Together WITH Christ

Together WITH Christ

By Fred Pruitt

(Edited and expanded from an earlier piece. The original issue was “what about my weight”. Let the reader substitute any issue he or she experiences in his or her life that is a source of condemnation or self-depreciation. When we come into the kingdom of God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, agreeing with self-condemnation or speaking self-depreciating words are not part of a “humble” attitude. Instead, they are expressions of unbelief in the work Christ has done, which God overlooks for a season. But eventually that MUST go, if we are to move on into our maturity as believers and “fathers” [male and female] in Christ.)

Hi, Fred,

I just want to tell you I love reading your articles & the truths in them have enriched my life. I just would like to know your thoughts on something. I struggled with an eating disorder for over 12 years. Ever since I started reading your articles and have continued attending my church, I have not binged in over five months. The one thing that still gets me sometimes is my physical appearance. I still feel overweight and am kind of disgusted with myself. I even went to the doctor and he said it is vital I lose weight. It is like I “know” the truth but because my outward appearance does not line up, I sometimes get depressed and a bunch of thoughts start to come flooding back in my mind. Two of your articles have been awesome for me, “Struggling with habits” and “Wingback chair and further.” I was just wondering if you had anymore comments on me about this struggle with I have with myself. As I stated before, it is like I “know” the truth, but when I step on the scale sometimes the number that comes up kinda wrecks me. But I have to admit, I am getting stronger in that area where it does not affect me as much, but it still does, and that is what I would like your opinion on.

Thank you & I hope to hear from you soon.
—————————————————————————————————–

Hi _____,

Thank you for writing. I am delighted that you find things I write to be helpful to you. So I’d be glad to have a short word to you about this.

I would just first of all say, continue on as you are doing! One of the hardest, maybe THE hardest, things to do is to “let go” of appearances. However, it is vital, because once freed from a “slavery” of being unwittingly bound to having to “manifest something,” the Spirit can open in us our true inner Resource and state of being, i.e., “Christ in us,” not simply to be like a separate-from-ourselves influence inside us, but instead in oneness to living expressions of God through Christ in our mortal flesh. (2 Cor 4:10,11).

That is what Galatians 2:20 means in a nutshell. It is no longer “I” (in an independent sense), but Christ living in me. He has “replaced” that false image of ourselves that we have lived with and of since birth. That is what it means when it says we are “crucified” with Him. It is a “death” to us, separating us from that false image. The whole work of the Cross and Resurrection did not just happen to Jesus. If it only happened to Him, we are still lost. But, just as it was by His Body Death that the Liar (SIN – which He took into Himself – 2 Cor 5:21) was separated from His Body and after three days He was raised up by the power of the Father, it must be and is the same for us. That is, in His Cross and Resurrection that Liar/Sin was cast out of US when He “became sin for us” in 2 Cor 5, and through Him we became the righteousness of God.

That was what was foreshadowed by Moses with the Israelite in the wilderness, when a plague struck the camp, and Moses by God’s command made a brass serpent and put it up on a pole to be seen of everyone. And everyone WHO JUST GAZED at the sight of the serpent on the pole were “healed” of the snake’s bite in Numbers 21, as Jesus brought up to Nicodemus in John 3).

And then as Romans 6 so perfectly says, when He was raised by the power and Spirit of the Father, we were also raised by the Same Spirit into oneness and union with and in Christ. As it says repeatedly in Ephesians – we were “quickened together with Christ,” “raised up together,” and “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

I find that word “together” to be a undeniable wonderful truth of our COMPLETE liberation. Listen, it is saying. Yes, Christ died, yes Christ rose again, and that is the Source of our salvation and restoration to God. However, even more than that, it is the Source of our daily Life in Him, as we learn and live Jesus’ “life of the Cross.” This word “together,” however, changes the meaning of the Passion of Christ from no longer being mainly that Jesus died and resurrected, (wonderful as that is and that served me well for a few years). The “completion” of Jesus Cross work was not merely geared toward our admiration and adoration of Jesus Christ, but that WE, the Sons and Daughters of God would be raised TOGETHER WITH HIM. He died and WE died! He rose and WE rose! To miss that second part makes for a stunted growth.

What this is saying, is that Who and What He is, has now become Who and What I am. It is a utterly complete revolution! (The only fully successful “revolution” in human history!) What was of the old has been cast out and what remains now is only the new.

