How you react to the message that our outward man must be broken, by God, so as not to interfere with God’s plans. If you can begin to talk about it freely and easily, it surely has not touched you. If on the other hand you are enlightened by it, you will say, “O Lord today I begin to know myself. Until now I have not recognized my outward man.” And as the light of God surrounds you, uncovering your outward man, you fall to the ground unable to stand. Instantly you “see” what you are.
Once you said you love the Lord, but under God’s light you find it is not so – you really love yourself. This light really divides you and sets you apart. You are inwardly separated, not by you mentality, nor by mere teaching, but by God’s light. Once you said you were zealous for the Lord, but now the light of God shows you that your zeal was entirely stirred by your own flesh and blood. You thought you loved sinners while preaching the gospel, but now the light has come, and you discover that your preaching the gospel stems mainly from your love of action, your delight in speaking, your natural inclination. The deeper this divine light shines, the more the thought and intent of your heart is revealed. Once you thought your thoughts and intents were of the Lord, but in this piercing light you know they are entirely of yourself. Such light brings you down before God. Too often what we suppose was of the Lord proves to be of ourselves.
You who have experienced this know it is beyond mere teaching. All efforts to distinguish between what is me and what is God proves to be a waste of time and even making a list has proved to be useless. You continue to behave just as usual, for you cannot get rid of your outward man. You may be able to condemn the flesh, you may be proud that you can identify such and such as belonging to the flesh, but you are still not delivered from it.
Deliverance comes from the light of God. When that light shines, you immediately see how superficial and fleshly has been your denial of the flesh, how natural has been your criticism of the natural. But now the Lord has laid bare the thoughts and intents of your heart. How foolish to imagine that we could expose our sin! Only in His light shall we “see” and be exposed. It must be His work by the Spirit, not our efforts of the soul—that is, not out of our own mind. This is God’s only way.
This is why God says, “My word is living and effectual, My sword is the sharpest of all. When My word comes to man it is able to divide the soul and the spirit, just as a two edged sword can divide the joints and the marrow.”
How does it divide? By revealing the thought and intent of our heart. Beloved, only those who are in the light know their heart. No one else does, not one! Yet when God’s word comes, we “see”. We are exposed as self-centered, seeking only gratification, glory, pre-eminence and prestige for self. How blessed is that light that causes us to fall down at His feet.
What the Holy Spirit accomplishes when we are being disciplined is totally different from what happens when we are hearing a message. A message we hear may often remain in our mind for several months, possibly even years before its truth will become operative in us. Thus the hearing often precedes the real entering into life. However, through the disciplining of the Holy Spirit, we more quickly see the truth and thus possess it. Once we hear, we remember. But we may be disciplined ten times and still wonder why. The day discipline accomplishes its purpose is the day you really “see” the truth and enter into its reality. So the work of the Holy Spirit is to break you down on the one hand and build you up on the other. Thus your heart will say: “Thanks be to the Lord. Now I know that His disciplining hand upon me has been to break this strong point in me.”