We Do Not Operate Ourselves
By Fred Pruitt
(A brother who says he receives light through our blog, wrote me recently about the struggles he has been facing. He’s been a Christian for years, but still the “Abundant Life” Jesus promised has eluded him. And on top of that he sees himself as still caught by the flesh primarily because of his so-called “ungodly” habits, and an apparent inability to keep all the commandments.)
Hi ______, I am glad you wrote. I identify with much of what you have written. But, of course we know this is a faith walk, not a behavior contest. It amazes me often that so many who know the Holy Spirit through signs, wonders and miracles, have a hard time understanding and walking in Christ in oneness with Him through faith.
The “obedience” the Lord calls us to, is the obedience of faith (Rom 1:5). What do we believe, that is, where do we “put” our faith? We really have only one faith stand. All others arise out of this one. That central-most stand of faith is believing and living Jesus’ Word in John 6:29. After the feeding of the 5000, the crowd asked Jesus what must they do to manifest the works of God. His reply sums up the whole gospel, including the Law and the Prophets. When asked by the crowd what must they do to perform the works of God, He replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe on the One Whom He has sent.” So, this is the center focal point of our faith!!
All that stuff you are worrying about is just fluff, a smokescreen that distracts us by our seeming inability to “live up to” God’s commands, a quasi reality gladly pointed out to us by the enemy’s constant barrage. We must understand – and this is something hardly anyone knows and understands in the now, that we do not operate ourselves. We never have! We are not little independent entities, like an island, isolated from every other island in our gargantuan effort to overcome sin.
We were operated by the deceiver before we knew the Lord, just as we all have been. But when Christ came in he kicked the snake out of there (hidden in our inner self, pretending not to exist). However, the enemy left a boobytrap on his way out. This did not go unnoticed by the Lord. What boobytrap? The boobytrap of trusting in our own adequacy and ability to live the Spirit’s life. Now many people would stop me right here and say that they know they can’t measure up without the help of the Lord. So what am I saying that is any different from that.
The devil put it there to trap us all, but the Lord knowingly left it there for a time until it fulfills His purposes in it, which is, to break that false understanding to pieces in our inner consciousness. The result of that breakage comes when I know and declare, “Christ in me, Christ through me, and Christ as me.”
At the point of that confession it doesn’t matter one bit what our lives are like or what our habits are. So, let us continually encourage one another to live and believe what we believe and in the spirit of our confession cease worrying about all those things you mentioned. Your list starts and ends with you not measuring up except occasionally, where you don’t measure up, always careful to say you sin daily, always falling short, an over-indulger, drink alcohol, and finally you find yourself to be a diabetic.
As long as you focus on those things and think “you should be able” to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and over the fence to liberty in Christ, it will never be yours. You will never arrive. Do you know why? It’s because the Life doesn’t come from the Bible or Theology, but from Christ alone! He is the Life; we are the vessel. Christ through the Holy Spirit can live the Life in me. We were never meant to be independent operators, but always a union between the Divine Creator and we as His human expressions of Himself.
However, Satan stole us in our beginning and programmed us with his so-called independent consciousness. It was in the fruit of the false tree which they took into themselves. That false independent consciousness is the culprit! It is the root of all evil, whether in heaven or on earth. As a serpent, He has interwoven himself in every dark and secretive place he can find, including all churches and Christian organizations.
I (as a stand-alone single entity) cannot produce the Life I believe God “expects” of me, and that will never change. It took some years just to come to that. Peter is the most blatant example in scripture on this subject. Jesus said Peter would betray Him three times during the night of His trial. Of course Peter felt the opposite. “I will never betray You, Master.” Peter learned a vital life lesson that night. First, he found out he really didn’t have the stuff to challenge the Roman guards. It was a really tough lesson, but it was one Peter never forgot, too. Because the next time we see Peter in the Book of Acts, he is preaching his Day of Pentecost sermon to thousands of people from all over the Roman Empire.
The only way up is down. Huh? It means we died on the Cross with Jesus and three days later we rose again with Jesus’ resurrection. We have been baptized into His death. So have we all. When we realize we have died to being separated self-responsible selves along with the enemy who deceived us all with that lie, only then can true resurrection Life begin.
Because what baptism signifies is this very transition. We go from death to life. We don’t do that by quitting bad habits or by learning new “good” habits. Your second sentence contains the key that came out of your own mouth when you said, “Still yet I am unable to break free …”
Compare that to Paul’s statement in Romans 7:15-17. He came to the same impasse that you are experiencing now. Covetousness arose in him and he couldn’t shake it. He thought like you, he should’ve been smarter. But Paul did finally find his answer and it had nothing to do with working harder, dedicating more, praying more, studying more, getting along better with our family and friends. It’s none of that! Drop all those thoughts about your bad habits and not-Christian-enough daily living, and leap with the Spirit’s leaping to Romans 8:2 as Paul’s ultimate discovery (and our ultimate discovery as well). Romans 8:2 — “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Notice the tense of the verb. Christ Jesus “HATH,” (or “has”) meaning past tense. Meaning it is done. What WE could not overcome, He overcame IN US. So we’re quite free to walk out of Romans 7 which at the end seems to leave us “double-minded,” and find the fulfillment in faith of Romans 8:2. We don’t do it. The Spirit does.
The “double-minded” idea comes from the 25th verse: “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” That’s not meant to be an area set aside for a camping jamboree. However, most of the Church has never seen this simple truth because they stop at that 25th verse and think it’s going to always be like this and some days will be glorious and some won’t. But that’s not what that verse is saying. It’s just review, really, Paul is summarizing and in his sum up he mentions these two “mindsets.” The mindset that says “I can’t do it I’m a sinner and can’t quit,” is the flesh-mind. All that mind can see and dwell on are appearances and emotions. It does NOT trust the Lord. It doesn’t even seem that it even acknowledges the Lord. Self-reliance, alone and independent of anyone.
The other mindset sees in its vision Life, Peace, Reconciliation, Christ, recognizing that it was by the Spirit Who is the author of that mindset. The double-minded man spoken about in the book of James, is that same potentially double-minded man mentioned here. Which are you?