LNTW, Chapter 8: Mutual Refreshing
Chapter 8 is a wonderful chapter in which Watchman Nee goes to John 13 for the episode in which Jesus washes His disciples feet, and instructs them to do the same for one another. Nee then develops his ideas of what that really means. He makes the following points:
1. "Washing of the feet" is about refreshment, not cleansing from sin. It is meant by Jesus to be symbolic of mutual refreshment of our spirits, of my brother's by me, and of mine by him.
2. As we walk in the world we are left covered with its "dust," which then drags us down and makes it more difficult to be fresh before God, making prayer or reading the Word unavailable for a time. This is particularly true at the end of a day in the world. (Again, this is not about 'sin.') But then just a look, a handshake, a word or a prayer from a fellow Christian can "wash our feet" and refresh us before the Lord. That is the feet-washing desired for us by the Lord.
3. Such refreshment of one another is a ministry for Christians, one that we desire to have daily. We may not even know when such "washing" occurs, or how the Lord uses us to do that. And it is a ministry that every Christian can fulfill.
4. However, to do that we must be "untarnished" and filled with peace and joy. If there is any hindrance between us and the Lord, then no such "washing" can occur. In fact, we will have the opposite effect on Christians, dragging them down instead of refreshing them.
5. By washing His disciples feet, Jesus demonstrated what an important ministry this is to Him. There is always a need to restore the dusty, to bring them "afresh to what . . . is of God." Nee states, "That is power." We all need that power of being fresh from God in the world.
6. Nee states that sometimes being tarnished from the world hurts a Christian more than conscious sin. Sin is forgiven by the blood of Christ in repentance, but what treats tarnish of the world? It reduces our effectiveness in the world, so it is very good to have refreshment from a fellow Christian.
7. Nee lists two rules for refreshing by "washing the feet": 1) There can be no discord between the Christian and his Lord; that makes one useless and a burden; 2) Refreshing is always mutual; those who are refreshing others must also be refreshed themselves; all touch the world, and all need refreshing; no one is above that.
8. This principle works within the Body of Christ: refresh and be refreshed. No one is insignificant or unimportant; everyone has a role. Nee states that such refreshment is the "united front of the Body against the world." And Nee finishes this chapter with Jesus' finishing statement to His disciples after the lesson of the washing of their feet: "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them" (John 13:17).
11/15/2013 02:01:25 am
I love this chapter, and the concept of "mutual refreshing." Most of us have had that experience, when we didn't think of it in these terms. Going to a Christian meeting a little down, then getting "refreshed" by what a particular person said or did, happens. And, as Nee points out, not everyone refreshes everyone. What you said may have specifically refreshed me, while the person next to me was not refreshed by that, but refreshed instead by something/someone else! That is the joy of the Body.
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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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