Saturday, August 25, 2007
THE OVERCOMING LIFE by Watchman Nee
The Overcoming Life is a collection of messages given by Watchman Nee in 1935. The key verse is Galatians 2:20: "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
The book concerns how believers can obtain God's full salvation – that is, more than salvation from sin and eternal life, but also salvation from the issues we have in this life, such as temper, pride, and other things we do that are not pleasing to God. Nee explains how we can overcome these things.
The main point is that we can't overcome on our own. Even if we are saved, we can't do anything to change by our own strength. Instead, we must have our flesh nature exchanged for Christ's nature. It is an issue of replacement versus improvement.
Again, we are crucified with Christ. To overcome with Christ's victory, we must admit that we are not able to change on our own, and we must stop trying to change ourselves. This, I think, is the hardest part. Most of us feel like we have to try, to strive, to be good people, even though every one of us keeps failing. Nee gives this kind of example: say you can pick up 100 pounds. There is a load that weighs 200 pounds. You know you can't pick it up. Why even try?
Nee focuses a lot on Luke 18:22, where Jesus tells the rich young ruler who has kept all the commandments "There is still one thing lacking" for salvation. Each person, Nee says, has "one thing lacking", and many more than one. These things that are lacking are the things that we are hung up on, things that God must do for us.
Necessary for living the overcoming life is surrender and belief. Nee's is a very hands-off approach to faith – let God do everything! At first, this seems a little too hands-off. But the more one thinks about it, the more one thinks, well, who better to do these things than God? How far has all our striving gotten us. Real victory though Christ isn't about teeth-clenched endurance. When God overcomes, it's amazing, and you know about it.