THE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND WARFARE – by Watchman Nee (Chapter 5)
LIVING BY FAITH
“But the righteous shall have life and live by faith” (Rom. 1:17). This is the normal rule for the believers’ living. We are prone to live by the excitement of the visible joys and the obvious blessings. But the Word of God says that “the righteous shall have life and live by faith.” Many believers desire to have the revelation of God; they aspire to noble transformation and “third heaven” experiences. Some may encounter these at times, but the righteous must live by faith. The union in life that Madame Guyon experienced is seldom found in the present age. She said that her experience was such that she found it impossible for her to live apart from His life. She was able to attain to this state only through faith and self-denial.
Many believers are deeply grieved because they do not have a conscious feeling of God’s presence. As a result, they cry out to God with their whole being, seeking for God as the deer seeks for a stream of water. Faith is not to touch God’s presence. It is not to love Him in excitement or to express oneself in exuberance. The righteous shall live by faith—by faith alone.
Faith is like an anchor; it establishes a person. Faith is real; it is a “substantiating.” Faith is also a “conviction of things not seen.” Hence, it is touchable.
Those who walk by faith may have outward joy. But this is not what they are looking for; this is not their goal. A feeling of joy is merely the flowers that shine atop the dark green leaves along the path of faith.
Faith can do what nothing else can do. First, it can please God: “But without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to Him” (Heb. 11:6). This is the life of our Lord Jesus, for He said, “I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29).
Second, it bears fruit: “Who through faith overcame kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong in weakness, became mighty in war, routed the armies of foreigners. Women received their dead by resurrection…” (Heb. 11:31-35). However, even though some results are obtained, one must continue to go on steadfastly by faith. He must believe in God and have faith whether in light or in darkness. He must fulfill his duty, moving forward to do whatever is next to do. He should advance in the way of faith even though it is an ordinary path. While he gropes in darkness and walks in darkness, he should live—living and unceasingly working—by faith.
If he would do this, glory will be all around him. However, those who live by faith will not see this glory themselves. Many lessons of faith are very deep and essential. Moses did not realize that his face shone, but the ones who saw this glory were blessed.
Once a missionary returned to her country wearing a very drab dress. When a young lady there saw her dress, she felt sorry for her. The missionary turned and looked at her, but she did not say a word. However, when the young lady saw her face, she was reminded of God. That young lady never forgot that day. She was very bright and intended to study for a certain degree, but eventually, she changed her mind and became a worker of Christ. The Lord is the Victor! She is now saving many in Africa. Although that returning missionary did not see her own face, others saw it, and the Lord worked.
An unchangeable fact is that those who live by faith must look away unto the Lord Jesus. God says that we should look away unto the Lord Jesus as the Author and Perfecter of our faith. If one does this, he will reflect in word, countenance, and attitude the One he looks away to. This life is far beyond description—the righteous shall live by faith.