Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
You tried to avoid it, but somehow you’ve picked up that cold that’s going around. Sniffling, headachy, and congested, you feel awful. So you drag yourself to the store to get one of those multi-symptom cold relief medications, take the first dose, and start to feel a little better.
Nobody likes being sick. But have you ever felt as if you have a spiritual “cold”? You want to express Christ to people, but you find you’re not able to. Maybe you try hard to be patient with someone, but in the end, you’re so exasperated you say something unkind and immediately regret it afterward.
Experiences like these make you realize you’re “ailing” from a shortage of patience and kindness, so you ask the Lord to give you more patience or help you be kind.
But this doesn’t seem to help. The more we ask the Lord to give us patience or to help us be better, the worse we become. But there’s good news: we have a multi-symptom spiritual “medicine” for everything that ails us in our Christian life.
In this post, we’ll discover this effective spiritual medicine God has given us by reading some excerpts from the book The Economy of God by Witness Lee. This book opens up God’s Word in a way that provides tremendous help for setting the direction of our entire Christian life.
The economy of God
Let’s first address the meaning of economy in the book’s title. In Greek, the original language of the New Testament, the word oikonomia is translated into English as economy. This Greek word appears in a few places in the New Testament, such as Ephesians 1:10:
“Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him.”
Witness Lee also authored the study notes in the New Testament Recovery Version. In note 1 on this verse, he explains the meaning of economy:
“Or, plan. The Greek word, oikonomia, means house law, household management or administration, and derivatively, administrative dispensation, plan, economy (see note 43 in 1 Tim. 1). The economy that God, according to His desire, planned and purposed in Himself is to head up all things in Christ at the fullness of the times. This is accomplished through the dispensing of the abundant life supply of the Triune God as the life factor into all the members of the church that they may rise up from the death situation and be attached to the Body.”
God’s economy, or God’s plan, is to dispense the abundant life supply of the Triune God into human beings.
In the book The Economy of God, Lee lays out in detail God’s economy, which issues in God obtaining an expression of Himself in the universe through His chosen people.
Our all-inclusive spiritual dose
Chapter 2 of this book, titled “The All-sufficient Spirit,” unveils the riches in the Spirit. Lee writes on page 18 that the Spirit, which we received when we were born again, “is in us as the very transmission of God, transmitting constantly all that God is and has in Christ.”
Lee then goes on:
“Have we ever realized that the Holy Spirit is the best ‘dose’ in the whole world? Just one dose is enough to meet all our needs. All that the Father and the Son are and all that They have are in this wonderful Spirit. Consider how many elements are within this dose: God’s divine nature with Christ’s human nature, His human living with its earthly sufferings, the wonderful effectiveness of His death, His resurrection, His ascension, and His enthronement. Oh, we cannot imagine what kind of dose this is! Yet, praise the Lord, every day we may enjoy it.”
Just one pill of that multi-symptom cold medicine works because it contains a variety of ingredients that target different problems. It’s all-inclusive. It’s a good illustration of the Spirit as an all-inclusive dose that meets all our needs. In the all-sufficient Spirit are many rich aspects of the Father and the Son that we can enjoy daily.
The solution to our problems isn’t to ask God to give us more patience or kindness, but simply to take the dose. When we realize our lack, we simply need to take the all-inclusive dose of the Spirit. According to God’s economy, God wants us to receive and enjoy the abundant life supply that’s in Him.
Learning more teachings doesn’t help
Lee contrasts enjoying the effective dose of the Spirit with merely learning doctrines and knowing teachings about how we should live as Christians. He shares his experience of being taught according to Romans 6 that we have been crucified with Christ and must reckon ourselves dead. On page 18, Lee writes:
“The more I did so [reckon myself dead], the more I became alive. It did not work, because it was the wrong formula. One day, after many years, the Lord opened my eyes to see that the reality of His death is not in my reckoning, but in my enjoyment of the Holy Spirit. This is revealed in Romans 8. Romans 6 gives only the definition, but Romans 8 gives the reality of the death of Christ, because the effectiveness of Christ’s death is in the Holy Spirit. The more we fellowship with Christ in the Holy Spirit, the more we will be slain.”
The point Lee makes here is that the actual application in our experience of Romans 6 is found in Romans 8, a chapter full of the experience and enjoyment of the indwelling Spirit.
Then on page 19, Lee gives more details of his experience:
“Formerly when I hated a brother, I was told that the ‘hating I’ was crucified, and instead of hating him I should love him. So I tried to reckon myself dead, but it did not work. The more I reckoned myself dead, the more I hated him. Then one day, while fellowshiping with the Lord, I was filled with His Holy Spirit. How the tears flowed! I knew the killing power was within me, killing my hatred and my pride. Automatically, love mingled with tears welled up from my heart for this brother. What was this? This was the killing element in the wonderful dose, the effectiveness of Christ’s death in the Spirit.”
