SELF EFFORT

BY:  FRED PRUITT

AUGUST 7, 2003

E-Mail From a friend:

Fred, This from your article “Another Desert Story” is indicative of what I’ve been wondering about lately. 

“Isn’t that the trick in the so-called “law” or the striving of “self-effort,” whether in religious terms or not? You need just this little tweak, and THEN you’ll be up to snuff. When the fact is you already ARE.”

I just don’t want what I already am to be blocked by what I use to be.  It’s not about trying but growing. OUR MINDS ARE NOT YET ABLE TO REPRODUCE ALL THAT WE ARE.  There is a process here that get missed sometimes with the “already are” message, which I agree with totally but… Aw, I’m just thinking out loud.  I know it’s OK to do that with you.

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Reply:

Dear ___________,

Thanks as always for your writing.

I understand what you say. Let me say what I mean more clearly if I can, because I don’t think we’re apart on this.

In no way do I mean to negate spiritual “growth” or changes brought into our outer living by the Spirit of Christ who lives in us.

Of course God continues to change and mold us as every day passes. The scripture says “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor 3:18)

The completion I refer to, the “Already are-ness” is Him. In Him I am. But I don’t find myself by looking for myself (or for change or “growth” in myself), but by losing myself and finding Him, and then finding Him, seeing only Him, I am changed into the SAME image from glory to glory, plateau to plateau, height to height, peak to peak, BY the Spirit of the Lord.

We only see Him, All in all, and in seeing Him, we are ourselves in fullness.

And all this is done, not by ourselves, but by the Spirit of the Lord. We don’t touch it, (won’t do no good anyway nohow).

The “growth” I’ve found, is not what I expected it to be a long time ago. I really thought I would become more loving, more holy, more fervent, more caring, more, more, more, more, than I thought I was. In fact it’s still a temptation to believe every day that I can be more.

But having found (not just in the textbook, but in the lab) that none of that could come from me, and that “I” would never ever be able to produce any of that, life has shifted inwardly into an almost settled continuous “I live yet not I,” and that is subterranean to my moment-to-moment living and thinking, yet able to burst up into the present moment (forefront of my mind) at any time.

Now in that continuous “I live yet not I” that is almost unconscious, I find myself just going around doing my daily business, whatever it is, and in that doing my daily business, every moment is Christ, every moment is exactly HIS moment, and that’s the SUBSTANCE of my faith that is within me.

And that seems to be, for me, what the Spirit keeps hammerin’ me on, day after day after day after day, that all is God through Christ manifesting Himself in the present moment in me and in the whole universe, as the Scripture says, “And by Him ALL THINGS consist” (Col 1:17)

Being that there is no past or future in God but since He is the God of the Living then He is the God of the present and therefore in the present all His fullness exists, and in the present by Him ALL THINGS consist, and in the present Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, and is also the Lamb in the midst of the Throne, and is also the Bright and Morning Star, then also in the present moment, right now in this moment, we sit in the midst of the throne with Him, to reign only in the sense that we join with Him in being the vessel of the Father’s life, which pours out unto death and brings forth much fruit.

This is a continuous thing. This is the “already are-ness” we join when we come to who we are.

Yes, absolutely we are changed from day to day and from image to image.

But the gist of it is not to see it as improvement or getting better or holier or more loving but as Christ BEING AS HE MEANS TO BE IN US IN THIS PRESENT MOMENT WHICH IS HIS PERFECTION.

We look into the mirror and what do we see? Christ in His own completion in ourselves in this present moment. Christ reflecting Himself in us NOW. Today is the day of salvation. Today, if you will hear his voice…

Our job isn’t to look at ourselves, to rate our progress, to consider our status, but simply to look “unto Him” continuously by faith as the Real Self Who is ourselves, in the simplest of childlike faith – “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.”

Isn’t that it, though? Who of us can know the way? There are a million zillion voices out there, all shouting something different, all purporting to be THE TRUTH, and we may get lucky and choose one we’re bettin’ the whole wad on, but who really knows?

O God, you’re the ONLY ONE who knows!

Back on the mercy train!

But thank God our God is the Father of mercies. “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity.” (Ps 32:2a)

So of course, yes, we change, but how we change is like the Spirit, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (Jn 3:8).  And also –

Mark 4:26] And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; 27] And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. 28] For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

“He knoweth not how”… The seed grows up of itself, and becomes the full corn because it is its nature to do so. The Divine Seed has birthed Himself in you and in me and has brought Himself into the fullness of the Godhead bodily in us, and we “knoweth not how.”

O praise God. It is the DIVINE NATURE in us, which grows up of itself in fullness.

We rejoice in today. Tomorrow will take care of the things of itself.

All my love,

 

SELF-EFFORT [Fred Pruitt] 8-7-03         1

 

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