A Prodigal Returns

by Fred Pruitt

(A response to someone whose testimony is that they have been walking for years in sin and rebellion against the Lord, after having had a born-again experience before that time, when they felt “close” to God. This person wondered if God was rejecting him since he had not walked with the Lord for years. He wanted his “salvation” back, and to feel close to God like before, but cannot find Him.)

Thanks for sharing some of your life with me. I have a few things to say that might give you some help.

It strikes me that you are right now in God’s perfect place, a place of weakness and helplessness. When you begin to grasp the fact that your whole life belongs to God, and has always belonged to God and will continue to belong to God; and that He has brought you on the way that you have gone, to experience everything you have experienced, whether sin and its consequences or any other thing, that by all this you might come to a perfect knowledge of Him, then things begin to make better sense.

Now before you object, I am not saying God is the author of sin or has led you into sin, but since He knows all things beforehand, including the end and consummation of all things, I believe His plan from the beginning was to use all those things, to “fashion” you according to His own glory, which also ends up your glory as well.

What does Peter say?

“… though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”(1 Pet 6, 7).

He has not withdrawn His hand from your life, even though you feel you have withdrawn from Him. But that is for this purpose in the current moment.

The purpose in the current moment is to realize who you are. All the past sins, etc., are gone. As far as the east is from the west. They do not separate you from God, because He does not see them. They worked a work in you, and that work was to beat you up thoroughly (sounds harsh doesn’t it?), not so that you could get more “gung-ho” and aggressive and “on fire” for the Lord, but that you would come to the end of your self-efforts, self-focus, self-reliance. The only way to do that is to exhaust them to death. What is happening with you is the difference between the Peter who swore that he would never desert Jesus, operating on his own enthusiasm as his strength, and we see he could not do it. His bravado was just that, bravado, but empty of anything else, so he denied the Lord three times.

And yet the Lord had said that Satan would sift him, and Jesus was clearly expecting Peter to “strengthen” the brethren when He was gone. Did Jesus reject Peter because Peter had denied Him that night? No, He later commissioned Him personally to “feed my sheep.”

How could He trust mere Peter to do that? Of course He knew the Spirit would come and make Peter and all of them into “different” people, and the Peter who stood up and preached on the Day of Pentecost is a completely different Peter, not one hiding and cowering in fear for his life, but Peter the mouthpiece of God. This was, by the way, an “act” of God, and not something Peter had “earned.”

So the first thing to know, ____, is that you are not rejected, but instead expected! By that I mean the Lord has been expecting you to show up and knock on the door again, which you have been doing. In fact, He is the One Who has instigated you to come back and seek Him again!

But this time I think He wants to move you farther than the last time. This isn’t about good or bad behavior. This is about who we are in our innermost selves, and where God is.

Do you know that when you were born again as you said, the Spirit of God moved into you? And not just the Spirit, but according to John 17, actually the whole Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reside in you. But they also reside in Heaven. So therefore the Spirit lives in heaven in you. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.”

Slowly we begin to see that Christ is the Author of our lives, and not we ourselves. We are walking out His life in us. He created you, you, to contain His Life and express it in the world, which is Christ coming again into the world in you and in me, and in all who name His Name. And it is not up to our efforts to make that happen.

We all go through a season where we discover our helplessness and utter weakness in the Lord. Everyone comes to it by difficulty of one sort or another. The reason we all go through that, is because once we have realized our own complete lack of sufficiency (and we discover this by trying to live our “own” lives, whether trying to do “godly” things, or trying to avoid “ungodly” things – either way we find ourselves fully insufficient.)

Praise GOD! That is the beginning, the door into the fullness of who you are. You are now ready to see who you really are, that you are not just you, living alone, trying or not trying, sinning or not sinning, but you have been inwardly joined to the Lord and you are inwardly one person with Him. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”(1 Cor 6:17). And since God is Spirit and God is Self, “I AM,” then we are joined with Him inwardly in His Divine Personhood in our human personhood.

The reason is that it has always been God’s plan and intent to bring us, you and me, into son-ship.

You must see that your life has been all to that purpose, whether your experiences were positive or negative, all that serves to bring you into Himself and “form” Himself in you. (Gal 4:17).

The key to our whole lives, is found in Galatians 2:20.

I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”

This is what has happened to you, as a result of Jesus’ shed blood and dead body, and His resurrection, that you have died in Him in His crucifixion, and you have resurrected in Him unto newness of Life. It is no longer your own life you live. We were living the devil’s life, and his works of sin were ours to do. But now, One Who is greater than all has taken up residence within you, by your invitation, and when He moved into you, He kicked out the old deceiver who had deceived us all our lives, and then He became in you as a river of living water flowing out of you.

But you haven’t known that, because you thought it was all up to you. But it is no longer “you” who is in charge, in fact, the old “you,” the sinful you, your “you” tied to Satan, died in the Cross. Now a new you has risen, but it is not just you, alone, but you rise as Christ in you. He has become your life, and now, as it says in Isaiah 9:6,“And the government shall be upon His shoulders.”What government? The government of your life.

Now notice I am not saying that you must somehow “make” Him the Governor of your life, like people say we have to “make Him Lord,” after we find Him as our Savior. But there is no need to do that, since He has already made Himself “Governor” of our lives. He already IS LORD! It is something we realize in faith that He has already done!

The best thing I can tell you is to begin to meditate and look to God regarding what I am telling you. He has not brought you back to consciousness of Himself only to reject you! He has brought you back into consciousness of Him in order to bring you to the fullness of His Life in you, so that you would see that your very life lived in this world is Christ manifesting Himself in this world disguised as you. Yes, it is still you, but it is not “just” you, but Christ in you who now is the Author and Finisher of your faith, which just basically means He is the Author and Finisher of everything.

It (He) is already within you. Galatians 2:20 is as true for you as it was for Paul who first penned it down. He wrote it about himself that we might know it about ourselves, because it is the key to the whole Christian life.

I think that would be a good place to start, ____. Churn over this a bit and let me know how you are doing.

Much love,

fred

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