich when they really are very poor. Poverty can be remedied, but when coupled with this sort of pride produces Christians who refuse to acknowledge how poor and blind and naked they are. Discusses what poverty and abundance are, what we have, how much, and how deep.
  9. The Significance of Faith
    Explains what faith is, what it can accomplish, and how little we actually have. The power and promises of God which we may experience if we only believe that what He has said is true are wonderful and exciting. How sad that we miss out on the many blessings of God because of unbelief!
  10. Four Significant Stages in Life’s Journey
    Uses Elijah’s last journey before being taken up to Heaven as an analogy to illustrate these four stages of life. It is most important to realize, however, that these stages may be experienced simultaneously. All of these things have been dealt with in Christ, and we may experience victory in any of these areas when we are tempted.
    • Gilgal — Dealing with the Flesh This is one area where it is easy to become unbalanced. In realizing the nature of the flesh and trying to deny it, so many Christians end up in failure and passivity because they deny everything that passes through their flesh, even that which originates within their spirit.
    • Bethel — Dealing with the World
    • Jericho — Dealing with Satan
    • The River Jordan — Dealing with Death
Also by Watchman Nee:
Back to the Cross
The Life That Wins
The Normal Christian Church Life
The Mystery of Creation
Worship God
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