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Wretchedness
by Watchman Nee

"O wretched man that I am!" cried Paul, "who shall deliver me from this body of death?" There is nothing more musical in the ears of the Lord. This cry is the most spiritual and the most scriptural cry a man can utter. He only utters it when he knows he can do nothing, and gives up making any further resolutions. At last he discovers there is no use in his making up his mind any more.

Have you despaired of yourself, or do you hope that if you read and pray more you will be a better Christian? Bible reading and prayer are not wrong, and God forbid that we should suggest that they are, but IT IS WRONG TO TRUST EVEN IN THEM FOR VICTORY. "Who shall deliver me?" "WHO?" Hitherto he has looked within for some THING; now his hope is in a Person. He no longer puts forth self-effort; all his expectation is now in Another.

We know that justification is ours through the Lord Jesus and requires no work on our part, but we think sanctification is dependent on our own efforts. We know we can receive forgiveness only by entire reliance on the Lord; yet we believe we can obtain deliverance by doing something ourselves. We fear that if we do nothing, nothing will happen. After salvation, the old habit of "doing" reasserts itself and we begin our old self-efforts again. Then God's word comes afresh to us: "It is finished." He has done everything on the Cross for our forgiveness and He will do everything in us for our deliverance. In both cases HE is the doer. "It is God that worketh in you." God wants to do all the work, for he must have all the glory. If we did some of it, then we could claim some of the glory ourselves. But God must have it all. He does all the work from beginning to end.

taken from Normal Christian Life by Nee-To-Sheng.