Does not 2 Cor 5:17 say that very thing?

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away;  behold, all things are become new.”

Why do we not believe it?

Why do we not believe it when it goes on to say, in verse 21, that He was “made sin for us,” that WE might become the “righteousness of God?” Why do we shrink back from that, and instead focus on ourselves constantly and our own “lining ourselves up” to what we think God says or expects as we perceive it? How can we live in the kingdom in freedom when we think God is always somewhat displeased with us? What kind of person do we think God is? Is He the stern Father who continually finds his children never measuring up, no matter what they do or say? Is that really the God of Love we worship?

I’ll tell you what, I lived (rather unconsciously) in that frame of mind for years. After my initial born-again euphoria/honeymoon waned, “trying” to please God became my major focus, and whether consciously or unconsciously, I imagined God never being quite pleased with me. That’s why we “rededicate” and determine to “do better,” because of this mistaken idea that God never finds us measuring up to His impossible standards. That, instead of being the “abundant life” Jesus promised us, for me was misery, and it is for the vast majority of people in Christ I have met over the years.

But back on this word “together”? Do we see the import of that word, imagine its dimensions? Here is an incredible “joining” in black words on white paper (or screen), of heaven and earth, (the Word made flesh) so that even as it was in Jesus, it is the same in us. “Together” brings us into the bosom of the Godhead. “Together” in this case, is as the “biblical” meaning of “know” – to be one of “mixed with” what you know, i.e., “Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived …” The sexual union is pointing to a greater and truly actual union, union of spirits, each interpenetrating the other, mixed together as one. Sexual union cannot attain to that level, because we are still “separate” from each other in our bodies. But in the Spirit there is no separation, no “me” over here and “the Spirit” over there. We are One. Together. Get it? Where He is, I AM TOGETHER WITH HIM!

“I will declare the decree,” says the Psalmist (2), “the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

We are now inheritors of all that He inherits, which is everything! We live in the world as He as ourselves, and He lives in our world being Himself as us. WE declare the decree! You declare the decree! It is your rightful and promised heritage in the Lord, that as we died together with Him, were raised together with Him, were quickened together with Him, and dwell in heavenly places together with Him, that we also equally and fully have the whole universe as our inheritance and may each claim it as a Son of the household! In fact, it is not divided up into little bits of the inheritance we each get. NO – we each get it ALL, because it is inexhaustible, never ending, the curse of oil that never runs out! (1 Kings 17:8-16).

Now that’s where we live from, even if in the moment we are troubled or tempted or cannot quite see it. Like clouds which hide a mountain from view, things trouble us and we are meant to acknowledge that “trouble” as the clouds covering the mountain, because we have learned that the clouds do part and the mountain previously hidden comes into full view. That is the beauty of it. In this life we are constantly “exercised” in the Spirit, for the simple reason that this is how God grows us up to know Him and the “power of His resurrection,” and the scary part, “the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” (Eph 3:10).

Now what does this all have to do with your situation as you have described it?

The answer now always lies in Who we are. You see, there is no need now whatsoever to do anything to “improve yourself” in Christ, to somehow become “more pleasing” to Him or to yourself, which you interpret as being able to master your eating disorder and weight problem. That is the beauty of being acceptable in God. He says you are acceptable! (Eph 1:6). So, if we are acceptable to God, and He says we plainly ARE accepted in “the beloved,” (the Son), why do we find ourselves unacceptable? Whose judgment should we heed? Our own, or should we defer judgment of acceptability to God? If we do, we better watch out, because He will find us ACCEPTED! (“Behold my Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”  And now we are “Sons” by virtue of the fact that THE SON lives in us, and everything that is given to Him, even the fact that God is “well pleased” with Him, is also given to us, because He lives in us and is the LIFE of us – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on into the eternal.

That is always a “right now” truth! It exists outside our “works” or efforts at performance, and is not affected by it, either positively or negatively. He ALWAYS finds us accepted in the Beloved! (Eph 1:6).

So maybe we should take a hint from the Lord on this, to see ourselves as HE sees us and tells us He does, and forget that false image of ourselves as someone “apart” who is always trying to get closer to God, Who always seems just out of reach. This false sense of myself is the one who “has to” respond to the “law” of “thou shalt” or “thou shalt not” continuously, never finding freedom because full and total obedience is always elusive, being that the law is endless and relentless and without mercy.

