Lesson 2 – The Sense of Life
THE SCRIPTURAL BASIS
The sense of life, as far as we are concerned, is very subjective, personal, and practical. Therefore, if we are to have any pursuit in life, we must pay attention to this sense of life and know it well.
Although the Bible does not mention explicitly the sense of life, yet it actually speaks of the matter. Romans 8:6 says, “For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.” This verse speaks to us very clearly concerning the sense of life, for the peace mentioned here is clearly a matter of consciousness. This peace does not refer to the outward environment, but the inward condition; therefore, it is definitely a matter of feeling. Since the peace mentioned here is a matter of feeling, the death and life mentioned here are also a matter of feeling.
The sense of death causes us to sense the element of death. The elements of death are: weakness, emptiness, depression, darkness, and pain. Death includes at least these five elements, and the sum total of these elements is largely equivalent to death. Death causes men to become weak; and when men become extremely weak, they die. Death causes men to become empty, because death ends everything. Death causes men to become depressed and down-hearted; the most depressed and silent ones are the dead ones. Death also darkens men; those in deepest darkness are those who have entered into death. At the same time, death causes men to suffer pain; one who suffers the most pain is one who has fallen into death. All these are the elements of death; therefore, when we sense these, we sense death.
These senses of death are results of our minding the flesh. Whenever we mind the flesh, we will immediately have these feelings of death. For example, if on the Lord’s day you mind the flesh a little in the afternoon, when you come to the breaking of bread meeting in the evening you will feel weak inside and unable to rise up. At the same time, you will feel empty, depressed, and perhaps even dark and in pain. All these feelings are the senses of death. Sometimes you sense one stronger than the other; sometimes you sense them all evenly. Nevertheless, it is due to our minding the flesh that we sense death.
The sense of life is just the opposite of the sense of death. The sense of death makes us feel weak and empty, whereas the sense of life makes us feel strong and satisfied. The sense of death makes us feel depressed, dark, and in pain. The sense of life makes us feel lively, bright, and comfortable. Because the sense of life makes us feel strong, satisfied, lively, bright, and comfortable, it causes us also to have the sense of peace, that is, to feel good and at ease.
The reason Romans 8:6 mentions the sense of life is that it has mentioned three things previously: the Spirit, life, and the law of life. The Spirit is in us and becomes one spirit with our spirit: life is included in the Spirit as the content of the Spirit; and the law is the natural ability and function of life. These three joined together become the law of the Spirit of life, which is responsible in us for all matters of life, giving us a certain sense anytime and anywhere. Whenever we mind the spirit and act and live according to the spirit, this law gives us the feeling of life and peace. To sense life is to feel strong, satisfied, lively, bright, and fresh. To sense peace is to feel comfortable, at ease, good, and natural. If we mind the flesh and act and live according to the flesh, this law will give us the sense of death, that is, we will feel weak, empty, depressed, dark, and in pain.
The second place in the Scripture concerning the matter of the sense of life is in Ephesians 4:19, which says that the Gentiles “being past feeling gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” This tells us that the reason the people in the world commit sin and do wickedness at will is that they have forsaken all feelings. Indeed, when man sins and does wickedness, he must have already forsaken the feelings within him. When a man sins and does wickedness, we cannot say that he has no feeling, but at least we can say that he has laid aside his feelings. If one does not lay aside the feelings, if one is restricted by the inner feelings, do you think he can still commit sin and do wickedness? All who sin and do wickedness are those who have laid aside their feelings. Anyone who commits sin and does wickedness must lay aside his feelings. When anyone cheats, steals, beats others, robs others, or does any other bad and evil deeds, he must lay aside his feelings. The more one commits sin and does wickedness, the more he must lay aside the inner consciousness. Therefore, an evil, wicked man is void of feelings, whereas a good and kind person is rich in feeling.
THE SOURCE OF THE SENSE OF LIFE
Where does the sense of life we are speaking of come from? From what is it produced? It is produced from the things we have gained through regeneration—the life of God, the law of life, the Holy Spirit, Christ, and God. The life of God, the law of life, the Holy Spirit, Christ, and God cause us to have a feeling within, and this feeling is what we call the sense of life.
Every life has its feelings. Furthermore, the stronger the life is, the keener its feelings are. The life of God is the strongest life; therefore, when this life is in us it causes us not merely to have feelings, but to have strong feelings. Since the law of life is derived from life, it also has feelings. Therefore, this law which is in us causes us to have feelings, especially when we disobey it. For example, when our body is normal, there is hardly any special feeling. But when it becomes sick there is strong feeling, and this strong feeling occurs when we disobey the law which is within the body. Similarly, when we obey the law of life, it does not give us much feeling, but when we disobey it, it gives very distinct feelings. The Holy Spirit as ointment is anointing and moving in us; Christ is living in us with activity; and God is working in us. All three are in us with activity and action. They are not quiet and motionless; therefore, they all cause us to have feelings.
THE FUNCTION OF THE SENSE OF LIFE
What then is the function or use of this sense of life? The function or use of the sense of life is to let us know continuously where we are living. Are we living in the natural life or in the life of the Spirit? Are we living in the flesh or in the spirit? This is what the sense of life makes known to us continuously, and it is for this that we have the sense of life. Therefore, the sense of life in us guides and proves us. If we follow the sense of life, we follow the guidance God gives us, and at the same time, we receive a verification of where we are living.
Now we shall apply what we have said. The sense of death makes known to us that we are not living in the spirit but in the flesh. Once we have the sense of death, we should know that we are not in the spirit but in the flesh. The sense of death includes weakness, emptiness, depression, darkness, and pain. Once we have such feelings, it means the sense of life in us is making known that we are already not right, that we are already not living in the spirit, but in the flesh. Then, what feeling does the sense of life give so that we know we are right before God and living in the spirit? It gives us the feeling of life and peace, or, in other words, it makes us feel strong, satisfied, lively, bright, and comfortable. Whenever we feel strong, satisfied, lively, bright, and comfortable within, we have inward proof that we are right before God and that we are living in the spirit.