I Die Daily – Part Three
By Fred Pruitt
I’ll briefly review the Romans seven issue, but for the sake of brevity will point readers to a couple other things that might give a more detailed description. The first is my little book, The Axe Laid to the Root. One may download a pdf file without charge, or elect to purchase a printed copy from the publisher or other online booksellers. I have also included links to a couple of other articles on the blog which relate to this discussion.
To make a long story shorter, we really go through a meat grinder if we go through this struggle. Some do not experience it, and I am not saying everyone will or should. But there is plain historical and Biblical evidence that God certainly does take many this way, including this writer. It got dark in my world for a while. Like Paul, I was almost down for the count. And the Spirit came and got me again, just like He did Paul. So I am only writing what has become inner truth for me.
The whole crux of the matter occurs in Romans 7:21 – “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” Just wow! Wow wow wow wow!! If there was one scripture in the Bible that defined sin, this would be the one. It is very subtle, this sin. Just like its author, the serpent: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.”
I read Romans seven hundreds of times for decades and did not see this. But then one day it just jumped out and stopped my train in its tracks. “When I would do good.” When – I – would try to … be like God!” That is the sin, and that is why he found “evil is present with me.”
The subtlety of it is that it masquerades as piety or holiness. “Should we not strive to do good and refrain from evil?” That is the deepest subtlety of it, but open your ears and hear the hiss of the snake in it!
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Is 14:12-15).
This is foundational to see. Understanding this opens the whole of the gospel message to us. This is the “spot” where “evil” as an opposite power entered the universe, in a realm we cannot comprehend at this time. There is only one “WILL” in the universe, the One Who said, “I AM the Lord, there is no other.” He works all things after the counsel of His own will from beginning to end. (Eph 1:11). However, this assertion by Lucifer of an “own” or a “separate” will from God is the heart of the Fall, first that of Lucifer and his legions who kept not their first estate, (Jude 1:6), then afterward Adam and Eve in the Garden.
Lucifer’s “choice” was irrevocable because it was made in the eternal realm. However, Adam and Eve’s choice was in the temporal, and not final. But in essence Adam and Eve fell into the same disunity created through Lucifer’s false assertion of his “I will” over God’s, i.e., they became infected with the same lie. Their consciousness, which up until that point had been something of an unconscious consciousness in their “babyhood” in the Garden. They walked in Paradise with God in their consciousness and understanding. Everything was completely harmonious.
The harmony created in their inner selves as well as in the outer world in their walking with God in the Garden, left them in the instant they took the fruit. Immediately, they were “ashamed,” guilty and afraid. We know the rest.
We can see that this is where things went south, so to speak. Of course, this was not outside the plan of the Father, who has never resorted to Plan B. But seeing this truth, we can see where mankind diverted, and through Paul’s description of his Romans seven struggle, we can see where we get back on track. This really puts the final nail in the coffin of the old me. This consciousness of independence is the last vestige of the “old me” in our consciousness. Because once we SEE this truth, it BECOMES US! (It is He Himself in us!)
When we see how we had formerly been deceived and misused in unrighteousness, then we can begin to see that in His resurrection (in me) there is a new Me, Christ in Me, one spirit with Him, the Spirit of Christ now rightly using us for righteousness. We function not only as a “union” self, where we have been joined together but still maintain separateness, but also* as a unified self, so that we enter into the oneness with the Father, Son and Spirit for which Jesus prayed in John 17. Even as He said, “I and my Father are one,” (John 10:30), so may we also say it! When He said, ”The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise,” (John 5:19), He is also describing our Life in Him in the Father. That’s exactly “how we work.”
*(When I say, “also,” I am meaning we live in a simultaneous “union” AND “unified” consciousness. We live, “Not I, but Christ,” while simultaneously functioning as a single entity, “Me.” This “Me” is neither the human “me” nor the Divine “ME,” as separate and distinct from the other, but an eternal human/Divine “Me” never to be torn asunder. “When you see Me, you have seen the Father.”)
When we start to comprehend the complete demise of the “old me,” we begin to see the meaning of Galatians 2:20 even though we may have read that hundreds of times also. It is kind of a total housecleaning, this movement in experience from Romans six through seven into the Life of the Spirit in the eighth. But now it is settled once and for all. The old me, the union of my spirit and the spirit of darkness, producing sin as our children, has died in the death and burial of Jesus Christ, a death and burial in which I am a participant, rather than being simply an historical onlooker. It is completely gone, nothing left of it.
The next “death” is when I see that even though the sin has been spiritually removed from me, I find out my helplessness to be able to produce what I believe God wants of me. He wants me to do His will and I believe I can (with His help) so I “try” – and down I go! So the new self is Christ in me, but still remains in weakness in our humanity.
There comes a day when we let our self-efforts die forever, because we cannot go another step in them. Eventually it becomes like a waterless hike in the Sahara, to shoulder the responsibility of trying to act like God. Finally, we just keel over under the weight of it!