That is how we used to live, but in realizing that false “old man” which I thought I was, has died forever in the Cross of Jesus, and the “me” that died on that Cross also was this old “false” man I was, deceived by the devil in just about everything. Because of that, we can begin to comprehend just how TOTAL has been the transformation we have undergone through the Cross (when I say “through the Cross,” it also implies “resurrection”), because we have been taken into and permeated, beyond our knowledge and current consciousness, with heavenly Life. We operate out of a “different program” from before, speaking in cyber jargon. The operating system has completely changed from the deepest place within, and out from that deepest place, takes full possession over all the aspects, faculties, workings and outcomes of the computer it operates. And we are the same!

In that regard, our new “operating system” originates in heaven, and where that “heaven” is, is inside us! We are a “point” in the material world, out of which can flow Life from the spiritual world, the kingdom of heaven world. It does not come down from the sky. It comes out of our deepest selves, as Jesus said, “He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (Jn 7:38). We are living out of heaven, in the earth. The Life that is in us and “operates” us, is heavenly Life, Spiritual life, and God bears His fruit on our branch in the fullness of His time!

So regardless of situation or appearance, we stand there in that faith and understanding, if we have seen it. Of course we cannot stand in something we do not yet see, (even though He is already “standing” in us), but the Lord opens our eyes to these truths as we get to the point that we need them, and He is faithful to bring us along in Him perfectly every moment of every day. We believe and stand in our truth, whether we are rich or poor, heavy or thin, healthy or ill, depressed or elated, feeling lonely or overwhelmed with people around. Whatever we are into, wherever we are, we are Christ there in that situation, no longer about ourselves and our own spiritual welfare or emotional stability or any other “personal” gain we might attain.

Once we see this, our own “needs” can now forever be put in the background, because they are all “met” in Him because He is the answer to them all. We are taken care of! He’s got us, so therefore it is time to get off “me me me me” and realize that whoever and whatever I am experiencing in the current moment, even if it seems to be “about me,” is not really that, because He already “has” me, purchased by His blood, and now I am part of His flow of “other-love” out into the world. Everything that happens to me is not for me anymore, but useful to His purposes of redemption and reconciliation of the others in my midst!

Once we realize that everything in me (because of Who I am – “Christ” in me, so that He is now living “as me,” being that we are “one,” as He prayed to the Father we would be in John 17: 11,20-23), is now fuel and life not just for me but for others, then my whole life, no matter what it is or what the circumstances are, takes divine purpose and divine meaning from this limitless supply of the Rivers of Living Water coming out of us as a direct and automatic “result” of “believing on Him.” It is not that is has not been happening already – it is just that we have not realized it – but now we do!

As far as specifics about your eating disorder, I’m no counselor and certainly not an M.D., so I leave those matters to them. To continue treatment or therapy for your disorder, if that is an option, is purely your call. You and He are one. Do not interpret lack of weight loss as some sort of failure on your part, or even worse that God is not with you in it. Do what you do as Christ, even getting therapy if that is the road you need to go down. Think of it as being there for the therapist! Or if that is not the road you decide, again, this is purely your call, and you can live in the faith that it is no longer “you” living this life, but Christ, so that whether you go the way of therapy or no therapy, whether you lose weight, do not lose weight, or even gain weight, just tell the Lord this is His body now (which He already knows, but we don’t), so you leave it to Him.

I know it’s tough, but tough is good! We ALL have those spots, things we do not like about ourselves, etc., and we ALL have to learn this to go on to the fullness in consciousness and understanding. We even go so far as to say our greatest “weaknesses” are no longer liabilities about ourselves, as we have always seen them. No, now that God has taken us farther than just knowing “His acts,” into beginning to know, understand and operate consciously “in His ways,” (Ps 103:7), we see these “weaknesses” no longer as liabilities, but part of our greatest assets! It may not be currently clear that could possibly be, but those of us who have been around for a while have seen that truth proven over and over. And you will see it, too! (2 Cor 12:8-10).

The key, for this and really for ALL things, is to see God in all of it! If there are people who think someone cannot be a “good witness” for Christ because of some physical condition, those people are mistaken, and they are always with us as challenges to our faith. But, the Light shines where the Light shines, and God delights in confounding the wisdom of the wise, by exhibiting the full grace of His Holy Presence in the weak, the meek, the humble and simple. When our eyes are opened, we see the Light shines everywhere, because we live in a realm where we do not depend on the outer light of the sun or the light of the moon, but only on the Light of the Lamb. (Rev 21:22,23).

