By Fred Pruitt
Our good Norwegian friend, Ole Henrik Skjelstad, along with some others and I, have been having an ongoing conversation over the past couple of years. Recently our discussion has been along the lines of temptation and desire. This paragraph below from Ole Henrik sparked the article below.
“Finally I have grasped what temptation is! I has nothing to do with doing wrong (and what is wrong when we partake of the tree of life?) or following our desires. It has everything to do with being pulled into separation in our minds by what we face, whatever that is! Simple as that!”
Yes! This is exactly what we come to in this Spirit-revealed understanding of temptation, lust and desire. In a way, temptation comes two ways most of the time. A temptation “up,” to see “this thing” as God and in God and at work for Divine purposes out of our inner oneness; or a temptation “down” in which our sight is locked into the temporal appearance as something in itself and “we” as “something in our selves” (separation) responding to this “thing” as if it is outside God, along with us outside God, too. Alone.
“Desire” in and of itself is neither good nor evil. It is where that desire takes us that produces the outcome. This issue of “desire” is a common theme in all world spiritual thought. In most cases, the major historical orthodox “religions,” generally view “desire” suspiciously or negatively. Part of the Christian monastic tradition was something called, ”Renunciation of Desire,” and it is especially addressed in some Eastern practices, where the ultimate is to be freed from all desire, as the path to peace and enlightenment.
Even our own evangelical brethren of today are ambivalent about desire. And, since most believe in the perpetuity of Romans 7′s supposed “double-mindedness,” that we are constantly battling flesh and spirit but never overcome and “sin every day,” it is no wonder they cannot trust their desires. They (our desires) bring in “bad stuff” so that even as Christians we try to conquer the desire, to suppress it, etc., resist it as something of the devil, etc., but it will not go away.
And of course this is at the heart of condemnation, because when the devil comes he says to us, “Look at you, you’re no saint, look at what you’ve been wanting all day!” And here, unless we know the “trick,” which is simply the inner keeping of the Spirit and our inner consciousness of “Who” we are, (which is God’s “job” to communicate and not our “job” to remember), we believe what the devil has told us. And that pulls us further into condemnation, because here we have the evidence of the devil’s case before us – our own “desires” or “lusts,” and we therefore accept his word that we are impure and down we go.
Let us be theoretical for the moment. In all spirit movement, desire precedes everything. Prior to “desire,” there is a still consciousness at rest. It is what Christian mystics and monastics describe as “contemplation,” which is not a verb describing an activity, but a noun describing an event, a state, an at peace state in which there is nothing but stillness. Boehme calls this the ungrund, or unground, in that it is beyond nature, or creation, which he calls ground, and only in the “ground,” or nature or creation, does activity and phenomena occur.
What does occur in the stillness is image (imagination) or sight (vision). Then in that image or sight, out of the depths of the formless unground, there is a going out, or a movement, to become or manifest, or to make palpable what to that point is only potential possibility. A desire to BE! What does the Father (or unground in this scenario) see and want to BE? The SON!
Newton was right when he said for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, because that is just what happens at this point. The “desire” to go out and be this image in the inner mirror of the mind, immediately sets up a contrary drawing in and attaching to the “particularized” desire in possessiveness. In human terms, it is “I see that and want that, and I want it because I want it and I want it for me.”
Out of all the myriads of possibilities considered, the Father has eternally decided to BE the SON as Himself in expression, and all ”creation” pouring out of that Word Who is the Son. But we are here at this juncture where everything hinges.
This is what Norman just summarizes as God eternally deciding what sort of person He would be: “Shall I be for myself?”, or “Shall I be for others?”. This is the reason why the scripture says, “God cannot lie,” so God cannot be a liar (self-lover) but can only speak Truth or What IS, as an other-lover as He has eternally willed Himself to be.
But in our outgoing desire “model,” for the moment we are stuck between wanting to “go out,” which finds freedom, or apprehend our desire possessively, (for me, to build me, to manifest “me”), which continues in contradiction to itself and strife within itself. We are stuck.
Nearly all world religions and philosophies are also stuck here, too, because this is not hard to see even for the natural man. Most of them bail out on desire at this point, and decide the answer is to have no desire or desires. If I am “desire-less,” then I cannot be drawn out of my inner peace into conflict, which is produced by wanting some “thing.” So we give up “things” and we give up any desire to have, do, or be anything, because we rightly think, desire brings conflict. Yes, it does. There is no movement without friction and heat. Therefore, we (wrongly) think, no more desire = no more conflict.
The only trouble is, this is not possible. In the very heart of our selves, we are compounded of desire. Desire is another word for love. Love is also exactly the same as desire in the conflict between self-for-self and self-for-others. Love IS the push, because Love cannot be still, it must go out, it must manifest. We can almost say that in this view love and desire are synonymous. We might even almost say, that as we can say, “God is Love,” we can also say, “God is desire,” because these two are so close in meaning and activity.
