Friday, January 27, 2012

Burdens of the Spirit

The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee
Volume II
Part Six: Walking After the Spirit
Chapter 2: The Laws of the Spirit

(5) Burdens of the Spirit

"The burdens of the spirit differ from the weights on the spirit. The latter proceed from Satan with the intent of crushing the believer and making him suffer, but the former issue from God in His desire to manifest His will to the believer so that he may cooperate with Him. Any weight on the spirit has no other objective than to oppress; it therefore usually serves no purpose and produces no fruit. A burden of the spirit, on the other hand, is given by God to His child for the purpose of calling him to work, to pray, or to preach. It is a burden with purpose, with reason, and for spiritual profit. We must learn how to distinguish the burden of the spirit from the weight on the spirit.

"Satan never burdens Christians with anything; he only encircles their spirit and presses in with a heavy weight. Such a load binds one’s spirit and throttles his mind from functioning. A person with a burden or concern from God merely carries it; but the one who is oppressed by Satan finds his total being bound. With the arrival of the power of darkness, a believer instantaneously forfeits his freedom. A God-given burden is quite the reverse. However weighty it may be, God’s concern is never so heavy as to throttle him from praying. The
freedom of prayer will never be lost under any burden from God: yet the enemy’s weight which forces itself upon one’s spirit invariably denies one his freedom to pray. The burden imparted by God is lifted once we have prayed, but the heaviness from the enemy cannot be raised unless we fight and resist in prayer. The weight on the spirit steals in unawares, whereas the concern of the spirit results from God’s Spirit working in our spirit. The load upon the spirit is most miserable and oppressive, while the burden of the spirit is very joyous (naturally the flesh does not deem it so), for it summons us to walk together with God (see Matt. 11.30). It turns bitter only when opposed and its demand is not met.

"All real works begin with burdens or concerns in the spirit. (Of course, when the spirit lacks any concern we need to exercise our minds.) When God desires us to labor or speak or pray, He first implants a burden in our spirit. Now if we are acquainted with the laws of the spirit we will not continue on carelessly with the work in hand and allow the burden to accrue. Nor will we neglectfully disregard the burden until it is no longer sensed. We should lay everything aside immediately to ferret out
the meaning of this burden. Once we have discerned its import, we can act accordingly. And when the work called for is done, the burden then leaves us.

"In order to receive burdens from God our spirit has to be kept continuously free and untrampled. Only an untrammeled spirit can detect the movement of the Holy Spirit. Any spirit which is already full of concerns has lost the sharpness of its intuitive sense and hence cannot be a good vessel. Due to his failure to act according to the burden which he already has received from God, the believer often finds himself painfully burdened for many days. During this period God is unable to give him any new one. Consequently, it is highly necessary to search out the meaning of a burden through prayer, with the help of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of one's mind."

The Spiritual Man


  1. thanks Tim. After the Bible, Spiritual Man is my favorite book. I've read it twice and always refer back to it. This is especially good to hear again. God bless.

  2. Randy: I have always enjoyed reading "The Spiritual Man" by Watchman Nee. Nee was a great writer and teacher. He spent the last twenty years of his life in a Chinese prison.

    I am very prophetic, but I really don't hang out with prophetic people. I gravitate towards excellent teachers like Nee, Oswald Chambers and Hall Worthington--they balance me out. Sometimes I think that if prophetic people only associate with prophetic people, they become unbalanced. It can turn into a prophetic social club with everybody patting everybody on the back and then doctrines of demons may creep into the conversation. I believe sound teaching adds salt to the life of a prophet.

  3. Hi Tim,
    This is a very good teaching from Watchman Nee and I really appreciate how he breaks down these burdens. This is very helpful! It sure does take time to discern the nuances of the spirit realm.
    I agree with you about balance. The Holy Spirit always leads me to be in balance and has always impressed upon me the need for sound doctrine. Prophetic people can get too caught up in these so called "words" and "experiences" they receive and can give them too much credence. As I mature in Christ I am more and more led toward "Sola Scriptura" (scripture alone.) Not saying that we don't receive authentic words from the Lord, of course we do. But I find that in reading a lot of these "words" they are a mixture at best.
    In Christ, Sarah

    1. Sarah: Yes, we have to be careful when someone wants to give us a "word" from the Lord. One time I was at this Bible study and three people HAD to give me a "word" from the Lord. One guy gave me a "word" that said I would be off the road very soon. That was back in 2006; I am still on the road. I hear from God very well, thank you.

      One time this truck driver picked me up and, just as I crawled out of the cab, he said he had a word for me. It was from the Lord and it was very edifying.

      We need to test the spirits. If something is of the Lord, then there will be peace in our spirit (it will bear witness with our spirit). If something is not of the Lord, there will be no peace in our spirit.

  4. "I hear from God very well, thank you."
    Amen! me too!
    It reminds of a friend who kept asking me to pray for her and ask the Lord something for her, I said no, you do it.
    He wants us to come to him.

    1. Sarah: There are a lot of believers who pray selfish prayers. Back in 1992, the Lord told me to stop praying in English (I used to pray a little prayer in English before I went to work at the lumberyard) and to OBEY Him. Obedience is better than the sacrifice of prayer--because the prayer may be selfish. I do pray in English once in while, but it is rare. Obedience is what destroys Satanic strongholds in the spiritual realm. My life of hitchhiking is obedience unto the Lord--this is the great work that the Lord is doing in my life at this time. My life is prayer/intercession.

      I had the unpleasant experience of praying with a "Christian" woman while I was in Wyoming a couple of months ago. The prayers did not bear witness with my spirit (she wanted me to pray with her about certain things)--they were selfish prayers.

  5. Christians do tend to pray some fairly selfish prayers. God knows all of our needs and He said not to worry about our life. Although we should give thanks always.

    The most important prayers we should pray for ourselves is how we were told to pray-

    -Luke 21:36 ...accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

    -Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
    Eph 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
    Eph 6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

    And of course we were told to pray this way by Jesus-
    Luk 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

    There are more prayer instructions in scripture....

    I fast and pray for answers to my questions and on behalf on unsaved & backslidden people I know.

    I pray for protection from evil and deception. I pray for wisdom, understanding, revelation knowledge, clarity, focus, and for the love of Christ to be in me. Without that it is all vanity.

    I pray about the things I am shown in dreams and visions. I intercede and pray for my family and friends.

    I also cry and weep in the Spirit and have no idea what is being communicated.

    Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

    I pray for the end of this evil age.

    Tim what do you pray?
    God bless!

  6. What do I pray? Very good question.

    I rarely pray in English. Sometimes I pray in tongues. My life is prayer. In the past few days the Presence of God has been very strong, so I know something is going on. If my body is in rapture for two or three or more days, the Lord usually reveals to me what is happening.

    There are different levels of intercession. The most important thing that I do is OBEY the Lord: where to go, when to stop, where to stay. Wherever the Lord puts me, He is interceding through me to those around me and to do those in different parts of the world (prayer transcends time and space).

    We don't use the Lord--the Lord uses us in prayer. The more we die to self, the more the Lord can use us. "Take up your cross and follow Me."