How Do We Settle Something Is God’s Will?
By Fred Pruitt
(Taken from some emails a few years ago)
Someone wrote me and asked the following:
“How do you settle if something is of the Lord? Is the speaking of the word the proof? And by assuming that we have to settle if something is of the Lord aren’t we then again seeing separation as if we are two and that I (apart from God) can come up with a word of faith? (Just thinking aloud here). My faith stand is that everything is of the Lord.”
Reply: So I ask, do you always know what to do? Do you always make instant decisions, or do you ponder your way from time to time? Isn’t daily living a mixture of both instant decisions about a myriad of things every day, as well as time-periods when you are pondering what to do or say or think about a particular issue, situation, etc. All Norman was meaning is that in our ponderings, or say, like in his case, his morning meetings with the missionaries, and they or we have issues to deal with, plans to make, directions to take, etc., that often in the first part of that process is a consideration of possible alternatives. During that consideration period, we have no certainty for the particular situation, though we have certainty that the “mind of the Lord” will prevail, we just don’t know “how” yet.
Do we do this or do we do that? For school of faith time, (when we are learning “operating” faith by the Spirit), it is helpful to know at this juncture that there isn’t one particular choice that is God’s, and all the rest are false. We learn over time that pretty much either way we go it is the Lord. So that is the background.
But we are talking now of living the life of faith, and we are privileged at that point, to make particular choices to do particular things, to bring things from the invisible (where we have seen them in our considerations – as when God showed Moses the “pattern” of the Tabernacle on Mt. Sinai, we are given these “patterns” in the Spirit), into the visible, specific particular events, outcomes, accomplishments, etc., that we declare in faith that God is doing or has done.
This is a little further on than, “everything is God,” and being satisfied with that. The unction is in us to bring about reconciliation that is already in the Father, into the Spirit visibility of reconciliation in our environment. We don’t just look at the world and see through to God as All in all, and stop there. This is because the “world” we see in back of this one, the Real World, is as to this world, only in the “ideal.” Our part in this, as royal priests and sons, is to bring the “ideal” into the faith-reality visiblity, that the water of life we see flowing out, has and is “changing” our world. We not only see it going out, we see that it is received and this water is producing Life wherever it goes. “You shall bear fruit, and your fruit shall remain.” That is what it means to be the salt of the earth and light of the world.
So, back to your original question, this “pondering process” is just exactly the same as making instant decisions and believing it is the Lord by you. Whether we arrive at junctures and decisions instantly or through a consideration process, it is all the Lord.
The Historical Jesus
The only thing I would say about it is that to me, the “historical Jesus” becomes incorporated into “seeing no man after the flesh.” We don’t give up that Jesus, but simply see Him in new light, in which now we see nothing “after the flesh.”
I really don’t even like the term “historical Jesus,” though it is a popular expression, but it is as if the Jesus who walked in Galilee is juxtaposed, set over against, the concept of not “seeing Christ after the flesh.” If we ditch the Jesus of the flesh, then I’m afraid we have to ditch Fred of the flesh, and Bill of the flesh. He was flesh and blood real, which is why it is the real and actual sacrifice of His Body and His shed blood can be efficacious in our lives. We can know our humanity filled with God and doing His will by us, only because we have been shown another humanity which was/is just the same. We MUST keep the human side, and not toss it out in favor of a Spirit-side only. I don’t think you mean this, but I believe this is a very vital and foundational matter to remember.
Because we, too, are flesh and blood real, and not just spirits encased in bodies. Our bodies are in some sense our glory; they are spirit manifest. The problem with this idea of a supposed “historical” Jesus, is that people want to emulate Him as a man of the flesh, i.e., His deeds and attitudes, without knowing the Spirit basis of both His life, and that of His thoughts and attitudes. This comes from them and the lie we have all believed, not from the Jesus of history. Of course, only the Holy Spirit in us can enlighten us on this, so that Jesus of history becomes the Resurrected and Ascended Jesus in the Spirit — in fact they are and always were one and the same, as we can plainly see in the transfiguration experience. Jesus only walked out as a parable what was already true in the Spirit, from the way and manner in which He lived and walked, to the Cross which is a real space-time event on earth, but which cut across all divisions between time and eternity and bridged the gap. We must have them both, not one or the other. We live in time and eternity, and in Christ become “masters” of both. Boehme said we have in a sense two eyes, one which sees forward into eternity, and the other which sees backward into time. One who has overcome will understand this and live it.