The outer circumstances do not matter, except as the foreground where the “battle” is joined, a “battle” we can only win because He Who is in us is greater than he who is in the world! (1 John 4:4). The “foreground” changes from day to day, though it is always the same issue – too see Christ in the chaos – Who then takes on recognizable form as purposed by the Father’s wisdom in everything, and therefore love at the center always. Never failing, no matter what comes our way. Even if man or devil rages around us and creates chaos, we take EVERYTHING as “My Father’s cup,” (John 18:11), and in doing so, we see the mighty infinite power of God manifest!

You are Christ living in the world incognito as you! Can you take that? Of course you can! My sheep know my voice! (John 10:4)

Being in Christ at this point of beginning to know our union with Him, that it is “no longer I’” running this show and living this life, but it is Christ, is a GLORIOUS truth of “rest” in Christ. That is a pretty blanket authoritative statement! It’s no longer “you,” but Christ! We can take it in just that simplicity! There is more to see, to be sure, more to understand even about this verse (Gal 2:20), but even our deeper knowledge and understanding of it will not change one iota the fact which already is fact, that it is no longer I living, but Christ. We can stop right there and live from that alone through all eternity.

But of course, as long as we are here, we continue to grow in understanding and knowledge of this one great truth of existence and to operate in it for the benefit of the Church and the world.

I have found when we major on the major (Who we are) we do not have to fiddle around too much with the minor (self stuff), because He takes all of ourselves in with Him into this union life, and everything about us now becomes His possession, which, as the Psalm said, He rules with a “rod of iron.” That sounds scary, or it can anyway.

But it is not meant to be threatening violence if we depart from Christ or His ways, but rather a much deeper thing, as I have come to know it. The “rod of iron” came to me, many years into my walk, as what I have described elsewhere as a “spiritual backbone.” It is somewhat two-fold, with an inner component and an outer one.

The inner component, was simply the sense of being completely confirmed in oneness, as an unalterable fact by the uprising of the Spirit in me. I’ve stated it many times also in regard to Mark 4, where the kingdom of heaven is like a man who cast seed into the ground, and keeps coming back to inspect them at various stages of the plants’ growth, only to find them fully mature and fruit-bearing in the end. The story closes with this little statement, “he knoweth not how.” That just really struck me one day. It has become one of my favorite biblical statements. It was, in a sense, the same day (or period) where He made my inner backbone in Him as a rod of iron as if in a heartbeat, and I realized all of a sudden that that which I thought had eluded me for years, had happened without my even realizing it was happening, that I had “grown up” in the kingdom of heaven, and I “knew not how.” It just happened one day, the Spirit showed it to me, and from that point, it has not been the daily struggle to “keep” believing it, as it was for a while, but a transition into the simple rest of fact, like knowing if you have to write a check for a million dollars, you know it’s there in the account if you need it. For years my divine account (according to my own perception, but not according to truth) seemed to have insufficient funds, and to “work it” was like presenting my bank card at the store, with that little wait period before the machine sends its approval, and hoping the funds are there because you’re not quite sure you’re going to be approved, until it rings up on the cash register. (“Please, Lord, let it go through!”)

So it takes a while to get used to the fact that we have this full divine account, on which we can never bounce a check, but like I say, it takes a while to understand that, which also, of course, is God’s plan. The road for each of us is perfect in God, and we can walk in that boldness and perfection right now, because we are not concerned with man’s ideas of perfection, but only God’s, and in His estimation, not only are we accepted, we are far more than accepted, but equipped, trained, perfected, quickened, cleansed, blessed, called, conformed to His image, without spot or blemish, without sin as He is without sin, the righteousness of God, the light of the world and the salt of the earth. That is just a short list of the many “perfections” God does and manifests by our lives, even in circumstances that we might question or be unsure of. We have nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to apologize for, nothing except praise to God and the faith of Christ operating in us just as it is He, not we, and the life we are now living we live by HIS faith, and that this is the overriding truth of life, my life and also in every one else who is in Christ as well!

The “outer component” is to take that perceived “weakness” of yours, and proudly proclaim it as God’s asset!

Let me know how it is going!

Blessings,

fred

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