Ch.1 - ENJOYING GOD
From "How to Enjoy God and How to Practice the Enjoyment of God" by Witness Lee
GOD BEING ENJOYABLE
Some may consider the thought of enjoying God to be unusual, but the Bible clearly says that we can taste God. Psalm 34:8 says that we should taste and see that Jehovah is good. The Lord Jesus also said that He is our food; He is the bread of life. Because food is an enjoyment to us, His being food and bread must mean that He can be enjoyed by us.
A sweet thought recorded in the Word of God is that God is not only near us but that He has even given Himself to us to be our enjoyment. This shows the intimate relationship God has with us. When we enjoy our meals, the food we eat enters into us and becomes a part of us. Before we eat, the food is not a part of us, but after we take it in, it becomes our nutritional supply and strength. In addition, after passing through a process of metabolism, it becomes our inward element. The food we eat becomes a part of us, and we live by it. The relationship between food and our physical body is similar to the relationship between God and our entire being.
Psalm 23 is a favorite psalm among God’s children; hence, it is difficult to find a Christian who does not know the words the Lord is my Shepherd. God, however, is not merely a Shepherd who leads us, protects us, and cares for us. God is more intimate than a shepherd. If He were merely a shepherd, He could care for us and shepherd us only in an outward way; He would be unable to enter into us to become a part of us. He could not become us. However, the Bible shows that God gives Himself to us for our enjoyment and works Himself into us. He can enter into us to be our life, our strength, our food, and our living water. He can meet the need of every part of our being. Those who have experienced God know that He is truly our enjoyment. We can enjoy God in His sovereign arrangements and provisions, and we can enjoy Him as the varied supply to our inward being.
Man is composed of a spirit within, a body without, and a soul between his spirit and body. When God is within us, He can supply the needs of our spirit, soul, and body. God can satisfy the needs of our spirit by supplying us from within our spirit. He can satisfy the needs of our soul, or our psyche, from within our soul. He can also satisfy the needs of our body by supplying us in our body. Although our God is invisible, untouchable, and intangible, those who have experienced God can testify that they enjoy Him in their spirit, in their soul, and even in their body. What a glorious blessing this is!
Since God is so intimately related to us, the Bible uses many ways to describe and illustrate our enjoyment of God. Let us briefly consider some of them.
All thatGod is, can be our enjoyment!
God Being Our Life
God is our life. Immediately after creating man in Genesis, God placed man in front of the tree of life (2:8-9). At the end of Revelation, the tree of life is still present (22:2). The tree of life signifies God Himself. God is the source of life. When God says that He wants man to come to the tree of life, He means that He wants man to touch Him. God wants to enter into man to be his life.
Life is something very close and crucial to man. It can even be said that life is man himself. Without life, it is impossible for man to be a man. The Bible shows that God desires to be man’s life. Hence, we can say boldly that if a person does not have God within him as life, he has not come up to the standard of a human being. The life a person has determines the kind of person he is. Those with a lower life are lower, and those with a higher life are higher. The life we possess in our natural constitution, our natural life, is a lower life; it is impossible for us to be a higher person with only this life. In order to be a higher person, we must have a higher kind of life. God’s life is the highest life. Hence, it is impossible for anyone to be a higher person if he does not receive God as the highest life.
A higher kind of man is noble, holy, loving, and patient, possessing no meanness or pettiness in his heart. Although there is a certain degree of magnanimity and tolerance in man’s natural life, these virtues are limited. In order to be unlimitedly high, a person must receive the unlimited God as the highest life. When the infinite God enters into us and becomes the highest life within us, we become persons of an infinitely high standard. We can love what others cannot love, we can endure what others cannot endure, and we can forgive what others cannot forgive. We possess a nobleness and a holiness that no mere human being possesses.
Everyone who has the life of God can be unlimitedly high. A person who has God as his life should have a standard that is infinitely high. While others may say that a certain matter is overwhelming, those with God as their life can bear it joyfully. When others find a matter intolerable, those with God can gladly and willingly tolerate it. A person with God is a high person, an unlimited person. It is impossible to attain to this high living with only the natural life that man possesses. This living can be attained only when one takes God’s highest life as his life. This highest life is the immeasurably high God Himself. He is life, and He is also the source of life. He not only dispenses His life into us but also enters into us to be our very life. He does not enter into us to be our life in small increments. On the contrary, He has fully entered into us. Day by day and moment by moment, He is in us as our life. Hence, we can enjoy Him every day. We can taste Him moment by moment.
