The Release of the Spirit

by Watchman Nee, 1965
The Release of the Spirit
  1. The Importance of Brokenness
    • The Inward Man and the Outward Man -- The difference between the inward man (spirit) and the outward man (soul).
    • Nature Has Its Way of Breaking -- As the grain of wheat must be cracked open before it can sprout, so must our outward man be broken before God's Life can pour forth to bless others.
    • The Alabaster Box Must Be Broken -- We fret over trifles, we murmur at small losses. The Treasure is in the earthen vessel, but if the vessel is not broken, who can see the Treasure within?
    • The Timing in Our Brokenness -- We cannot shorten the time, though we certainly can prolong it.
    • The Meaning of the Cross -- When the cross has dealt with our soul, it is our spirit which people perceive. The soul is still there, but it has been placed in submission.
    • Two Reasons for Not Being Broken -- A naturalistic or carnal mind and self-love will hinder the progress of breaking. Seeking escape from trials because we do not see God's hand in it, or because we wish to preserve our self will thwart God's efforts.
    • Expect to See Wounds -- It is through our wounds that the spirit comes forth.
  2. Before and After Being Broken
    • Some Practical Problems -- The inner man and the outer man are not in harmony when the outer man has yet to be broken.
    • Launching Out and Retreating -- We feel as though we leave the presence of God and then seek to return when the outer man has yet to be broken.
    • The Dividing of the Outward and the Inward Man -- That which affects the outward man need not influence the inward man. The outward man is broken by the discipline of the Holy Spirit; it is divided from the inward man by the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Recognizing "the Thing in Hand"
    • The Limited Strength of the Outward Man -- If all our attention is given to natural (carnal) things, all our strength will be exhausted and unavailable for spiritual things.
    • The Spirit's Use of a Broken Outward Man -- The spirit works through the soul. Only when the mind, will, and emotions are brought into submission can they be used profitably for God.
    • The Person Broken, Not Just Taught -- Filling the mind with knowledge in a seminary class does not make a minister of God. God makes His own ministers through years of sufferings, trials, and hindrances.
    • One Law Which Is Unaffected by Prayer -- God will not free us from His hand of discipline, no matter how much we pray. In Christ, we are freed from the penalties of having broken the Law, but for each area we have not yielded into Christ, God gives discipline until we are broken in it.
  4. How to Know Man
    • We Are His Instrumentality -- Through our spirit, we sense the spirit of another and in this way can diagnose another's spiritual state.
    • The Key to Perceiving the Patient's Spirit -- The spirit is pure from God, but tainted by the unbroken soul. It is the soul that must be dealt with. For this reason, only where God has previously dealt with us can we help another.
    • Our Own Preparation for Knowing Man -- Only those who have learned can serve.
    • Learning to Practice This -- Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. As we listen, we listen for a man's spirit, which comes forth with his words. The call of the Church is to deal with spiritual problems, not govern deeds.
  5. The Church and God's Work
    • God's Manifestation and God's Restriction -- God has restricted Himself to working through His servants. As Christ was the perfect manifestation of God, so now the church is called to be the same.
    • Breaking -- God's Way of Working
      1. Reading the Bible -- Unless we allow God's Spirit to illuminate our minds as we read, we will gain no spiritual benefit through reading.
      2. Ministry of the Word -- Without the experiences of being broken, we cannot minister life to others.
      3. Preaching the Gospel -- It is the Spirit that draws people to God. If we merely convince their mind or tug at their emotions, their spirit is not touched. We must allow the Spirit of God to flow through us to others.
  6. Brokenness and Discipline
    • The Greatest Means of Grace -- The discipline of the Holy Spirit, more than prayer, sermons, teachings, or Bible reading, bestows God's grace on the consecrated life.
    • Dealings of Various Kinds -- External things are used to break down the outward man, showing us just how much we hang on to carnal things.
    • The Cross in Operation -- Even the teaching on the Spirit's discipline will not accomplish the task. Only the working of the cross can break the dominion of our outward man.
  7. Dividing and Revelation
    • The Need to Be Broken and Divided -- Impurity is the biggest problem in the lives of God's servants. Our spirit may be released, but when it comes out it is mixed with the outward man.
    • How the Living Word Divides -- God's Word shines the light of truth on us and shows us the thoughts and intents of our heart. It shows us how much is of our spirit and how much is of our soul.
    • What Is a Revelation? -- Revelation enables us to see what God sees. When we truly see with God's perspective, we can no longer maintain the false front. That which we thought was pure and holy in ourselves is shown to be sickly and weak.
  8. What Impression Do We Give?
    Everything is measured by God for us. What is important is not the things that you teach, but what impression you give.
    • The Amazing Work of Slaying through Enlightenment -- Besides discipline there will be enlightenment. When the church is weak, enlightenment will be rare. Sometimes the two are used together, sometimes alternately.
    • Discipline Compared with Revelation -- Discipline is a slower process. With Revelation, you quickly see your true condition and how useless you are.
  9. Meekness and Brokenness
    • Considering the Qualities of Meekness -- The Spirit's dealings are aimed at a specific target in our lives. They break those areas where we are strong in ourselves. This breaking will produce meekness.
      1. Approachable -- People will find an openness with the meek. He will be easy to talk to, to connect with. He is open to the opinions of others.
      2. Highly Sensitive -- The meek person will be alert to changes in the spirits of others around him.
      3. Ready for Corporate Life -- The meek person truly understands the meaning of the body of Christ. He senses a connectivity with others in the body, and responds to their needs, thoughts, and feelings.
      4. Easily Edified -- The greatest advantage of brokenness is that we can receive spiritual help from whatever source in the body. Instead of focussing on what words are spoken, we can touch the spirit of another and receive edification. Those who are stubborn cannot be helped because their spirits are not free to receive help. They cannot be helped through doctrine or theology, which touches the mind. Only by prayer and the work of the Spirit of God can touch them spiritually.
  10. Two Very Different Ways
    • Fellowship in the Spirit -- More than the exchange of ideas and opinions, this is the interaction of spirits. It is deep fellowship of the calling and the answering of one another.
    • A Meekness Beyond Imitation -- All must be of the Holy Spirit; any human striving to imitate meekness is futile. Rather, we must ask for God's light to enable us to see as He sees, that we may acknowledge what He is doing and submit to it.
    • Two Related Questions
      1. Shall we stop every fleshly activity, or wait passively until the Holy Spirit has granted us light?
      2. What is the difference between a natural virtue and one that comes through discipline?
    • A Final Exhortation -- As the outward man is broken, the inward man is strengthened. Proclaim that it is your goal to be strong.
Also by Watchman Nee:
Take Heed
The Finest of the Wheat
God's Work
Worship God
Assembly Life

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