I WANT TO SEE CHANGE IN ME!
by Fred Pruitt
The following is from “The Simeon Letter,” dated November 15, 1984.My friend Alice Corcoran was recently cleaning out old stuff and came across this piece from way back then, and sent it to me. It’s an old newsletter I used to do quarterly back then that I had forgotten about. No words from 1984 were changed to suit 2007. It seems the same truth that was to me truth then, is truth now. Like we do today, this is a question and answer exchange with a lady named Helen. I do not remember who this Helen is, so if she gets this and remembers, “Praise the Lord!”
Recently I have had some correspondence with a lady named Helen, who lives in Philadelphia. The primary concern she expresses in her letters are, I think, the beginning issues all of us face when being pressed by the Spirit of God into union reality through our death and resurrection in Christ. Simply put, the issue is this: how do I bridge the gap between how my life appears to be, i.e., caught in weakness, sins, and self-centeredness, to a life in which Christ is visible as my “lived-out” reality? Or — is that even possible in this life?
The great testimony of Christian history shows that it is possible, because so many have done it. We have mistakenly revered those few ones as “special” and “favored” and not thought such was possible for most of us. The reason is, that tradition has taught us that those special saints attained their status through much hard work, discipline, study, prayers, dedication and self-sacrifice. Another lesson we get from tradition is that all great men and women of the Spirit are full-timers, i.e., they are preachers, monastics, theologians, etc.
The testimony of the scriptures, on which we base our understanding, cuts across those long-held human traditions. Every level of life in God is received and lived in faith, from our initial salvation, to receiving the Spirit, to learning and studying, to coming to an inner knowledge of union, to the further reaches of outpoured life out of union. The following excerpts from two letters and their replies, are centering around this faith issue as it concerns bridging the gap of separation into union.
In reading one of your articles, there is a mention that you publish material emphasizing our union with Christ. I am still in the struggling stage. I accept by faith my union with Christ, but I have not had the inner revelation as yet. I remind myself often that I am crucified with Christ, but often times I seem to return from the dead, my habits that I really hate. I would appreciate it if you would send me your publication and any help you could give me.
I am flattered and privileged that you would ask for our little publication and any other help I might have for you. So, I’m sending you some of our material and I thought I would comment a little bit on some of the issues you raised in your letter.
You tell me that you tell yourself that your are in union with Christ, have been crucified with Him, but have as yet not had an “inner revelation.” And because of that, you say, you seem to often “return from the dead,” to old habits that you “hate.” So, you are in a quandary. Well, it’s God’s quandary, though, isn’t it?
The first point to make is to realize exactly what it is to have faith, or to make a faith stand. When you “take” something in faith, why do you do it? It is because you are convinced in some way of the truth of it. Why do you say you are in union with Christ, or that you have been crucified with Him? My guess is that you have seen it as true according to the scriptures and thus you have seen that you must accept it as true for yourself. So, in some way, you have done so by saying, “I am crucified with Christ; I live, yet not I, but it is Christ who is living in me.” I know you’ve come to that point. Then what?
You stand there, that’s all! You’ve completed your part. Then you don’t get into a tizzy about not having an “inner revelation” — because it’s already true! You are in union with Christ; it is He living as Helen! The Spirit does meet us back from time to time with “knowings” and revelations and such like, but that isn’t where our faith rests. Our faith rests in Christ, and what the scripture says is true about Him in us.
Do you see what I am saying? To let your faith rest in anything less than the total fact about yourself, which is that He is living out His Life in and as you NOW, is focusing on appearances, or your human vessel (see 2 Cor 4:7) — that is, you are looking to the container rather than the contents.* And when you do, you always fall short! So, to make a faith stand, in your case, would be to say that, “Even though it appears as if I am not Christ living in me as me, and I seem to be caught in old habits which I hate, nevertheless I am standing on the fact of Galatians 2:20 as the truth about me now, no matter what.” *[Human self is the “container” — Divine Self is the “contents.” 2007 note].
Now, about your “old habits.” If it’s Christ living in you, then who is in control of your habits, good or bad? You must see, if you are in union, that you and He are ONE person, not two. There in nothing in you that is “just you.” The whole of “you” is in union with Him. It’s all Him — in you. (In other words, Christ plus Helen equals Helen.) So that includes all the expressions of your life. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have habits or personality expressions that seem un-Christlike, yet we see in faith, if we choose, Christ expressing Himself through these sometimes seemingly negative things to bring life to others. The point I’m making is that he’s got to have Helen be herself, a real human being, a POT He has fashioned to His own design!!! So what if there seems to be a few cracks or flaws? Be a flawed human pot, and enjoy yourself. It’s Him!
