Asking, Seeking and Knocking II
by Fred Pruitt
Dear Brother _____,
Thank you for your patience.
I was delighted to read yours and to hear your testimony. All the “truths” you spoke of pretty much ring true to me, and I think we are on the same “Christ” page! Hallelujah!
Now, as to your questions at the end.
The first time I met alone with Norman Grubb was in the autumn of 1980. I had read most of his books by that time, some more than once, and believed I understood them and appreciated the truths they portrayed. But I still thought my life was a mess. So we (my wife Janis and I) were going to Norman to help us get straightened out.
So we went and sat with Norman for an hour or so. After I started our conversation, Norman counseled me with the truths he taught, which as I said, I had been studying and believed I knew them. So he would say things like, “Christ lives your life,” and “You are whole and complete in Him,” etc., to which I would reply, “Yes, I see that, but ….” And then I would lay out my problems again. That went on for quite some time.
The conversation came to its climax (which changed my life forever), when I mentioned to Norman (wanting to prove my humility and “teachability”), that, “I know I have to have a ‘minister’ above me to help me.” I didn’t know that was one of his “buttons,” but it was, and he suddenly rose up in his chair (he was 85 at the time), and it was like a lightning bolt from heaven came down through the top of his head down to his chest entering his arm which was pointed at me, saying, “YOU DON’T NEED ANY MAN TO TEACH YOU. THE TEACHER IS IN YOU!” I got the “blast,” and my whole life began to reorient from that point onward, moving away from an outer-focus, and moving into more and more an “inner focus.” That was 36 years ago, and that inner orientation has become “fixed” in me through the life God led me through during all these years.
It was only MUCH later, years in fact, that I saw what I was doing with Norman with my, “Yes, I see that, but …” replies to the truths he was telling me. Frankly, I DID NOT see, and since I really did not see, I did not believe. In a nutshell, I was in unbelief. I did not really BELIEVE the truths as they applied personally to me! I believed them in a general sense, “O yes, I believe that,” but when it came to my own life, it took a life-altering leap of faith to believe that the truths were TRUE in me!
And that’s what it looks like with what you have written me. You took several paragraphs to tell me all you know, and I can’t find fault with the truths you stated, because though I might have some different wording on some points, we more or less believe the same “general” things.
But you kind of tear the whole building down at the end because at the point of your daily life where we see “this working” (in faith), you are stuck in an outer focus of “I should be this or that,” and that is back at the law, brother. How do we enter in? By the receiving of the Spirit, or by the works of the law, Paul asks in Galatians.
There is no “law” in grace, and likewise there is no “law” in oneness with God. Change the phrase, “I am one with God, and therefore I should be doing this or that,” to, “I am one with God, and the Son can do nothing of Himself, but whatsoever the Father does, the Son does likewise.” Period.
Leave “judgment” (as to whether it is true or not) with God. You cannot be anything but HIM in expression if you are “one” with Him, and believe and live out of that oneness. That includes all “activity,” or all, “inactivity.” If you are “one spirit with the Lord” (1 Cor 6:17), then that is all pervasive!
So you haven’t seen with flesh eyes the “Promise” of “dynamic ministry,” — big deal! Jesus said, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” We tend to believe when we see. Jesus says believe when you have asked you receive, and you will have it.
Other places talk about praying according to the will of God, and there could be no stronger “will” in God than His will to bless us and live in us, so we KNOW when we pray to live in union with Him, it IS HIS WILL and we can count on the fact that He accomplishes what we have asked.
I see people every day, sincere in heart and earnestness, pray for the same things every day. Things like, “Fill me with Your Spirit,” or, “Make my heart pure,” or, “I know I don’t measure up so thank you for your grace to overlook it, Lord,” etc. I don’t grieve that prayers are being prayed, but I do grieve when I see prayers prayed in unbelief. There is no need to ask for something a second time, if we believe God has heard our prayer, or especially if we believe we were led by Him to pray. To ask the Father the second day to do something you sought the previous day, is missing the point. They are in essence saying, “I cannot believe You have done it until I see it and feel it.”
