By Fred Pruitt
I have read your articles. You write walking in the wilderness (self-effort) is not something we engineer. I have problem with this issue. Every time I feel that I am not walking in the Spirit, I will overcome it by reading bible, worship, speak in tongue, listen grace sermon, etc. But the more I do that (the more I read bible, the more I speak in tongue) for get in the rest, the more I feel pressed and the more I didn’t get the rest.
I know that I am so weak and cannot do anything (even small thing) without Jesus. But how can I enter the Promise Land? Should I do something to get in the rest?
Thank you for your attention.
Dear one in Christ,
Thank you so much for writing and for giving me the privilege of writing you back. Let me just tell you in brief that what you are experiencing is exactly what we all experience as we are walking in Christ and the Spirit is training us in who we are.
Yes, for a time all those spiritual disciplines you mentioned, bible study, prayer, etc., seem to help, to give us a lift of some sort. But it soon goes away as the drudgery of life comes back, and we find ourselves unable to move ahead.
The temporal rest those activities used to give us no longer satisfy us. This is because the Spirit is changing our sight as we go along, a sight which starts out seeing only the outer, things we can see, feel, touch, etc., but the inner “us” is unknown.
We “find ourselves” in all these outer things. But you see, the Holy Spirit has now come and is bringing you to a new place, to begin to see, to understand the inner Christ, who has in His Cross (death, burial and resurrection), kicked the devil out of your life and replaced that inner “Satanic death” which was formerly within you. He replaces that former abomination within us – with Himself! Plainly put, Jesus came in and took the reins and He kicked Satan out! So that now only He is now enthroned within you, lives within YOU in all His glory, and manifests Himself to the world as YOU!
He has filled you with Himself, but you haven’t really been able to see it until you have this “self” issue cleared up. God walks you through a valley or a wilderness so that you may thoroughly learn, that you live not by your own strength simply because you have found out in this “wilderness” that you have NO strength! You cannot even will the correct thing. Only the Spirit in us does that.
But it takes a while for the Lord to settle that in our understanding, that the “old me” died in the Cross, and in that death we have now been made dead to the law and dead to sin. One who is dead cannot help himself; he cannot even try. He can do nothing, because he is dead. Who are these people preaching to dead people to “do something!” They can’t, they’re dead.
Preachers sometimes say, “You do your part, and God will do His.” But that is incorrect. Man cannot do “his part.” That was the Old Testament, to try to please God by doing our part, and “law was weak through the flesh,” so that it was impossible of fulfillment. We NEVER did our part in that covenant.
But the New Covenant is a covenant of One, ratified by only One Party, i.e., the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of those in the New Covenant the Holy Spirit says, “I will dwell in them and walk in them and be their God.” In other words, it will be “us” but it will no longer in our understanding be just “us,” but now we have been joined as one in our inner Spirit with Christ, and now our real true life is no longer “just I,” but now this “I that I am” is now filled with Christ and manifesting Christ — not by my works or because I study, pray a certain amount, witness. Those things don’t “make” the kingdom happen! IF they would “make God work,” then we are back to paganism where they think they shall be heard for their much speaking. It does not work like that!
This is because I now realize that it (Christ in me, Everlasting Life, Water of Life) comes up of itself in me and out through me toward others. I do not have to work it up. I do not have to be “prayed up” or any other preparatory thing, because now the Life we live IS Christ, that is, Christ and I walking in my world as one person.
He and I are one, even as He said He and His Father are one. And the same is true of you. You are in Him and He in you, but you wrongly think that there is something you can do to “make God” reward you and bless you for your exercises, when that is not how it works. We just live filled and overflowing with Him. It is always operative, coming out of the inexhaustible living stream of the River of Life flowing right out of our innermost beings!
The “Promised Land” you are looking for is already in you. “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20, 21)
In other words, you are already “in” your promised land but do not yet see it because you are still thinking there is something you have to “do” to get it or something you can “work” to prove you deserve it. Even as salvation in its beginnings was purely a work of grace, not of ourselves, it is the same now, if not more so.
But you are in the throes of what we call “the Romans 7 experience,” where it seems all negative and you just can’t seem to make life work like you want to, etc. Wonderful place to be, because the Spirit led you there to be shed of the false notion that “you” can do anything to manifest anything of God. He shows us this to the uttermost, so that finally we cry out with Paul, “O wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from this body of death?”
And then he answers his own question with the final answer, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ my Lord.”
And then he broke on through into the Life of the Spirit outlined in Romans 8, not because he studied enough or tried hard enough, but because he had come to see, like Moses in the desert had done in previous years, that he had nothing to add to the equation. Just as the Son said of Himself, “The Son can do NOTHING of Himself,” and now we come in this place to see it to! “I CAN DO NOTHING OF MYSELF!” we repeat in agreement.
As long as we think we can do anything to make it work it eludes us and we are still caught in our consciousness in the “law of sin and death,” but once we see that it is no longer ourselves, as Gal 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ,” (that is, I DIED), but “nevertheless I live,” i.e., here I still am, but wait, it’s not I but Christ — and then I see it!
Just as Moses said, “Who am I, Lord, to be the deliverer?” (much different from the Moses that originally fled into the desert who took matters into his own hands and killed an Egyptian guard.) This “different” Moses at the Burning Bush has become “undone” in the wilderness, and in that “emptying” the Spirit has made Him a fit vessel to carry the Word of God. And now the same for you my friend.
Your final liberation will come when you see, “I can do nothing,” and “Oh I see, I am not just I, but now He and I are as one, so that when I am living He is living.” Yes, that is it. And that is where we begin to see the truth of Romans 8:2: “For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.” What a verb tense Paul uses! He does not say, “Will set you free,” but “HAS,” that is, this is already existing reality, it has already happened, it already is — Is what?
It is now truth and we are seeing it by the Spirit, that we are no longer under that old law of sin and death, separation, self-effort, etc., but now under a new law which has effected my release from the old, and this new law is “the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.” That is, He now is your every moment life! His mind is yours, His thoughts are yours, His desires are yours. How do we know? The Spirit gives us the knowing.
Let me recommend you read a book I have written on this very subject: The Axe Laid to the Root. What we have been discussing is the theme of the book, and many have found it helpful. Bless you. I am glad to discuss these things any time.
love in Jesus,