On Being An Actual Person
By Fred Pruitt
(Edited from an article previously published in 2017. This started as an answer to a reader wondering if saying Christ does everything in our lives makes us seem like a robot or automaton – not really whole persons. I did searches in all the articles on the blog [when this is posted it will be number 892], looking for anything about the subject. I pulled out a few instances in earlier writings where we mention this topic. Some will find it helpful I believe.)
Reader: Some of what you say sounds like we’re automatons ….
Me: We get that a lot. I cannot even begin to remember how many times, when I have declared to people that it is no longer “I” but Christ, that now we operate as a union/unity, that as Jesus said of Himself and in John 17 included us in the same oneness, “I and My Father are one,” that people have thought I was talking about being an automaton. In other words, no true life of my own, but I exist as a “shell” sort of that is 100% Deity-operated, no humanity necessary. I’ve never written a piece on just that, but here are a few places where I have talked about it.
From Hidden Glory, June 15, 2015
You realize, for the first time maybe, that you can trust yourself, because you are not “just” yourself, but Christ in yourself, as your self. Contrary to what we have been taught, we are not in His way and He does not move us to the side. Having Christ in us AS us, instead of making us some sort of Christ-automaton or programmed robot, simply makes us ourselves. To find His Life in me in Christ where it has been hidden since the beginning, makes me ME! Finding first the truth that I was crucified with Him and therefore dead, clears the deck for Him filling us with Himself. Since I become “empty” in the death, there is now room to take HIS fullness into me. However, I find when I “died” (to the false independent self and “sin” in general as it is portrayed in baptism), what comes back from God is not more requirements, but instead I got back the fullness of myself in Him, but it is fully and completely “myself.” (edited from original)
(2019 addition: Jesus said, “For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.” (John 5:26,27)
This is what we are saying. This is how it is with “the Son,” Who is in all of us. He has, “Life in Himself.” God’s “goal” for us is the opposite of a robot or an automaton. We’re the Velveteen Rabbits! We start out life and are encouraged at home and school to play act. Nobody knows any better. How are you going to “be good” without putting forth the effort?
That’s the way the world is programmed to think, as well as believers who have not yet seen this truth. We spend endless hours and days trying to emulate behaviors or attitudes we’ve been told we need to have. Someone online the other day exhorted the brethren to “practice humility today.” How does one “practice” humility? I suppose by emulating behaviors and attitudes of a “humble” person, right? That’s silly, isn’t it? Humility is not a set of behaviors and attitudes. It is a state of being that comes out of the Life that is in us. It is the state of being of someone who found out what Paul found out, “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” (Gal 6:3-4).
From The Food and Purpose of Faith Reissue, June 9, 2016
That is why we are not doctrine people, living by a philosophy, but actual people, responding to and living life in the present moment. Life does not have to line up to our doctrines (and it doesn’t). We are free to struggle and fear, to worry, fret, and wonder if we’re doing right, hearing right, walking down the right path, because it is out of those doubts, fears, and worries that faith rises again — all that is faith’s meat (“the food of faith,” to quote NPG) — and all that is God’s process in our humanity. We aren’t just automatons pushed around here and there on a divine chess board, but we are sons, who are conscious of our lives, who make decisions, who determine our way (and yet it is God in paradox), and live our lives in full freedom.
From Free in God’s Eternal Freedom – Part One, April 26, 2016
Otherwise, without the bumps and falls and scratches, we really do not come to true consciousness. God could “make” us so, just download the whole program into us at once, but then we would actually be automatons and not true sons who do the will of the Father from the heart and understanding. He can make rocks obey him, but rocks cannot love. Only sons can love.
Union Is In the As 2014, May 7, 2014
The “first” thing above all, is to know that we are one person with Him. We live a “union” life, two becoming one, and we live that life in a “unity,” of just being one person, not two. I am not divided from myself, nor from Christ. He and I are one. It is not by my doing, but by His. I only receive its truth, and in that reception, the Spirit walks it out in us. (1 Cor 4:7).
The “AS” is important because the “AS” means union. Christ speaking “through” me makes me something less than I am. People have accused what I am talking about as making automatons out of us, less than persons, having no will, etc. It only goes to demonstrate that they do not yet understand the truth, that in a final total realization of “being dead” in Christ, which is in a very real sense “forsaking all we have,” (since at bottom, our greatest “possession” is ourselves), we actually do not become automatons, but real persons!
