By Fred Pruitt
“What the heck am I up to?”
Allow me to wax a tad self-indulgent for a bit.
“What the heck am I up to?” Sometimes it is by the Spirit that this question comes up. As I say over and over, the Spirit of God brings us to consciousness, “knowing” God in oneness in understanding and wisdom in all things.
All things (events, circumstances, etc.) therefore have a dual purpose in our lives. We are ever being taught day by day by the Spirit in us. There is never a day in Christ when the light does not burn brighter inwardly than the day before, though the brilliance may temporarily be concealed behind contrary situations.
The second purpose, which is always operative as much as the first is, is that God, by us, would affect and reconcile the world into which He has placed us in His Wisdom. We are to be its Salt, its Light, its Bread and its Lamb.
The kingdom of God is a flowing river and not a dammed up reservoir. It is in this “flowing out” into the world, (our lives involved with and affecting others), that more is drawn out of the infinitely full cistern within us, in and through our being, so that there is constantly an increase.
Give and you will receive. That is exactly what happens. We give what we get (receive), and then we get more, and then we give more, because by the flowing out of the “exhaust,” that more comes into the “intake.” That is how it works.
I’ve related before NPG’s famous comment when someone new to understanding union asked, “I don’t really have this all straight, so how can I speak it to others?”
Norman replied, “Just give what you’ve got!”
This is it! Let us all hear this — “just give what you’ve got!” What do you have? Your self mainly, out of which your mouth speaks. Christ comes out of our words when we are His. So whatever the understanding is, deeper still is the mind of Christ in us, and it just happens that we begin to express from that mind. That is what this is meaning. Of course there is a giving and receiving principle in other things, but we are speaking here of the Topmost, out of which comes all those other things.
It is not a bad thing to sometimes have a little personal in Spirit tally-up session. Sort of a where am I? and where and am I going? “Quo Vadis?”
It was a valid question as the story of Peter (tradition) goes. Peter was fleeing Rome to escape persecution and martyrdom and as he was leaving, Jesus appeared to him. In classic Peter style, he asks the Lord, “Quo Vadis (Where are you going)?”
Jesus answered, “I am going to Rome to be crucified again.”
I do not know the certainty of this history but I know the certainty of its meaning. Peter considered where Jesus was going and decided to head back into Rome, sort of a “not my will but thine be done” thing, and as tradition has it, he was crucified upside down.
In our beginning in Jesus, the cross life” was not on our agenda, and if we thought about it then, sometimes it was more with the adventurous romantic nature of youth, that we might give ourselves to the Lord like that. Those thoughts, at least in my case, were more about me than Him. “I” wanted to be one of those guys, figuring they would be top in the Lord’s approval list.
But after we have grown up and know Who and What we are about, the “cross life” is part and parcel of our very being, sometimes very unpleasant and even to martyrdom in our present day. But for most of us it is the involvement with life around us, that brings out the cross life, and by that, accomplishes continual resurrection out of much death.
This is the Romans exhortation to, “present your bodies a reasonable sacrifice,” that all those years we “tried” so hard to do, or to dedicate ourselves and redouble our efforts enough to do, that we never could do, but now we find He has done it.
So then there is no doubt that He has done this. We are used to being His. We are used to not having a clue. We are used to being perplexed now and then. We are used to not getting the next step until we have reached it. We are used to the provision of God. We have seen him over and over bring life out of death and though it is of the miraculous (to human reason) “nature” every time it happens, we are used to it happening.
This is some sense it what “fatherhood” is. What took years to be made clear in us we are now able to pass on as solid realities that are no more “attachments” we tried to add to ourselves, but just us being us. It is Emmanuel.
“Fred,” I’ve been asking myself, “What are you up to?”
“Are you trying to build a ministry?”
Well, no. I’d have a fancier more well-done blog if I was after that.
“Well, what then?”
For the past several days all sorts of answers have been floating around in my brain. “Well, what then? Hmmm.
As I sat down to write this my head was full of them. Now they (the answers that had come to me) have all fled, I can’t even remember them, except this one I had not noticed among all the other “more concrete practical,” answers.
It is only the word of John the Baptist to the priests and Levites from Jerusalem: “I am the Voice of One crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.”
As if affects me, it is just a simple job. Keep crying in the wilderness. Prepare a highway for our God!
I think this is all of us, not just me. It still is very much a wilderness out there, a wilderness of the Word of God. This is where we walk.
One might ask, “I thought you said we walk in the Promised Land.”
Yes, we do, but we also walk as Joshua and Caleb, who had already entered the Promised Land in their faith when all the rest of Israel fell into unbelief and thus could not go in to possess the land. Joshua and Caleb, though in spirit already in the land, nevertheless became their brethren’s constant faith companions and beacons through the next 38 years of their journey, and were able after Moses’ death to lead the children across the Jordan into possessing the land.
So we walk in the wilderness and in paradise at the same time. That is something we also get used to.
I think it is clear that I “operate” out of a network of many wonderful friends and colleagues in the Lord. We have never desired to organize in any way past friendship and love in the Spirit, rather than a board of directors and all the accompanying “stuff.” After all these years, I am glad we have not gone that way.
Of course we are not critical of any work where Christ is preached, even if in ways that are disagreeable to me. I celebrate the word of the Lord wherever Jesus Christ is proclaimed, period. Let all do what they have been called to do in the Lord!! I cannot but see for others who labor in Christ (whether in agreement with me or not), that which I would desire for myself: (Rom 14:4) “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”
I see this as well in the same vein. Jesus’ last word to Peter in John, when he asked, “And what shall this man do?” Jesus we know replied, “What is that to you? You follow me!”
That makes me content then to be just a small voice crying in the vast wilderness. Let’s keep on crying out there, shouting from the housetops or from the next seat at the party, tavern or pew, always bearing about in our bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus would appear in our mortal flesh, and bless the world.
I think that is all we are after.
Thank you to all of you who have been loving and supportive of Janis and me in so many ways, and continue to be. We intend to carry on as the wind blows.
Love in Jesus,