Many of us have found that trying to mentally apply a teaching we’ve learned—such as we’re crucified with Christ, we shouldn’t hate anyone, and we should love our Christian brothers—doesn’t work. But we’ve also experienced that when we take the dose of the Spirit by contacting the Spirit, the “ingredient” of Christ’s death that’s in the Spirit spontaneously operates in us; our hate is killed, and His love fills us.
The contents of the dose
Let’s find out more about the contents of the dose of the all-inclusive Spirit. First, let’s look at Philippians 1:19:
“For I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”
Now let’s read this paragraph on page 19 in The Economy of God:
“Within this Spirit of Jesus, there is an all-sufficient supply. The word ‘supply’ in Philippians 1:19 is a special Greek word meaning ‘the bountiful or all-inclusive supply.’ The Spirit of Jesus is an all-inclusive supply in which all our needs are met. What do we need? Do we need comfort? No one can truly comfort us—not even our children, our parents, or our dear wives. Real comfort comes from the indwelling Spirit of Jesus. When we fellowship with Jesus in this Spirit and when we live in this wonderful Spirit, we automatically have inward comfort. Regardless of the outward environment, there is inward rest and comfort.”
We can replace comfort in this paragraph with whatever we need at any time: patience, kindness, love, longsuffering, peace, even self-control. All are now available to us in the Spirit.
We need to remember that God’s economy, God’s plan, is to dispense Himself as the abundant life supply into our being. So God doesn’t give us a thing such as love or patience, nor does He merely want to help us be loving. Instead, we need to realize He’s the Spirit in us, and in Him is everything we need in any situation. What God wants is for us to simply enjoy the Spirit. When we do, we enjoy Him as the all-inclusive dose that meets our every need.
How we can take this dose
Unlike the cold medicine, if we want to enjoy this wonderful Spirit, we don’t need to go anywhere to get it. We already have this dose! The Spirit isn’t far away from us. In fact, no one can be nearer to us than He is because He’s in us.
Before we were saved, the Lord was outside of us and separate from us. But when we were saved, that changed. The moment we repented and believed in Jesus as our Savior, we were born again, and the Spirit came to live in our spirit, the deepest part of our being.
And 1 Corinthians 6:17 declares:
“He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”
God’s Word tells us that the Lord is not only in us, but that we are actually one spirit with Him! He dispensed Himself into our spirit to live in us and to be one spirit with us. So to enjoy Him as the all-sufficient Spirit, we simply need to contact Him in our spirit. Instead of remaining in our thoughts or feelings, we need to learn to contact the Spirit in our spirit.
Focusing on God’s economy
Now, let’s read this paragraph from the book on page 20:
“Too many doctrines in Christianity are distracting the Lord’s people from the Lord Himself, causing them to miss the mark of God’s economy. What is this mark? It is simply the all-inclusive Holy Spirit dwelling in our human spirit.”
Doctrines or teachings can actually distract us from and make us miss the target, the mark, of God’s economy. Instead, we must focus on the wonderful, all-inclusive Spirit dwelling in our spirit.
The paragraph continues:
“During the whole day, we need to learn how to contact and follow the Holy Spirit. We need to learn how to fellowship and deal with Him. Christianity teaches us to deal with forms, regulations, and doctrines. Even the Scriptures are read in a wrong way, since little or no contact is made with the Holy Spirit in the reading. We merely learn doctrines in black and white letters. We need to read the Scriptures by exercising our spirit to contact the Holy Spirit, not by using our eyes to see the words and exercising our minds merely to understand its teachings. From morning to evening we must deal with the One dwelling in us, for He is the bountiful supply of the Lord Jesus.”
This paragraph mentions several things that help us focus on and enjoy the all-sufficient Spirit:
- Contact Him: we can contact Him by praying, not just during time we set aside for prayer but constantly throughout the day. We can do this by praying short prayers, calling on His name, and even singing to Him.
- Follow Him: when the Lord speaks to us within, we should go along with Him and obey Him.
- Fellowship and deal with the Spirit: we can fellowship with Him by talking to Him about anything in prayer.
- Read the Scriptures by exercising our spirit to contact the Holy Spirit, praying with the Word of God.
As the Spirit in our spirit, Christ Himself is everything that’s required for us to live our Christian life. Our unique need is to contact and enjoy the Spirit daily, and even constantly.
We encourage you to read chapter 2 of The Economy of God in its entirety and learn more about the tremendous matter of God’s economy. You can download the book for free here from anywhere in the world.
If you live in Australia, you can also order a free New Testament Recovery Version and read the note mentioned in this post with all its references on the economy of God.
Subscribe to receive the latest posts