The Person Within the Person Without

The Person Within the Person Without

By Fred Pruitt

John 4:24

God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Hebrews 12:22-23

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect …

Where Do We Come From Seeking Salvation?

The Father was seeking me long before I was seeking Him, but we do not know that when we are starting out, do we? At least I did not.

We all come to Christ in different ways, for different reasons, motivated by different things. What matters is that we come – regardless of how we get there. We cannot reject anyone’s reasons that drew them into Christ, whether we consider them valid or not. They are valid to them. At least at the time.

I did not come because of the fear of dying and going to hell, though I have known plenty others who did come that way. At the time of my final denouement with Jesus, I did not even “believe” in either the devil, the “place” or “state” we call hell, the authority of scripture, or even that Jesus was THE “Way” to God.

It just happened that as a result of the path He Himself had authored, Jesus came into my heart and made Himself known there in me. (As I came to know later, He is both “author and finisher of our faith.” [Heb 12:2]) At that final juncture on that path, a “leap” into the darkness of the “possibility” of Christ, came out of the desperation that His path had created in me. I “chose” the “leap” because I could not go back. I felt like the bridge back to what was before had been burned. So, it was almost a “choice-less” choice, like when we say, “What choice did I have?”

But in the succeeding days, even had I been able to, I could not in “buyer’s remorse” reject that choice, because, as I have said many times before, the scales began to fall from my eyes. I simply began to “see.” And as clearly as anything else was in those earliest of days in Christ in me, the Spirit opened to me the complete cut-off and division between spiritual “light,” and spiritual “darkness.”

In a (then or since) unparalleled inner clarity of vision, the Holy Spirit showed me, in a briefly unveiled Spirit “moment,” how some whom I had taken to be the epitome of all I thought might be holy or good, were operating (knowingly or unknowingly) in spiritual darkness (Satan), wearing the disguise of “good” – appearing as “angels of light” (2 Cor 11:14). I realized to the depths of my being, how not only had I been “wrong” or “ignorant” about the things of God, but that I had been DECEIVED! That the “goodness” I thought I was living in and seeking, was not “goodness” at all, and neither was I!

When the momentary vision struck me, and it was with force, it put me down on the floor. Figuratively. I was totally undone in that clear revelation – my mind “blew!” I saw, by the Spirit’s revelation out of the Eternal contained in the briefest instant of time, like a flash, how completely different, of a different quality, of a different purpose, and most importantly, how completely I had come out of a “different spirit.” “If the light in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness ….” (Matt 6:23b).

How clearly I saw it – I had walked around for years as a dead person thinking I was alive (1 Tim 5:6)! Oh, “I” was alive alright. Alive to “myself,” alive to sin, alive to self-seeking. But the subtlety of it, was that I was alive also to my non-existent “own goodness.” I really thought I was a pretty good guy. I thought I was unselfish. I believed in peace and love and practiced it as best as I knew how.

So when the “Christians” came to me talking about receiving Christ and being forgiven of sins and going to heaven and the end times that they said were upon us, it all sounded like absurd foolishness to me – tales for children maybe but not a true “spirituality.” Sure, I knew I wasn’t a “perfect” person. I knew I had faults, that there were things I had done that made me wince, but I didn’t “feel” like the “sinner” which they said I was– I wasn’t “that bad” (in my own mind) – so we were at an impasse. I really didn’t feel the “need” they said Jesus came to meet.

The “Christianity” these people were espousing had relatively little impact on me. What I mean is, although I could see their conviction, and for some the obvious joy they seemed to have, the individuals themselves mostly were not remarkable to me. They didn’t stir me up in any deep way.

Except for one guy. His name was Alex. He had a Russian last name but I don’t remember it. He had been a year behind me in high school. He was one of the many who, like me, had taken on the “freak-hippie” life of the early 70s right out of school. As did many, he went hog-wild into the recreational drugs of the day, with no end in sight to the party. My story, too, for a while.

But then something happened to him. He meta-morphed almost before our eyes. One week we’re seeing him at the regular haunts, doing the regular things, then a while goes by and he suddenly shows up in Piedmont Park with the Jesus Freaks (“Children of God”). One day he just emerges out of their circle of prayer, which concluded with them all breaking the circle, separating and going around through the crowd to witness for Jesus. Looking for targets, as I thought then.

