Remembering Our Foundation
by Fred Pruitt
(This is a brief synopsis of our beginning understanding as we discover Who we are in Christ. While the Truth expands exponentially from this basic point of origin, and what is written here is ingrained into our very being day by day as the Spirit does it, this simplicity of His Truth, “I live yet not I but Christ lives, and the Life I now live …” along with “I and my Father are One,” continues to be ever deeper, ever wider, ever fuller, ever more joyous, ever more loving … and peace evermore.)
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev 12:10-11)
One aspect of realizing that we in our humanity are an outer expression of Him Who is our true inner life, is that we can relax in that and simply enter into His rest, we having given up the “reins” or the “rulership” of our own lives. We just relax – into Him. In ever-growing awe, we begin to realize He is our everything — our Guide, our Comfort, our Wisdom, our Righteousness, our Holiness, our Love, our Leader, our Upholder, Our Ground … I could go on and on! It is summed up, however, in knowing the One Who is mixed in union with ourselves so that we living are He living in our human form. He lives as you and me.
He has entered into us, not to be a separate person in us, sort of like somebody in a little compartment inside of me, that I have to learn to hear, to obey, to commune with, etc. That was perhaps my first impression of His Life in me. I knew He had “come in,” but I was very vague in my understanding about what that meant. I thought the Holy Spirit was kind of like a “battery” or something, something separate from me, in me, but I was I and He was He. I had to “do things” to get Him to work, to bless, to give me a sense of His presence, etc.
So, like almost all Christians before me, I started on a campaign of self-improvement, to make myself more pleasing to God, to be closer, to tack things onto myself that were “like” Him. That sounds right, and it is almost universally accepted as what one does if one is to begin living a “holy” life.
Of course I came to a fall, the crux of which being the realization that “I” never have nor would I ever measure up. I had embarked on an impossible task, to make myself over (with God’s help) to become like Jesus, by somehow figuring out what He did, and copying that. Jesus got up early in the morning to pray, so I got up early in the morning to pray. Jesus stayed up all night in prayer, so I tried a few times two to stay up all night in prayer. And of course, it could have gone into the ridiculous, by getting myself a seamless robe and wearing only sandals!
I completely missed the fact of “how” Jesus really lived His life, through His oneness with the Father, and “doing nothing of Himself.” I had those phrases underlined in my Bible but somehow they went over my head.
So I had that “fall,” which happened through tough circumstances over a period of years, that brought me to the “end of myself.” And by that I don’t mean that I ceased to “be” as a person. It was instead a total death of my self-ability to do anything — a total giving up into God by realizing, by the revelation of the Spirit (it cannot come any other way — we don’t learn this in a class), that I could do nothing of myself. All my so-called “techniques” at attempting to live a spiritual life, get closer to God, be like Jesus, etc., were dung! Downright nasty, actually.
And that’s when I began to know in myself that it was no longer I, but He, and I continued like that for a long time, always saying, “it’s not me, it’s He.” I was, in a sense, still two, but that’s where we begin. It all comes full circle, however, one day, when we realize the third part of that Gal 2:20, when Paul “comes back” and says, “and the life I now live in the flesh” — ah, there it is — UNION.
It isn’t me alone trying to be like Jesus, nor is it Christ alone living in me while “I” have stepped aside so to speak (having gotten myself out of the way), but now “I” come back to be myself, but this is a new self, one never seen before, because it is a unified self, Christ and I as one, but it’s ME.
This is the new self to which all the promises of God apply. This is the self to which we say, “Just go and be yourself. Christ is expressing through and AS the ‘you’ that you are.” You don’t think about being yourself. You just wake up in the morning and you’re ‘you’ without thinking about it. You don’t say, “I think I’ll be me today.” You just are. Can’t help it, actually.
Well, that’s what this life in union is like. We’re just ourselves, but, having gone through by the Spirit’s teaching and revelation the death and resurrection of Jesus in our inner selves, knowing inwardly the crucifixion and resurrection as it has transacted in ME, now we’re just ourselves again, but this time it is not a self that is going to go out and run amok and be a self-for-self sin self, because we know the One who lives in us and is united to us, is not that, and because of that we can be free from fear and live in faith that His will is being expressed by our deeds every day.
