To know. It is a need not fully satisfied
If met without the search of free-will’s choice.
To know: it is to feel one’s human ignorance
And say, “How can I fill this need
That, filled, frees me?”
To eat. It is a need not rightly satisfied
If met without the effort of one’s will—
Of appetite. Man seeks to know, and choose:
“What shall I feed this shell of mine
That groans until my hunger is appeased?”
To hear. A need man’s two ears seek
To fill, by sound or voice, the empty space;
And whether that be light or dark in substance,
Each man picks.
And lust. It is a flame not fully satisfied
At all. It never ends. But burns and kills by turns,
With no relief, and wants to know what should be left
And truth. What’s that?
A burning lamp that leads… A single Word.
A rock where all needs fall and break—and cease.
It’s life. It’s peace. It’s soul tranquility…
And that which lust will counterfeit
And lie, and say, “Be freed—feed me!”
The man. He had a need of soul not satisfied
By beasts. Alone… he was alone with God
In Eden’s peace until God formed
A wife from Adam’s rib, and filled the need
His side had long ached for.
Man and his wife, alone—alone with God
Whose voice they heard and walked with
In the cool of the day.
The grape: a gorgeous fruit not firm denied
By Eve, who wished to know and hear the Snake—
And for him lusted.
God’s warning voice was not enough for her
When coils of lust caressed
Her gluttonous pride,
And looks of sparkling sin
Enticed her mind with charms to eat and be—
And thus she ate.
Adam, too: he touched and gulped
The beauteous food that turned to bitter bile
In his mouth, and made him hide in leaves of fading green
As opened eyes to nakedness and shame
Made dying souls
And man’s insatiable need.
Who lied?—and yet, are half-truths lies?—
Indeed—what half-truths, these! that made the lusting
Seem somehow much-less lustful when “to know”
Seemed like, “Forbidden fruit will be so sweet
For ‘good’ is also in it!”
And evil—what of it? (implied the Snake);
If gods, like God, they’d overcome the “bad”
And turn their ear and eye away—
Oh yes! for they would be as gods!
The mind. It was a land of passive thoughts unleashed
By hell, and there the seat of man’s great appetite,
And there, in truth, the battlefront of worlds.
Who knew? All food, once chose, will feed or kill
The mind it knows.
And half-truths never told
Of doubt that bred the worms of fear,
And hate that felt the part of love,
And bane that tasted much like wine,
And birthed in man
The living side of death.
Man’s god? His wormy belly now,
That gnawed his choice to fill that blood-sucked space
With lies, and made the truth most hard to eat
And most distasteful
Because it looked so hard.
All knowledge now was man’s to eat and drink
Of good and evil—nothing was restrained;
And on forbidden fruits the greedy man relied
And was the feast of demons
Who feasted on his mind.
Alas! A double head! It seemed to eat itself—
But no man saw the pain that man was in
To whom all sweet was bitter,
All bitter sweet,
While all his will
Some beastly thing became without control
Of natural faculties
By him whose skill was slain
In mere appearances
And though he wished to vomit up those thoughts
(those ugly thoughts!)
Man never could, for they would vomit him—
In foaming shame that oozed the guilt
All over him, infesting all that flesh
With parasites, while mocking sick a gutless man
Who chewed himself to death,
And wept and sobbed and cried—"Oh! where is life
Outside a caged man’s
The Christ. The need that each man had
Was Him. To earth a honied bread He came
As manna came to feed the wandering flock
And Shepherd each one back
Into His arms.
He was the bread for men who ate by choice
And drank the life that flowed from every word
His voice was clean,
As though its sound could wash the stinking scum
Right off of man.
And then... Golgotha. Giant scull there looming,
And as a hill supporting
Hell’s final meal of the flesh of man
In Christ, who let the curse of sin,
And weights of guilt,
Be laid upon His back
And took the famine of humanity
In his own frame, and made it shrivel up and die
A willing death
Beneath the plunging tide—the one great flood of blood—
Of precious blood!—poured out for man
By one Emmanuel
Who from the grave emerged
And purged man’s restless soul and anorexic brain
From wormy eggs that hatched the lust for death,
And in their place gave man the Light
To drench himself withal.
