Divine Power In Perfect Human Weakness
(Revision of a previously published article)
By Fred Pruitt
(This 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’t 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 is “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 – 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 and thoughts from time to time, and what almost all of us do here and there, is to see those temporal feelings and thoughts as things we really “should not” have. We wrongly think, if we were truly “spiritual,” we would be “above” things like that. Carrying that thought out a little further, the fact that we have those kinds of things is a clear (and mistaken) indication that we are “not there yet.”
Besides, 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, there may be a tad of superstition mixed with our “faith life.” 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 have seen. When we decide the validity of our spirituality from the outer appearances of 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 free. That means that we are free to have our thoughts, doubts, distractions, without condemnation or “apologizing” for ourselves, or judging ourselves, etc. (The reason that is hard for us to do is that we have not recognized the difference between soul and spirit. That is why understanding the difference is such a major key to our freedom in our daily walk.) 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, so throw it to the wind, in faith, judging righteous judgment! (John 7:24).
Now to this day I react emotionally, as my first reaction, to anything negative or challenging. 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. Therefore, it’s no wonder our minds and emotions reason and react per 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? Really? Do we truly see that when we attempt to “improve ourselves,” (even though the Lord has pronounced us clean, sanctified, complete, coming behind in no good thing, etc. etc. etc.), we are partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, succumbing again to the temptation of the enemy, to become “wise as God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:5, NASB.)
God brought us into Himself in the condition in which He found us at the time. We were a motley crew and still are! Nevertheless, He is the One who has chosen us, not we Him. (John 15:16). 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 us “His house.” (Heb 3:6). He decided that, not us! Why are we so quick to condemn that which HE has chosen, and which HE HIMSELF declared clean (John 15:3), and bought with the price of His own blood? (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 1:18,19). How could we fail to see this – unless we were self-focused, thinking about our “own” righteousness, or sanctification, or wisdom, thinking our “selves” to be deficient. How dare we! The only “talent” we have to offer is our emptiness, that He might be All in all in us! There is NO SUCH THING as an “improved human self” capable of walking in the Spirit of God. An “improved human self” ALWAYS has this Biblical caveat: “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Ps 127:1).
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 “first reacting in the negative” part is us as it is necessary to be, as much as the faith toward God part is us. For this present time they both must be. Those very fearful, condemning, oppressive guilt-producing feelings and thoughts we think we “should not have” are the very springboards into the faith of God – faith’s platform on which to stand and declare the victory in the face of opposites. The storm must come first with its mighty winds and huge boat-swallowing waves. It gets our attention and we immediately think, “We can’t handle this, O no!”
“But God” – Looking to the back of the boat, the Redeemer is resting quietly in repose, undisturbed by the tempest raging about them. “Fetch Him, tell Him to turn on the Light!” When Christ speaks to the storm the storm subsides.
That story gives us a tremendous opportunity to see how the characters in that story interact, and what it means. The Bible often gives us the “parts” of something, kind of like puzzle pieces, which the Spirit then “puts together” in our consciousness. This story, when we were youngsters, either in physical years or spiritual, is just what it seems, and most people historically have gone away from it thinking how “powerful” Jesus was, and how “not so powerful” the disciples were. At that time in our lives we identify with the disciples and certainly NOT with Jesus.
But when we move on into a fuller comprehension of Christ in us and how He and the Father have made us one in Them, this story takes on a different view. The old view is still valid, but this is something further. What I am saying is that all the characters, i.e. the disciples and Jesus, while all separate people in the story, in union and oneness become the same One Person in all – I Cor 12:6. In other words, the disciples are like our soul emotional or intellectual aspects, freaking out every time something seems to go amiss. And Jesus asleep in the back of the boat, is He and I as one, living in the rest of the Spirit.
We don’t go looking for an outer Jesus to fix our outer problems anymore. That day is past. He didn’t come to put patches and band-aids on our humanity. He came to get SONS, Sons who do the will of the Father! To accomplish this in our lives, we EXPERIENCE what the world experiences, that we might be totally identified with those Jesus came to redeem. We are approaching the time when the Sons of God will be called into their various duties and it is time to get it straight just Who we are!
It is the time for all that, but unfortunately, instead we are almost always swirling in some sort of storm in our outer lives, while at the same time the Lord has brought us inwardly to the Life in grace He has bestowed upon us, fulfilling Isaiah 26:3 – “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (I used to try so hard to “stay my mind” on Christ every conscious moment. Boy was that hard! But now, it’s a gift! Father has given us this gift – a “mind stayed on Thee,” or in Paul’s terms, “The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death.” (This is not something we “earn,” but something we just receive. That’s what gifts are.)
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. We are not remade into Superman, but continuing to live in weakness just as Jesus did when He endured His final trials.
“For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.” (2 Cor 13:4).
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, except as a compost heap used to fertilize our garden.
Verily verily I say unto you. Love yourself in weakness. It is your glory and the locus out of which God shines.