You might ask me then about sins, because I’ve assumed what you mean by old habits are just your regular humanity habits and personality quirks that we often labels as sins, but really are not. If your old habits are definitely in the “sin” category, as outlined very plainly in scripture, you can still do nothing. Certainly you say that you are sorry, but then you have to say to God, that only He in you can remove it. Then stand in faith that He has done it, even if you still seem to be taken by it — simply because you must see that you can do nothing, and only He in you is All. You’ll see the sins go.
But, back to what I was saying before. Your main focus is not [to be] on yourself, saying things like, “I’m still in the struggling state … I’ve had no inner revelation … I seem to return from the dead, etc.” No, Helen, focus on the truth — “I am Christ in Helen form.” In due time you’ll see a greater degree of inner reality, but it is true regardless.
All my love,
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate receiving your letter and the publications you enclosed.
Regarding the first piece, Part One described me so completely that I could hardly believe it. I kept reading it over and over. What you described as your experience is exactly what I am going through. I think I must be in “adolescent” at the present time because although sometimes I am in the child state of needing constant guidance and having my conduct straightened out, and wanting that constant visible and emotional assurance of His love for me, yet I certainly do have the revelation of my utter helplessness you describe as the jump into “young manhood.” (See 1 Jn 1:12-14)
By having my conduct straightened out, I do not mean I am involved in any of the so called moral sins, drugs, adultery, stealing, murder, but I guess I just want so much to be perfect (which I know I’ll never be) and please my Father so much that I just never seem to measure up.
I have confessed by faith my death to self and accept by faith that Christ is living in me, but I still cling to that natural man state of wanting to see it. I want to see a change in me. I want to be the selfless person. It is so hard not to be a self-centered person.
I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to write. May God richly bless you.
I can’t help but be delighted that you found the sheets I sent you to be helpful. (2007 note — sorry, I don’t remember what those materials are). Now I hope you won’t mind my having another little personal word to you. Your letter let me in on something which I think you do not as yet see, and why you seem to be stuck in that intermediary stage. So, perhaps the Spirit will shed a little light for us.
Helen, I don’t think you have as yet seen Who you really are, or you could not make those statements. The great question, the mystery of life, is finding out who we are. In my first letter to you, I encouraged you to stand on the fact that you are Christ in Helen form. Yet, the statements you are making to me are saying that you are separate from Him, still trying to be like Him, of wishing somehow that “you” would in some detectable visible way be made to look like Him. Either way, you are separating yourself from Him, seeing yourself as a separate and independent person, perhaps dwelling side-by-side with Christ, but you need to see that Helen IS Christ (i.e., He living as you, a oneness/duality paradox.)
What do I mean? Simply this. Spirit (whether God or man) is self. God is Creator Self; we are created self. We don’t die to being a “self” — how could that be possible? Instead, we see through the illusion inherited from the Fall that we are independent selves, selves separate from God, responsible in some way to have conduct or attitudes or thoughts that are His. This is the CHIEF Satanic deception.
Remember Paul’s word: “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Cor 6:17). What can that mean? If Spirit is self, i.e., a self-conscious, “I am,” then it can only mean that God as ultimate “I AM” and we as created “i am,” though we are two, only actually function in a reality of “oneness,” i.e., we are made, in effect, ONE SELF. In other words, my human self, my “me,” is the human manifestation of the Divine Self — I am the outer form of which He is the inner Life. This is what we mean by union. Therefore, when I think of “me,” (having known the work of the Cross and understanding the replacement of Gal 2:20), I cannot think of myself apart from Christ. The whole of “me” is filled with the whole of “Him,” so that He and I are ONE.
Then what is the practical effect of that? The first effect is to see that all that He is, I am. As a human self alone I could of course never say that I am perfect. As Christ in my form, I commit the sin of unbelief if I say I am not perfect, for He is perfection as me. “Selflessness” is of course the same way. He and I are one, therefore I am selflessness. Any thought that comes to me that is less than that about myself is a lie and a temptation.
Do you see what I am saying? To say that you are selfish, or “imperfect,” or somehow needing to see some sort of change, is to attach your faith to the lie that you are NOT united with Christ, that you are He are NOT one person.
So, as far as I can see, I think that you need to go one step further in your faith.you need to say, “I” (I stress “I”) am Christ in Helen form. (Gal 4:19). His attributes are mine. His Life is mine. His thoughts are mine. His character is mine. His faith is mine. All that He is, I AM — We are ONE.” Be bold! Remember — faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
All my love,