by Fred Pruitt
(Published previously as “Our Inner Confirmation.”)
“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you …” (1 Cor 1:4-6).
“Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,” is the word resounding in my ears at this moment. Everyday this deepens and clarifies, that Christ came to reconcile, to redeem, to save, and to be re-born in each of us. In this action of Christ toward us, He inwardly weds Himself to us in our spirit centers. There He is born anew in us, and from then on inwardly, whether consciously or unconsciously, we drink of His water, feed on His flesh and drink His blood, and outwardly, whether consciously or unconsciously, we become the Eternal Life we drink in His water; we become God’s food for others by eating His broken body, and we become the clear beacon of grace, forgiveness and the Love of God in His blood.
However, it is often a long time for many of us, before we discover this complete simplicity of Christ, that we are simply He, as us. This is of course to God’s good purpose, because as we have mentioned so many times before, we are God’s Spirit-taught sons. And the Spirit teaches and gives “consciousness” (knowledge, wisdom and understanding) of Christ, which is expressed daily in our lives, in the normal course of living in the world. By this daily walk we are growing in His consciousness. The Holy Spirit sees to it.
In our daily “naturalness,” we are walking around shining, and bringing out God’s savor in everything. It comes from no effort or “put on” of any kind. People cannot believe it can be that simple, and keep wanting to add conditions, definitions, fears and traps, and the fruit of that faith (within them) is conditions, definitions, fears and traps.
The fruit of the simplicity of Christ is to see that, “The Father that dwells in me, He does the works.” In our daily living we find He is true to His Word. We live a life of, “What the son sees the Father do, the same does the Son.” That is not a personal responsibility for the Son, something he must strive and plan to do, but simply something he does, because He is living out of the naturalness of the Life of the Father within.
To realize it is the Father (or Spirit) Who does it, in that moment the sons see what the Father does and by the word of promise as certain as that to Abraham, “the same does the Son.” It is a certainty as certain as the birth of Isaac, and the Seed that would follow. Is this not the same simplicity, given again, by Promise, in Proverbs 3:5,6? “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Can I trust in the Lord God for all that I am, each and every day, each and every moment? How does Paul answer? “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Tim 1:12)
The old worries of “Have I given enough? Should I give more of myself? Have I withheld something from the Lord,” are thrown out with the garbage when we realize by the Spirit that we are one spirit, one person, one will with Him. There is no one who may be asked these questions. They are silly questions in oneness in Christ, because all that He is, I am He expressed in my distinct humanity. We have given “all,” when we say, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me …”
What more can a person “give,” than one who says his old life, all that he believed about himself, all he is, all he was, all he thought he would be, has been crucified and has ceased to be forever? That is the same person who has found his life, “hidden with Christ in God,” (Col 3:3), and that now, it is only, “Christ lives in me!”
Now, this is what I am seeing more and more rising up among us. More and more in whom “the testimony of Christ,” has been confirmed in their own faith, in their own seeing. When John Bunting and I started over twelve years ago going on these sharing trips together, the first few years it often seemed like it was slim pickins. It seemed like we were giving the same message everywhere we went, sort of a “here’s why union with Christ is your answer” kind of talk, to people who are just waking up, or coming into it, or even unfamiliar with it altogether. Since I am in this environment always, I forget how radical our sharings can be to unfamiliar ears, so there are sometimes a few “disputations” as well!
But from my side, to describe this life is as natural as breathing because we are only describing what the Lord is doing in us. The “message” is our lived life, our daily living, the air we breathe. What I mean is that what we sought a long time ago, that what we have grasped conceptually, has come alive in us! Not only have we found it to be truth in an objective way, but God has gone further and confirmed it in us, so that we know we ARE this truth, and we know that we are, because the truth produces its own inner consciousness. (1 John 2:26-28). And we can certainly say it has been “confirmed,” because Paul told us we are those people, quoted above at the beginning!
And that is what we are seeing rising up more and more. We are seeing more and more those who can stand up and say the testimony of Christ in this regard is confirmed in them, and this is what lifts our hearts more than anything else in the world!!!
More and more we are seeing people move from being an “inquirer,” or “interested,” to making the faith leap within themselves, coming out on the other side with an unshakeable conviction that Galatians 2:20 is true for them in all its meanings. And more and more we are seeing people move past that beginning stage, to begin to “possess their possessions” as NPG used to put it. “But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.” (Obad 1:17).
If I would give a “theme” to our last years of sharing and travels with John, and what delighted us the most, I would pick what I wrote above: “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you …” (1 Cor 1:4-6).
It has been a divine privilege to have traveled and visited with so many. It has been a divine privilege to correspond with so many. And it has been a divine experience to have seen “the Lord’s increase,” growing up all around us. It isn’t anything we do by ourselves. It is the contribution of all of us. We all give the gift we have been given. And so many have rejoiced this year, everywhere we have gone we have seen this increase, this growing, this firmness, this “apprehend[ing] that for which also [we are] apprehended of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:12). We have seen it everywhere.
It is also gathering momentum. There is coming a rising swell of those who no longer “piously” work “for” Christ, but instead have become those who, having lost all, know Christ works as them. Each of us are part of that. We are each that. So many are seeing this, and many more beginning to see it.
More than anything, this warms our hearts!!!
