The Christian Behavior Obsession Syndrome
by Fred Pruitt
(Note: This below was written as a response to some questions regarding the last article on the blog a couple of days ago, “Be Yourself.” The questions eventually boiled down to pretty much one thing, the idea of accepting “all” our behavior as Christ. People either downright reject the idea as impossible or heretical, or “accept it” in understanding our union and the fact that now we see He is living our lives.
(It is easier in a sense to see and understand union and take it by faith, because we know that it is not of an observable nature, and we have learned that in Christ we live from and by something which is unobservable. So we have some sense of that and can take, in faith, that we are in union with Christ. But then, where the difficulties arise, is in the observable portions of our lives, and the difficulty is to resolve the two – what we can see, and what we cannot see.
(From the beginning we thought that the way to get what we can see, to “line up” to what we cannot see, was to make some sort of effort to do so, and to try to keep all the commandments of God so we would be pleasing in His sight. But along the way we learn that does not work, because we can never get there by that route, and it brings many eventually to understand our only reality is an inner union reality in the Spirit with Him, which we accept by faith. But there is still all that “stuff” about ourselves, that we don’t like, or wish we could change, or quit doing, or do more – name your own, we all have them. Now I am not at this point talking about things which are not of the kingdom of which we are citizens, the kingdom of heaven. We take it for granted by the Spirit that there are things that are not named among us, as Paul wrote, and if they are and approved, then that is a different writing than this one below. What we are speaking of here is just our annoying humanity, the rough granite of who we are, and how each of us can see Christ fully formed in the rough granite of ourselves, and in all the brethren, even as Michelangelo saw David in a block of marble and never saw anything else until David was fully revealed to all.)
I’ve been at this over 30 years now, and what you are describing is everybody’s issue. Absolutely everybody! What about my behavior? And what most people really seem to think they want, at least in the beginning, is a tried and true 100% guaranteed formula or system to produce the “works” WE think ought to be produced, i.e., “my good Christian behavior.” Stuff we believe Jesus would do if He were us. That is sort of the Christian Holy Grail – to finally be fully “like” Jesus according to our eyes of flesh – and like the Holy Grail, it is just as useless a quest. The Holy Grail, because it never existed, and our flesh idea of what Jesus should be like if He REALLY was living my life, because that never existed either. That is all in our fleshly imagination.
In that regard, a 100% wholly guaranteed formula or system, has eluded every person that has ever been born, on the level of temporal appearances. They never were able to turn lead into gold in alchemy, though the pitch men are still selling that idea one way or the other all over the world through all time. Some of my friends and I used to say if we could actually find such a thing (the 100% absolute behavior guarantee), and could bottle it and sell it, we could fill stadiums and be multi-billionaires! But hey, guess what, there are quite a few out there who are offering such “guarantees,” IF you follow their system, and make sure you bring money!
First of all, though I’ve heard your thinking on the subject many times before as one of the answers to “behavior” that are constantly being thrown out there, the “old patterns” model (I’ve seen that packaged in a whole bunch of ways), “inner healings of memories,” or the “smudge on the outside,” that we have to find and clean up. I have seen that the deliverance people, who see casting out the demons of this or that out of believers, as they see it, as the road to their better behavior, are no different from some who went out from “us,” who see their job as to find and point out the inconsistencies in our “believing,” i.e., walking in “independent self,” which is their answer to the riddle of behavior, as the road to that same end – the things that bother us about their or our behavior WILL GO AWAY, IF we believe correctly!
Then there is the whole wing of the church, the just-accept-life-in-the-wilderness-give-up crowd, that just stops at Romans 7:25, seeing it as a lifelong struggle with sometimes the flesh on top, sometimes the Spirit – “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” For people who embrace that, that struggle is all this life will ever be; they will “sin every day,” and always live in condemnation for their condition until they die. Always in defeat. And the others listed above, are always incomplete because there are always more old patterns showing up, so we can take refuge in being “in process,” a process which is never completed.
