From One Who Seeks to One Who Has Found
By Fred Pruitt
(This is an edited recent answer to a reader.)
I can’t say whether you are born again or not, but it is not complicated and is a simplicity, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. You either do or you do not. Also, it isn’t something done by yourself in your own strength. Paul says in 1 Cor 12:3b, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.”
Do you understand what that means? It means that when you speak words of faith announcing your belief that Jesus is Lord, it isn’t just you doing it! It is the Holy Spirit Who does it speaking with your tongue and your breath and your mind. Your first act in the kingdom of God, entering in through grace by faith in Jesus Christ, is a union act, not just yourself saying the words.
I believe thoroughly you’re being tormented but not by Jesus or the Holy Spirit. They don’t torment people. They deliver, they save, they release bondages, to grow people up INTO THEMSELVES, so that every child of God is a living expression of Christ even when we do not know it.
As far as this “trust” issue is concerned, again, as you confessed you are in what we call self-effort, not because you are intending to be so out of an evil heart, but simply that it is all you know. But that’s about to change.
First, about “trying” to die to sin or self, etc. That’s not something that you can do. It is something that is already done and your job is not to do it, but to believe and acknowledge it as the Spirit shows you the truth of it. I know you know some of this stuff theoretically because you speak of it in your note, but you’re seeing everything as something you have to figure out and work yourself and that is just the issue, right there. You are not in this alone. You have a partner, within you, Who is actually one person with you. Your death to sin and death to the law do not or did not occur because of anything you have ever said or done. Jesus did it in the Cross. By His death to sin on the Cross, He procured death to sin for every person who believes. We had nothing whatsoever to do with that, and there is no labor or works or anything else that we could do that could have caused it to be, by ourselves alone.
Trust is a matter of confession, not emotion or reason. You repeat over and over you just can’t trust him. Well, according to your faith so be it! But what if you changed your confession? What if, instead of constantly confessing what really amounts to both a truth and a lie,* “I can’t trust Him,” you realize, that since you and He are one as I have just told you, you have the One Who Trusts within you. He’s the Trust-er, working in your mind, heart and word. You CAN trust because He’s the One Who accomplishes His own Word and commandments. *It is true because we have no innate ability to “trust God.” It is false because when we realize He is the One doing it, in us, we live in and by HIS faith, so that we firmly trust Him.
I said above Trust is a matter of confession, or in other words, simply a decision, like, “I’ll go to the grocery store.” You make a decision and then go do it.
Do you ever take your clothes to the dry cleaner? They give you a little ticket and tell you it will be ready on such and such a day. Right there you have the opportunity to exercise trust or faith, by deciding whether or not the dry cleaner will have it ready when he says. It’s an easy decision, most of us decide to take their word and come back the next day to get our clean clothes at the time he said. There was no emotional element, and a rather small “belief requirement,” but essentially deciding to “Trust God” is exactly the same.
Trust is not feelings. Trust is not certainty. Trust is not simple beliefs. It is a decision. Once you make the decision, “I’m going to trust God from now on,” then you rely on the One within to make that trust real in you, and essentially “do the trusting” in you, using your mind, body, words, thoughts, etc. Say, “I can’t do it, Lord, but I know you can, and I know that You accomplish it IN ME!”
Remember Paul’s word in 1 Thess 5:24: “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
Also, you mentioned fright and terror. I know about that. I’ve experienced it, too. Where’s it coming from? Not from Jesus or the Holy Spirit!
Paul again – “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim 1:7).
He loves you so much He gave up His Divinity to come find you and me and all His lost sheep. He loves us so much He endured horrible torture and then one of the most excruciating ways to die, crucifixion, to BRING YOU TO GLORY! He’s not trying to scare you there, but to love you there!
He is NOT a harsh taskmaster; the devil is!
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30).
He also said:
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
And one more:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18,19)
He preached Truth to the poor (He meant “poor in spirit”) because that’s what we needed. The “poor” don’t come up with their own supply of “spirit.” He does. Likewise, the brokenhearted do not heal themselves. He does. The blind don’t recover their own sight. He does. And those who are bruised do not set themselves into liberty. He does! And He does it in you, too!
All those voices in your mind, are confusion it seems to me. They have you in fear and panic and terror. God is NOT the author of that.
Hear what James says: “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” (James 3:16). That’s what’s been going on in your mind.
James then goes on to say: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17). That other strife and confusion stuff is out! Even if it comes up, don’t surrender to it but be bold and say to it, “You are not part of me anymore. I belong only to Jesus. I don’t recognize you.”
That will go out, maybe gradually, maybe all together in one fell swoop. But the point it, however or whenever it goes, is to firmly resolve to know that it NOT the truth of you.
The Truth of you is “The wisdom from above.” That’s the real you! He in you and ONE with you! He is your inner Life. He’s not condemning you and never condemns anyone!
As far as you still being married to the Law, that marriage was dissolved by Christ on the Cross two thousand years ago. You are no longer married to the Law or to Sin. You are married to Christ. You are His Body!
Speak the word only, dear, and allow it to rest in the Spirit’s workings. Emotions and reason go up and down and in and out, all our lives. Where we find the peace is in knowing the truth within, and sticking to it within, regardless of whatever it seems like on the outside.
Digest this for a bit and then get back to me at your pleasure.
I truly hope this helps you some.
In Jesus’ love,
(A good bit of the text below is not part of the original reply.)
Here’s another aspect to consider. The key to the “self-effort” situation is to know our union or oneness with Christ in the Spirit within. Or, as Jesus told us in John 17, we are equally one with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, having the same oneness with the Father as Jesus did and He prayed we would also have in that chapter. See John 17:11, 20-23
I see your mind is going a hundred miles and hour. Are you always like that? Learn His rest, also within you. Peace comes in resting in Him, but it is not necessarily “outer” (emotional) peace, but inward peace out of a still center within, where God dwells and we dwell in Him there and He in us, so that as Jesus said of Himself and the Father, “I and my Father are one,” and, “When you see me, you see the Father.” That same reality is ours in Him.
There is a place where we come in the Spirit to an “abandonment” of sorts. It’s an inner rest where joy is, and solidity – a rock – around which still waters lap. Abandonment means we are safe and can free fall. People turn to a doctrine called “eternal security,” looking for a secured place in the afterlife. But there is no “security” in man’s doctrines. HE IS THE ROCK! Not what any church or theology may say ABOUT Him. Want security, where you can run as far and as long as you like, where you are upheld but not restrained, always loved and always free? Well then, Jesus said to quit looking for it over there or in another direction, because it, the Kingdom of God, of Joy, of Peace, Love, Righteousness, Holiness and Laughter, is within you. Because the Kingdom isn’t a place, but a Person, and ONLY He Himself is our guarantor, our security, our surety.
When we discover that rest within, available now, (Heb 4:9), which we discover when the Spirit opens our eyes and ears of understanding to Gal 2:20, then we begin to live out of that rest. We no longer “seek” it, because it is permanently within us!
I started my Christian life years ago hearing Matt 7:7 –
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
For years I never even considered verse 8 except in an abstract sense in some future future.
“For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
There comes a day for many when we realize He has done just that. By His grace, we HAVE received! We HAVE found! The Gate to Life is OPENED and He has brought us firmly inside! Hallelujah!
Now what? What we hear in the secret place of the Most High within, Go tell it on the mountain! Shout it from the housetops! Call the saints together! Shout unto the Lord Who Alone is worthy to be praised!
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 40:3-5)