The Promised Land
By Fred Pruitt
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” (Heb 4:9,10)
I have read your articles. You write walking in the wilderness (self-effort) is not something we engineer. I have problem with this issue. Every time I feel that I am not walking in the Spirit, I will overcome it by reading bible, worship, speak in tongue, listen grace sermon, etc. But the more I do that (the more I read bible, the more I speak in tongue) for get in the rest, the more I feel pressed and the more I didn’t get the rest.
I know that I am so weak and cannot do anything (even small thing) without Jesus. But how can I enter the Promise Land? Should I do something to get in the rest?
Dear one in Christ,
Thank you so much for writing and for giving me the privilege of writing you back. Let me just tell you in brief that what you are experiencing is exactly what we all experience as we are walking in Christ and the Spirit is training us in who we are.
Yes, for a time all those spiritual disciplines you mentioned, Bible study, prayer, etc., seem to help, to give us a lift of some sort. But it soon goes away as the drudgery of life comes back, and we find ourselves unable to move ahead.
The temporal rest those activities used to give us no longer satisfy us. This is because the Spirit is changing our sight as we go along, a sight which starts out seeing only the outer, things we can see, feel, touch, etc., but the inner “us” is unknown.
Before we knew the Lord, we had always found and known ourselves in all these outer things. But you see, the Holy Spirit has now come and is bringing you to a new place, to begin to see, to understand the inner Christ, Who has in His Cross (death, burial and resurrection), kicked the devil out of your life and replaced that inner “Satanic death” which was formerly within you. He replaces that former abomination within us – with Himself! Plainly put, Jesus came in and took the reins and He kicked Satan out! So that now only He is now enthroned within you, lives within YOU in all His glory, and manifests Himself to the world as YOU!
He has filled us with Himself, but we haven’t really been able to see it until we have this “self” issue cleared up. God walks in us through a valley or a wilderness so that we may thoroughly learn, that we live not by our own strength, simply because we have found out in this “wilderness,” that we have NO strength! We cannot even will the correct thing. Only the Spirit in us does that.
But it takes a while for the Lord to settle that in our understanding, that the “old me” died in the Cross, and in that death we have now been made dead to the law and dead to sin. One who is dead cannot help himself; he cannot even try. He can do nothing, because he is dead. Who are these people preaching to dead people to “do something!” They can’t, they’re dead.
Preachers sometimes say, “You do your part, and God will do His.” But that is incorrect. Man cannot do “his part.” That was the Old Testament, to try to please God by doing our part. However, the “law was weak through the flesh,” (Rom 8:3), so that it was impossible of fulfillment. We NEVER did our part in that covenant and were never going to. God already knew that, but as sons we had to find it out within our own being.
The New Covenant is a covenant of One, ratified by only One Party, i.e., the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of those in the New Covenant the Holy Spirit says, “I will dwell in them and walk in them and be their God.” (2 Cor 6:16). In other words, it will be “us,” but it will no longer in our consciousness be just “us,” because now we have been joined as one in our inner Spirit with Christ, and now our real true life is no longer, “just I,” but now this, “I that I am,” is now filled with Christ and manifesting Christ – not by my works or because I study, pray a certain amount, witness, etc. Those things don’t “make” the kingdom happen! IF they would “make God work,” then we are back to paganism where they think they shall be heard for their much speaking. It does not work like that!
This is because I now realize that it (Christ in me, Everlasting Life, Water of Life) comes up of Himself in me and out through me toward others. I do not have to work it up. I do not have to be “prayed up” or any other preparatory thing, because now the Life we live IS Christ, that is, Christ and I walking in my world as one person.
He and I are one, even as He said He and His Father are one. And the same is true of you. You are in Him and He in you, but you wrongly think that there is something you can do to “make God” reward you and bless you for your exercises, when that is not how it works. We just live filled and overflowing with Him. It is always operative, coming out of the inexhaustible living stream of the River of Life flowing out of our innermost beings!
The “Promised Land” you are looking for is already in you. “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20, 21)
In other words, you are already “in” your promised land but do not yet see it because you are still thinking there is something you have to do to get it or something you can “work” to prove you deserve it. Even as salvation in its beginnings was purely a work of grace, not of ourselves, it is the same now, if not more so.
The Spirit now has you in the throes of what we call “the Romans 7 experience,” where it seems all negative and you just can’t seem to make life work like you want to, etc. Wonderful place to be, because the Spirit led you there to be shed of the false notion that “you” can do anything to manifest anything of God. He shows us this to the uttermost, so that finally we cry out with Paul, “O wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from this body of death?”
And then he answers his own question with the final answer, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ my Lord.”
From there he broke on through into the Life of the Spirit outlined in Romans 8, not because he studied enough or tried hard enough, but because he had come to see, like Moses in the desert had done in previous years, that he had nothing to add to the equation. Just as the Son said of Himself, “The Son can do NOTHING of Himself,” and now we come in this place to see it, too! “I CAN DO NOTHING OF MYSELF!” we repeat in agreement.