We have a friend who lives in Columbus Ohio. We visited him one time and only four or five, if that, of his Christian friends showed up to join us to talk about Christ in us. He wrote me later that they had a “Spiritual Warfare” seminar at his church, and a THOUSAND people came. Four to our meeting, a thousand to the devil’s meeting! All sorts of people were “delivered” of this and that habit, idiosyncrasies, or maybe even downright “sin,” and the conference was a huge success. I wrote him back that the happiest guy at the seminar was the devil, because he was the center of all their attention – him and his “wiles,” “ways” to defeat him, what to be on the lookout for, etc. And the even neater thing the devil was happy about than having that one meeting, was that they would be sure to come back for more deliverance. He will be happy to provide the condemning accusatory fodder for their inspection, and even seem to “go out,” just so he can go back in for another run for a different deliverance next week, and he’ll keep on bringing them! He’s happy – he has those people right where he wants them – living in fear of him and focused on themselves.
Though their language and theology is extreme among the “deliverance” folks, I believe the mindset is the same in each of those models mentioned above. It is ALL the very subtle encroachment of the law, because that is the law’s function – to reveal sin. But just as the law promises “blessings” if you can overcome – you’ll have the life and behavior you want! – so that subtle “self-improvement thing” sneaks back in, and self-improvement IS sin, biting right back down on the “I will be like the Most High” apple!
John Bunting, Boyd Williams and I went to visit a fellowship in northern CA a few years ago. We didn’t know them, but they had found us on the internet and asked us to visit when we were in CA, so we did. They had told us they had read Norman and were very interested, but we had no idea what we were really getting into, which is not unusual. Too many details, but it was very cultish, led by a wealthy man who lived in a very luxurious house, who had built and I believe owned the large Christian school, pre-K to 12 where they all worked, as his employees. So he was both their spiritual leader AND their employer. A pretty dangerous combination.
It’s a long story, but I’ll get to the point. Like many, they agreed with the concept of union with Christ, and they had been heavily influenced by another well-known writer about union with Christ I’m sure you know. Two of them had been to that writer’s “school” in southern England, and, as they said, they operated by what they were trained to do at the school. As I saw it finally before we left, yes, they had the “idea” of union firmly in grasp. But because of their “process” – it was only theoretical union life. Process says, “I will be.” Union says, “Yes I am.”
Back to the folks in that group. What they had set about doing, therefore, was to use the “old patterns” model, but they put it into different words. They saw it as in the inner landscape of our lives, that we have all these “rocks” out there, like stones in a desert, and each one of those rocks represents stuff about us we need to face and overcome, past memories, traumas, patterns, etc. So our job, helped by the brethren, was to find and turn over those stones and reveal and deal with whatever was underneath.
We didn’t know all that at the time, but found out pretty quickly, because some of them seemed to be lying in wait for us. It’s crazy to consider, but they sort of “sucked” us in, it seemed all premeditated, not so that we could share with them as had been understood in the initial invitation, but so that we would “submit” to their process, and sort of be on a “hot seat,” in a forum where all the people were free to point out what bothered them about the one in the “hot seat,” so that person would be “corrected,” and “whoosh,” life is better – until you get to the next rock.
Needless to say, we clashed, and neither John, Boyd nor I submitted to them after they tried really hard to make us “confess stuff” that we had trouble with, so they could see our “honesty.” Well, it was all hogwash, and we departed after two days instead of the three planned, by mutual agreement. The night before they had put John in the hot seat, though he refused to get up and go to the actual “seat,” (there was one there), but they started in anyway, by the brother sitting next to him who said to the group, that he was disappointed in John, and looked for better things for him, something along those lines, all with the goal that John would confess his “negatives,” his weaknesses, his sins, not sure what they were looking for. Perhaps whatever Job’s three friends were looking for. But he wouldn’t budge. He kept saying he was complete and perfect in Christ, and had nothing to say further than that. They never could break him, and they didn’t even try with Boyd. I loved what John told them, too! This below is my paraphrase.