But Alex saw particularly me on the embankment across from the stage. A bunch of us always sat there because it was right across from the front of the free stage, where bands played every Sunday afternoon. It was still in a way the “magical” days in the park. (As heroin and crime grew, the park became less and less fun.) But then, before the “bad” days, it was spring turning into summer. Frisbee tossing. Sunday concerts where you saw all your friends, got a little toasty if you could, enjoyed the breeze, the hippie girls, the gentle lack of busyness. You could walk around away from the crowd, down by the lake. There were great bench swings for two along the lake shore, where Janis and I spent a lot of time together. Couples in rented paddle-boats plodding by. Lucy in the sky with diamonds on a peaceful Sunday afternoon in the park.

The City of Atlanta built Piedmont Park in the very early 1900s, as a sort of “Central Park” of Atlanta. It has vast acreage, a nine-hole public golf course, botanical gardens, picnic areas, hiking trails, bandstands, and even a public pool, circa 1910 or so, which was still in use in our park days. Gas lamps still from the early 1900s lined the park’s streets. Most of the buildings were of brown stone and by then many had fallen into disuse and in need of repair.

When Alex spied me on the bank, he made a beeline for me. I saw him seeing me and knew he was on his way to me. There was something noticeable. He had “light” about him. It wasn’t visual. It was just clear light, accompanied by a very genuine, as it seemed to me even then, love. This guy was CLEARLY different from before. I had liked him before – like me he was a “nice guy.” But this new Alex was not just a “nice guy,” though I told myself later that he was. He was putting out something beyond “nice.” He had moved beyond “nice,” (which most believe is “acting loving by acting positive, cheerful, encouraging, attentive, supportive, empathetic, interested, compassionate, gentle, etc.”), to not “acting,” but simply being just plain outgoing love.

I am certain it was the Holy Spirit who showed me that day, and maybe I see more now, nearly a half century later than I actually saw then, but it comes to me now that I saw in him no guile. It was love without guile. Love given without an angle, not looking for some “return” to the giver, other than that the outgoing love find its home in the receiver.

Although I could not articulate it then, I realize now that meeting him on the embankment in the park that day was the first time I “saw,” with my own eyes (undoubtedly a “freebie” from the Spirit), unadulterated unconditional divine love. Certainly it had been coming to me every day, but I was blind to it. Still, that day, for a moment, the Spirit opened my eyes to see something I had never seen before and did not even realize existed.

John 4:24

God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Hebrews 12:22-23

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect …

Where Did It Come From?

I have spent a whole lot of time, and written and spoken a WHOLE LOT of words over the past umpteen years, going over and over what I might call “the mechanics” of our understanding of Christ in us. Understanding spirit, flesh, faith, who Jesus the Son of Man/Son of God is, scripture, union, the lie of independent-self, temptation, exercising faith, our royal priesthood and intercession – all of it, over and over, year after year, going over the same issues, quoting the same scriptures, using the same illustrations, telling the same stories, answering the same questions, dealing with the same issues.

For a long time I had no real clarity on where all “this” was going. Just get up every day and do it. Say it. Think about it. Write about it. It is not voluntary. (Not that I am unable to decide, if I want, not to do it. That freedom is always there. Sometimes I try to escape it. “Get away. No, it’s too much, nobody cares, nobody listens!” – I occasionally lament to the Lord – Who reminds me first of all, the charge is not true, and second of all, not my issue anyway – the “responders” are His bailiwick.) But it is not voluntary in the sense that the Word burns like a fire, and Who can contain it?

Now over the past few years, there has been an ever clearer understanding of what all this is about, where it is leading.

And it is all expressed in the little story about Alex in the park, and the answer to the question – where did it come from?

I was speaking of that love that I sensed from Alex that day, that made such an impression in my consciousness that I count that maybe ten minute conversation from 50 years ago, as a milestone life-affecting “memory.” I don’t remember anything else particularly from that day, except the general “scene” in the park, which is quite vague.

