The Blessing of Failure
By Fred Pruitt
(Last night I received this email from a 17 year old young lady. It moved me so much I had to send her the response below. )
From the young lady —
Hi, I recently found your blog – great name – “single eye” !
i just turned 17 a few days ago. Last year Jesus radically changed my life. I went from completley depressed to full of His Presence in a split second.. this lasted for a beautiful 6 months..I felt Him.. I heard Him.. I grew in His Spirit..! ..well.. A month ago..things totally went down hill. I got mad at Him and stopped walking in His Spirit.. I spent weeks crying, depressed…empty.. then a few weeks ago, I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.. but instead of running to Him and His Spirit.. I ran to my own ways.. I started looking at Myself, and running my life on my own.. I ignored His Spirit.. continued to not walk in it, and found myself experiencing less and less conviction….I went from completely depressed to seemingly apathetic.. Right now I am at the point where I know things need to change..But I cannot be broken before Him..or cry out like I use to .. I cannot seem to cry out in repentence.. oh, I do not want to be one of those people who is ok with not being ok..who is alright with living without Him..but that is where I feel I am at now.. I don’t know if the door is shut or not now.. I am praying for a sign..anything..to show that He and I can still be One..but I have ignored His Spirit for so long, it is like it doesn’t speak anymore.. I do know one thing though..if I am to return to Him.. If He is to remake me.. I will have to give my 100% to Him.. I cannot live half way.. but I have for so long..
Feel Free to send any advice my way if He leads..
My dear young lady,
First of all, it is not that often that I have the opportunity to speak on spiritually mature terms with someone as “young” (according to the flesh) as you. Wow, 17! I am about 3.75 times your physical age (64 soon), and have been in Christ 2.5 times longer than you have been alive! And yet, reading yours last night, I realized the Spirit had brought you my way because you are ready for a whole new phase in your life in Jesus YEARS before it overtakes most others in whom the Spirit reveals their true identity in Christ. It was more than 7 years for me, and I know many many more who lived decades in the Lord before they saw these things! I am NOT flattering you – I am telling you as I believe it has come from the Spirit. And if anything I say to you rings some bells, so much the better, but discern the Lord’s voice, because it is only HE toward Whom I point you, and to what HE is doing, in you, right now!
I was overcome with joy and glory when I read yours last night! Do you know why? It isn’t because you are “suffering” in the things swirling around in your mind and heart. It is because the Father has entrusted Himself to you to the degree He is bringing you to the supreme inner revelation of Christ any of us can have, which is that He became “one” with us by His Cross, Resurrection and Ascension, and now by the mission of the Holy Spirit who “fell upon all men” at Pentecost, (which, by the way, is this Sunday, May 24th), we each are “little Christs” (which is literally what “Christian” means), because the Holy Spirit has taken up an abode in our inner selves, sealing the union between our human spirits and God’s Spirit, as in 1 Cor 6:17: “He that is joined to the Lord, is one spirit with Him.” We are each Christ reborn in each of us, in our incredible and mind-boggling diversity, so that we walk as He walks in us in the world. Gal 2:20; 1 Jn 4:17; Ez 36:26-28.
Now, I do not know how this is sounding to you, because most people would not rejoice over someone who had written with your testimony. Most people (Christians) would wonder what was wrong with you, and would try to help figure it out so that you could “get back close to God again.” Not many understand what is happening to you, because most “Bible believing” Christians would think you have been diverted by the enemy and are off-track. But I do not think that at all!
You have found the greatest prerequisite to spiritual adulthood, or rather God has put you in a position to “know” it, because I am not sure you understand it yet yourself, but I believe you will see it! And that is this, this incredible simplicity: You have nothing in yourself to bring to the table to contribute to your life in Christ. It has just been proven to you! You have no faithfulness. You can’t stick with it because you’ve grown apathetic. You can’t cry out to Him; you can’t repent. Things that “worked” six months ago do not “work” any more. God seems far away and you think you are past caring!
REJOICE, because it is a GREAT privilege the Spirit has given you, to know your own “nothingness,” “insufficiency,” “inadequacy,” etc., i.e., that you have ‘nothing’ to contribute to God’s Life in you, except perhaps as being a piece of temporal real estate where He has one of His houses (you – Heb 3:6).