I am only mentioning this because this is where the Spirit caught me one day. I’ve spoken of it before. One day I asked the Father to do something or provide something, I can’t remember the specific thing. It was the answer from the Spirit that changed everything. I prayed, “Lord, please do so and so,” and the Spirit answered me back, “When are you going to believe I already have?”
That’s the spot! What spot? The spot between vain repetitions in unbelief, where the old is cast off forever, and forgetting what lies behind, in maturity finding ourselves quoting Paul’s word, because it is no longer only Paul’s word, but now has become OUR Word! Like Paul, we can say, “I believe and therefore speak!”
Abraham had to believe for 25 years before he saw the fulfillment of the Promise, and Rom 4 gives us a good rundown on Abraham’s walk of faith.
“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” (Rom 4:19-21).
So rather than hating where you are and the current “ministry” the Lord has given you because to you it is not “dynamic” enough, I believe it would behoove you to rejoice in what the Lord has done, is doing, and will continue to do.
Thanksgiving are in order, since kings and priests and prophets from old time have desired to know what you know, yet God did not reveal it to them, but He has to you! You sit dead center in the midst of the Throne, in the bosom of the Lamb, where He holds all of us. It is the center of Love, of Power, of Righteousness, of Holiness and Salvation.
Now that’s where you are, the reality out of which you “click” your mouse! When you click your mouse in the ministry GOD has given you. Has He given you some other “ministry” in some other place? If not, this must be the one, until such time as He changes it! He is the “present moment” God, and in the present moment, we believe!
The only “thing” lacking in your presentation, is that you have a lack of faith about who you are. If you really knew that, you would not ask what you have asked. One who is actually “living” in this oneness, “knows,” whether abased or abounding, whether sick or healthy, whether busy or idle, whether preaching on the street or clicking a mouse on my computer, whether full or hungry, poor or rich (in the things of this world), it is the Lord.
The only way to enter into this reality is the same way we enter into anything else in Christ, including our beginning — through faith. Faith starts in the invisible. For some time the promise may look unfulfilled in the flesh, but we call it “so” anyway. We don’t keep asking, but we change to “thanking” for the fulfillment we see already in faith. It is an insult in a sense to God (though He puts up with it), that we ask for anything more than once. If we “believe” the first time, why ask again? If we have believed, and believe we have received what we have believed in faith, that it IS done, even though there may be no evidence of any kind in the flesh, we walk believing.
From my perspective, (and you can take this if it is applicable, or if to you I am off-base, throw it out), you just need this tiny little tweak of “faith” to put you over the edge, where you freefall into oneness. He is already functioning “in you as you,” and all that is needful in this present moment is to believe Him, in you, and that the circumstances HE has you in at the moment, are His perfect circumstances for His perfect purposes, and simply continue to thank and praise God continually.
Remember, Moses was 40 years old before he struck out into the wilderness where he remained another 40 years before he went back to Egypt, and 40 more years in the wilderness leading the Israelites. Joshua served as Moses servant for 80 years, before his commission, to lead the nation into Canaan.
Believe, trust, praise!
You also asked about “ask, seek, knock,” and about “importunity.”
The quick and easy answer (to me) is this. Those are beginner “ideas.” The “Sermon on the Mount” is probably Jesus’ most “famous” set of words, and interestingly, it is geared to the people He was talking to that day, who were probably mostly Jews, etc., who did not have an idea of what “real spirituality” was. They had been reared on the Law of Moses, and the Law of Moses had no “power” in it to keep us from sin, but rather the exact opposite, the Law exists to give the “knowledge” of sin. And these people that day were in a sense typical of people of the “world,” who really have no firm idea or understanding of the Law and relating to God.
To those folks in that day, and for everyone since then who has been in the same situation as those who were there the day the Sermon was delivered, it gives the “beginner” things about coming into a life in God.