And then, by the Spirit and quite to our surprise, we begin to see the reality of Who Lives in us and as us in our consciousness. This is the beginning of a union or oneness consciousness. I was crucified with Him, but I live, but the Life is not mine but His, and yet the Life I do live, I live by HIS faith as the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me. This is LIBERATION!!!!
Like I said, there was a lot of housecleaning accomplished by the Spirit through what Paul described. We enter Romans seven knowing a few “concepts” (theories) which we think maybe we can make work. They all crash and burn until there is nothing left! Then we exit on the Romans eight side having been completely undone and then remade. Through Romans seven valley we come to know that the old me died, that we are dead to sin, dead to the law, dead to self-effort, and finally, as Paul says in 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.”
Notice, he does not say something evil dwells there. Just “no good thing.” I find this to be in the same Spirit as Jesus’ answer to someone who said “Good master,” to Him. “Why do you call me good? There is none good, but God.” (Mk 10:18). In other words, Paul has found an inner zero, zed, where he almost does not exist, and God is All. That’s the “dead to ourselves” part, but it is not meant to be some ritual of self-denial, but more rather a description of how we operate.
We begin to see we operate just like Jesus, Who said, “The Father that dwells within me, He does the works.” (Jn 14:10). That is what I mean by an inner zero.
“How do you do what you do?”
“I don’t know, the Father within me, He does it! That’s all I know! It just comes out as me doing it.”
I Die Daily to Bring Life Out of Death
It is not unusual that after I present my case that Paul did not struggle with sin after Romans seven in a perpetual white dog-black dog war like much of the church teaches, that people will quote these two scriptures to me.
First, Jesus: “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Lk 9:23, 24).
And then Paul’s word, quoted above, “I die daily.” (1 Cor 15:31). Though people continually try to make both these passages about personal holiness that needs to be repeated daily, in actuality both passages are about living the Cross life for others. The “personal holiness” issue is assumed, because Christ Himself is our own “personal holiness.” (We do certainly need Him to be that, since we haven’t even a molecule of our own!)
The quote from Jesus could be seen to cover all the bases, the Cross FOR me, the Cross IN me, and now the Cross by me for others. The context of Paul’s word is not about his daily exercise to assure his personal holiness, but the burden of the churches and individuals in his care and nurture.
When he says, “I die daily,” he is not saying he wakes up every morning and goes through the steps again that brought him to life in union with Christ and the overcoming of sin. That is an already done deal in Paul’s eyes. “I die daily,” is the cry of Paul’s heart, at the stress and strain of all that which was upon him, much like Moses in the wilderness, who would “fall on his face” before the Lord, when certain issues and questions were brought to him. All that suffering of death is not meant to bring melancholy or fatalism, but rather JOY because we KNOW THAT WE KNOW that life always comes out of death!
So what is this sort of “death?” Plainly said, it is sacrificial. It costs. Paul repeats Jesus’ word with his own: “That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” (1 Cor 15:36). In this final stage, where we have entered the maturity of the Cross life, we take up the mantle of our adulthood. This is the stage when Paul’s word is fulfilled in us: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom 12:1).
What do adults do? They can live purely for their own pleasure, or they can provide for others, and bring new life into the world. At the adult stage in Christ, we exist to do one major thing – to participate in the travails of Christ, not just for the general salvation of souls, but that Christ might be formed in certain particular others that God makes known to us! This is where the “present your bodies” part comes in. The “I die daily” is ourselves on the altar whatever it might be. “God is the LORD, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” (Ps 118:27)
What we might call our deaths at this stage are simply whatever things we might have to do or to endure to bring about the resurrection of certain others that God has revealed to and in us. We’re ALL IN. We’re not sitting at home being “for” stuff, and being “against” stuff, but intercession is entering in to the solution part of prayer or desire to see the works of God. We don’t just pray for it. We don’t just “believe” for it. As the Spirit leads, we are in it. Not to get anything done the old way, of course, not by self-effort or starting programs, but always, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zech 4:6b).
This is what Paul meant by, “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 always 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 10-12).
Therefore, one day we just put down our mirrors, quit worrying about how we feel, disregard what our health is, pay no attention to how much money we have or do not have, quit trying to enlist anyone else in a pity-party for poor little me, and take up the mantle of Christ in me as me in the world, that comes with everyone’s salvation kit! It was included in the package when you signed up, or realized you had been signed up! One with Christ, one with the Father, one with the Spirit, one with God!
We have the goods, precisely because we “do not have them.” What do I mean? I mean that we live in the Spirit, where we do not “possess” God, but rather express Him in His nature as the wind, which blows where it will, and we cannot tell where it came from or where it is going. No one may possess the wind, but he is free to ride upon it, if he can.
To quote the long-ago band, Badfinger, “If you want it, here it is, come and get it!”
The “how” is the “Who.”
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).