Sit, Walk, Stand (1957) by Watchman Nee
Compiled and Edited by Angus I. Kinnear
Compiled and Edited by Angus I. Kinnear
Nee To-sheng or Watchman Nee (1903-1972) is remembered for his leadership of an indigenous church movement in China, as well as for his books especially The Normal Christian Life, which continue to enrich Christians throughout the world. Beginning in the 1930s, Nee helped establish local churches in China that were independent of foreign missionary organizations and were used to bring many into the Kingdom of God. From these roots sprang many of the house churches that continued to meet after Western missionaries were forced to leave the country during the Cultural Revolution. Arrested in 1952 and found guilty of a large number of false charges, Watchman Nee was imprisoned until his death in 1972. Sit, Walk, Stand was compiled from the spoken ministry of Nee at Foochow during "the spacious days of the evangelistic witness in China just prior to the Japanese war, when the author and his fellow Christians enjoyed a liberty in the service of God that is rare today,” writes Kinnear.
In this small book or rather, in his sermon talks, Nee "expresses [the believers'] triumphant assurance in the finished work of Christ." To show this, Nee summed up the epistle of Ephesians ("the highest spiritual truths concerning the Christian life") into two parts, and three sections as follow:
A) Doctrinal (Chapter 1 to 3)
1. SIT: Our Position in Christ (1:1-3:21)
B) Practical (Chapter 4 to 6)
2. WALK: Our Life in the World (4:1-6:9)
3. STAND: Our Attitude to the Enemy (6:10-24)
In the first section of the letter to the Ephesians, Nee notes the word "sit" (2:6), which is the secret of a true Christian experience. God has made us sit with Christ in the heavenly places and every Christian must begin his or her spiritual life from that place of rest. "Christianity does not begin with walking," writes Nee, "it begins with sitting." He continues, "Most Christians make the mistake of trying to walk in order to be able to sit, but that is a reversal of the true order… Christianity is a queer business! If at the outset we try to do anything, we miss everything. For Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE." We are invited at the very outset to sit down and enjoy what God had done for us; not to set out to try and attain it for ourselves. We must start with "sit" and not "walk" or "stand." Walking implies effort, whereas God says that we are saved, not by works, but "by grace… through faith" (Ephesians 2:8).
In the second section, Nee select the word "walk" (4:1) as expressive of our life in the world, which is its subject. We are challenged to display in our Christian walk conduct that is in keeping with our high calling. Nee rightly observes that "too many of us are caught acting as Christians. The life of many Christians today is largely a pretense." So what we should do? He says, "Our life is the life of Christ, mediated in us by the indwelling Holy Spirit himself, and the law of that life is spontaneous. The moment we see that fact we shall end our struggling and cast away our pretense. Nothing is as hurtful to the life of a Christian as acting; nothing so blessed as when our outward efforts cease and our attitudes become natural – when our words, our prayers, our very life, all become a spontaneous and unforced expression of the life within." Though Christian life begins with sitting, sitting is always followed by walking. We found our strength in sitting down, then we must begin to walk. Sitting is our position, while walking is our practice.
And finally in the third section, Nee emphasizes the key to our attitude towards the enemy contained in the one word "stand" (6:11), expressive of our place of triumph at the end. Yes, Christian experience begins with sitting and leads to walking, but it does not end there. Every Christian must also learn to stand. "Each one of us must be prepared for the conflict," encouraged Nee. "We must know how to sit with Christ in heavenly places and we must know how to walk worthy of him down here, but we must also know how to stand before the foe." Who is our archenemy? It is Satan and his fallen angels! Ephesians 6 is Paul's plea for us to stand against them. But we stand not by our own might and determination, we stand "merely on the ground which the Lord Jesus has gained for us." Nee confidence that when our eyes are really opened to see Christ as our victorious Lord, we can stand firm. No doubt!
I breathe "amen" as I finished reading this book; I gave praises to God for these refreshing words; I repositioned myself to sit near to Him. I'm reading Ephesians again in the new light! Dear friends, the Christian life really consists of sitting with Christ, walking by Christ, and standing in Christ. Watchman Nee concludes this precious book this way: "We begin our spiritual life by resting in the finished work of the Lord Jesus. That rest is the source of our strength for a consistent and unfaltering walk in the world. And at the end of a grueling warfare with the hosts of darkness, we are found standing with Him at last in triumphant possession of the field." Unto Him… be the glory… forever. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
More on Watchman Nee:
1) Secrets of Watchman Nee: His Life, His Teachings, His Influence (2005) by Dana Roberts (click HERE: http://richardangelus.blogspot.com/2017/10/book-review-secrets-of-watchman-nee-his.html)
2) Watchman Nee: Man of Suffering (1998) by Bob Laurent (click HERE: http://richardangelus.blogspot.com/2017/10/book-review-watchman-nee-man-of.html)