We know the importance of air to human life. A man can be without food for seven or eight days, and he can be without water one or two days. However, if he is without air for five minutes, he will cease to exist. Air is vital to human life, and it is the most available item for man’s enjoyment. We can breathe on the street and in houses. We can breathe in cars and in airplanes. We breathe when we are conscious of it, and we breathe when we are not conscious of it. We breathe while we are listening to a message and in our sleep. If we have a measure of spiritual experience, we will realize that God is just like air to us. God is Spirit, and the Spirit is like air. In the original language of the Bible, in both Hebrew in the Old Testament and Greek in the New Testament, wind, breath, and spirit are the same word. Spirit is breath, and breath is wind. God is Spirit, and God is also breath. The Bible describes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost as a rushing violent wind, which was God Himself (Acts 2:2-4). The Lord Jesus also came to the disciples on the evening of His resurrection and breathed into them, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). The Spirit is likened to breath. This Spirit is also the very God Himself. When God enters into us to be our enjoyment, He enters as the Spirit, and this Spirit is like wind and breath. Whether we open to Him or turn away from Him, He remains our enjoyment. Wherever we are and no matter the time, God as the Spirit is available to us for our enjoyment. We can touch and taste this Spirit. When the Spirit enters into us, He becomes the Spirit of life. This Spirit of life, this breath of life, strengthens our spirit and spreads from our spirit to our heart, which includes the soul, and from our soul to our body. In this way our whole being is saturated with the Spirit as breath; that is, we are full of the presence of the Spirit. This is the practical way to enjoy God.
God Being Our Food and Drink
The Bible uses food and drink to speak of the relationship between God and man. Man needs food and drink in order to exist. He needs to eat, and he needs to drink. Every day we depend on these two things. If we do not eat or drink, we will die. The Bible shows that God is our food, and He is our living water. He comes to us to be our bread.
In the Old Testament, we see these types. When the children of Israel began their journey through the wilderness, they had no food or drink. Then God performed a miracle and supplied them with food and drink. Their food did not grow out of the ground but came down from heaven. Their drink did not come from wells, which they dug, but from a smitten rock. Those in the Old Testament did not know the significance of this. One day, however, the Lord Jesus came. He was God come in the flesh, God among men. His goal was to be received by man and to become man’s enjoyment. He said that the manna in the Old Testament was only a type and that He was the bread that comes down out of heaven (John 6:48-51). He is the true manna. He can satisfy man’s hunger and fill man from within. The Lord also said that He would be lifted up and that His body would be broken and out of it would flow living water. The living water is the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit enters man, He satisfies man’s thirst and flows out of man as a river of living water to quench the thirst of others (7:37-38). These verses show that as God, Christ becomes man’s enjoyment. He wants to enter into us to be our food and our living water. He wants us to eat Him and drink Him every day.
At the bread-breaking meeting, everyone takes a piece of the bread on the table and eats it. Similarly, we take the cup and drink from it. We should have a strong realization of the significance of what we are doing. The Lord said, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Matt. 26:26). Then concerning the cup, He also said, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant, which is being poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (vv. 27-28). He seemingly was saying, “You must take Me into you as your enjoyment. The real remembrance of Me is the enjoyment of Me. When you allow Me to be your food and your drink, you are remembering Me. I long to enter into you to be everything to you.” The Lord wants to enter into us to be our life. He also wants to be our Husband, our food, and even our drink.
God Being Our Light of Life
The Bible says that God enters into us to be our light of life (8:12). Light is needed for man to exist. Without light we cannot live. In the daytime, we have the light of the sun, and at night we have the light of the moon, the stars, and even lamps. We cannot exist without light. Light is a great necessity to us. Without light man falls into darkness, which is an unbearable punishment. It would be a painful experience to be locked in darkness for twenty-four hours. Therefore, the Bible says that darkness is a kind of punishment. Man needs light in order to exist, live, and work.