And can we not all say that? Here the scripture says it, yes written 1900+ years ago to some people in Greece, but no matter, because it says it to us as well. “Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you …” Yes, it has. I say it has for me! The word is in our hearts and each of our mouths! Blessed be the Lord.
Finally, I want to thank all those who have supported us financially and in other various ways this past year, and not just this past year, but for many years of love and support. We started this venture in the fall of 2005, on a shoestring. It was a step out into God’s “nothing,” (with no human supports, no promises, no pleas for funds or pledges, etc.), and in God’s seeming “nothing,” we found and keep finding His upholding hands. And He has kept us on the same shoestring ever since! The operative term being – “kept us!” (For those interested, click here for Support.)
Every time a shoestring has been stretched to its final end, another shoestring soon appears! It took me some time to learn that, because even though I declare “faith,” and seem to show “faith,” when the shoestring runs out, the outer (soul) man screams and cannot maintain faith, (which it never could and was never supposed to). I have since learned to just let him stew and roil in the juices of panic and fear. I make no attempt to shore him up or to tell him he must see things differently, keep a handle on his faith, and especially to not doubt in his heart, as well as any of those other things we tell people when we exhort them to faith. I have learned he simply does not have the capacity when the chips are down, like Peter when he said he would never desert Jesus. So why beat a dead horse? **See note below
Jesus was not being critical of the disciples when He said in Gethsemane,“the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He was just telling the truth. Peter, not yet knowing the Spirit, lived in the flesh, and the flesh does not have the divine goods. When we come into the Truth, weak flesh and willing spirit is exactly what the doctor ordered! (But not before we think the flesh must be strong in order to earn the Spirit’s workings, and subsequently find out it is the opposite – His strength is made perfect in our weakness!) So that’s why I say, “Why beat a dead horse?”
But I will have to further say, it has been somewhat because I kept beating that dead horse, by trying to make my “outer man” line up with the commandments of God, that I learned to let him be, and for “me” to live in Christ in the inner man, who lives in us “after the power of an endless and indestructible life.” (Heb 7:16). Now consider that, the power of the life we are living and to which we have unfettered access.
There have been so many times in the past years that I thought we should throw in the towel, and give up this idea of taking our total truth to the whole church in the whole world, by just one day at a time, one by one, adding to the already filled rolls of believers in Jesus, and believers in Christ in themselves.
The shoestring seems stretched as far as it can go! It seems much too big a task, with too few resources, and then there is “me,” who could be the greatest liability! There is absolutely nothing evident in my life or among my possessions, or even in my past history that can give solid evidence that the things we say are true. Days on end seem to scream the opposite. My own emotions are frayed. I do not look the part or feel the part. Nothing seems to suggest there is a snowball’s chance in hell that we might perpetuate that which God has given us. All I know is, as Max the Miracle Man (Billy Crystal in The Princess Bride) said, “It’ll take a miracle!” He was right!
So that miracle is what I am counting on, even as every day I count on things which are not, to turn up anyway. I have learned that the outer man is Mr. Worst Case Scenario, who panics at the first sign of a storm. I have also learned that the inner man is I AM THAT I AM, against which no storm can prevail, nor even be in His Presence. Whatever rages on the outside, the inner life in which we learn we are one with Him, remains, and declares its dominion over all, from the most inward to the most outward.
As it is written:
“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9).
Understand the double meaning here. The “earth,” the realm of humanity as a whole, shall be full “as the waters cover the sea.” That is the collective all-of-us earth. But it is also an intimately personal word. In other words, the “earth,” that in the new birth becomes, “full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea,” is each of us individually. This has been revealed and sealed, in us!
The upshot is this. The outward man is continually panicking and failing to find faith as it flays about in distress, and this is the only way it can be. The outer man is brought into the dominion of the inner Christ in us, but remains of the earth in weakness, and will continue to be that until it is separated from the body. And even in that state, we can consider the outer man “under grace,” and perfect in its lifelong function to express Christ hiddenly in our mortal flesh. As Paul so eloquently says, we are “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” (2 Cor 4:10-12).
That is the Christ Spirit, and it is the Spirit Who has taken up residence in us, that the same Life that was in Jesus Christ, is now ours as well.
And that is worth more than all the gold in all the world! Thanks be to God!
Maranatha – even so, Come Lord Jesus!
**Note: It might seem as if I am talking about being two different people, when I refer to my “outer man” as if “he” is another “self” within myself. It isn’t that at all, though. It is only my way to describe the soul/spirit difference/tension in how I “operate” on a daily basis. I used to try to “correct” myself to have a better attitude, see differently, etc. “You shouldn’t have those feelings,” I might have said to myself in the past. Or, “You should have faith and not express doubt BECAUSE IF YOU DOUBT IN YOUR HEART ….” We all know what that means! We don’t get the answer to our prayers! But that’s just the thing – “soul doubt” is not “heart” doubt. It’s only a feeling, a sensation in the mind, “soul doubt.” It is within the swing of my emotions and reasons, up and down, in and out, hot and cold. And it means nothing at all, other than as a reminder that we are SPIRIT PEOPLE, and we have our permanency and steadfastness within us, through the indwelling Spirit who walks our walk through Christ in us who expresses His Divine Quality of Life in each of as an often hidden “Treasure in an earthen vessel.” (2 Cor 4:7).