But today I still remember that little meeting. There are also other little “moments” from that period of my life that are equally emblazoned in my mind – pivotal moments, choices, chance encounters, inner thoughts and realizations. I remember them, too. Most of them were with “flesh and blood” people, but many were internal, things “heard” within me, that just seemed to “pop in serendipitously,” all which, in hindsight, are momentary stops on a clearly marked progressive trail that stretches from then until now.

Here it is in a nutshell.

The Father was after me. He had a two-fold approach. One, He and His team (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), would do a lot of invisible things, both inner and outer (as it relates to me), to nudge me along that path toward Him. I have spoken about that quite at length over the years, about how God drew me, God showed me, God did this and God did that.

There is nothing wrong with any of that. It takes us a while to get it down that God is God and we are not. We keep thinking we are, maybe just this one time – whoops, turns out again – we’re not! I am not sufficient, in and of myself. Not ever.

I do “nothing” to earn it. No “works” of mine earn me the favor of God, nor “advance” me in His service. I only receive it.

(This is an aside: Now I’ve heard some say lately that the exhortation to a moment of faith of decision toward God, i.e., to “receive Christ,” by prayer, invitation, word, etc., is laying “law” on them. That the exercise of faith toward god in an expression such as Paul speaks of in the familiar Romans 10: 9,10 – “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” – has somehow been nullified. There is no input from us required, no expression of faith required. That would be “a law.”

That is ludicrous. That makes as much sense as going to a banquet to which you have been invited, and sitting at the table with the food in front of you without eating it. There is the food. But nobody comes by and stuffs it in your mouth for you, if you are an able-bodied adult. Common sense tells you if you want the benefit of the food served, one must pick up one’s utensils and eat. How would one know how the dinner tasted if he did not eat it?  Or, if you just sit there looking at the food and saying you “believe in” the food, have you truly eaten the food? If you BELIEVE the food, then as night follows day it follows that you EAT the food. The meal’s job is not just to sit there and look delicious so that you can “believe in” it. The meal’s job is to give you the nutrition your body requires to keep it going, which you do not get if you do not eat it. Food that isn’t eaten is not even food. Eventually it’s just garbage. “Belief” is “made perfect” by tasting that which we have believed, so that it is not just a “doctrine” but our inner truth. I can say, “I believe I am a swimmer,” but the proof of the pudding of my “belief” is that I swim. That’s the point!

That is what “faith” is about. What we “eat” we live, manifest or become. 

So we see that, actually, it is a “law” that if you do not eat your food, you derive no benefit from it. But that is a different kind of law from the “law vs grace” issue. That “law” has to do with self-effort, “establishing our own righteousness,” etc. This “if you don’t eat your food you don’t derive the nutritional benefit it gives you” law, is a law of nature. It’s just how things work. Like gravity. I can’t be offended with gravity being a “law” because I wish I could fly, or that if I drop a hammer on my toe it hurts.

So we cannot decide for ourselves that Hebrews 11:6 is invalid because it “requires” faith of us. We were visiting some folks a while back, and we mentioned going to the video store and picking out a DVD to watch. One lady spoke up and said she didn’t like the video store, too much to do. She said she had walked into that store, looked at all the shelves of videos on display, and said to herself, “If they expect me to look through all those, they’ve got another thing coming.” I said, “Well, ‘they’ don’t expect anything of you. It’s just, if you want a movie, you have to pick one.” Somehow she still didn’t grasp the concept.

Paul said, “We believe, and therefore we speak!” And we find, when we have grasped this true “belief” of faith, which is not just mentally believing the “facts” about Jesus, but spiritually “apprehending” Him by faith, that we cannot but speak. After all, it is the WORD of God, which not only forms and frames the universe as everything “lives and moves and has its being in God,” [Acts 17:28], this WORD becomes a speaking WORD in us particularly.

This “faith” IS our receptivity. It is the “currency” of the New Testament, and the currency of the kingdom of God. This faith which has by the Spirit “apprehended” God because He has “apprehended” us [that is, we freely and willingly “join” his apprehension of us, which is our apprehension of Him], is the faith OF God, and as such cannot do anything in us but bear divine fruit. End of aside.)

The second part of the two-fold plan of the Father and His Team, is that I finally get to become “me,” the real me, which is not, as we have said, “just me,” but He and I as one person functioning.

