(And Other Matters – Coming to ‘End’ of Ourselves; Thought Life)
by Fred Pruitt
Another reader comment on the blog — replying to Is the Spirit Perfect and the Soul Being Perfected?
We as believers are continuously being changed from hope to hope, faith to faith and glory to glory. That’s the main point of it all. So we can be conformed into the image of Christ Jesus by the renewing of the mind through the Holy Spirit. God requires change in us.
Hi, this is Fred. I’ve been looking at your comment for a couple of days now, wondering how to answer you. Certainly I can agree with what you say, how we are changed from glory to glory etc., and that the Holy Spirit conforms us into the image of Christ, etc. And of course that does from time to time involve “change” of different types. A change in viewpoint, a change in spiritual understanding in sight, a new level of faith, and many other things.
One thing that is wonderful about this life of Christ in us, is that it is continually dynamic, never static. We are never standing still, because “He Who keeps Israel never slumbers.” That’s us. This Life is coursing through us, and we do sort of “awake” in newness as we see successive things the Spirit reveals as we go.
I suppose your phrase, “God requires change in us,” is somewhat foreign to my thinking, because how I have come to know the Father over the years, is that what He requires, He provides! “Faithful is He who calleth you, Who also will do it!” “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
I know this not just theoretically or hypothetically, as it was with me when I first believed it, many years ago. I took it from the Lord that He was the Doer in my life, by faith, not knowing how that would work out. I have seen through more than three decades, that He is good to His Word, and my testimony can only be that He “worketh in [me] both TO WILL and TO DO of His good pleasure.” So it is not only something I have believed, but also have seen the truth come alive and work of itself in me, and in everyone who names the name of Christ.
So that I suppose is my “personal” reply to you, but I also replied to someone else regarding a different article, but what I replied to her seemed to fit what I wanted to also share with you. Blessings, fred
Another reader was responding to “Feeling the Presence.”
I couldn’t be more edified or glad that you have seen these things! Yes, for most of us it is almost like being born again, again! It is sort of a new birth, because in our beginnings we did not know these things and had to grow up in the Spirit to receive them at God’s appointed time.
Our first entry into the kingdom is mostly about ourselves, and our “need” of Christ, in whatever desperation we may have been in that brought us to that point. We mostly only knew outer life, nothing of Spirit life, and really nothing of Christ’s life in us.
But the Spirit caused us to know we had been rescued out of the mire, in some way, and were now living a new life, and like we always had done before, the first thing we consider when we come into Christ, most of us anyway, is the desire to “order” our lives after this new truth. Since we do not know yet that is the job of the Spirit, pretty much all of us set out on the road to “become more holy,” in whatever Christian environment we may be in, Catholic, Protestant, independents, etc., because the Spirit does not know denominations. But it’s pretty much across the board, common in and to all, that we set about to become pleasing to God, and God winks at this for a time, because He knows the only way we can find out that we cannot build the house, is for us to try to do it ourselves, only at some point to find our house crumbling beneath our feet. It’s the way He made us!
All to God’s perfect purpose! This is how we grow up into Him. That conditions us to the fact that we have no inherent “goodness” in ourselves, not that we are evil, but that, as to goodness, we have none of our own. It belongs to God, as Jesus replied to the man, “Why callest thou me good; there is none good, save God.” From that point, we can begin to understand what Jesus meant by, “the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works,” and, “The Son can do nothing of Himself — for what the Son sees the Father do, the Son does the same. This is a real key! It is in our realized “nothingness” that we find all the fullness of the Godhead, dwelling bodily in us!
Ah, there it is! THAT is Who we are! We are the Life of the Father Son and Spirit expressed in our human form, and now we’ve been given the grace to see it, and it is the most glorious “sight” I have ever gazed upon, or will, because we see Him, and when we see Him, we ourselves are the Same. We are only looking into a mirror when we see Him! I suppose, like God, Who looked into a mirror before Him and saw the Son, and all creation came forth as a means that the Father might reveal the Son, and we in Him!
What About ‘Sinful’ Thoughts?
A reader asks: If we “cherish” sinful thoughts, is that already sin?
Thoughts are just thoughts. We say Christ has us, even our thoughts. I just let the Spirit work it all out, and neither praise nor condemn myself for the crazy notions that run through my head like Niagara Falls.
As far as “cherishing,” I assume you mean stopping on one particular thought (temptation) and “dallying” with it a while. In other words, something gets your attention more than the normal, and it rolls around in our brain in some way. What your question “Is that already sin?” at heart is really asking, “Is temptation sin?” The reason I say that is because if we are not drawn to something, it cannot be a temptation to us. If it has no effect, it is not temptation. Temptation pulls us out. But it is not sin to consider it because one really cannot help it sometimes. You’re just drawn, your attention has been diverted in that direction for a season. I trust the Spirit to pull the plug on any diversions and trust Him to keep me on the path.
What hope have I if He does not? But, I know He does. Everything has its perfect purpose in the Lord, even what we might call “sinful” thoughts. It may cause us to be aware of something we need to be onto, through the “negative” of the “sinful” thought.
I’ll just finish my “short” answer with this. Thoughts, in and of themselves, can neither be righteous nor sinful. They’re just “thoughts,” and exist, at that point, only in the realm of possibilities. That’s all they are, until we put “will” or “intent” into the picture, like when Jesus said, “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already in his heart.” The key here is not the “looking on a woman,” but the intent, to “lust after her,” there’s the sin. (Matt 5:28). The same thing in James when he says, “when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin.” Again, the sin is not the temptation itself, but “marrying it,” so to speak, owning it and saying in yourself, “Yes, that’s what I want!” in a decisive way.
But either way, we have no other choice to trust the Lord and believe in His mercy and grace, because it is only by Him that we overcome temptation and walk free in the Spirit. “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”
Maybe this might shed some light.