(After all, who else could you be?)
By Fred Pruitt
…. The only response at the moment I can offer you is to comment on your almost last line — “I will absolutely let you know via email when the Galatians 2:20 message has been burned deep within me and I am living out of it!!!!!!!”
You will know the truth of what you have written above when you realize what you are hoping to happen (“when I am living out of it”) already has happened. What do you expect, to “feel” differently? To somehow “be” different? No, you already are He, and have been since He became one with you. It is only that you have not known it, not that it has not been true. It has absolutely nothing to do with how you feel, think, act, respond, emote, theorize. Quit looking for “evidence” – “lo here,” or “lo there.” The kingdom of heaven IS within you. We stop judging it and simply believe. It already IS, dear!
Ok, I guess that does bring up another thing you said also, since I said it has nothing to do with what you “think.” You brought up the oft used “as a man thinketh” scripture, used as people normally use that verse.
Here is what you said:
“EVERYTHING is about what we think in our minds (as a man thinks….so is he…and you already stated that in your book). If I really BELIEVE that He IS living His life through me….if I really BELIEVE that I DID DIE on that Cross with Him ….”
Now, Proverbs 23: 6,7 – the verse in its context:
“Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”
That scripture is almost always incorrectly used, since hardly anyone notices its context. The normal way of using it, is that your “thinking mind” controls who you are. In other words, your conceptual knowledge, your doctrines, the “teaching” we live by, etc. But that is not the context of the scripture where it is found in Proverbs. It helps to read it in its context to get its really, much, much more glorious meaning than, “how you think controls how you are.”
“As a man thinketh” has been used for a long time to tie our “thinking” to success or failure of some sort in the outer world. A whole wave of “self-help” books, both past and present, starting with “Think and Grow Rich” in 1937 by Napoleon Hill, down to “The Secret” in our time have historically used this concept.
In Christian circles it is a verse often used to tie our spirituality to our thought life, but it is really saying something much deeper than that. If we look at the whole scenario it is speaking of, we find that what the real message of this passage is, is that whoever we are within us, is whoever or whatever we manifest in our lives. The perpetrator in the verse is someone who flatters in order to gain something over others. He has wicked motives though he speaks in a friendly and flattering manner.
But the observer sees through his hypocrisy, and thus the scripture says, “As a man thinketh … so is he,” not in order to exhort us to better thought control, but to understand that whatever the heart of a thing is, so it shall be seen to be. A “thing” is, what its heart is.
Nothing can be hidden. A pretense is always found out. So, the final message of this is that, if you are Christ within, that is who you are out in your world. It is the air you breathe and the walk you walk and talk you talk. Just by being you. And visa versa.
We don’t make God do our bidding based upon what we think. Jesus said we cannot accomplish the least little thing by “taking thought.” Proverbs hits the nail on the head, when it says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” (Prov 23:7). This is not outer mental thinking, referred to above, but spirit center. This scripture is saying our true colors show and manifest, no matter what our appearance on the outside to the contrary. The writer’s example in Proverbs is of a wicked man who flatters – who appears “for you” – but in his heart, spirit center, he is really not how he appears to be outwardly.
So then what wins out – the outer appearance of flattery, or the inner truth of self-for-self? The writer correctly says that whatever the heart is, that is what manifests, instead of focusing on the outer behavior, which might have appeared righteous. The converse is also true.
We live in our “choices” out of our spirit center, and being in Christ that is who we are, and that is where our choices are from. As we hold in “inner faith” that He and we are one, we consciously join the already functioning union reality within us, made alive in our understanding through our expression of the Spirit’s faith. This is way deeper than our thinking mind. This is where it says “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” It comes from those depths, and is not a product of “thinking.” It is, instead, the ever present reality of Spirit, who has made us united with Himself in our innermost being, so that we become inwardly an inner spring of Living Water – THAT is what comes out of us, because it is Who we are, not because we have learned techniques or have better knowledge and understanding, but by the fact that He IS.