“Look, I’ve had to endure many oral examinations in my medical career. They are always conducted by seasoned professionals who are tops in their fields, often the guys that wrote the textbooks we studied. I’ve been in a room in the Mayo Clinic where the committee tried everything they could to shake me or refute me, and you guys are small potatoes compared to that!”
At the time I was seeing a friend in town, so I missed that meeting, but by then we knew what was up. The next morning before we hit the road, we went to their school where they had a morning meeting of the staff and their leader, “whatever” he was, and they tried to suck us in again. No budging. By that time some of his people were definitely liking the fact that we stood up to that guy. None of them ever did that we could tell.
The final thing in the meeting still with the whole group assembled, he asked everyone to say some sort of final word with we three at the end. My last words to him and the whole group were quoting Jesus, but applying them by the Spirit to myself: “I do always those things that please Him.” (John 8:29). All that produced was silence. And that was our cue to head to the next destination.
Then there’s the tried and true “old time religion” model, that of “rooms” in us, and we have to “invite” Jesus into each of those rooms as we get to them, so that He can clean them up, sweep them out, etc., and so we’re all waiting for whatever next “room” appears that needs to be dealt with. And we always remain incomplete. If anything “good” came out of us, that was God, but if not, well, that was us. (By whose yardstick?) Or so the thinking goes. Always a hit or a miss, but we hope we get a hit, but do not really believe until we “see” it according to our fleshly idea of us, that Christ will work “through” us –- and that of course, would be so as long as we are able to get that nasty “us” out of the way! Aye, and there’s the rub, isn’t it?! We can’t get rid of that, as we perceive it, nasty “us.” And neither, it seems, can God!
This is what we mean by “Christ as us,” and that is exactly where we find conflict with others. They don’t like the “as” because in their minds that puts too much Jesus in there and not enough of us. “As” leaves no gap. We cannot get “closer” to God than “one” with Him, He in us, we in Him. And the “as” is either all or nothing, really. It’s a meaningless word if not actually believed and applied .
So back then, to this seemingly wayward “me.” We can either see this “us” as something dangling just out of Christ, not too far away, that always needs to be reeled in, suppressed, fixed up, changed, etc., and this dangling us is just hanging there, being “itself,” OR, we can see that same “us,” not dangling just outside Christ in the process zone, but that now our members (the whole of our humanity) belong to Christ now, and that includes everything in this house (us) which he purchased with His own blood. So nothing of me or you is dangling just outside Christ in us. We are a union which produces a unity, we function “as God,” but not in the Tree of G&E sense, but because it is God by our humanity functioning as Himself in human form, AS us. He does not need to be invited into any rooms or closets. He owns it, so He needs no invitation. Once he moved in as the new owner, kicking the devil out, He took over the whole place – which includes not only our spirits, but also our souls and bodies, now put to His usage through the supposedly “cracked” earthen vessel which is us. That even includes our screwy psychological makeup, our thoughts, our desires, our emotion, our reason – it all belongs to Him, not us (never did, they used to belong to the devil and he ran us around making us believe it was just us, but the offense was him), and since He is the new owner He decides what fences to mend or closets to clean out whenever he wants, and He always gets what HE wants. He is not ashamed to be in a union relationship with us, but willing to allow His Divinity to take up residence in a body of flesh and to manifest Himself IN that mortal, dying flesh, that Life might come to more others.
The easy way out has always been all the models mentioned above, as well as many others, which all have the same inner quality despite their differences of language and theology. Nobody is offended with anyone who is “in process.” They’ll pat you the back and say, Good job! Wonderful honesty, such humility! You’re like one of us”
But they will fight you tooth and nail if you say you are complete, right now today, sanctified wholly body, soul and spirit, which we embrace by faith and in that faith we accept it as our reality, now, and that in Him, we “always do those things that please Him.” That’s a leap of faith of the highest order, which we can only take by the Spirit.
