From Watchman Nee’s The Spiritual Man…
In the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, even of so-called “spiritual knowledge”, activities of the soul often can be detected. When one tries to increase his knowledge by doing mental gymnastics over books without waiting upon God and looking to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, his soul is plainly in full swing. This will deplete his spiritual life. Because the fall of man was occasioned by seeking knowledge, God uses the foolishness of the cross to “destroy the wisdom of the wise.” Intellect was the chief cause of the fall; hence, in order to be saved one must believe in the folly of the Word of the cross rather than depend on his intellect. The tree of knowledge causes man to fall, so God employs the tree of folly (1 Peter 2:24) to save souls. “If any one among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with Gog” (1 Cor. 2:18-20; also see 1:18-25). – From page 47
This morning I prayed thanking God for his wisdom. For in his wisdom, God directs us into circumstances, beliefs, and practices that ultimately may be unorthodox, unhealthy, or destructive if we continue in them for too long. However, also in God’s wisdom, he does this so that we might be conditioned by these experiences to move on to the next step in our spiritual transformation. For without the first step, the second step cannot happen.
In my prayer this morning I acknowledged this. Later, at lunch, as I read The Spiritual Man, Nee says that intellect was the chief cause for the fall of man. Here’s my interpretation. Adam and Eve’s primary motivation for eating the fruit was to gain knowledge. Nee does not make this distinction clearly, but I think that their desire for knowledge was not their sin. Rather, it was their desire to gain knowledge under their own power. They reach for the fruit (knowledge) and tried to obtain it themselves. They didn’t wait for God to give it to them. And as a result they and all the rest of us experience the unexpected consequence of death.
This action, as Nee notes, caused their souls to swell and displace their spirit’s proportional ratio, thus their soul became the dominator. Nee says that one must “believe” in the folly of the cross (the tree of folly) and not depend on his own intellect.
Not doing so, removes one’s acceptance of grace and full reliance on God for everything including knowledge.
This brings me back to my original thought. God leads us to a potentially harmful “Step 1” in order to enable us to move to “Step 2” when the time is right – and if we make that choice. For me, God in his GREAT wisdom has led me to intellectual prowess, but not so that I can claim that any conclusion is achieved by my own power and thus credit myself, but so that I can be prepared to intimately realize the depth of Gods’ love for me – that I am not a discerner of truth, but that he is the sole REVEALER of truth. I can only be a recipient of the truth God chooses to reveal to me. To seek to deduce spiritual knowledge and understanding under my own power is ultimate folly – the folly that brought death and separation into the world. But to wait on God for his timely revelation, is the way I am meant to gain knowledge and to understand his will and my role in the world. I give my thanks and praise to you Lord, my shepherd.