Why Is God Not Keeping Me?
By Fred Pruitt
(Earlier version published previously, “Are Some Not Kept?” This is a slight revision to that post.)
I have been reading your stuff for some time and have a question on the Keeping Power of God. It seems that some Christians are kept while others are not. Now I do understand that God can not keep someone who is making efforts to keep himself. That makes sense to me but I found out over 10 years ago that I can not even keep myself for even one second and as a result make no efforts whatsoever to keep myself.
So the question is why is God not keeping me? Is it God’s fault or mine? Some people tell me it [is] because of my lack of faith in God’s keeping power but I do not see any way to believe it more then I do now.
What about my sinful actions? You seem to indicate in your writings that my sinful actions do not really mater. So a Christian can continue to commit crimes without being concerned about it. You know that many do just that. I am sure you know about the male minister who is living in sexual sin with a younger male and calls it God’s will for him and claims that this young man is God’s gift to him.
So in my case – God is not keeping me and it appears that there is nothing that I can do about it. So, is this God’s will for me? Is God really the one to blame? If not what can I do about it?
You ask very good questions.
Let’s start with your sentence: “It seems that some Christians are kept while others are not.”
That is a very general statement but there is not one general principle that is the same in each instance. A lot of it has to do with what one would consider being “kept” means. Then another equal issue has to do with what people identify as “sins,” which varies widely among Christians.
One thing to stands out in what you have written. You see others in sin, and see yourself in sin. So to suggest that, for a time, it might be a good thing to not consider the so-called “sins” of others, and concern yourself first with your own walk of faith.
Remember the last time recorded in the Gospel of John, when Peter, John and Jesus are walking along the beach. Jesus had just told Peter some facts about his future witness, ending with, “Follow Me.”
Peter looks at John and asks Jesus, “And what will this man do?” (Meaning, how will John’s life go.) Jesus answers Peter, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.” (John 21:15-22).
In other words, don’t worry about what John does. You follow Me!
You see, you don’t have to answer for, explain or evaluate anyone else’s behavior. If it is something that directly affects you, you face into it as much as you must, but we don’t apply a broad principle to other people’s lives and declare them holy or unholy purely on the basis of outer behavior.
That seems to be the principal activity of multitudes of Christ’s followers, worrying about what Tom, Dick and Harry are doing and almost always holding people to standards to which they do not hold themselves. Or conversely, believing themselves to be constant daily sinners, they transfer that same belief they have about themselves to everybody else out there. “If I’m a sinner then you are, too!”
And yet Paul tells us to see every person, especially every person in Christ, as “better than themselves.” That’s KJV, but I really like how it reads in NASB: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” (Phil 2:3).
So that simplifies things, to answer this just for you, without having to come to a “judgment” or a “principle” about all those other things you mention. Some would say a person in Christ has to take a “position” on those things. To do that one has to figure out which baskets people belong in. The result of that attitude and belief then leads to lists of those of whose actions we approve, and even bigger lists of those of whose actions we disapprove.
But I say, we can dispense with all that! We don’t meet people in large groups and lump them together as one. I see individuals, not “members” of different human groupings about which I can generalize. We always have preconceived ideas of different human cultures and beliefs. We should know that going in. Those who, against the evidence of their eyes and ears, maintain their preconceived notions, miss out. They miss the whole point. In so many instances, we are pleasantly surprised to find common ground with people who happen to be different in almost every way from ourselves.
Before I go on, let me just respond to your sentence about my supposed view of your “sins.” You wrote: “You seem to indicate in your writings that my sinful actions do not really matter.”
I can’t imagine I ever said that, because I do not think exactly like that. If I did, then let me address that a moment. Everything we are and do “matters.” Everything is important, though it is also truth that some things have lesser importance than others.
If we are God’s inwardly then we are not sinners. However, if we do not know that, and still believe we are sinners and must strive to quit doing this and that, we experience the fruit of that misplaced faith. It’s not for punishment, however, but for reconciliation and restoration. Peter “sinned” when He betrayed Jesus, but Jesus knew he was going to do that and knew the purpose of it, which was to produce the Peter who by the Spirit spoke to the crowds without fear on the Day of Pentecost.