The Lord gets our attention in many ways. I was watching the old 70s TV miniseries rendition of “Jesus of Nazareth,” a while back, my favorite of all the Jesus movies, except for the Gospel of John. When they came to the synagogue scene, a HUGE piece of the puzzle dropped into place for me. Jesus returns to Nazareth after His temptation in the desert, and He asks to read a scripture passage in the synagogue, which He had a right to do as did any male adult Jew. When He read from the Isaiah passage, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” He had their attention right away, because they knew very well those were Messiah scriptures. He finished, gave the scroll back to the rabbi, and sat down. They were still waiting, because it was also customary that the reader could give a comment about the reading,. They were expecting that, but not a one of them ever thought they would ever hear the words that came out of Jesus’ mouth: “This day, in your hearing, the scripture is fulfilled.”
It made ‘em madder than a nest of raging mad hornets! “He’s Joseph’s son, the carpenter, a man just like us. How DARE He say He is the Messiah!” And they were mad enough to kill Him!
That was what struck me so, that they saw Jesus as a man just like them. Obviously, they didn’t see Him as especially holy or set apart, other than perhaps as a rabbi might be, one like their rabbi, who could not speak with the voice of authority concerning the things of God because he did not know them. They probably could have handled it if He had just said, “I have decided I want to become a rabbi, and I hope you will support me, brethren.” They might have patted him on the back for that, “Good goal, you should be proud!” They could say that to a man just like them. But they knew they were imperfect. The Moses system kept them thinking that way, and they had to participate in the Temple feasts and sacrifices in order to be justified because of their sinfulness, which of course had to be oft repeated over the whole course of a lifetime.
But in their minds the Messiah could not be a man just like them. They were imperfect, so in their minds Jesus must be also. What’s good for me, the goose, is good for you, the gander. Ipso facto – “You can’t be the Messiah because I can’t be the Messiah.”
Now I believe that was written not just so we would know that story of Jesus, and see what He went through. The puzzle piece that fell into place that night was this: we are just like Jesus commenting in the synagogue. We can either believe we are complete, perfect and entire, needing nothing, (Col 2:10 ; James 1:3,4), or not. The first way, is to say, like Jesus did, and it was just as much faith for Him as it is for us, “This day, in your hearing, the scripture is fulfilled.” What scripture? The ones God has revealed in us, declaring His Life in us. “Arise, shine, thy Light IS come!” That one word, takes in all of them. What Light? The Light of the Lamb, the Light that needs no outer sun nor moon to shine, nor separate temple in which to dwell. He no longer lives in stone temples, except as those who are His are there! We don’t “go to church” to get holiness, or to partake of the holiness of some special building – that went out with the Temple of Herod, the descendent of the Temple of Solomon. Yet so many of the faith of Jesus today still try to rebuild that temple, when that, first of all, was never His dwelling place, only a representation of the True Temple which would come after, the Temple (Body) of His Son, and that Temple-Body is of course, what we know as the Body of Christ. The Body itself IS the temple, and each of us complete in ourselves in our function as individual temples, all functioning perfectly together in our purposes as Paul brought out in Rom 12: “4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”
But it’s a truly bold confession to make, don’t we think, to say that now those truths are now truth for us!? How can we say “we” are complete, perfect, entire, needing nothing? It is just like our initial “salvation” experience, which our then friends who didn’t go that way did not understand and had a hard time believing we had been “born again.” We have changed; they’ve noticed, but they think we just got something called “religion,” and that scares off a lot of folks. Though we testify with joy and new life about what we have found, they just don’t see it, and we have no way to prove it. None of this can be proved to the flesh mind because that mind can never grasp it, no matter how “in its face” the Truth is. It would still miss it. It does not have “eyes” to see. Our only reliable witness, and not even our brethren can give us this nor can we get it through counseling, preaching or even studying the scriptures, is the “witness” of the Spirit within. Coming into union is almost as much a transition in our spiritual understanding and consciousness as was our initial transition from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God’s dear Son. And it is almost just as missed by our brethren who haven’t seen it yet, as it was for our friends who did not accompany us (at the time) on our new road in Christ. It is that distinct a shift in knowledge and understanding. And just as in knowing we are born of God, the only reliable witness was the Spirit in us, in realizing the truths of John 17:11; 20-23, we have the same one and only reliable witness – in us!
