Small Group Readings
Week 1 - Taking God as Life and Living by Him
Gen. 3:22-24 22 And Jehovah God said, Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever— 23 Then Jehovah God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out, and at the east of the garden of Eden He placed the cherubim and a flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
1:14 And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and reality.
6:57 As the living Father has sent Me and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.
14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak from Myself, but the Father who abides in Me does His works.
Heb. 4:16 Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.
10:19-20 19 Having therefore, brothers, boldness for entering the Holy of Holies in the blood of Jesus, 20 Which entrance He initiated for us as a new and living way through the veil, that is, His flesh,
GOD DESIRING MAN TO RECEIVE HIM AS LIFE
Most people have the concept that they should worship and serve God and do something for Him. This, however, is not what God requires of man. At the beginning of the Bible, God presented Himself as food to man so that man could receive Him (Gen. 2:8-9). He wanted man to receive Him as food so that He could enter into man to be man’s life. The first two chapters of Genesis show that among all the creatures created by God, man is the highest creature and possesses the highest life. Man has God’s image and likeness to express God and to represent Him with authority, that is, to rule over everything created by God (1:26). However, man did not have God’s life; God was not in man. God wanted man to receive Him as life. Therefore, after He created man, God placed man before the tree of life.
The tree of life indicates that God wants to be man’s life. God placed Himself before man as the tree of life, indicating that He wanted man to receive Him as food. God wants to enter into man to be man’s nourishment and even become man’s constitution, just as the food we eat becomes our nourishment and our constitution. In this way God is mingled with us as one, and we can live by Him and because of Him. He wants to be our life, and He wants us to express Him. This is the desire of God’s heart.
If we can receive God, live by Him, and let Him live in us, we will have many wonderful experiences. God has no intention for us to do something for Him. What He asks of us is that we allow Him to enter into us to be our life and do everything through us. He wants us to do everything by Him as our life. In other words, what we do is secondary. The primary matter is that we take Him in as life. This is His primary thought.
THE LORD JESUS BEING THE FIRST PERSON TO TAKE GOD AS LIFE
Adam fell when he took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus allowing the element of Satan to enter into him. As a result of Adam’s fall, God closed the way to the tree of life, using the cherubim and a flaming sword to guard it (Gen. 3:22-24). This means that the way to God was closed. Cherubim signify God’s glory (Ezek. 9:3; 10:4; Heb. 9:5), the flame signifies God’s holiness (Deut. 4:24; 9:3; Heb. 12:29), and the sword signifies God’s righteousness (Lam. 3:42-43; Rom. 2:5). God used the cherubim, the flame, and the sword to close the way to the tree of life. This means that His glory, holiness, and righteousness do not permit fallen man, with the element of Satan, to contact Him. Thereafter, no fallen human being on earth could contact God or receive Him as life.
One day God was manifested in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16); there was a man on earth who took God as life (John 1:1, 4, 14). When the Lord Jesus was on the earth, He let God be His life. He was a genuine man with the human life and nature. Apart from the fact that He was without sin, He was exactly the same as us. He came to the earth to live as a genuine man, but He took God as life and lived the human life by God’s life.
The Lord said, “The living Father has sent Me and I live because of the Father” (6:57). The phrase because of indicates that although the Lord Jesus was a man, He did not live by Himself; He lived by God. He took God as the factor of His living. Therefore, He could say, “The words that I say to you I do not speak from Myself, but the Father who abides in Me does His works” (14:10). Apparently, the Lord was speaking, but actually, it was God who was working. This was a man who did not live by His own life but took God as His life. It was not until the Lord Jesus was born that God gained a man on earth. On one hand, the Lord Jesus was a genuine man with His own mind, emotion, and will; He had choices and preferences. On the other hand, He completely denied Himself, put His own life aside, and let God live in Him; He let God be His preferences and choices.
The Lord Jesus was not without thoughts, but He denied His thoughts and let God think in Him. It was not that He did not know how to choose, but He chose God’s choices. He denied everything of Himself and took God as His life. He was a human being, but He lived by God. This is the greatest event in the universe. It is immeasurably greater than God’s creation of the heavens, the earth, and all things on the earth. Although the Lord Jesus was only an insignificant man from Nazareth, having no beauty, splendor, or glory, He was mingled with God, and God was His life. This is the greatest and the most mysterious thing in the universe!
God wants to obtain the very same thing in us… God desires that we learn to receive Him and to take Him as our life by denying ourselves, just as the Lord Jesus did.
TAKING GOD AS LIFE AND LIVING BY HIM
We can take God as life and live by Him by eating, drinking, and enjoying Him. In John 6:57 the Lord said, “As the living Father has sent Me and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.” When we eat and enjoy the Lord, He will carry us in our living and in our service, and we will spontaneously do His will.
God became the Spirit so that He can enter into our spirit. He knows that this matter is too vague for us to comprehend; hence, He has given us the Bible. In other words, in addition to entering into us as the Holy Spirit, He is also present in His Word so that we may contact Him. As Christians, we have the Bible without and the Spirit within; we have the Bible in our hand and the Spirit in our spirit. Now we can contact God as the Spirit and in the Word.
When we use our spirit to contact the Bible, God’s Spirit will touch our spirit. The more we contact the Word, the more the Spirit will move in our spirit. The move of the Spirit within us is the divine life in us. We should simply follow His move and cooperate with His anointing. If He wants us to weep, we should weep, and if He wants us to rejoice, we should rejoice. When He wants us to preach the gospel, we should preach the gospel. When He does not want us to speak, we should stop speaking. If He does not want us to go to a certain place, we should not go. We should cooperate with and obey His move. This is what it means to take God as life and live by Him.
We should set aside some time daily to contact God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to touch our inner being through the Word. We cannot contact the Word merely by reading the Bible in an ordinary way or by studying the Bible with our mind. We should use our spirit to contact the Word. We need to spend time before the Lord and contact God’s Word with our spirit. Then the Holy Spirit will touch our spirit.
The Word is the expression of God, and the Spirit is God entering into us. The Word enters into us as the Spirit. The Word is the Spirit, and both the Word and the Spirit are God. The Word is outside of us, and the Spirit is inside of us. When God’s speaking enters into us and when we touch the Spirit, God becomes our life. If we learn this secret, we will experience and enjoy Him as life every time we contact the Word. (Knowing and Experiencing God as Life, Chapter Five)
Questions for discussion:
- Please share some examples of the Lord Jesus daily living where He took God as life.
- Please share with each other your experience of the move of the Spirit as a result of your contacting the Word of God.