When you lose your life, you find it! When you die, you live! The greatest thing to see in yourself “about” yourself is to know this inner nothingness, because it is THERE, in that empty spot you now realize is empty – The Godhead lives THERE in His fulness, Father Son and Holy Spirit!
Do you know the story of Peter on the night of Jesus’ arrest and trial, when he told Jesus he would never forsake or deny Him? Jesus told Peter that before the rooster crowed, Peter would deny Him three times. “O no, Lord, I will never betray you,” Peter protested. Yet he did betray Him, in the sense that He denied knowing Him three separate times. How BAD must Peter have felt! That’s when Peter found out he didn’t have the Divine “stuff” in himself to live it or manifest it, and that instead of his former view of himself as someone “who would never deny the Lord,” he found out the “hard way” (which is the way most of us find it out) that he truly, indeed, did not have “the stuff” to be Christ in the world.
Peter HAD TO find that out, as have I, as have thousands and thousands of saints since, and all the people with whom I walk in Christ, and now the Spirit has given you a GOOD LESSON of it! You don’t have the stuff!
Why is this important? Because we have grown up with the opposite mentality, that we “do” have the stuff to obey, read, praise, pray, do, etc., “with God’s help.” But ultimately we find that even though God winks at that baby understanding for a while, that “we do things ‘with God’s help,’ ultimately it does not hold up, because when we “lose our life” or realize, as did even Jesus, ‘That there is none Good, save God,” we have found the bottom rung foundation stone of our spiritual life in Christ.
Paul said it like this in 2 Cor 3:
5a “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves …”
That is the negative side of this greatest truth of all with respect to ourselves and our lives in Him. “We are NOT sufficient for ANYTHING ourselves.”
Therefore it is vain-glory (self adulation) to even THINK we can have any kind of sufficiency in ourselves at all, so that we could take on Christ’s “characteristics,” or develop a “more Christlike lifestyle,” etc. We cannot make that happen, despite our best efforts and determination to do so. We are all Peter who thinks he would not deny the Lord, but when the chips were down he couldn’t perform his word to Jesus! And as I said above, it was VITAL he learned that lesson, because it was this same Peter, who stood up 50 days later on the Day of Pentecost, and preached a sermon to the crowd about the Holy Spirit falling upon all men that was so powerful, 3000 people became converts that day!
Peter had found the first part of that verse quoted above, when he denied Jesus that night. He was weighed in the balances, and found wanting.
But when the Holy Spirit fell on the Day of Pentecost, Peter found the second phrase of that verse:
5b “But our sufficiency is of God.”
That is why you “failed” so miserably – because you were MEANT TO, so that He might reveal this much greater truth than “doing your best for Christ,” or some such. No, we do NOTHING “FOR” Christ, but find, HE DOES ALL in us. That opens all spiritual doors that we could never open, because as Jesus said, “I and my Father are one,” (Jn 10:30), and because Jesus said that, and said that we also have the same oneness with the Father that Jesus had (Jn 17:11;20-23), and described with some of these phrases, “the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works;” (Jn 14:10); as well as MANY MORE, this is the SAME LIFE now functioning in us this very moment! And we cannot discover that life until we have realized the falseness of our own self-sufficiency, because once that is shattered, as in abject failure or even apathy as you mentioned, the River of God within us begins to flow, and we KNOW (rather than “feel”) we each are the well of Living Water that flows out of us into our countryside with the blessings and wisdom of God, that flows and flows and flows, not by our instigation, but simply because we cannot HELP but to bear fruit since we have been grafted onto His True Vine, and on His Vine we cannot bear “our own” fruit, but ONLY the Fruit which God produces, from seed, to plant, to flower, to finally fruit in its ripeness. It happens naturally in the world, and with the same “naturalness” it happens in us in the Spirit!
We have NO sufficiency of our own! That is why we do not say, “We do this or that ‘with God’s help.’” No, that is not how the life is. We do nothing; He does all. You have been given your first deep lesson in this truth when you are both young in Christ AND young in human years. I believe God has great things in store for you, young lady! Praise God!
That’s all for the moment. I hope you can find some rest in here for you.
All my blessings and love in Christ,