Quoteable Nee

Perhaps you may have been asking the Lord for a long time that he will be pleased to use you in such a way as to impart impressions of himself to others.  That prayer is not exactly for the gift of preaching or teaching.  It is rather that you might be able, in your touch with others, to impart God, the presence of God, the sense of God.  Let me tell you, dear friends, you cannot produce such impressions of God upon others without the breaking of everything, even your most precious possessions, at the feet of the Lord Jesus.

But if once that point is reached, you may or may not seem to be much used in an outward way, but God will begin to use you to create a hunger in others.  People will scent Christ in you.  The most unlikely people will detect that.  They will sense that here is one who has gone with the Lord, one who has suffered, one who has not moved freely, independently, but who has known what it is to subject everything to him.  That kind of life creates impressions, and impressions create hunger, and hunger provokes men to go on seeking until they are brought by divine revelation into fullness of life in Christ.

The matter of our impact upon others turns upon one thing, and that is the working of the cross in us with regard to the pleasure of the heart of God.  It demands that I seek his pleasure, that I seek to satisfy Him only, and I do not mind how much it costs me to do so.

There must be something – a willingness to yield, a breaking and a pouring out of everything to Him – which gives release to that fragrance of Christ and produces in other lives an awareness of need, drawing them out and on to know the Lord.  This is what I feel to be the heart of everything.  The Gospel has as its one object the producing in us sinners of a condition that will satisfy the heart of our God.  In order that He may have that, we come to Him with all we have, all we are – yes, even the most cherished things in our spiritual experience – and we make know to Him: “Lord, I am willing to let go all of this for you: not just for your work, not for your children, not for anything else at all, but altogether and only for yourself!”

It is a blessed thing to be wasted for the Lord.  So many who have been prominent in the Christian world know nothing of this.  Many of us have been used to the full – have been used, I would say, too much – but we do not know what it means to be “wasted on God.”  We like to be always “on the go”: the Lord would sometimes prefer to have us in prison.  We think in terms of apostolic journeys: God dares to put his greatest ambassadors in chains.

From Watchman Nee’s “The Normal Christian Life”

3 thoughts on “Quoteable Nee

  1. Holiday Longing October 29, 2009 / 4:30 pm

    No wonder when I first read The Normal Christian Life (35 years ago!), it had such an impression on me!

    Take this quote: “Let me tell you, dear friends, you cannot produce such impressions of God upon others without the breaking of everything, even your most precious possessions, at the feet of the Lord Jesus.”

    My experience is that if we aren’t able to break all of our possessions at His feet, He will break us through difficult circumstances until we are finally able to let go.

    I look forward to that day and to having the fragrance of Christ emanate from me in a way it never has.

    Thanks for the post!

    I actually made a copy of those pages from my book and pasted them into a journal. When I read those words, oh what longing in my heart to be that person!

    Thank you for stopping by, and for the comments.

  2. Mike November 4, 2009 / 7:30 pm

    I can’t seem to get this off my mind. I hope it comes out right.

    The time I spend with God is the highlight of my day. It is rich. But when I try to convey that richness to others, it too often appears to have little impact.

    The effect lately has been to withdraw even more to God. To not ‘try’ so much with others. Almost to the point of trying not to ‘try’ unless He unmistakenly prompts me to speak.

    That is about the best way I know to explain it.


    Hey Mike – I think I know what you mean. I’ve had that experience myself. I’ve been encouraged lately by Jeremiah and his perseverance in continuing to say what God gave him to say, even when it was disregarded. However, I know that sometimes I have been too willing to share all of my heart with people regarding the things the Lord is showing me without a discerning of when the Lord was prompting me to speak and when it was just me wanting to talk.

  3. Mike November 7, 2009 / 9:57 am

    You are exactly right. In my zeal ‘to impart impressions of himself to others’, I speak sometimes when I should not. It seems like I get closer and closer to a ‘vow of silence’. Right now I think I am just at the point of a vow to just ‘shut up’.

    When I made that first comment, I was on my way to a small group meeting where we talk about the things God has shown us during the previous week. We have some pretty cool discussions.

    I went into the meeting with my vow of ‘shut up’ and it was good. I waited until I was sure the Lord was prompting me to speak. There is a distinct difference. The night went well.

    By the way, I read through about Jerimiah 23 or 25. Loved it. Though there were many, one of my favorite verses was 2:13.

    All for now,


    I just finished Jeremiah this morning and 2:13 is probably a fitting summary of the book – instead of coming to Him, they choose their own way. Over and over. As I completed the final chapters I realized that we are really no different than Israel and I found myself praying – Lord, help me to forsake my own way and cling to You.

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