Bottom line, then, when we KNOW union with Christ, i.e. “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit [one self] with him,” (1 Cor 6:17), so that we have been given the revelation and taken by faith the truth of it, we find that our human “I,” having been joined as one with Him, is now He expressing Himself as us. Therefore there is no separation between ourselves and Christ who lives in us. When I (He and I) see that we together are as one person functioning, then the question of free will does not come up. We will what He wills and delight to do so. We have no separate will, and we cannot look inside ourselves and figure out where He leaves off and we begin.
The last thing to mention is the statement, “IF we REALLY believe ….”
What that statement is doing, is taking everything about union, which we have expressed as already existing fact rather than something we work toward, and put the whole onus of the whole “realization” of the truth BACK ON US! We put ourselves right back under the slavery of the law – it is very subtle – with our two new tasks to overcome. First, turn “IF” into fact by redoubling our efforts. Secondly, somehow come to “REALLY” believe! THEN I’ll have the blessing, or “God will bless me.”
What is REALLY believing? I always use this illustration, since taking my daughter when she was a child to see the play, “Peter Pan,” by the local theatre company. There is a scene in the play where the fairy, Tinkerbell, loses her light. It seems to have gone out, which spells trouble for Tinkerbell and everyone else. At that point, I think it was the Peter character, turns to the audience which consists of mostly children, and tells the whole auditorium, that if they just wish and believe hard enough, Tinkerbell will come back to life and her light will be re-lit. So all those little faces get scrunched up with tension and concentration, each of them trying to wish hard enough and believe hard enough to bring Tinkerbell back. And lo and behold, after a couple of minutes of all the children wishin’ and hopin’, Tinkerbell’s light suddenly begins to come back on. It is very weak at first, and the children are told to keep it up until she is all the way back. So they keep doing it, scrunching their faces harder, trying to do it, and then finally their efforts pay off: Tinkerbell is all the way back, her light is on, and she is as strong as ever!
That scenario from the play, is a pretty good parable about how most Christians view “faith” and “believing.” It’s something you really have to try hard to have and to do, because you know your success or failure in God or in anything else depends on it. Jesus did say, “According to your faith,” did He not?
The thing is, “faith” and “believing” have nothing to do with trying. We either “believe,” and express our “belief” by our faith commitments or words, or we do not. There is no “try” in Holy Spirit lingo. Therefore the expressive adverb, “REALLY,” hooked up with “believe,” has no validity one way or the other. To “believe” has no degrees. It is all or nothing.
It’s just like Jesus’ statement in the Sermon on the Mount, “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matt 5:37). Yes means yes; no means no. No quibbling, no qualifiers, no spin. Yes or No. The reason he says anything more than that comes from evil, is because any attempt to gussy-up or shore up the Yes or No, is equivocating, and changes the authority of the truth into the hems and haws and the “it might be this,” or the “it might be that,” of the scribes and Pharisees of our day, who are like those of old, of whom Jesus said, “Woe unto you, lawyers! [Law of Moses experts] For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.” (Luke 11:52)
We have been bamboozled on this, too! Faith, or “believing,” is not a complicated, labor-intensive activity. It is the simplest thing in the world.
“Belief” is both something from the Spirit and also something that the “mind” does. It is the Spirit who enlightens us, but in it also there is a lot of cogitation going on inside, where the mind works it out and then embraces a “belief.” As we consider the “belief,” and for whatever reason, we decide that it is true, therefore we come to “believe” it. But it really doesn’t do anything, until we take the “belief,” and in a sense, take it as our own, by believing in its validity, and to make some sort of commitment to that “belief,” either by speaking a word in agreement with the truth of our “belief, or performing an action.
We make that into a much harder thing than it is. I always use the marriage ceremony as an example of believing and faith. Our “belief” in getting married starts in our hearts and minds, and eventually comes to the forefront of our minds as the two parties come to agreement that they will marry, which is the first form in which their beliefs, were made concrete by faith, i.e., speaking the word, “Let’s get married,” which then starts the ball rolling for wedding plans.