So what’s the point of this? Is the behavioral problem solved? Is that really what all this, that so dominates the millions of us, our behavior, is that really what all this is about? Does knowing any of this really “solve” the problem?
Well, yes or no, dependent on our faith, or point of view, or consciousness – I suppose it has many names.
To the flesh eyes, it is never solved and never will be, hence the continual marriage to the law. Those who say it is solved in them, are heretics in the minds of the former. They’re presumptuous, holier-than-thou, antinomian, etc. They thought that of Jesus in His home synagogue in Nazareth, probably the one He grew up attending every week, where they all knew Him. They didn’t think He was such a holy guy.
However, we are not flesh people, but Spirit people. And on that level, it IS solved, and it takes the flesh right on into it, and says, with Paul, that in the flesh, i.e., in the body, not meaning “sinful flesh,” but in the human flesh life we live now in OUR flesh, that we are “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.” (2 Cor 5:10-13).
So then what does that mean? Are we to just ignore these behavior things? No, since that would be impossible! Instead, we’re first to get over fretting about it, worrying about it, and instead to agree with the Scriptures and the Spirit that state in so many ways and passages, Old and New, that NOW, right now in this moment, “the scripture is fulfilled” in us. But not only that, we take it that this, His present moment in which “the scripture is fulfilled,” in us, becomes that one “present moment in God” which extends forever onward through all the days of our living – one big present moment with, in, of, and one with, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The great thing He reveals in that moment of time, is that in Him we are complete, perfect and entire, needing nothing, that God loves us, is forever only, “for us,” and gave Himself in His Son so that as He is, so we are and walk in the world. It really takes balls to believe that and then live as if it is true, but there it is. Of course, we cannot muster such faith, but the One in us can and does.
It is for many of us the first “knowing” (that we are complete, perfect and entire, needing nothing) we have in coming to know union. For some of us, it is the most liberating moment of our lives, and is for some a “culmination” of our initial conversion moment or time of truth. My union “knowing” did not come from reading books, though some of the books I read certainly articulated and put into understandable words, things I had dimly seen all along in Christ, but in my living had been afraid to believe them. But when the scales dropped from my eyes the second time, and I saw that “my Lord and I are one,” I must say, it was as liberating, as scales-from-the-eyes dropping, or as dramatic a time or moment in my life as any other has been, and exceeding all thus far, except the time period of my initial conversion, which stands about equal, though for different reasons.
Of course, that isn’t to produce self-pride and self-elevation, though we are accused of it, because our true faith only comes from God, and with it and in it is the greatest humility. The interesting thing about “humility” is that it is a commodity which we cannot “have.” One does not “possess” or “have” humility. True humility is only found in a total divesting of oneself, by the Spirit, Who alone can do it, and become a “nothingness,” or an “emptiness,” toward the Lord. As Paul also said, “If a man thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Gal 6:3).
He didn’t write that so that some could come later and say we should see ourselves as worthless worms, totally depraved, but so that we could see PAST that false image, perpetrated by the devil, in which we saw ourselves as ourselves as “something,” i.e., a “self-god.” It is a false image, whose only cure is a death, and a resurrection to another image, the image of the True God, which we had at the beginning, restored in us in Christ. But, there has to be a death to go from one to the other. It isn’t a death of annihilation, but of transition from one kingdom, dying to that kingdom and its falsehoods, which is a real death, dying to what we thought we knew, believed, old ways and old truths which could not hold up under new wine, but under that new wine becoming alive in the other kingdom, the kingdom of God, and alive in its truths, in a real life as real to us as death was real before.
