Thou hast said Thou art the Vine, Lord

One day Brother Nee gave a testimony about Hudson Taylor. When Hudson Taylor was in China, after he had formed the China Inland Mission and had a large group of missionaries working with him, he entered a period of depression. He was troubled and perplexed by his depression and did not know how to go on. One day while he was having a devotional time in the Bible, the word are in John 15:5 suddenly stood out to him. He saw that it is a fact that every believer is a branch in Christ. He became joyful and was released from his depression. He realized that as a branch in Christ, he had everything he needed. We can only be what we are; we cannot be something that we are not. Since, according to the Lord's word in John 15:5, we are branches, we cannot be anything else.

Hudson Taylor saw the significance of the word are in John 15:5, and in the same verse Brother Nee saw the significance of the word in. Since we are in Christ already, we do not need to find a way to enter into Him in order to abide in Him. What Hudson Taylor and Brother Nee saw helped me very much. Not long after this. Brother Nee wrote a hymn, which has been translated into English in Hymns, #561. Stanzas 3 through 9 say,

But I fail to understand, Lord,

What it means—"abide in me"

For the more I seek "abiding,"

More I feel I'm not in Thee.

How I feel I'm not abiding;

Though I pray and strongly will,

Yet from me Thou seemest distant

And my life is barren still.

Yet Thou are the Vine, Thou saidst it,

And I am a branch in Thee;

When I take Thee as my Savior,

Then this fact is wrought in me.

Now I'm in Thee and I need not

Seek into Thyself to come,

For I'm joined to Thee already,

With Thy flesh and bones I'm one.

Not to "go in" is the secret,

But that I'm "already in"!

That I ne'er may leave I'd ask Thee,

Not how I may get within.

I am in, already in Thee!

W hat a place to which I'm brought!

There's no need for prayer or struggling.

God Himself the work has wrought.

Since I'm in, why ask to enter;

O how ignorant I've been!

Now with praise and much rejoicing

For Thy Word, I dwell therein.

To dwell means to stay. Since we are in Christ as the vine already, it is illogical to seek to be in Him. We do not need to seek the secret of entering into Christ, because we are in Him already. We only need to praise the Lord that we are in Him. No matter what we do or what our apparent condition may be, the fact is that we are in Christ.

On one hand, we should not be afraid to let others serve, but on the other hand, we should watch them; that is, we must oversee. Sometimes Brother Nee did not correct me directly; instead, he would speak to Sister Ruth Lee. One Lord's Day morning I spoke on abiding in the Lord. After the message Brother Nee told Sister Lee, "Concerning abiding in the Lord, the word abiding is not so important, but the word in is very important. You must see in; otherwise, regardless of how hard you try, you cannot abide. Only when you see that you are in the Lord can you abide in the Lord." Sister Lee received much benefit from this. Brother Nee knew that I had contact with Sister Lee and that she would convey his word to me. Later, Brother Nee wrote a hymn concerning the vine (Hymns, #561), in which the vine typifies our being in Christ. The light of the truth in this hymn is very clear. Once we see that we are "in," we can do nothing but abide, because we are already in the Lord. If we do not see that we are already in the Lord, we will be unable to abide, no matter what we do.