Not Loving Our Own Soul-life
We have spoken of the basis of overcoming, but what is the experience of the overcomers themselves? They face trials and encounter many difficulties, yet Revelation 12:11 says, "They loved not their soul-life even unto death." This is the attitude of the overcomers in the warfare. In this verse the word "life" has two meanings. One denotes the physical life, while the other refers to the power of the soul. (The word "life" can be translated as "soul-life." Let us consider the power of the soul or the natural ability.
The best way for Satan to deal with us is to cause us to act in our own strength. Satan wants us to move in ourselves. He wants us to exercise our own natural ability and fleshly energy in our work for God.
What is natural ability? Natural ability is the ability which we originally had and which has never been dealt with by the cross. It accompanies our character. The natural ability of one person may be his cleverness. In whatever he does, he draws upon his own cleverness. The natural ability of another may be his eloquence. He can speak well independent of any special power from the Holy Spirit. Man, however, cannot serve God with the natural ability that has never been dealt with by the cross. The failure of the church is due to man bringing in his natural ability. Oh, we all must be brought by God to the place where we are trembling and fearful lest we do anything without the Lord. We must become such persons—not merely speaking such things, but actually being such persons. Then we will become useful in the hand of God.
We are not encouraging anyone to pretend that he is holy. This is of no use, because it does not come from Christ. We are saying that God wants to break everything that is natural in a man. Only when we are cut off from all the elements that originate from our self will Christ be manifested. We must allow God to cancel the self through the cross. One day we must let God break the backbone of our natural life. We should not try to deal with this matter, piece by piece, item by item. For us to deal only with the outward things and leave the inward, natural life untouched is not only useless, but, on the contrary, it will make us proud. We will consider ourselves to be quite satisfactory, yet our inward condition will be even more difficult to deal with.
The day must come when our strength to do good and our ability to serve God are broken. Then we will confess before God and man that we can do nothing. Henceforth, Christ will be able to manifest His power upon us. We all must be brought by God to the place where we see that we can do nothing in the church with our natural strength. Many people think that as long as their motive is correct, it is good enough. But this is not the case. When you say you are working, the Lord will ask, "By what are you working?" If you say that you are zealous, the Lord will ask, "From where does your zeal come?" If you say that you have power, the Lord will ask, "What is the source of your power?" The question is not what you are doing, but with what you are doing it. The problem is not whether or not the matter is good, but what is the source of the goodness.
Originally posted by checkbaiterIt is that we turn over what we are to Him.
Some think that a person with a great talent would be useful to God, but it is the exact opposite.
God has no need for our abilities, great things happen when we trust his prompting.
The other meaning of not loving our soul-life is that we do not love our physical life. We have to stand for God even at the cost of our life. In the book of Job, Satan told God: "Skin for skin! Indeed all that a man has he will give for the sake of his life" (2:4). Satan realizes that man values his life above everything else. But God said that the overcomers love not their lives. The attitude of the overcomer is that he does not care what Satan may do to him. Even though Satan would take his life away, he would never bow to Satan, but always remain faithful to God. The attitude of the overcomer is to be able to say to the Lord: "For Your sake there is not one thing that I would not forsake, even my life."