“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Col 3:3,4)
And living only so God could manifest “through” us, would make us secondary, more like a tree, a cow or a mountain, all of which glorify God in their creation, but not in a volitional, creaturely way, nor do they have a say in the matter. Whereas God has given to Man through Jesus Christ, the exalted position of total Sonship! (Male and female). Would these Sons not be real persons, the opposite of automatons, even though everyone of them could be heard to say, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but whatsoever He sees the Father do, the same does the Son likewise”?
Faith and the Burning Bush Two, January 16, 2013
A reader commented on the previous article: Faith and the Burning Bush
We are indeed moving into the deep things of God by this and we are also touching the freedom of being a son. God desires to hear me speak into existence what already exists in the Father’s mind, but since I am not an automaton I am free to “refuse” to speak the words that bring His victory or whatever He has in mind into visibility. I can for instance say: “No, this is not possible…this cannot be” and withdraw from speaking what wells up in me or not pray the prayers of the Father because I think “it is only me”. No matter where I turn faith is the keynote to all this.
Thank you for your comments. I have to tell you that when I first read this, I was very surprised with the “I am not an automaton” thought and the rest of it after that. It isn’t that I think what you wrote is incorrect, because technically, being that we are in the realm of temptation until we leave this life, the possibility is always present that we might follow a temptation into the conception of sin. So that’s a given. And your last sentence, “No matter where I turn faith is the keynote to all this,” is right on! Absolutely! 100% agreement.
But I cannot tell you how many times over the years, after I had expressed that in oneness or union with God our lives are He expressing Himself, so that we walk in the Spirit and speak the words and do the “acts” of God because of His indwelling, that people have responded by saying, “I have free will, and I can still sin if I want to.” In fact, that seems to be the only time when “free will” crops up, when we are speaking of “sin.”
People go out of their way to assert their “free will” to sin, but seem not to see that the “free will” they are speaking of, is of course, in us as sons of the Father, as a “free will” unto righteousness. The fact of the matter is, NOBODY knows truly “free will” until they realize they have been “slaves of unrighteousness,” not operating by any means in some supposed solitary independence, but have believed and done the will of our false father. (Jn 8:44, Eph 2:2,3).
Who Is He – Who Are We, November 9, 2011
Here is the truth – but you must take it by faith for yourself – because the truths of God must be made ours by our faith agreement with them. Why? Is God not strong enough to make His promises happen even if we do not receive them? Yes, HE IS. But He has not called us to be automatons, but SONS, conscious sons, trained not just in the acts of God, but in the “ways” of God. God takes His sons into His confidence, making them co-heirs with The Son, so that all that He is in this world, SO ARE WE!
Fully mature sons are those who have “learned obedience through the things we suffer,” (endure), just as did Jesus. We are those who have had the exercise of our senses and come up the “hard way,” by knocks and stumblings, even as the writer of Hebrews told us: “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb 5:14).
Truly Free Will – Part Four, September 16, 2010
More than once when I have declared that “God wills by us,” people have expressed fear of being an automaton or robotic. But I don’t think an automaton or a robot said, “My meat is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work.” It was a man fully conscious of Himself and of God in Himself, and that they were One. One person functioning. When you see me you see the Father. John wrote of Him: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 21:25). Pretty good work for an automaton.
The Proper Order, August 27, 2010
Now this outer brain is part of this makeup, and it can never own the truth for itself. It learns to express it, and there we learn in faith to leave our partial sight and jump to the Invisible — no sight — which is as irrational as one can be, seen from the perspective of the outer rational brain. In the Fall it became the predominant part of us where all the decisions were made, where all knowledge of this world resides, etc. It was made to know and express the things of this world, but to be motivated and empowered from within by the Holy Spirit joined with our spirit. But in the Fall spirit became hidden and Satan invaded there, and kept us in darkness by only activating for the most part the outer part of us, making it master instead of servant as intended.
Now in Christ that proper order is restored. But since God wants us to walk in understanding and not as automatons, He wants us to be aware of the order and its workings. I have explained the order. Spirit runs the show. Spirit understands. Spirit lives in the revelation of God.
