“Many saints cannot distinguish inspiration from emotion. Actually these two can be defined readily. Emotion always enters from man’s outside, whereas inspiration originates with the Holy Spirit in man’s spirit.”
– Watchman Nee
Watchman Nee Quote Commentary
Watchman Nee was a Chinese Christian who lived out his faith by dying for his faith. Imprisoned by Chinese communists after China fell under Communist rule in 1949. Watchman Nee spent many years behind bards before finally dying in prison. A true martyr for Jesus Christ, he could probably have easily renounced his faith and walked out of prison a free man but he chose Jesus instead. Knowing this about Watchman Nee gives us extra insight as to his quote about emotion and inspiration. He said emotion draws its power from the outside world. Inspiration, on the other hand, draws its power from within, the indwelling Holy Spirit. This deep and profound understanding of the power of the Holy Spirit helps explain how Watchman Nee chose Jesus over renunciation, atheism, and freedom. In the spirit of Watchman Nee’s words, here are three ways the Holy Spirit’s Inspiration leads believers to happier, more fulfilled lives.
The Holy Spirit’s Inspiration: Joy
It is easy to view happiness as something that we get. We get it from outside. Someone or something outside of us has to happen for us to feel happiness. This is the world’ s version of joy. As a result, it is often temporary and it is often under the control of people and forces which aren’t under our control. Not surprisingly, people who live their lives based on chasing external happiness often find themselves frustrated, burned out, unhappy, and empty. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, we can give the Holy Spirit permission to abide in our hearts and give us Joy. This joy doesn’t depend on what other people do. People and the world can be harsh to us and, through the gift of the Spirit, we can still find the strength to smile back and feel joy. Joy highlights the power of Spirit-filled living.
The Holy Spirit’s Inspiration: Love
Usually, when you listen to the radio or watch movies, love is shown as something someone gives us. It is something we trade: you love me, I love you back. The problem with the world’s love is that it tends to break down when disease, old age, anger, strife, and other challenges get in the way. It has weak roots. The Holy Spirit’s love, on the other hand, doesn’t care about other parties. It has it’s own source of power. It is able to show and pour forth love when the other person hates us. It doesn’t draw its power on whether it gets returned or not. It keeps on giving and giving just as God gave his only son to the world so the world can be saved. God did so even though the world hated God or didn’t know him.
The Holy Spirit’s Inspiration: Patience
Life is a long journey and it is too easy to lose our faith as challenge after challenge hits us. It is not surprising that most companies and relationships fall apart when hit by too many challenges. We become impatient. We keep asking when the problems are going to stop. We keep looking for the breakthrough. When we place the success of our journey in the hands of the Holy Spirit, we get an inner calm that allows us to find the strength to put one foot in front of the other as we push forward. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. That’s the power of Spirit-based patience. It doesn’t care about external reality for its strength. It finds its validation from principle-the power of God’s promises and the fact that God never goes back on his promises.
By drawing inspiration instead of choosing to be fueled by emotions, we can go a long way in our temporary journey here on earth. We can continue to rely on the world’s fickle energy sources, or we can choose to tap an unquenchable, always ready power source deep in our hearts-the indwelling Holy Spirit which entered our lives when we accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord.