(Note: I wrote the following review 6 months ago but never got around to publishing it. Lately several people have asked me if I’ve read Sit, Walk, Stand – it seems this book is enjoying a renaissance among grace folk.)
A few weeks ago I posted some thoughts on Watchman Nee’s book The Normal Christian Life. If you liked that book, you will love Sit, Walk, Stand. Both books were published in 1957 and both are largely based on Nee’s sermon notes.
Sit, Walk, Stand is a small book with a big message. It’s sold as a study of Ephesians, but it’s much more than that. In 78 short pages the author describes the three aspects of the believer – to God, to man, and to the enemy. The best summary of the book is the one the author provides on the last page…
“The Christian life consists of sitting with Christ, walking by him and standing in him. We begin our spiritual life by resting in the finished work of the Lord Jesus. That rest is the source of our strength or a consistent and unfaltering walk in the world. And at the end of a grueling warfare with the hosts of darkness we are found standing with him at last in triumphant possession of the field.” (p.78)
This is boot camp Christianity, the sort of book every new believer needs to read.
That said, I have just come away from my latest reading of Sit, Walk, Stand wondering how I could have missed so much good stuff the first time around. About seven years ago I got our church in Hong Kong to study this book. To be honest, we weren’t ready for it. We were wearing the wrong glasses. It is only since I have learned to read everything through the lens of Jesus and His finished work that this book really begins to make sense.
Incidentally, this is a very common experience for me – reading old books as if for the first time.
Perhaps you’re like me – you read Sit, Walk, Stand many years ago and thought it was good but not great. If so, can I encourage you to take another look? To whet your appetite, here are 12 of my favorite sound-bites from the book.
“All true spiritual experience begins from rest.” (p.27)
“Whereas God worked six days and then enjoyed His sabbath rest, Adam began his life with the sabbath; for God works before He rests, while man must first enter into God’s rest, and then alone can he work.” (p.16)
“God is waiting for your store of strength to be utterly exhausted before He can deliver you. Once you have ceased to struggle, He will do everything.” (p.23)
“Just you stop ‘giving’ and you will prove what a Giver God is! Stop ‘working,’ and you will discover what a Worker He is!” (p.25)
“The all-important rule is not to ‘try’ but to ‘trust,’ not to depend upon our own strength but upon his… Too many of us are caught acting as Christians. The life of many Christians today is largely a pretense. They live a ‘spiritual’ life, talk a ‘spiritual’ language, adopt ‘spiritual’ attitudes, but they are doing the whole thing themselves.” (pp.38-9)
“Too often we think that the actual doing is what matters. We have to learn the lesson of not doing – of keeping quiet for Him. We have to learn that if God does not move we dare not move… The abiding principle of all true Christian work is: ‘In the beginning God…’ … You ask me what I mean by natural power. Put very simply, it is what we can do without the help of God.” (p.67)
“Have we discovered how good the Lord is? Then in us He is as good as that! Is His power great? Then in us it is no less great! Praise God, His life is as mighty as ever, and in the lives of those who dare to believe the Word of God the divine life will be manifest in a power not one whit less mighty that was manifest of old.” (pp.39-40)
“The question is one of practical sonship. True, God has ‘foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ’ (1:5), but we make the mistake of thinking that we have already ‘come of age’ – that we are already mature sons… All will reach ripeness somehow. But the Lamb is seeking firstfruits. The ‘wise’ in the parable (of the wise and foolish virgins) are not those who have done better, but those who have done well at an earlier hour.” (pp.33,44)
Taking a Stand
“Armies march into other countries to occupy and subdue. God has not told us to do this. We are not to march but to stand. The word ‘stand’ implies that the ground disputed by the enemy is really God’s, and therefore ours. We need not struggle to gain a foothold on it.” (p.54)
“Today we do not fight for victory; we fight from victory… When you fight to get the victory, then you have lost the battle at the outset.” (p.55)
“Because victory is His, therefore it is ours.” (p.56)
“If we believe the Lord, we shall not pray so much but rather we shall praise him more. The simpler and clearer our faith in him, the less we shall pray in such situations and the more we shall praise. Let me say again: In Christ we are already conquerors. Is it not obvious then that, since this is so, for us merely to pray for victory – unless that prayer is shot through with praise – must be to court defeat by throwing away our fundamental position?” (p.57)
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