Christ rose! Ascending high His spirit flew
To God, sweet-smelling as perfume that blessed the air
And no more caged by mankind’s shell
Of weak mortality
He reached his pierced hand toward man’s boils of shame,
And pity touched them all,
Exchanging them for life,
In every man who chose
Co-death with Him.
And man observed: “To know.” Was it to eat?
"To eat." To know?—as choice would govern
What his body ate? The food of knowledge, sound, and sight
At each man’s fingertips
And which one would he chose?
And listen to?
Man said: “My heart and mind and will—these tools
Are dead, and must be washed at once,
For they were used (when I was old)
In eating filthy thoughts I used to do
And hate besides.
Does Christ the Lamb have blood enough
To cleanse my soiled mind? My stains of thought
And deed? The ear I lent to sin
To know it, and become a double man?
I crave to know the way—the way away from lust;
Away from minding flesh in all its appetites,
Its selfish motives, and its prideful gains—
Lord Jesus, see!
This poor man—me (once lost within himself)
Knew not how to resist
But now he’s new
And perfect circumcision
By Him whose holy crimson
Made my poor earthly wisdom
A foolish thing indeed.
Now give him strength, sweet Lamb of God!
The strength of faithful sight in will,
And power to subdue
And be renewed
What law is this?” man asks, amazed. “What law
Has saved me now from awful self?
The self myself could never run and hide?
The law of life—of love! Not that I loved, but He!
And gave me where my heart and mind were old
New ones, that bear His word of life
Alive in me—in my own will!
My frame! My inner man!
No more a slave
To scalding chains of lust
But now, in truth, emancipated whole!
In Him I walk, I speak, I breathe—in Him:
No strength of mine will charge these feeble limbs again,
But His—His will! for there my own will rests
With quiet joy... an offering...
Within the will of Him who lifted my death’s cup
And brought it to His lips
In love for me.”
The need: to know that each man's need is God.
To meet Him through the search of free-will’s choice.
To know our human ignorance is cured
In Him, and that He’s killed the lust to know
What ought to be unknown
And satisfied the ache
With knowledge of Himself.
In need, in end… it’s Him who can be known
And yet, in knowing, man knows no end of knowledge,
But eats with thanks, and runs the Spirit’s way
In truth—an onward tract of tasteful mystery
Of which no man can get enough to eat.
Each thought? Man’s choice.
Each bite? Man’s will.
Each action proving what his mind now knows.
The Snake, or Christ?
There’s one insatiable need.
What death or life
Will each man choose
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY & SUGGESTED READING:
All Scripture References in the KING JAMES VERSION [Public Domain]:
GENESIS 2, 3; LEVITICUS 1, 2; DEUTERONOMY 30;
ISAIAH 1; 5:20-24; JEREMIAH 31; EZEKIEL 18; PSALMS 51, 95;
MATTHEW 17:14-21; 27, 28; MARK 5:1-20; 15, 16; LUKE 23, 24;
JOHN 1:1-34; 3:1-21; 4:5-26; 6:25-71; 8:32; 10:1-18; 11:25-27; 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21;
ROMANS 5, 6, 7, 8; I CORINTHIANS 1:22-31; 15; II CORINTHIANS 3, 5; GALATIANS 2;
EPHESIANS 2; PHILIPPIANS 2:1-11; 3:19; COLOSSIANS 1:9-29; 2, 3; HEBREWS 3, 10, 12;
I PETER 1, 2:22-25; JAMES 1; I JOHN 4, 5; REVELATION 1, 5, 22;
“THE SPIRITUAL MAN” BY WATCHMAN NEE [Copyright 1968 Christian Fellowship Publishers, INC. New York]