LNTW, Chapter 7: Detachment
Watchman Nee continues with his moving from the largely theoretical arguments into advice for practical living for the Christian in the world. This chapter deals mostly with how the Christian handles the physical and material "things of the world" in his touching of that world. It is a powerful chapter which draws conclusions that may be hard for some of us Christians to hear. Here are some of Nee's points:
1. While the Church has always been a "thorn in Satan's side," the 'kosmos' also has been, and is, a constant source of "grief" to the Church. Nee feels that as the end times approach, new forces are being released in the world which go against the Church, and which are much more subtly, spiritually evil than the earlier persecutions and assaults.
2. Those forces involve the "appeal of far more everyday things." Christians are paying much more attention to physical issues, such as food and clothing. The New Testament tells us not to worry about those things, but to seek instead the Kingdom of God; we act as if we don't believe those teachings. Nee specifically mentions the attention to a "level of luxury" by Christians, an attention that is "far from normal - it is supernatural," meaning that is being driven by the dark forces at play in the world. Many Christians are thus being drawn into the world system, and must awaken to what is happening.
3. Jesus taught that in the end times life would be like it was in the days of Noah, including marrying, planting and building, buying and selling. Nee states that people might ask, "What can be wrong with doing those things?" But they are clearly activities of the world. Commerce and finance are particularly dealt with, including the dark, worldly aspects of financial troubles, the amassing of wealth and the "feverish" making of business deals. The new Satanic forces which have been released seem to be driving men to these activities. In them Christians are being "ensnared" into the world.
4. Jesus also taught that we are not to get caught up in the cares of this biological life in the world. Our hearts are to be "detached in spirit" from the goods and needs of the world.
5. We are the Church, to be a light in the world's darkness. But more and more the Church is using and even abusing the ways of the world. We must constantly watch for, in order to become detached from, involvement in the ways of the world. Nee makes the interesting statement that some things of the world we legitimately need, but to be "weighed down" by them is not legitimate, and risks losing some benefits from God.
6. Nee goes into the last portion of Revelation to discuss its "Babylon," which he states represents "corrupted Christianity." He talks about the lust-corrupting aspects of commerce in the world, and how it currently pursues even "highly-principled Christians," taking them away from God to undo them. Such unprotected commerce leads to "unscrupulous self-seeking!" The answer is not total avoidance of these activities of the world, but preventing the power behind them from having victory over us.
7. In his final argument, Nee asks how we Christians can hold "material things" of the world within the will of God. He suggests that all must be held for God, not ourselves. As such, we must be willing to part with them as God asks. Nee finishes with, "I keep nothing because I love it, but let it go without regret when the call comes to leave it behind. That is what it means to be detached."
11/10/2013 09:47:56 am
Harv, this is a little long for a comment, but thought it addressed this chapter straight on. It's a short message from David Wilkerson...
11/15/2013 12:50:57 am
This call by Watchman Nee for "detachment" is very difficult for most Christians in this country today to achieve. We truly do pay excessive attention to "luxury." While we tend to point fingers at the ultra-rich as being those whom Jesus targeted, in reality it is US. Five- and six-figure homes, bank accounts, the absence of "clunkers" in our parking lots, the latest electronic gizmos, even good food and multiple sets of clothing - from which of these things do we willingly "detach"? Even middle class Americans live at the top of the world's wealth scale; what kind of stewards are we? And does the Church in America teach or encourage us to "detach" from these things today? Or is it also part of the problem? This is a chapter that we need to study. In this chapter Nee shows us how intricately involved in the world we truly are!
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Watchman Nee became a Christian in mainland China in 1920 at the age of seventeen and began writing in the same year. Throughout the nearly thirty years of his ministry, Watchman Nee was clearly manifested as a unique gift from the Lord to His Body for His move in this age. In 1952 he was imprisoned for his faith; he remained in prison until his death in 1972. His words remain an abundant source of spiritual revelation and supply to Christians throughout the world.
Love Not The World
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