Can You Stand the Trials of the Cross?

One of my many shortfalls, being member to this human race of ours, is the inability to read without submersing myself into the lives of those I’m reading behind.

This of course can draw some awkward reactions as much of what I read, I share here with you. What I mean is walking in the footsteps of one like Watchman Nee seems very foreign to most of us who live in the culture afforded by America and nations like her.

Reading of those who have literally surrendered everything for the cause of the gospel unveils a very superficial commitment in my own life.

Just who was this man Watchman Nee, anyway?  Did he corner the market on a right understanding of Pauline Doctrine? Are all believers called to the reckless abandonment that he chose to see as necessary if he would walk faithfully with his Lord?

 As will be true with all of us, Nee’s life was greatly influenced by another. As a young convert, Nee found himself enrolled in a mission camp led by Margaret Barber. This great woman of humility and courage would nourish him in the faith, and instill principles he would employ for the rest of his life.

An example of this patterned influence is recorded when Ms. Barber was stripped of all support due to wrongful accusations against her character. She refused to defend herself and even when it was proven the claims were false, she had already become accustomed to being totally dependent upon God alone for provision, so refused the re-offering of her support, and continued in the mission field without it.

Events in Nee’s life are also recorded where he would strike out on a mission journey with no provisions available, and miraculously, God would always provide. One of his favorite biblical passages was that of Elijah and the ravens. He trusted that if it was God’s will, then He had already made arrangements for His will to come to pass.

As an old man severely abused in a Communist prison cell, Nee would often reflect upon the goodness of his cherished friend and mentor, Ms. Barber. His thoughts of her would bring memories of her words to him, “Stay broken. Remember the cross, To-sheng. You must stay broken.”

If you cannot stand the trials of the cross, you cannot become a useful instrument. It is only the spirit of the lamb that God takes delight in; the gentleness, the humility, and the peace. Your ambition and ability are useless in the sight of God. I have been down this path; it is not a question of right or wrong; it is a question of whether or not one is like the bearer of the cross. Margaret Barber

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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12 Responses to Can You Stand the Trials of the Cross?

  1. mrteague says:

    I love hearing about Nee’s life as much as I enjoy his teachings. I find his example to be nourishing. I hadn’t heard about Barber or her teachings. Judging by the quote above she was a deep woman of God. Thank you!

  2. Streim says:

    Because I follow your blog and also appreciate your love for our Father and Lord Jesus Christ, I would like to suggest a post from another blogger here at wordpress. It is a lengthy post, but well worth the read!
    In the love of our Lord and Savior,

    • mtsweat says:

      Thank you very much for your following, your gracious words, comments, concerns, and link good friend. Yes, I am aware that many refute Nee’s stance on soteriology. Personally, I lean more toward the view of the author from your link, even though taken back a little by his thoughts on Sproul and Spurgeon. My concern with these who find it necessary to rebuke by name those who don’t hold sternly to Reformed beliefs is the arrogant insistence that this whole issue of exactly how God enacts His salvation is cut and dried. In reality, this argument of free will and sovereignty has been going on for the entire history of the Church, with no resolve. I once too held these views so strongly that I was willing to destroy relationships and argue to end five points. It was a good day when I heard the words of Jesus, “They will know you are My disciples by your love for one another.” I had to ask myself, does God save people through the finished work of Christ, or through a thorough understanding of Calvanism? I chose the prior and expanded my scope of just how vast the mercy and grace of God is in Christ. The truth of the matter is that the Bible teaches that we are saved by grace by placing our faith in the work God did through His Son on our behalf. There are no passages that say we are saved when we come to a fully complete understanding of how He did that work, only that He did it. For that reason, I choose to call those who believe the authentic gospel my brethren. So, thank you my Sister. That our love for the truth would continue to grow with our relationships and that we can discuss these things we do not agree on as family, not enemies, both naming the same Savior, that the world will see our love for one another, and them, and come to know our Lord. Many blessings!

      • Streim says:

        I, too, found some questionable information in the post… but I wanted you to see the portion on Nee.
        I, as you, would never be an accuser of possible (?) brethren. I prefer to share the Word and the “hope and peace” that is only found in Jesus Christ as Savior and our Lord.
        Blessings to you and family!

  3. ccragamuffin says:

    Can anyone crucify themselves? Really?? I can’t. My cross is not self inflicted. But I can choose to daily submit to the crucifying work of God, to apply it to self. Isn’t that the “reckless abandonment that he chose to see as necessary if he would walk faithfully with his Lord”. To die to self, to let God do a crucifying work in my life so that I can live Christ. It most probably will look different in my life than in the life of Ni To-scheng. It is MY cross. But death to self is no less difficult for whoever or where ever the self is. One persons reckless abandonment may be a life of singleness and having no family commitments. Another cross bearer may be recklessly abandoned IN a family, TO their family. One may sell all in reckless abandonment and move to a foreign mission. Another may work diligently with reckless abandon to send a cross bearer to the foreign mission. One may cross oceans to save young woman from the sex trade. Another may sacrifice their weekends to mentor a young woman so she will see her value and never need rescuing. And what of the one who quietly wakes very early every morning to pray for family, friends, and church. To answer the call “Come, follow me” does take an abandonment to our own way, but where and how He will lead may not look reckless to any but the Lord. Great post. Great thought provoking. Blessings.

    • mtsweat says:

      Your words are super inspirational good friend… saturated with wisdom, truth, and compassion. Indeed, praise be to God, we will not all face the brutal suffering as this Saint and many others, but the calling is no less full, and no less pleasing to Him when we surrender all. Thanks and many blessings!

  4. Tahlitha says:

    Thank you for sharing. What an inspirational story of trial and glory, in Christ alone.

  5. mtsweat says:

    Good… good stuff.

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