We are all obviously, considering even the small miniscule understanding of God that we believe we have, still as “nothing” in comparison to Him. He is past understanding. He is the only Something, i.e., Person, there is. There are other “persons” created out of Him, but they can only find their individual persons-hood, which He intends, by finding them in Him. It is all a gift, available to all. Let us pray always for that which the Scriptures have always encouraged us to pray, for the furtherance of the Gospel, that each of us would be given boldness, as Paul requested of his friends he wrote, so that he might continue to speak boldly, even it he had to endure suffering and death, for the purpose again as Paul stated, a commission in which we all share in whatever life or condition God wills us to be, we all say, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.” (Eph 3:8,9)
However it is that we may pull meanings and doctrines out of Paul’s writings, it is clear to me that whatever true “theology” Paul lived from, kept him busy til the day of his death, preaching the gospel to unbelievers and believers alike. There was never a “relaxation” in him in the sense that the work was done, that there was nothing more to do, except right at the end in his last letter to Timothy. And there he is not saying the work is finished, but merely handing the baton, Elijah’s mantle, to Timothy his son in the Spirit. Paul’s opening words in the 4th chapter of 2 Timothy, were the same words the Spirit used personally to me in early 1973, that electrified me from head to toe, as God Himself speaking to me, and set me that day on the course that has brought me to this moment. They electrify me even more now than they did then, because then I could not see even one day ahead, and now I can look back on all those 40 plus years and declare: “What God hath wrought!”
Here is Paul’s last commission to Timothy in 2 Tim 4:1-5:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
At the time I knew all five verses were for me. But I could only identify with the first two verses for most of those 40 years. It is only in the last year or two, I have begun to understand my relation to the last three verses, because I cannot help but believe we are in the time to which Paul pointed, or a good precursor to it. It is the time of those last three verse above.
Even Paul’s famous, Philippians verse, “I don’t pretend to have attained yet,” used always by the we’re-not-there-yet people to make him seem less than he was, as they seem themselves, because he was not talking about personal attainment, as they are, personal goals, personal spirituality. Hell no, he threw all that out, and counted his “own righteousness” as shit! What he was still looking to “attain,” which would be the only thing self-for-others would be looking for, was that by his preachings, his letters, his sufferings, his joys, his sorrows, his beatings, his triumphs, that in all that, he might save as many as he could, and SAVE is the word he continually used, and is the word used and meant throughout the whole New Testament. He beat the bushes until he died, and trusted that his welcome death at the hands of Nero as tradition says, would be life for the whole world of the Gentiles, which he received from the Lord as his apostleship. The life of the Cross, which we are all called to take up, is not for personal sanctification, but only one purpose, that we may “know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death,” in order to “bring many sons unto glory,” and not just ourselves. (Phil 3:10). I like what Dan Stone said once: “I’ll be anybody’s doormat if that is their threshold into Christ!” Amen, brother Dan!
There is nothing we have not received from Him, as the Scriptures say. The only way for something to be to the real truth for us as it states in the Gospels, is that we lose our life to find our life. “Oh wait,” people are going to say, “that’s putting conditions on salvation, and antithetical to grace.” No, this is what grace does! Nobody can fulfill that. Nobody can really, truly, “give up his life,” in the sense in which Jesus was talking. It is not something we are capable of, though inside us we might be aware of a desire to do it, to find Christ, somehow some way. Lots of us do that.
But that’s what that Romans 7 struggle does, exactly what it does. This is the way the Spirit does it – our Romans 7 frustration experience solidifies us in the truths of Romans 6, which take us to the liberty of Romans 8. It is the whole “lose your life to find it,” issue that our unsuccessful bout with the law brings out and solves – we find the Life! And the end result of all that, is that we step out in faith in Galatians 2:20, as the Spirit brings us into the oneness that Jesus declared true in us in John 17, which has been there all along, just not in our conscious understanding. We come at long last to the real truth, which is that He and we are one, and as He is, so are we, in this world. And just stand there, and give the worrying over the seeming “inconsistencies” of the flesh, to the Spirit, Who handles all things quite nicely, and we get about the business of forgetting ourselves, and on to the tasks of the Spirit!