Now, of course people have these questions on the front end, because they really question their humanity. Condemnation about our humanity is probably the most common experience among Christians, regardless of Romans 8:1. We KNOW there’s “no condemnation” but it is as common as air to live in it, because we go by appearances, and to ourselves we never measure up. We have these imaginary ideas of what Jesus would be like, enforced by the imaginary ideas of preachers, churches, and fellow believers, etc., and we are condemned by these imaginary ideas.
People say, “I sin every day,” and I ask, “Tell me some,” and people get very vague at that point. Don’t get me wrong, there is sin, and we can stumble and fall into it — but it comes from unbelief, and is essentially unbelief. But we live by faith, and in the upholding of God, and don’t accept conviction for sin unless convicted by the Holy Spirit, which is one of His jobs, and He is faithful to do it. So we can therefore live without fear and be ourselves, running in the green light, knowing if we do get temporarily diverted off into a bunny trail, that the Shepherd always comes and finds us and fixes us firmly back on the road. We are HIS, and He guards us night and day.
Don’t bother too much about sin — too much concern about that. Jesus took care of it once and for all on the Cross — “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.” It’s a done deal. “Shall we sin, that grace may abound — GOD FORBID. How shall we, who are DEAD TO SIN, live any longer therein” asked Paul. So we don’t hang around that subject too much. We’ve left that. As Norman used to say, “Quick sinning, quick cleansing.” Get up, dust yourself off, take no condemnation for it, and get on with it!
But back to this condemnation thing. People often have a sin consciousness, thinking themselves, those who have been cleansed by the blood and made righteousness by His body (2 Cor 5:21), to be still sinners, when they have been made to be saints, and called that in scripture.
Sin is specific; the Spirit (and only the Spirit) lets you know. Condemnation is a vague sense of never measuring up. Never being quite right. I often tell the story that for me, years ago, condemnation was so pervasive in me that when I was praying, I’d be condemned because I hadn’t read the Bible enough. When I was reading the Bible, I’d be condemned because I hadn’t prayed enough. And when I was witnessing, I’d be condemned because I hadn’t read the Bible enough OR prayed enough. I was condemned because I wasn’t (in my mind) a good enough father, a good enough husband, a good enough provider, not good enough with money, not loving God enough, etc. Name a thing and I was condemned about it.
So it was like water on a drooping house plant when I saw I didn’t have to live the life anymore, that He did, and that He promised to replace what I thought were things I had to accomplish by knocking, seeking and asking, with a door which opened, finding what I had sought, and receiving what I had asked for. I used to pray Ps 42 with all my heart: “As the hart pants after the waterbrooks, so panteth my soul for thee, O God. My tears have been my meat night and day, while they continually say of thee, “Where is my God?” I didn’t pray that prayer in my beginning days. I was too full of the joy and enthusiasm I experienced in my new birth. I didn’t “thirst for God” then because He seemed quite close by all the time.
But that all changed when I entered my improve-myself-to-get-closer-to-God phase. Without really noticing, I slipped out of a bubbly joyful enthusiasm for God and the things of God where God was always present, into a place where one had to re-find God every day, by showing Him how earnest and faithful you were in seeking Him and hearing His Word. We were taught, “the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
Whether we were in error or not, God is good is He not? He is true to His word. He hears, and He answers. There comes a day when we find the pearl of great price, and we sell ALL WE HAVE (which is the totality of ourselves) to get it. The cost is “losing” your life. You can’t even do that. He does it. And the other side of losing our lives is finding them — hidden with Christ in God all along, waiting on the long-awaited resurrection which happened 2000 years ago to take effect in me, to raise you and me into total newness of life, where I live, yet not I, but He lives in me, and now I live.
So now I’m back to being me. I don’t say anymore, “it’s not me, it’s Him,” though it is. But because He is Love, He lives to give me life, like light exists to manifest what it shines on. His life is resident in me to manifest — ME! (But it’s He!) Crazy, makes no logical sense, but it lives out!
Do not be afraid. How many times did Jesus say that? “Why are ye fearful, o ye of little faith?” He asked continually. To let go of our whole selves into Him, by faith, is a fearful thing, as is any faith leap, but if we trust the One into Whom we are leaping — His promises are true!
The next Leap is yours ….