The Basics: Christ As Us
By Fred Pruitt
I just wanted to briefly share with you a little more on this “Christ as us” reality. I can understand how to some people’s ears it sounds almost blasphemous.
But to me the scriptures just scream it.
Consider the vine & branches analogy. (John 15:5) “I am the vine, ye are the branches.”
Is the branch not the vine in its growth as a branch? Isn’t the vine’s intent (if it had a mind) to reproduce itself by growing branches out of its own substance and then through those branches to produce seeds which multiply its life a thousand-fold?
Are the branch or leaves separate entities from the vine, or are they outgrowths from it? Of course we know they are outgrowths from it, and as Jesus said, if a branch were to be cut off from the vine, it would die. Why? Because it has no life of its own except as a growth out of the vine.
This truth is rampant in the scriptures, but we don’t see it until we begin to see that we are not selves on our own, but selves which are indwelt by Another Life greater than our own.
We were created to be living, free, self-aware, expressions of the One God — certainly to be real selves, but selves who are not self-sufficient, who only function properly in a conscious and willing love union with God. Like the moon has no life of its own, but the light we see from it is the light of the sun. We are made to be as the moon, reflecting the one light that irradiates all things.
Again, each of us is said to be in the “image and likeness of God.” Obviously, we are not God, but the intent of our creation is that we would “contain” Him in freedom and consciousness as selves in Him, and that the life we “reflect” would be the One Life of the Universe, the “image of God.”
This is the intent of our creation but obviously, we are not robots or automatons, but living selves, and as created living selves we are not capable on our own to express the life of God. We can only exist as a hunger or need, because we have no inner self-sustaining sufficiency.
We are told to “be like Christ,” but that is most laughable thing in all the world. Who of us could do that? How do we do it? By trying to have only “Christlike” emotions? By trying to act kind, or concerned, or sensitive? By trying to suppress any “negative” emotions? Or by trying to figure out what Jesus would do in our situation, and then to do that?
Who knows what Jesus would do? Jesus said He lived by the Father, and the Father showed Him what to do, and He did it. In other words, he had no “Messiah Manual” in the back pocket of His seamless robe, that he could whip out and refer to when the going got rough — “Hmmm, let’s see, storm in the middle of the sea of Galilee. Oh, yes, here it is. Says I’m supposed to stand up in the back of the boat and rebuke the winds and the sea.”
That’s silly and we know it. But that’s how we “try” to live like Christ. By trying to imitate something from our own imagination. And we know we fail miserably — if we’re honest folk.
Jesus said “I and my Father are One … when you see Me, you see the Father.”
THAT’S how we’re to imitate Jesus. To live by the Father as He said He did. The Father is within us and “invisible,” yet our lives are Him in expression, if we’re to “be like Jesus.”
Likewise in the epistles, Paul says over and over and over how the life we manifest IN OUR FLESH is the LIFE OF JESUS. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.” (2 Cor 4:11; 2 Cor 3:5). God’s intent is that we would come to consciously know ourselves as expressions of Him, that our lives are He living in the world.
The question always before us is this: HOW do we live by the Father? How do we know our living is Christ living in us and as us?
All of us come to some sort of Waterloo, where our human life is brought up short. All of us have from birth relied on our own merits and abilities, our own thoughts and intents, at least it was “our own” as far as we knew. (The real inner truth is that anything which is “our own exclusively in a possessive, grasping way,” [and that could mean anything from intangible things such as our sense of self to tangible things such as physical possessions], is a construct of darkness, of the devil.) When we come to that Waterloo, where we are down on the floor before the Lord, whether in our hearts or in our bodies, we find in our helplessness and utter weakness His own life in grace expressed in the very weakness and helplessness we have been ashamed of. In our nothingness (all our righteousness is as filthy rags) we find Him to be All in all in us. It’s at that point that in some way we realize and we say, “God, there’s no way I can do this. You have to do it.” (And He does!)
We find then our whole selves have been made fit instruments of HIS use. It has not been by anything we have done or could do, but that in His resurrection to newness of life everything about us — spirit, soul, body — has now become first of all the dwelling place of the Living God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,. Then further not only as a dwelling place, but a place from which to walk out our human life according to His plan from eternity which He purposed before the world began. (2 Tim 1:9) To be USED as a tool, an instrument, an expression of righteousness. Again, not by anything we can do humanly whatsoever, but solely by the Spirit who lives in us and in the midst of our weakness and nothingness God’s strength is manifest and His presence finds human form in us His sons. And in all who call upon the name of the Lord.
Paul said to live is Christ. He didn’t say, “to live is to try to be like Christ.” But to live IS Christ. Once we see that His resurrection has swallowed up all enemies and conquered all rebellions, then there is nothing left except Him. Therefore living from that perspective is Christ and nothing but Christ, and that is what is expressed in our lives, because that is all that we are. Christ in us living as us. “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30)
I hope this gives some further perspective.