But with this difference. I said above, we spend this long (for some of us) period learning that we are not God, we are not sufficient, it is not by me but by He. We thoroughly learn we have no righteousness of our own, no wisdom, no strength, no power. It’s ALL His, and none of mine.

But now, having learned that as taught inwardly by the Spirit through the experience of our daily living, our “lack of sufficiency” becomes background, and “Christ mighty in me” becomes foreground.

You see, the Spirit has done all that eternal Spirit work, massaging time and eternity to make it all turn out to my eternal benefit – yes mine, that’s what it says – and we can each say that for ourselves. It is all for each of us molded particularly to suit our individual lives, a “miracle” of infinite proportion, to “work all things together for good.” Beyond comprehension!

And look what the purpose of it all is! PERSONS!!!!

It is not about doctrines, systems, messages, ministries, forms of worship, or even ultimately about law or grace or Romans 7 or John 3:16. All that is for this one thing: “That they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ who thou hast sent.”

But it does not stop there. Jesus did not just come for Himself, so that we could spend all eternity talking about how great Jesus is. He came to make Himself known not just in the One Man Jesus Christ, but through that one man, we EACH are the full expression of Christ, as the selves He created us to be in the beginning, cleansed of the former iniquity in which it was held, and filled with the water of life of the healing of the nations.

This is Jesus’ mission – to bring forth the sons of God, that THEY might shine as stars in the heavens, and reign with Him in heaven and on earth.

My friend Alex was the whole ball of wax walking around in a body that day in the park. I only caught a little glimpse of it, given in that moment by the Spirit I have no doubt. Yes, I was held in the captivity of sin at that moment, but my day of deliverance was on its way, and the Spirit beamed into my captivity and caused me to pick up His signal just for a moment, like Radio Free Europe used to broadcast into communist Europe during the dark days of the Cold War.

It is the Son – IN THE SONS!

We stop saying it’s not me it’s He. We have no further necessity to major on our insufficiency, our inability. If this is for you – it is time to know, today, that you ARE the Life.

You are the reason He came, died, rose again, and ascended into heaven, “leading captivity captive,” in order to give “gifts” unto men. What are those “gifts?”

The “knowing Thee the true God, and Jesus Christ Whom thou hast sent” (John 3:3), is fulfilled in finality when the question has been answered – Who am I?

The Word has become flesh in us. I will not capitalize those letters or put lots of exclamation points behind it. It is simply truth and does not need horns and cymbals to announce it. The WORD became flesh first in Jesus, but not only in Jesus. The purpose of the WORD becoming flesh in Jesus was solely for the purpose that the same WORD would become flesh – corporeal, skin, eyes, breath, heat, passion, sight – in you and me.

Now let me bring it down as far as it can go.

It’s about people. It has always been about people. Because with God it has always been about people. The scripture says God does what He does for His own glory. That sounds selfish. All this pain and suffering for God’s glory? How does HE get glory out of the fall and ruin of the human race, even if He redeems it?

I do not understand much. I cannot answer all those universal questions with great conviction. But I do know this. God’s glory is to “give His only begotten Son,” and that through us, having given us His Son, now He continues to “give His only begotten Son,” and we are all now, each of us, the Alex’s in the park, the light set on a hill, the visible palpable love of God walking around in funky quirky bodies and souls, each being the perfect expression of the Living God because He is, we are.

1 John brings it all home:

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

In the end, it’s all about the folks. It is never about anything else. Loving God by loving people.

And we’re just the ones to do it, too, because we can each answer the question, “Are you God’s love?” with, “Yes – I AM!”

So, to answer the question from the beginning, where did it (that love which brought all this about) come from?

Why, from PERSON of course! BIG Person (God), little person (us) – no matter. He’s both!

“Yes – I AM!”

Is that boasting? “My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” (Ps 34:2).

3 thoughts on “The Person Within the Person Without

  1. Love it, thank you

    On Wed, 22 Dec 2021 at 22:58, Voice in the Wilderness wrote:

    > Fred Pruitt posted: ” The Person Within the Person Without By Fred Pruitt > John 4:24 God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in > spirit and in truth. Hebrews 12:22-23 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and > unto the city of the living God, the heav” >

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