Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

Which principle should I live by?

When I was a child, I was always taught to be good, to do the right thing–never to lie or  steal  and to always clear up my wrong doings. I do thank God for my parents and for such an upbringing; it really preserved me.

So growing up, I tried my best to be right in everything. But all my efforts for perfection left me full of anxiety.

As a young Christian, this subconscious principle of trying to be right and avoid wrong, continued to govern my life.

Then one day I got some help that really freed me…

I discovered another principle to live by–the principle of life.

Through reading a little booklet by Watchman Nee entitled Two Principles of Living—the Principle of Life or the Principle of Right and Wrong, I found out that God intended something much higher for us.

God did not just want us to be good,  but to live by a principle that would fulfill His plan, fill us with Himself, and thus enable us to express Him (Gen. 2:9a; Rev. 22:14).

I found out that as far as God was concerned,  right and wrong, good and evil, were of the same source, they were on the same tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9, 17). Eating from that tree, that is, living by that principle makes us independent from God. It separates us from Him (Gen. 3:6-8).

I was also enlightened to see that there was another principle to live by—it’s the principle of life—the divine life. It’s the life signified by the tree of life in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:9a).

This divine life is in Jesus Christ and is actually Christ Himself (John 1:4, 1 John 5:11-12).  Jesus said, “I am the way, the reality and the life (John 14:6). To choose this life-tree, the principle of life, is actually to choose Christ.

We’re in “the Garden” with two trees to choose from.

I discovered that, as believers, we’re in the same position as Adam—a triangular situation with two trees to choose from, two sources to draw from, two principles to live by.

If we make the same mistake that Adam and Eve made and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we’ll automatically find ourselves in a condition of spiritual death (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 8:6a).

Honestly, this is our default mode. Whenever we do things without contacting and enjoying Christ, by default we’re living by this deadening principle of right and wrong. We simply do what’s right in our own eyes, and act independently from God. We may even argue with others, insisting that “we’re right.”

On the other hand, if we choose the tree of God’s choice—the tree of life, we’ll feel enlivened and peaceful within (Rom. 8:6b). It becomes a matter of doing everything in the principle of dependence upon God, of contacting Christ in everything, even in ordinary, mundane things like driving or shopping.

Just consider.  Everything related to life is dependent. Take for example, breathing, drinking or eating. We never graduate…or we’re dead. Spiritually, this indicates that the Lord wants us to continually breathe Him, drink Him and eat Him (John 20:22; 7:37; 6:57).

Life or death–it’s our choice.

So honestly, the real choice before us today is not a matter of right or wrong, but of life or death. Every day we need to ask ourselves, “What principle  am I living by right now?

This life-changing discovery I made as a young person, is more real to me today than it was then.  Every day, even every hour and minute, I need to grasp the opportunity to choose life—and so do you.

One of the simplest ways I’ve found to choose life is to stop and call on the name of the Lord Jesus—“O Lord! Lord Jesus!”—so that I contact Him and breathe Him, to be dependent on Him. Rom.10:12 says, “…the same Lord…is rich to all who call upon Him.”

I hope you’ll join me in building up the practice of living by the principle of the divine life, of going along with the sense of divine life and peace within. In this way, Christ can grow in us, make His home in our hearts so that God can be expressed in all our living.

“Lord Jesus, thank you for showing us that there is a principle that’s higher than right and wrong. Thank you, that we can now live by You as our inner life.  Remind us to always turn to You and follow the sense of Your life and peace in our spirit. Lord we love You.”

References and Further Reading:

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

5 Replies

  1. Just enjoyed this tweet with a similar message. Even Christians can become caught up in right and wrong and lead each other away from life. Reminds me of Joshua’s challenge to the people in Joshua 30:19 – chose life! Often we should stop our talking and ask ourselves, is this leading us to confusion, dischord, division, and death? Then speak life to one another!

    1. Tom Smith

      Good point. Choosing life is not only something that relates to our individual spiritual growth for the mature expression of Christ in our personal lives. It is is even more a matter that affects the expression of oneness in the Body of Christ. If we think we’re right, we’ll often bring discord, division and death to Christ’s Body. How serious this is! But, if we all enjoy Christ, remaining in the fellowship of life (1 John 1:3) we’ll be preserved in oneness.

      On a side note, the charge to choose life was made by Moses in Deut. 30:19, but the point is still valid.

  2. In Mark 10:18 and Luke 18:19 Jesus declared, “No one is good except One — God.” When we choose life, we are responding to the only Good One. This choice, not mentally weighing right and wrong, is The Way to be good.

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