Now I understand that modern Christianity, part of it anyway, has embraced “ask, seek, knock” as something formulaic. In other words, Jesus (as people have thought for 2000 years), was giving a “methodology” for reaching God. But I have never really thought that was the case. Mainly because there are no “methodologies” for reaching and walking in God. There are none; they do not exist. He is The Person. There is only the Word of God as He has revealed it to and in us, and there is either faith or unbelief as a response. There are no additional “methods” to “get” God into our Life, since He is The Person, and not an “effect” of a “cause,” (the “cause” being our “asking, seeking, knocking), and the “effect” being that God responds because we have asked, sought, and knocked.
It seems to me people get hung up almost indefinitely if they view that “ask, seek, knock,” as a “method” whereby we “seek” the Lord, forgetting the end of the verse, which is if you ask, you receive, if you seek, you find, and if you knock, the door opens. People get all into the “asking, seeking and knocking,” but almost never do you hear, “I got my answer, I found what I sought, and the door opened after I knocked on it.”
No, what I mostly hear, is people over and over and over, perpetually, asking, seeking and knocking, without regard to the fact that the scripture says that we HAVE RECEIVED our answer. It is almost as if that part does not exist. We’re often too involved in “seeking,” to recognize that we have already found what we have sought. (Mark 11:24).
Now, like I said, I have never thought (or at least I haven’t thought it in a lot of years), that asking, seeking and knocking was some sort of methodology. What is it really saying? It is Jesus giving us the character of God. It is much more than some “method” whereby we might reach Him, but is instead an exposition on the character and true life of God. It is Jesus saying, “Listen, folks, here is how God is. If you ask Him something, He will give you the answer. If you seek Him, He WILL BE FOUND of you. And if you knock on His door, what loving Father would not open the door?
That is what Jesus was telling those folks, rather than some 3-step method to get in touch with God. “Methods” don’t get us anything in God. The only “currency” God deals in and accepts, is the currency of faith. There it is in a nutshell – First, believe that HE IS, and secondly, that He fulfills those who seek Him (Heb 11:6). He keeps His Promises. The fulfillment is the key, because once you have been “fulfilled,” there is no more need for seeking. The “goal” of seeking has been attained. We ask, receive an answer, and it is so. And so on. It’s always faith, and not some 3-step set of principles we have to learn or do.
And as far as the “importunity” is concerned, it’s the same issue. This is something you tell beginners, so that they will persevere, as the scripture says, “Do not be weary in well doing, for you shall reap, in due season, if you faint not.”
But as “adults” in Christ, “fathers,” by the definition of fathers in 1 John 2:12-14, we are freed from those beginner things. We have asked and have received our answer – probably many times. We have sought and He became “found” by us. We knocked, and by golly, the door opened!
Now, our job then as spiritual “adults,” is to reveal and declare this simplicity of faith in Christ, so that IN HIM ALL THINGS ARE FULFILLED in this current moment. TODAY –- I am sufficient in Christ, because He, and He alone, is my sufficiency. There is no greater “sufficiency” or “adequacy” than can be found in Christ, and by virtue of His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, and the subsequent sending of the Holy Spirit, that sufficiency and adequacy of Christ, for anything whatsoever, is ours as a possession in Christ (knowing all things are first of all His, and since it is His and we are co-heirs with Him, everything that is His is also ours, and there is absolutely nothing whatsoever that we face, for which His Life in us is not adequate or sufficient.)
“Importunity” is taught to children in the faith, as I said, to teach them to persevere. But once we have come into a true “faith” life, where it is our “habit” to “believe God,” what need of “importunity,” when I have a Loving Father Who grants all my requests and answers all my prayers? When I was a beginner I was still suffering somewhat from “outer-focus,” but God is gracious and comes through that “outer focus” anyway, and lavishes us with gifts and blessings. It is a completely new area to come into oneness with God, and you asked, basically, what are the “rules” in this new dimension, just as we would if we started a new job or class, etc., – we would want to know the do’s and don’t’s of this new thing we’re involved in.
But in Christ the only answer to that is not methods, techniques, procedures, and continual importunity, but only “I AM the Way.” Our “way” is a PERSON, not a set of ideas, procedures, techniques, principles, etc., but THE LIVING PERSON. What is the way and what is the “how?” Same answer to both questions: “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” There is no other ‘way’. And there is no other “how,” than, “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”