To the whole Christian world I say – GET OVER YOURSELVES!!!! He does not want your perfect behavior!!!! He wants your faith and love! The Gospel didn’t ask, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find perfect behavior on the earth?” No, He asks if He will find FAITH! (Luke 18:8). He is not looking for our idea of perfection, but faith in Him and HIS idea of perfection, which is how His love comes forth. And His own demonstrations of His perfection, by HIS choice, are you and me. By His choice, He manifests Himself in the world by our “inconsistent looking” human lives. Look at natural forests and then man-planted forests. Natural forests are random, without any noticeable order. Man’s forests are trees lined up in straight rows with a very noticeable order. I like natural forests better.
Come on, let’s get over trying to please men! That is what 98% of this behavior obsession is all about! Pleasing God is to believe Him, not perform for Him! Man is pleased with performance! And continued performance – “What have you done for me today?” And sadly but to good purpose because it puts us onto God only, the expectations of other human beings find the bulk of us quite wanting. For some reason, most other folks don’t quite see us as “perfect.” And that’s good practice for all the brethren, because, when we see ourselves in Christ and perfectly accepted of Him according to His word, we are able then to have the same faith for our brethren that we have for ourselves.
Does a soldier when he is preparing for battle, fret and ruminate over his demerits or questionable performances back during his training days? No, those days are over. Shined boots, alpha uniforms and polished brass aren’t worn on the battlefield. No marching in step either. That might get them TO the battlefield, but it ends there. The only thing necessary is to follow orders, keep your head and have a clean, functioning weapon, with plenty of ammunition! Training days are over, and the battle is upon us. No time to worry any more about myself. The soldier can only say, forgetting himself, “I’ve got a job to do!”
I always liked Norman Grubb’s reply one time to a woman who asked him, while he was enthusiastically eating as he always did, if he watched his weight or practiced a particular healthy diet. He looked up and answered, “Oh no, my dear, I eat whatever I please. I take care of the Lord’s business, and He takes care of mine.” And then he went happily back to his meal.
The man traveled his whole life, by foot, car, bus, ship, train, wagon, cart, horse, riverboat or airplane, from the time he was in his twenties through his nineties, speaking worldwide at multitudes of churches, groups, conferences, and in thousands of homes, in kitchens, dens and living rooms, from magnificent estates to one-room huts, and they were all alike to him. It staggers the mind, but I think of the amount of fried chicken, roast beef, pork chops, turkey, ham, potato salad, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, rolls, cakes, pies or whatever else was on the menu wherever he went that he enthusiastically dove into for nearly 70 years of God’s work. The only “dislike” I ever heard him utter about food, was when asked if he liked carrots, and he replied, “I wouldn’t walk a mile for one.” I saw it myself – he was as happy and eating as heartily unto the Lord a bowl of lentils as much as he was over a nice juicy T-bone steak, every moment trusting, thanking and praising the Lord and enjoying himself all quite naturally, loving everyone and hardly fussing about anything, especially anything in the temporal – he would fuss mightily sometimes about stuff of the Spirit if necessary, for he was as fierce as a lion, and as gentle as a Lamb at the same time.
And yet, he was a man just like all the rest of us, but he was a man whose life proved his point, that, “What you take, takes you.” I met him the first time close to 60 years after he had “taken” Christ. By the time I got to meet him in 1973, Christ was all you could see in the man – if you had eyes. What he had taken (Christ), had taken him. I didn’t quite have the eyes the first time, but I saw the light. The second time, seven years later in 1980, I did have the eyes, and “seeing” Christ in Him, certainly caused due respect and honor toward him as my elder in every way, but also at the same time, I saw He (Christ) was in me, too, and everyone who names the name of Christ, as much as He was in Norman Grubb. Isn’t God wonderful?
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah. (Ps 24:7-10).
And may we all know “the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph 3:19-21)