Therefore, it is vital for our maturity that we see that in God there is “desire,” and therefore in ourselves also. As I said, desire precedes everything except still consciousness. It is the push, the drive to go out, to particularize, to make visible, that drives the whole world and universe. In the emotional and physical it is the sex drive, a push and pull attraction for union and oneness with the beloved. Spirit continually seeks a body. A body compounded of love in the kingdom of Christ.
That is why this is so important that we see this. This “going out into conflict” is necessary. It is what produces the manifestation of God in love.
Think of an automobile. We ride in smooth comfort shielded from the elements in the body of the car as we drive down the road. But what is causing all this “bliss” in the passenger compartment is the tremendous conflict of movement and friction producing extremely high temperatures and the motions of gears, pistons, shafts and cylinders, manifesting through various mechanical systems. This “heat environment” gives us the comfort of A/C in the summer, as well as ample heat for riding snuggly warm in the winter.
The “tension” is precisely at the intermediary point between the still-theoretical design, and its manifestation in the pleasure, comfort and usability for the automobile. Let me clarify that. The “design team” is the team that designs and brings the car to the point of producing a prototype. Up until then, it is only on paper and blueprints, but once the paper and blueprints, schematics and such like have all been translated from the state of mental “theory” (which is what it is when written up in manuals) into the manifested reality of a fully completed, but untested, manufactured automobile. The “heat environment” (electrical and mechanical systems) begins to work, producing ignition, motion and friction, and as the engine begins to run, all the systems come to life, and we go down to the corner market to get some bread.
Now back to this unground/ground thing. At this point where we are in conflict between the reaching out and the drawing in, the Light MIRACULOUSLY shows up. The tension (smoke, lightning, heat) builds and builds and becomes a “flame,” finding no resolution in itself but only flaming wrath at not being able to BE except by grasping and possessiveness, for which there could never be a resolution … except this miracle occurs. What I am describing is the sub-basis of God, as well as angels (called flames of fire in scripture), in the heart of “self” and what kind of “self” would one be. (Psalm 18:26; and Prov 4:23).
Now this is the absolute central heart of the Eternal, the “Lamb slain before the foundations of the earth,” and the Miracle is the rescuing miracle of love and grace that comes on the scene in a Miraculous eternal resolution of this tension between “for-me” and “for-you,” into manifested eternal “self-for-others.”
In the “for me” self the fire rages, never quenched, never put out, because even if this “me” could have everything there ever was, is, or could be, still it could not be satisfied. This is where Lucifer and all his legions are trapped, because the “Miracle” which comes to cool the fire into gentleness, light, color, sound and consciousness, (the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven), Lucifer denied! HE would be lord of the fire, and bring all things into himself. He rejected the One Will by which the Universe is composed, the will of other-love, and sought an “own” will, a contrary will, declaring in Isaiah 14, “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Jesus said, “Not my will but thine be done, Father.”
Lucifer said, “I will ascend … I will exalt my throne above the stars of God …I will … I will … I will be like the Most High.” That is the “for-me” life, which is the inheritance of those who eternally deny the Son.
In the “for you” self, we have moved out of the raging wrath, because it has been cooled with the Water of Life. The Steam out of that Water cooling the raging wrath is the Spirit, and by Him and we enter the Resurrection, the new birth, translating from inner darkness and wrath, into the Kingdom of the Son, where now Christ is All, in all, and as He is we live in the world.
And this is the real issue! THAT transformation from eternal wrath to eternal love IS salvation. It is not simply a divine proclamation, pronouncing that since John Smith has gone forward in a church service, he is now saved. It is not signing up to become a member of the church. Salvation IS this inner transformation, whereby the former unknown (to me) god who was running my show, Satan, has been kicked out of the inner center of my life, and into that space formerly occupied by the enemy of our souls, the True King comes, and a whole new life begins.
This transformation IS salvation, from Satan to Christ, darkness to light, death to life.
Now see, what I have described above is both cosmic and universal, and as it is universal it finds particularity is each of us. God is not sitting up in heaven with a book either approving or disapproving of us, but rather God is in us and is either dark or light, wrath or love, and where our heart is, there is our treasure also.
This process in the Deity is experienced in us, every day, in smaller ways than our initial transition, but it is still the heart of everything, because those born in Jesus Christ live this out day by day, (whether knowingly or not), “to save much people alive.” It is part of the redemptive/reconciling process. Death and resurrection. Tension and release.
So desire is the beginner of all that. But you see the resolution as we have outlined it in God and in the same way it is the same inner resolution of Christ All, in all.
The “New Jerusalem” is greater than the Garden of Paradise, though it is included within its walls I am certain.