Then the day comes, when the two parties stand before the officiant and the gathered witnesses to the public vows they will both take. And when each party publicly states their commitment to be married, each the spouse of the other, saying, “I do” or other appropriate words, the officiant pronounces them to be “husband and wife.” That is a word of faith also, but spoken and backed up by higher authorities. The minister states that they are married in God’s eyes and also in the eyes of the state, by the authority given by both the “state” (worldly legal authorities), and by God. It is a solemn thing, whether married in a civil-only ceremony, or married in a “religious” context.
So, once they speak their “I do’s,” and the minister makes his pronouncement, they’re married! Period!
When they wake up the next morning, no matter how the reception or wedding night went, they’re still married. They do not have to do one thing to continue to make it so. It is simply a fact. So if one says, “I can’t believe I’m married,” that can only be the preamble to, “But I am!”
Why, because I necessarily “feel like” I’m married? No – it is a fact because it has been sealed by higher authorities, and what we think or feel about it does not nor cannot change that fact. And we have to trust something greater than ourselves for the continuing validity of our marriage – either the laws of the state or the authority of God. Our “marriage” has now become a fact, not backed up by our opinion of it, or what I think about it or feel about it, but by our word of faith, “I do,” which we spoke before the congregation. But our word of faith is not our final authority. Even if we later “waver” on our word of faith, there is something higher than our wavering holding up the truth of our situation, i.e., we are married. Either the authority of the state, or of God.
Now that is exactly like “faith” and “believing” in what we are talking about. The Holy Spirit enlightens our minds with things we come to “believe,” and at some certain time He moves us to make some sort of “commitment” to that “belief,” by some word or action that solidifies and “proves” our faith. It is what James is talking about in his famous, almost anti-Pauline, “faith without works is dead,” passage. All James is basically saying, is that our faith will produce its outcomes, its completions. Abraham believed, and in demonstration of his “belief,” he first circumcised himself, then Ishmael and then all the rest of the males in his household, whether family or servants. That IS commitment! And real faith! (I hope they had some herbal pain reliever on hand!)
The MAIN thing to see, is that we are all being brought on, day by day, by the Holy Spirit. He walks us through the entire course of our lives. We are always led by Him to the perfect path for us whether we are aware or not, just as the cursed generation of Israelites (the ones who wouldn’t go into the land on the first try because they were in unbelief), was still led daily by the Spirit in either a Cloudy Pillar in the daytime, or a Pillar of Fire at night, with all their daily needs supplied, in a wilderness in which there is no supply. They were totally “flesh” people, yet God sustained them day by day! So how much more is He with us, and sustaining, leading and guiding us in the Spirit, since we now “Know” Him, unlike the fleshly Israelites in the Sinai Desert? There is simply no comparison!
(This next below is a reply to someone about our humanity. He had written me, because I had sent out to a few a short update on personal things, and in it I expressed that I had been lately invaded with a whole lot of thoughts like, “I can continue this,” “What’s the use?,” “Nobody cares,” etc. He told me what had so edified him was to know that I, in his mind one of the ones who were established, mature in understanding, etc., had the same thoughts and temptations that he had. Like a lot of us, he thought he wasn’t quite “there” yet because there were still all these negative, or tempting thoughts he had to deal with every day. He was excited that I did also, and it gave new stimulus to his own faith life. This below is my reply to that.)
Thanks for writing me, and even more I am glad that my “humanity” is clear to you, not so you get to know “me” a little better, but because it is a great hurdle to stride over, that our humanity in its “weakness” is acceptable to God – really not just acceptable, but actually the dwelling place of His glory and out of which (weakness) He prevails in us in divine power.
We all have those feelings from time to time, and what almost all of us do here and there, is to see those “feelings” as feelings we really “should not” have, and especially that even if we do have them, we should “never express them” to anyone else! We say to ourselves it’s because we don’t want to upset someone else’s faith, but the more honest answer is maybe that we do not wish to make public our “weakness,” or any “apparent” lack of faith we might display, by publicly acknowledging such things.