The Bible says that God is our light. Those who follow Him shall by no means walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. This means that without Him, apart from Him, or severed from Him, we are in darkness. He is so many things to us for our enjoyment. He is our life, our Husband, our food and drink, our habitation, and also our light. He is light, and He wants us to walk in the light.
God Being Our Strength
The Bible also says that God is our strength (Psa. 18:1). It is not sufficient for us to have only life. Although we need life to live, the life we have needs power. Because some people lack strength, they are weak and senile even though they have life. Hence, we need God to be our power, our strength.
God Being Our Love, Joy, and Comfort
In order for a man to live, he also needs love, joy, and comfort. The Bible clearly says that God is love (1 John 4:8). He is also our joy and our comfort (Neh. 8:10; Isa. 51:12). He is everything we need.
God Being Our Healing
If we need healing, God is the best healing for any sickness in our psychology, our soul, or our body. He is Jehovah-ropheka, which means “Jehovah your Healer” (Exo. 15:26). He is Jehovah, the God who heals. With Him we have healing.
God Being Our All
When we read through the Bible and realize that it presents God as everything to us, we cannot help but praise Him. God wants to be our life, our Husband, our food, our drink, our habitation, our light, our strength, our love, our joy, our comfort, our healing, and our guidance. What He is matches what we need, and He provides Himself to us as that very item. Whatever we need, He is, and He provides us with Himself as that item.
How to Enjoy the God Who Humbles Himself to be Our Enjoyment
GOD HUMBLING HIMSELF TO BE OUR ENJOYMENT
Regrettably, Christians today are full of common, religious concepts about God. They realize that there is a sovereign Lord in this universe who is great, holy, and bright. They also realize that as creatures they should worship such a sovereign Creator. This is not an erroneous concept, but it is altogether religious; it does not reflect the true revelation in the Bible. If we understand the Bible, our eyes will be opened to see that this great, holy, bright, and sovereign Lord has humbled Himself to meet with small, lowly, filthy, and sinful men such as we. Just as He was happy to speak with the immoral Samaritan woman by the well in Sychar (John 4:5), He is happy to contact us, the despicable sinners. He desires to dispense Himself into us. Even though He is our Redeemer on the cross and the Lord of all on the throne, He has condescended and lowered Himself to be as small and lowly as we are so that we can receive Him.
I sometimes have a wonderful thought as I meditate on the Lord, and I say, “Lord, You have become so small that You are even the same as I am. You have not made Yourself greater than I am; instead, You have become as small as I am. You lowered Yourself to be found in fashion as a man. If You were five feet taller than I am, I could not reach You. I know that You are as low as I am. This is the reason I can fellowship with You and be filled with sweetness and joy instead of fear.” My fellowship with the Lord is sweeter and more intimate than the time I spend with my own mother. When I was young, my heart was filled with warmth and comfort every time I saw my mother. In the same way, there is absolutely no fear when I contact the Lord. I can say, “Lord, while I am touching You, I experience an intimacy and sweetness that far exceeds my feelings toward my mother.” This is not because I have become as great as the Lord. No, it is because He has become low. I have not become tall; rather, He has become small. I am the same person. I have not changed. My sinful nature is still with me. I am wicked, depraved, in the old creation, and in the evil world. But I praise the Lord that I can fellowship with Him in my situation. I do not have the slightest feeling that He is in heaven and is greater than I am. Rather, I feel that He is small and lowly. He is the same as I am. I can fellowship with Him, touch Him, and enjoy Him.
The Bible reveals such a Lord to us. He is our enjoyment. We can enjoy Him as our life, our Husband, our food, our drink, our habitation, our dwelling place, our strength, our love, joy, comfort, healing, and everything we need.
When we worship Him, we should not consider Him as a great and sovereign Lord sitting far above all. We should not be afraid to approach Him. There is no need to pray to Him with trembling and trepidation. Approaching Him in this way proves that we have no revelation and that we have insufficient knowledge of Him; we are void of light and are filled with religious concepts. If we have revelation, we will see that while He is high and lofty, the Lord of glory and holiness, He also loves to dispense Himself into us. He wants us to draw near to Him. If He remained in heaven, we could neither be saved nor receive Him as life. If He remained on the throne, we could not touch Him or enjoy Him. But now He has stepped forward. He has lowered Himself, left the throne, and come to us. He is now where we are. He is as low as we are, and He is the same as we are. He has condescended and come to us in order to make Himself available to us for our enjoyment.