The outer consciousness, which is mostly our conscious house of dwelling while in this life, sees mostly only the partial reality of this world. Its specialty, appointed by God, IS the things of this world. It is created to traffic in this world, to understand and in a sense master it, as Adam was to be master in this world. He was to bless the world through his outer self which did the business of this world, while living out of and in his spirit joined to God, which directed and ran the outer world out of a paradise or continual inner Sabbath of rest within him. The Fall upset the order, so that his inner house of spirit darkened and was invaded, and the outer, left in the world as if alone, gained the predominance and continued that way in all the generations of Adam.
A Brief Look Into God’s Depths, August 24, 2010
The words “free will” do not appear in Scripture, but we may derive from God’s personhood, in that He is “free” and “does all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11), that the foundation of “personhood” is to be a “free” person, i.e. to be able to choose. Anything else is to be an automaton, which would be less than a person. Therefore at the foundation of “personhood” is the awesome and terrible responsibility to be able to choose our own lives. Here, then, is the source and origin of “evil.” For if persons are to be truly “free,” then there must be “opposites” from which to choose – i.e. “I’ll do this, not that.” Even though from eternity God has, in His own freedom, chosen to be eternally “self-for-others,” there was another, the Bible tells us, in the eternal realms, who chose the opposite, “self-for-self” – Lucifer. He chose NOT to express the Light and Love and Person of God, which is the only means by which any person can be a person, but instead to express his own created light, i.e. to be his own god, which produced in him only wrath and rage and unfulfilled enmity. He was therefore the “creator” of God’s opposite kingdom of wrath and darkness.
No Fear of Self, July 25, 2010
Now, this is not automatic in the sense that God just zaps us or DOES us and we are as automatons who are simply made to be what we are with no input from us how that will be or how far we will go. There is a you and a me, which is a unified self as an expression of Christ. This unified self cannot be intellectually taken apart to see where God leaves off and we somehow separately exist. We are the clay and He is the potter and at the same time we are we and He together as one. Yet paradoxically I function as myself!
There is a reason for the parables of the Sower and of the 10 talents vs the one talent hid in a napkin. “To the froward he shows Himself froward, with the pure as pure.” (Ps 18:26; Titus 1:15) We are only receivers, but we MUST receive, and there is a moment when WE must speak the word. It is He but it is we and we cannot take that apart. He works all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph 1:11) and yet, “he who sows sparingly will reap sparingly” (2 Cor 9:6).
To stand up and be a PERSON who lives, considers, decides and acts, is rampant in scripture. It is just that people read those admonitions in separated thinking, trying to fulfill them and failing, by God’s grace not realizing that it is only fulfilled in our union reality. Again, this is not automatic, but occurs as we as persons stand up by our word and go from faith to faith and into possessing our possessions.
Even in a union understanding, some get stuck in, “God does all, I do nothing,” which may incorrectly lead us to, “I don’t exist, only God does.” This is a bunny trail some of us have gone down but we trust the Spirit to lead us back on the path where we do not live in fear of ourselves (thus finding solace in our own annihilation). Through that we subsequently discover, like Job, that when we step out and boldly be ourselves, trusting Him as ourselves, that sometimes we then surprisingly and fearfully find everything going to Hell in a handbasket which then becomes a stinky pile of dung (stuck on a dunghill as the scripture says — 1 Sam 2:8; Ps 113:7).
O what glory! This is where the gold is found, because when, “that which I feared most has come upon me” (“me, myself, I” being what I fear most), well guess what? We gloriously find, LO, here is God also, in this stinky pile of dung, and miraculously, we find ourselves to be the righteous expressions we believed in the beginning we were by His word of revelation to us, that HE SAID WE WERE. Just as He pronounced, before Job’s trials, that Job was unlike anybody else in the earth, perfect and upright (Job 1: 8) — and before our trial did he not say the same of us, which is why we are bold to step out in faith? “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Remember, this word came to Jesus at His baptism, BEFORE He had done any works. It is the same with us because He is in us as one with us.
Anyone hearing or reading this: YOU ARE THE BELOVED SON!
(If you don’t understand it but want to, ask your Father. [The Heavenly One!])