As long as we think we can do anything to make “the Life” work, it eludes us. In our minds we are still caught in a consciousness of the “law of sin and death,” but once we see that it is no longer ourselves, as Gal 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ,” (that is, I DIED), but “nevertheless I live,” i.e., here I still am, but wait, it’s not I but Christ — and then I see it!
Just as Moses said, “Who am I, Lord, to be the deliverer?” (much different from the Moses that originally fled into the desert who took matters into his own hands and killed an Egyptian guard.) This “different” Moses at the Burning Bush has become “undone” in the wilderness, and in that “emptying” the Spirit has made Him a fit vessel to carry the Word of God. And now the same for you my friend.
Your final liberation will come when you see, “I can do nothing,” and “Oh I see, I am not just I, but now He and I are as one, so that when I am living He is living.” Yes, that is it. And that is where we begin to see the truth of Romans 8:2: “For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.” What a verb tense Paul uses! He does not say, “Will set you free,” but “HAS,” that is, this is already existing reality, it has already happened, it already is. Is what?
It is now truth and we are seeing it by the Spirit, that we are no longer under that old law of sin and death, separation, self-effort, etc., but now under a new law which has effected my release from the old, and this new law is “the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.” That is, He now is your every moment life! His mind is yours, His thoughts are yours, His desires are yours. How do we know? The Spirit gives us the knowing.
Let me recommend you read a book I have written on this very subject: The Axe Laid to the Root. What we have been discussing is the theme of the book, and many have found it helpful. Bless you. I am glad to discuss these things any time.
love in Jesus,
Aren’t there obstacles in the Promised Land?
Thanks fred, for your reply. I’m just begin to read part one of “The Axe Laid The Root”.
One thing I don’t understand, why God Himself doesn’t let us to enter His rest (Heb 4:3). It looks like we can enter the promise land anyway, but God prevents it. Is it dangerous if we take our old man into the promise land?
The children of israel didn’t get in Canaan because they afraid of giant. Does the giant speak about greater challenges that is waiting for us if we enter the rest of God?
The answer to your first question is not that it is dangerous to take your “old man” into the Promised Land, the truth is it is impossible. “No flesh shall come into my presence,” says the Lord. So the wilderness time is the time where we learn that God is our only strength. It is a very, very necessary time, because we do not learn when things are full, but when things are lacking. The “lack” times are to train you over and over that God is your substance, God is your strength, God is your only source of Life, God is your only sufficiency. That is the purpose of that training time. We must thoroughly know who we are “not” before we can fully see who we ARE.
As far as your second question, the point of the story about the fear the people experience and believe when hearing about the giants, is to demonstrate first, that they still do not know themselves, because they see the giants and then look back at themselves and were “in [their] own sight as grasshoppers.” Where did they look to save themselves? They looked to themselves, and found themselves lacking — and they were right!
That is what we must see. We MUST be confronted with strong obstacles that we have no way of overcoming — just in ourselves. It is the prerequisite to entering mature spiritual life.
Why? It is because these confrontations bring out the truth of our experience and true faith — whether our trust is in ourselves or in God. The first confrontation the people had with the Land were these fierce scary giants and “great walled cities.” And they were right, compared to those obstacles, they were impotent in themselves to overcome them.
Now I will say that is often the first reaction to obstacles and tough things. The problem, whatever it is — money, food, people, etc. — raises its head and our first thoughts are often, “O me, what am I to do?” So there is a moment of “forgetfulness” as we are confronted yet again with another “problem” that seems too big for us. So these folks at the edge of the Promised Land, wanting to go in because they’re tired of the desert, see this obstacle, and then see themselves, and they stopped right there. They did not take their sight on into the Lord God, Who, had they eyes that saw and ears that heard, they would have known that He had brought them out of Egypt by a mighty hand with signs and wonders, drowned Pharaoh’s hordes in the sea, given them water out of a rock and manna every morning. Even though they are walking somewhat in “sight” because their path is determined day and night by the cloud of the Spirit, still they are dead in their spiritual understanding, because they have not yet discovered inwardly what Moses had learned at the bush — that God was their inexhaustible strength in the middle of them. So they looked only to themselves and thus the fear and the cowardice to go forward, forgetting the Lord God and all He had done, and therefore entered into a curse on that generation preventing their entry into the land forever.
Now that is a parable for us, because what it is saying is indeed a joyous thing – that we cannot walk into God’s fullness until we have thoroughly discovered the truth of He in us as our life, strength, truth, love, etc. He is all those things in us.
But in order to learn that, we must first discover who we are NOT. So the Israelites discovered who they were NOT by that first attempt to cross the Jordan. To discover who you are “NOT” is to discover that you have no goodness in you to perform the works or commandments of God. That’s what the “flesh” self thinks. It sees the commandment and thinks, “I can do that, all I have to do is try.”
Like King Saul. Saul’s great problem that lost him the kingdom, was his presumption. He was to await Samuel’s arrival to perform the sacrifice. Samuel was God’s appointed prophet and the only one at the time who could perform it, but Saul, like the old self who thinks it still runs the show, decided he can do the sacrifice himself, since Samuel hasn’t shown up. And when Saul, as representative of all of us who go this way, “presumed” to take upon himself the job of performing the sacrifice, as the false “independent self” always does. It thinks it can perform the commandments of God quite nicely, with God’s help, of course. It does not yet know it is impotent and has only taken to itself damnation to presume to act “as God,” and this is what Saul did, for Samuel pronounced then and there Saul’s kingdom would fail because of his presumption in taking on himself that which had not been given him by the Lord.
