EXERCISING OUR SPIRIT TO TOUCH THE WORD
A newspaper is composed of material in black and white, in letter only. When we read the newspaper, we must exercise our eyes to read and our mind to understand. But we cannot and should not deal with the Word of God in this way. The Word of God needs our eyes to read, but it is not for our eyes to read. It needs our mind to understand, but it is not for our mind to understand. The eyes are the members of the physical body, and the mind is the main part of the soul. But the Word is for our spirit to receive and digest. After we read and understand the Word, we have to exercise our spirit to take the Word. The Word is not for our eyes to read nor for our mind to understand but for our spirit to feed on. If we do not exercise our spirit while reading the Word, the Bible is the tree of knowledge to us and not the tree of life. The same Bible may be a book of knowledge to one person or a book of life to another person. Whether it is a book of knowledge or a book of life depends on what organ we use to deal with this book.
After I received the Lord as a young man, for at least seven years I contacted the Bible without realizing I needed to exercise my spirit to touch the Lord in the Word. No one ever helped me to realize that I had to exercise my spirit to deal with this spiritual book. I was never taught in this way. Thus, the more I studied this book merely with my mind, the more dead I became. The more I studied, the more I was filled with dead letters, dead knowledge. We have to exercise our spirit to deal with this living Word and to touch the Word. Then the Word becomes spirit. When it becomes spirit, it becomes life. When it becomes life, it is the food, the supply of life, to us.
When we come to the Word, we have to read it with our eyes and understand it with our mind, but there is no need for us to exercise our mind too much. Our mind has been over-exercised. Even when we are sleeping, our mind is still exercised because we dream. If we do not understand something when we are reading the Word, we should not be bothered. After we understand something, however, we have to exercise our spirit to touch that portion of the Word by the way of prayer. Right away we have to pray about what we understand and pray with what we understand.
(Excerpt from The Tree of Life, ch. 11)