Every child of God needs to realize that the God whom we worship and serve is not the God of our religious concept. Even though our God is the Lord of all, He has lowered Himself, humbled Himself, to the extent that He has become the same as we are. He is the same as we are in everything except sin. He did this in order to make Himself available to us for our enjoyment and so that we can gain Him and experience Him. He wants us to receive Him into us as our everything.
HOW TO ENJOY GOD
Some may now be anxious to know how to enjoy God. Since God is life, food, drink, light, strength, and everything to us, how can we touch Him? Let us consider two points.
Turning to Our Inner Being
First, God is inside of us. If we want to enjoy Him, we should learn to turn to our inner being. We must turn in order to exercise our inner being. God is not outside of us. Even if we went to heaven today, we would not find Him there, because He is within us. He dwells in our spirit. We do not need to look for Him outside. He is very near to us; He is within us.
Second, we must learn to be calm before Him and pray to Him. In other words, we need to fellowship with Him. Although God is in us, we are often drawn to the outside world through busy distractions. To be busy is to have our heart drawn away by distractions. When our outer man is busy, our heart is dead to God. The Chinese character for busy is composed of the root words for heart and dead. When a person is busy, his heart is dead. Our heart may also be asleep even though it is not dead. The Chinese character for forget is also composed of the root words for heart and dead, but the character for heart is turned on its side. This shows that it is asleep. Forgetfulness means that the heart is asleep. This is not a joke. The heart should not be dead, and it should not be asleep. We do not want either situation. We should be normal and exercise our inward being in quietness in order to absorb God. The best prayer is one that absorbs God. Prayer has nothing to do with how many words we utter. It is a matter of finding a quiet time to turn our busy heart to the inner chamber in order to fellowship with God and to absorb His very being. We can then realize that He is our life, food, drink, light, strength, joy, and comfort. He is the answer to whatever we need. This is the meaning of being a Christian. We are not those in religion who worship a God who is high above and far away from us. A Christian does not worship in this way. Instead, he abides quietly in the inner chamber and touches God. He fellowships with God and absorbs Him in his spirit. In this way God abides in him and becomes his all.
God's Desire and Man's Misjudging It
FROM "HOW TO ENJOY GOD AND HOW TO PRACTICE THE ENJOYMENT OF GOD" BY WITNESS LEE
GOD’S DESIRE BEING FOR MAN TO ENJOY HIM
In the Bible there is a very important principle related to the first mention of a matter that sets an eternal governing principle for that matter throughout the rest of the Bible. The way a matter is spoken of the first time determines the meaning of similar matters that are mentioned subsequently. In the first reference to God’s relationship with man in the Bible, God presents Himself to man as food. This shows that God wants man to enjoy Him. After God created man, He placed him in front of the tree of life so that man would enjoy the fruit of that tree. The tree of life signifies God Himself. This shows that God wants to be man’s enjoyment. God’s first thought after creating man was for man to eat and drink, and the object of this eating and drinking was God Himself.
How can we prove this? When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He repeatedly revealed that He was food for man to eat and enjoy. Regrettably, when the Lord contacted man, no one had the concept that God could be man’s enjoyment. Man’s concept was that God should be worshipped and served. If we read the four Gospels carefully, we will see that the people who came to the Lord had many different opinions concerning Him. Some asked what they should do to inherit eternal life. Others asked which of the commandments was the greatest. Those who came to the Lord had different concepts, but no one had the correct view that man should come to God with the thought of enjoying Him.
