by Fred Pruitt
Originally this was the “Addendum” in a recent article, Christ As All in All 2012. I kept referring people to the Addendum so many times, I thought I would let it stand on its own, and post it as a separate article. The previous article had given the “big view” of Christ All and in all, and this next part was an attempt to put flesh on those bones. So in a way this is “how” it lives out in me, what it is to me, to see God “All in all” in everything, down to the the most minute detail, in good AND in evil, as the vision-source of our inner peace and Sabbath rest in God.
In our earlier days Janis and I used to say, “When we get through this, we’ll have it easy next week.” We do not say that anymore. The reason is obvious, though it may be years before we get down to facing it. The reason is, of course, that the “easy next week” never comes, or, if it does, it is followed soon after by another round of challenges, problems, hardships, stresses, etc., that seem to proliferate exponentially throughout life.
A while back I said to the Lord, “This is never gonna let up, is it?” I already knew the answer, and life has continued to prove it. Problems persist, challenges continue to come, and nothing (in this world) ever really has a sense of completion to it.
Here is an example of that sense of incompletion. We recently visited some of our family in California for Thanksgiving, and it was wonderful to see and be with those with whom we are forever heart-bound in love – flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone. And yet when we left I had a great sadness because I “felt” like it could have been “more.”
Likewise when we returned home, there were a thousand undone things that had been delayed, neglected or pushed aside for our trip, all of them now clamoring for our attention and resolution. Yikes!!! Does it ever stop????
In our early days, somehow in the promises of Christ I might have heard that Jesus was offering a “problem-free” life, or so it seemed to me. Just do the right things, confess the right stuff, and everything will be hunky-dory – you’ll “feel” the presence of God all the time; you’ll have joy; you’ll be at peace; your kids will be perfect angels in school, at home and everywhere else; you’ll never be sicker longer than the time it takes to get someone to pray for you, you’ll always have adequate money, etc.
So when everything was NOT (or seemed to be NOT) hunky-dory, the buck stopped with me! “I must be doing something wrong, or this would not be happening.” You name it – flat tire, overdue bills, problems with offspring, spiritual “dryness,” getting sick and not getting “healed,” etc., and a million other temporal events that go on in our lives for which we take condemnation and guilt because we think they are somehow our fault. “If we had faith ….”
But the down and dirty truth of this life is that we are not immune from the problems common to all humanity, and in fact, it is our glory to experience them, because we find in them the glory of God! And, what better way for God to teach us that HE IS ALL and in all, than to walk us through a life that appears to be the opposite of that each and every day. It’s “easy” to feel the peace and rest of God on vacation, with no responsibilities, no problems to solve, or easy to feel the rest and peace of God enjoying a sunset or a beautiful mountain view. But not so easy when the baby is crying from colic and will not quit, while the other children are coming in with demands for this and questions for that. And a million other “mundane” things of life that seem to be problematic, a chore, a drudgery, a thing that never seems to get done, a goal never achieved, a closet that never gets cleaned out.
This is precisely WHERE we see God ALL and in all. And we see that each situation, each event, each circumstance, He MEANS “for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Gen 50:21). And that includes my “right now.”
It then becomes easier to see that God is actively working redemption in every corner of the universe, that He does and is working “all things after the counsel of His own will,” (Eph 1:11). Then, because of that we are conditioned by the Spirit to come to a place in ourselves, like Paul, where we have “learned to be content in all things.” (Phil 4:11). As I said, it is easy to see God in the Light. When we learn to “see” God in the darkness and in the “evil” things that happen, then we begin to experience the inner rest and peace that is in the center of God, because we have realized that God is now our “center,” as well. We learn to know the difference between soul “feelings,” and spirit “truth,” and live in the truth regardless of the “feelings” or appearances to the contrary.
The entire world, including most of the “Christian” world, is trying to avoid or deny the negative. And yet without the negative, there could be no positive. Life is not “good” if there are no problems and all is well, running smoothly. Nor is it “evil” or something wrong going on if there are problems and all is not well. GOD IS EQUALLY ALL IN ALL IN ALL OF IT! God does not “allow” things, but rather, He purposes everything, every single piece of material or energy in the entire created universe, for the ultimate good of the elect, those who love God and are called according to His purpose!
So if we’re having a bad day, nothing is going right, and we want to run away screaming and yelling, “Get me outta here!”, we are not in an unusual state. We have not done anything wrong. We have not somehow wandered out of the love of God and oneness with Christ. We are exactly where the Father has wanted us to be from the foundations of the earth, MEANING IT FOR GOOD, “to save much people alive.”
We do not live our lives purely for ourselves anymore. We have been overtaken by an “other love,” an outward directed love, so that our primary concern is no longer about ourselves and our own welfare. We all love and live Romans 8:28 as much as we can, and I am one of the chiefs of that. But much of my considering of Roman 8:28 is about “me.” About how everything, “all things” Paul says, are worked together for “my” good.
But let’s turn that verse into what it means when we realize we are not about ourselves, our own salvation, our own spirituality, our own victory, our own welfare, but now have been filled with the Spirit of the Lamb Who gives its life continually that others might have life, from its death. That changes the entire timbre of Romans 8:28. It sounds much differently in the new perspective. Because when we begin to see it this way, we cease to judge so much whether something which is happening to me or in me is good or evil and the product of cause and effect. Instead, we begin to see everything that happens “to” me, or “in” me, in the light of God as ALL and in all, and that what is happening in ME is worked (along with the entire rest of the universe) for the “good” of every son of God, both individually and corporately. MY life’s experiences are for the healing of every single individual creature of God, as well as the WHOLE COSMOS! (And not just little ol’ me!) Do we get that?
So going back to having the “bad day” mentioned above – have the bad day unto God! Dare to believe that God is using your “bad day” to edify the whole cosmos! Every issue, every hurt, every victory, every sadness, every difficulty, every joy, every sorrow, every delay, every change, every moment “to live is Christ!” (Phil 1:21).
Say to the Lord, “Thank you for this difficulty, Lord, because I know by it you are working your glory in me and in everything and everyone else. Thank you for this calling card, this reminder, that even now, You are the ALL in all, that in all things, whether in the appearances of difficulty or even evil, or in the appearances of good and edifying things, You continue to work your perfect purposes of love in us, through us, and as us, every single moment of every single day, and because of You, we are more than adequate, whether we are full or hungry, abounding with substance or suffering need.”
This is a lot bigger than we think it is.
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor 1:3-9).