Or possibly, we may in our “faith life,” also be operating in a little bit of human superstition. What I mean by that is that we have a sense that we can “jinx” the expectations we have from God through our faith, by saying or doing the wrong thing! Such as, a few years ago, we were desperately waiting on a large check from an inheritance, and weeks and weeks after we thought it would come, it still had not showed up and all the supplies were just about exhausted! I would keep going to the front door all through the day, hoping maybe for a special delivery, Fedex or UPS, once the mail had run empty again.
But at the same time, every time I did it I accused myself of not acting and being “relaxed” in faith, and even held the thought that my “anxiousness” would jinx the arrival of the check! Or that I was not looking to God, citing that as the reason the check hadn’t come. But through all that, the Spirit brought me to see through all my “self thoughts,” and to realize it was all nonsense!
Here’s the thing I believe I have seen. When we do that, judge ourselves from the outer things, we are putting ourselves back under self-judgment. We begin to walk and speak tentatively; we correct ourselves; we “try” to “see through.” But this is just great exercise in soul spirit stuff, that’s all. We haven’t done anything wrong.
The outer self-consciousness which is soulish cannot retain as its own the things of God. They are Spirit, and the spirit understands them. “Soul” is not a person on its own, but the expression of a person. It is not its own entity. And yet, it can appear to be the whole of us, when we make the natural mind the place of our abode.
But from the Spirit it (the natural mind) is free, and encouraged to be, and that means that we are free to have our thoughts, doubts, distractions, without condemnation or “apologizing” for ourselves, or judging ourselves, etc. I know people will mention Paul’s “bring every thought into the captivity of Christ,” responding to what I am saying, but I believe this is how that is done. Let ‘em run free! Who we really are always OUTS!!! He always prevails! We trust it all to Him, throw it to the wind, in faith!
Now to this day I freak out, as my first reaction, to this or that. So what? I used to condemn myself for my reactions like that, but I do not anymore. The temporal life can only conceive and “know” the temporal life and world. So it’s no wonder our minds and emotions reason and react according to things “in and of time,” since that part of us is also “in and of time,” and meant to be! Most people are of the opinion we’re supposed to mess around in there and try to clean up as much of it as we can. More of the self-judging stuff Christians cannot stop doing. It comes from pride of self – do we see that?
God brought us into Himself in the condition in which we were at the time, and we were a motley crew! But still, He is the One who has chosen us, not we Him. He knew our condition before He chose us, and did it anyway! He sent His Spirit into our hearts whereby we cry to God, “Abba, Father!” Every moment in our lives is His continual “choice” of us. He is the One Who decided to take up an abode in us, and call that “His house.” He decided that, not us! Why are we so quick to condemn that which HE has chosen, and which HE HIMSELF declared clean, and bought with the price of His own blood? How could we fail to see this – unless we were self-focused, thinking about our “own” righteousness, or sanctification, or wisdom, thinking ourselves deficient. How dare we!
Paul declared God’s mind and “opinion” of us in this way: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:30, 31).
So that is why we are not to mess with “improving” all that soul stuff. Leave it be. It’s God’s, as we’re God’s, and that’s us. i.e., we’re Christ AS us! That freaking out part is us, as much as the faith toward God part is us. For this present time they both must be.
That’s why it is such freedom to come to the “mixed with” knowing of the mind of Christ in us, the inner mind of Christ which is our inner consciousness, and have the “outer us” go back to its original function, to be the expression of the inner truth of Christ in us, in our weakness and humanity, not made into Superman, but continuing to live in weakness just as Jesus did when He endured His final trials.
So the truth is, of course, that we cannot “jinx” the things that come to us through the faith of God within us. They are sent from God, and come of their own accord, in God’s time, and once spoken, they “accomplish the thing whereto [they are] sent.” We may appear to “vacillate” between faith and doubt, but really all that is just soul ups and downs, not of the spirit, and they don’t make a hill of beans.
Verily verily I say unto you. Be yourself.
Reminder: “Living Bread – Part Four,” which will hopefully be the conclusion, will be coming shortly!