One day the Lord performed a miracle. He fed five thousand with five loaves and two fish, and there was much left over. When people saw this, they thought that He was the greatest prophet. They had hoped for such a prophet who would perform miracles among them and take care of all their needs. This concept was absolutely wrong; hence, the Lord spoke a word to change their concept. He pointed out that they were seeking for food that perishes, food that is of no eternal value. He did not come to give man corruptible food, but He came to give man incorruptible food from heaven. When they heard this, they did not understand what type of food the Lord wanted to give them. The Lord explained that He is the food; He wanted to give Himself to them as their food for their enjoyment. It was as if He were saying, “It is not enough to know Me as the sovereign Lord who performs miracles. It is not enough to expect miracles and works of wonder from Me. I am much more than these things. I will not only perform outward things, but I will also be your food and enter into you to be your enjoyment. It is not enough to know Me as a great Prophet or even as the Creator. You need to know Me as the Creator who has come to be your food. I have given My flesh to you for food and My blood to you for drink so that I can enter into you. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, because this eternal life is just Me. If you eat Me and drink Me, I will enter into you, and spontaneously you will have eternal life.” Those who heard this word thought that it was a hard word and could not receive it. Here was a wonderful person who told others that He was the bread who came down from heaven, that His flesh and blood could be their food and drink, and that He would enter into them so that they would receive eternal life. When they heard this word, they were baffled (John 6).
MAN’S CONCEPT MISJUDGING GOD’S DESIRE
Although we should understand the Lord’s words when we read the Word, I would dare say that even today many Christians do not have the right concept concerning God. For example, we may have been saved for many years, but we might not have given much consideration to the matter of enjoying God. We might not have the concept that God has given Himself to us for our enjoyment. Perhaps, while we were contacting God and praying this morning, we still held the common religious concept that we should worship Him in a pious way. We may have considered what we should do today, and what we should not do today. Based on these dos and don’ts, we may have prayed, “God, be merciful to me so that I can please You by doing this and that.” This kind of prayer is absolutely the result of our religious concepts. God does not want us to pray this way. Whenever we draw near to God, He presents Himself to us as the fatness, the food for our satisfaction. He does not bargain with us whenever He fellowships and communes with us; rather, He presents Himself for our enjoyment. Fallen man, however, is incapable of recognizing this.
All of God’s children should focus on this matter. According to the Bible, after creating Adam, God did not say, “You must worship Me in this way,” or “You must serve Me in that way.” On the contrary, after creating Adam, God placed him in front of the tree of life. God seemed to be saying, “Adam, come here. Just enjoy. I am the tree of life, and I am here for you to enjoy Me. I have no intention for you to do this or that for Me. I have no desire for you to serve or worship Me in this or that way. I only want to present Myself to you as food. My only desire is for you to enjoy Me.”
In the four Gospels we see the same story. One day the tree of life came as the Word who became flesh, who tabernacled among us, full of grace and reality (John 1:14). Again He was placed in front of man as the tree of life so that man could “pick” the fruit from this tree. No one, however, knew that they could pick from this tree. In the four Gospels those who came to Him asked what they should do and which was the great commandment in the law (Matt. 19:16; 22:36). This was all they asked. But His answer was always the same: “I am the bread that came down from heaven. I do not intend that you do this or that for Me or that you serve and worship Me in this or that way. I want you to receive Me, to enjoy Me. I am the tree of life. Life is in Me. I am life, and I have come that men may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). I am like the tree of life that was in the garden of Eden. I have been placed before you as the tree of life so that you can stretch forth your hand in faith to receive Me. I want to dispense Myself into you. I want to be your food to enter into you and be your very life. My thought is simply that you would enjoy Me.”
Man’s natural concept has dominated Christianity for two thousand years, and we are still not set free from its influence today. Even many servants of the Lord are unable to change their concept. We often think of how we should worship and serve God and of how we should do this or that for God, and it never occurs to us that the Lord Jesus does not care about this. The Lord simply wants man to enjoy Him. He was incarnated to put Himself in front of us as the tree of life. He said that He is life and that He came that we might have life. He did not come to ask us to do anything. He came with the intention that we would open to Him and receive Him. He wants us to receive Him every day and not just on the day of our salvation. Daily we should learn to abide in Him, and we should give Him room to abide in us. God has no intention for us to do anything for Him, and He has no desire for us to accomplish anything for Him. Rather, He desires to abide in us. The Lord desires all of us to open up to Him, to allow Him to abide in us, and to not turn Him away. If He can remain and abide in us, His riches and elements will become our enjoyment and blessing. When we enjoy Him and allow Him to become our blessed portion, all His riches become our supply and inwardly fill us. His riches even flow through us and bear rich fruit.