So we all start out our life in Christ that way. But at some point we discover we cannot fulfill His life. We fall FAR short, everyone of us! Because we have this mistaken notion of being able, in ourselves, to “do” what God requires. The wilderness is about dashing that notion to pieces, which seems to us to be like death, and it is in a sense, in that we are losing our false consciousness of ourselves as little independent beings, with God over there or up there and we over here or down here.
But the truth is Christ is our inner holiness, and we are His temple. The life in us is not just us alone — for it never was because from birth we have been run by the “spirit of the power of the air” and have been carrying around with us the “nature of wrath.” But now in Christ that has died, and the wilderness is finding out to the uttermost that this old me has thoroughly died forever. I am no longer that. I owe it nothing more. The old me learns its death in the wilderness, because we completely learn its impotency – in fact it is impotent because it is something that only existed in our former satanic imagination anyway. We never were “independent selves,” and never can be. So of course this old horse cannot make it across the Jordan, but gets thrown out along the trail just as the pioneers had thrown out all the dead weight they were carrying, all along the Oregon Trail.
The “new me” (New creation) is what walks over Jordan on dry ground. The old me, that which came from my sojourn in Egypt (spiritually signifying our life of and in sin), has perished in this wilderness in my consciousness. The truth actually is that it perished in the Cross, but the wilderness time teaches us the truth of it in our consciousness by experience.
That is why Romans 7 comes after Romans 6, when everything seems to be wrapped up by Romans 6. Romans 6 tells us we are no longer our old selves, indebted to sin, but are now instruments of righteousness. But Romans 7 seems to say the opposite, as Paul’s “beliefs” in Romans 6 are on their way to becoming his “reality” in Romans 8, and there is only the little matter of Romans 7 that brings the transition.
One of the things you come out of the wilderness having learned to the uttermost, is that God is now your life, that you are an expression of Him, Christ, the Son of God, in you, so that the life you are now living is His life manifesting as your life. When once we have seen that by the Spirit’s revelation, then what is on the other side of the Jordan does not matter.
For whatever obstacles may come our way, after this wilderness time, we have thoroughly learned that God fights for us. It is God who defeats whatever might come against us. And finally, entering the “land of Promise,” a whole new world opens up, where it is no longer ever again “about me,” because now the thrust of the Spirit’s life in us will no longer be to train us, but for us to take our training the Spirit has brought us through and realize we have now entered the “self-for-others” life. It is no longer about my needs or meeting my needs. Love exists to forget itself and to lose itself in the others. This is the life of Christ!
The “whole new world” is the astounding revelation of the Spirit that the Life that now lives in you and guides and sustains you, Christ in you — as you, is no longer about us. It is not about getting a “blessing.” It is not about becoming rich or having big houses. It it’s not about getting healed. It is not about US anymore.
We now become the food that others eat in Christ. Jesus said, “I am the bread of heaven,” and told the people to eat of Him, because the manna in the Old Testament represented Him Who has now come to be the “bread of heaven” in each and everyone of us. But it is not a sedentary life of repose and eating grapes on a couch, but a life of activity in the flow of the Spirit Who now reveals your life in Christ every step you take and every word you speak.
Getting into the “land,” is about finally coming to know the truth in yourself of Galatians 2:20. This scripture you must make your own. It must apply to you. How can it? By your faith and acceptance, really. Very simple.
If it speaks truth to you, even though you may understand only a little, agree with what it says in faith.
“I am crucified with Christ” –
That means that in Jesus’ death on the Cross, I was there in Him and I died also –
“Nevertheless I live” — “Wait a minute. I did die. I have no more strength. I have come to the end of myself and have expected death. But here I am still alive!”
“Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” — “Hmmmm — but my life is different now. I know that I died in Jesus’ cross, but now I am alive, but for the first time, I am realizing it is not I, the I that I was, but now this new I is Christ! It is now Christ and not “me” running my life! Hallelujah!
“And the life I now live in the flesh” — “Here I am, still living “in the flesh,” but not “of” the flesh, and this life that is being lived is lived by the faith OF the Son of God, expressed in me! It is not even MY faith. He has replaced my old sense of “me” which a new consciousness of He and I “as one person,” as it says in John 17:20-22, and 1 Cor 6:17.
THAT is crossing into the Promised Land! There is much to learn of course; we learn every day. But now we are taken with a new life and a new purpose, driven from within by the Love of the Spirit to manifest Christ in the world — in and as YOU! YOU are the temple of Christ in your world! You are the bread of heaven to those around you. You are the light of the world. You are abiding in Him as a branch on a vine and you WILL bring forth much fruit, because He promises that you will. You are a vessel of mercy, dispensing the love, grace and mercy of God as the Spirit moves you in your environment.
Do not be afraid. Only believe.