Not to Me
There is a time for many of us, if we are truly to discover the “abundant life,” that the Lord puts us apart from everything we have known before to be “godly,” and strips us bare naked. It seems like all is “vanity,” as the preacher said in Ecclesiastes. We look out into the world and all we see is vanity. We look inside ourselves and all we see is vanity. (Vanity is self-focus — and to see all as “vanity” is thus to filter everything through the only lens we’ve ever known, i.e., the lens of our individual selves, in which we see everything within and without as something “for me.” Including and most especially the “works of God,” as you have been lamenting to me in these past sharings of yours.) This is a very right place to be, because it is the plan of God that you should be reduced in experience to death, because until you know your own death in the Lord, you cannot truly know His life. Dead people don’t do anything. They are not responsible for anything. They cannot respond to anything. They’re dead.
Christians by and large do not really know that they are dead people. They keep (and I include myself in this in past times) substituting “activity” for life, thinking if they will do these things, God will be pleased and bless them, etc. Now God does wink for a time at this ignorance, and because of God’s wink, many never really do come to the end of themselves, because God in some way blesses what they do. They see results. They see miracles, etc. In my beginning days I saw “results” and “miracles” of one sort or another. I won people to the Lord. And as I say, God blessed me in and despite my ignorance.
But after a time I wearied. Nothing was ever enough. I was never all that I thought I “should” be. All my thoughts were condemning to me.
And that is when the Lord put me into the reality of, “Be still, and know that I AM God.” To “be still” is probably the hardest thing to do for a human being and even harder to do for a believer, because we are exhorted continuously from the pulpit, Christians books, etc., to do the opposite of “be still,” and instead we are commanded to “do more!” But we must be reduced finally to nothingness, where nothing we can think of or imagine has any more value to us. We realize that in Christ we died. We may have known that in a conceptual way prior to this, but this is the time when the Spirit makes our death real, because ONLY the Spirit can bring us to this place. It is the place of Lazarus, dead in a tomb.
Only then do we begin to know the meaning of, “Be still, and know that I AM God.” This is the Spirit’s classroom, and He is the best teacher, because He has always been there, every step you have taken for your whole life (and not just when you were born again), and His purpose has always been to bring you to this place where you are now. We must be emptied out before we can truly be filled. What is emptied out is this false consciousness of ourselves as selves separate and apart from God trying to approach him by formulas, works, sacrifices, etc. We become in a very real sense, “nothing.” As Paul says in Galatians, “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”
Because what begins to happen when we come to this place of utter futility and death, we are then conditioned to recognize the Real Life that has been there all along, even while we were flailing around all those years “trying to work for God.” The Real Life is in you, and always has been, but we are all so full of ourselves and trying to make ourselves pleasing to God that it blocks our clear sight to the real truth of our inner life.
We have no independent life of our own, but were born to live God’s life. Like the moon, I have no light of my own, but as long as I try to create the light and make light come out of me, at best it is a cheap imitation of the Real. But when I realize that I have no light of my own, but that ANOTHER IS NOW Light in me, then I have found my true place in the kingdom. “I live, yet not I, but Christ.”
After realizing our utter death into nothingness, we begin to see, by the Spirit in us who alone does it, that even though we no longer live, somehow we still do, but it is no longer just us living, but Christ within us as the Real Life expressed by our human lives, even as the moon reflects the light of the Sun, and is only manifest to us because of that Light.
So that’s where you are now, ______, seeing this futility and despair. But you will not stay there, because even though the Spirit has literally taken you to hell that’s where you find Him in fulness at last. Remember, it says in John, that God commands the “light to shine out of darkness,” and “If I make my bed in hell, lo, thou art there.” (Ps 139:8). You are then overwhelmed inwardly by the Life that fills all things, from the depths of hell to the highest heights of heaven.
So, ______, you probably will be shocked that I say this to you, but I have to say of your situation, “Good!” God has you right where He wants you (He always has, but this is a very special holy time), and He will not leave you in Hell, even as the Father did not leave Christ in hell. Rejoice, for the barren one will bear many children! And such are you, my friend.
Take heart, because I tell you it will not be long until you will say, “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?” (SS 8:5). Who is this? It is YOU!