If we have a fall, that’s what its purpose is – to produce the consciousness of the Life of the Spirit in us.
Now, back to you and your lack of faith that God is keeping you. Does that shock you that I said that? Your friends may have been on to something, but I don’t think it’s because you don’t have enough faith. I think it is because you don’t stand steadfast in the faith you have already expressed.
There is an element of “time” in our faith life. I’m sure you know that. There is a period when what we have declared is the truth does not appear. For Abraham, it was 25 years from the time God promised him an heir, a son, until the son of Promise appeared in Isaac.
He had a bit of misunderstanding halfway through, self-reasoning that maybe it wasn’t to be by his wife Sarai’s womb, but perhaps the son could come through her servant, Hagar, as a surrogate for Sarai. And a child was born, Ishmael we all know, and for a time Abram thought Ishmael might be the fulfillment of God’s promise.
But when the quarreling began between Sarai and Hagar, and Hagar’s subsequent “despising’ and ridiculing Sara for not having a child, Abram realized Ishmael was not the true heir. Another was coming.
He continued to stand in that faith for years more, until was 99 years old. It had been 24 years since God first promised him the son. This time the Lord repeated the promise, and then another declaration of something that was not “true” in the current moment. He renamed Abram and called him Abraham, “Father of many nations.” Still no heir, but God is now calling him father of many nations. It must’ve seemed foolish to his servants and perhaps also to Sarai, (whose name he also changed to Sarah) that Abraham took that name, when he didn’t even have one legitimate heir.
But not long after, one day out of the heat of the desert, three “men” appeared walking up to him. Abraham was God’s man, through and through, and it didn’t take long for him to know he was having a divine visitation. It was the Lord and two angels. The Lord repeated the Promise again, this time in the hearing of Sarah, who had only previously heard it from her husband. They had become very old by then, and it seemed foolishness to Sarah that she would bear a child at her age and she laughed. We might call that an expression of her unbelief, but it was nothing to the Lord. Their “belief” did not make the Promise occur. God made the Promise come about, and their expressions of faith only revealed the truth in their own consciousness.
If you ask God to keep you and express by a faith word that He will, why do you let appearances pull you back into unbelief?
I don’t know for sure if what you describe as your sinful deeds are really sins or not, since you don’t specify what you are talking about. That’s fine, I don’t need to know. I will only say that most people believe they have “sinned,” when they’ve only been in temptation. Or often people believe they are continual sinners because they don’t know the difference between soul and spirit. And then there are those, of course, who actually practice things which are out of the darkness. The first two are part of our daily normal experience, temptation and soul/spirit confusion. The last may be something more serious and would need to be addressed.
In general I would say, trust Christ in you and be yourself. Norman used to say we sometimes get “caught out” when for a time we forget our true identity and act out of who we used to be, like the man in James chapter one:
“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:23-25).
Thank you, James, for this is JUST what we have been talking about.
Here’s a fellow who looks at himself in the mirror, and in Pauline terms, sees an image of Christ in him (2 Cor 3:18), and when he goes out he forgets the image he saw in the mirror, in James’ terms, “forgetteth what manner of man he was,” and acts accordingly.
Then James goes on to say, that whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty (Christ our righteousness, Christ in us, etc.), “AND CONTINUETH THEREIN,” that person becomes a “doer of the Word, and blessed in his deed.”
Now, as you have expressed and learned for yourself, “you” as an independent entity cannot perform that, but we believe and live on the fact that not only can He, but that He will and that He has.
Let it all go into God. The timing, the appearances, the self-judging. Faith is not so much mental believing as it is continuing steadfast in a stated word, or a choice. If you say God has done it, never go back on that.
But even if you do, it’ll just be another stubbing your big toe to get your attention, and then back on the horse for another ride.
Relax and get back to simple believing what He has told you. You shall reap in due season!