Living in the Spirit
from The Normal Christian Life, by Watchman Nee
“Living in the Spirit means that I trust the Holy Spirit to do in me what I cannot do myself. This life is completely different from the life I would naturally live myself. Each time I am faced with a new demand from the Lord, I look to him to do in me what he requires of me. It is not a case of trying but trusting; not of struggling but of resting in him. If I have a hasty temper, impure thoughts, a quick tongue or a critical spirit, I shall not set out with a determined effort to change myself, but instead, reckoning myself dead in Christ to these things, I shall look to the Spirit of God to produce in me the needed purity of humility or meekness, confident that he will do so. This is what it means to “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you” (Exodus 14:13).
Watchman Nee (1903-1972) From the day in 1920 when, as a college student, Nee To-sheng found the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior during the visit of a Chinese evangelist to his native city of Foochow, he gave himself without reserve to God for work among his own people. Over the years he became widely known in China as a gifted preacher of the Gospel and an original expositor of the Word whose ministry bore remarkable fruit in individuals and in many groups of spiritually vital Christians.
Nee is remembered for his leadership of an indigenous church movement in China as well as for the books that continue to enrich Christians throughout the world. Beginning in the 1930s, Nee helped establish local churches in China that were completely independent of foreign missionary organizations and were used to bring many to saving faith in Jesus Christ. From them came many of the house churches that continued a faithful witness when Western missionaries were forced to leave the country.
The Normal Christian Life was first published in 1957 in Bombay, India and was at once accorded a widespread welcome. It is based on a series of addresses originally given by Mr. Nee during and shortly after a visit to Europe in 1938-39.
Arrested in 1952 and found guilty of a large number of false charges, Watchman Nee was imprisoned until his death in 1972.