By Fred Pruitt
On a just-turning crisp fall day in 1980, leaves starting to fall, Janis & I took a 45-minute road trip through the north Georgia countryside to Kennesaw, where we were going to meet and have what we thought would be a "counseling session" with Norman Grubb.
I was used to having a "minister" tell you what to think and what to do, to interpret God's will for you, if you will. More or less, I'd been "programmed" to think that way. Now I was coming to Norman to hopefully unravel the knot I was tied in. I knew he was a famous missionary and had experience in these matters for longer than three times my life-span at the time, and hoped he could help me find God's will again and get back on track. We had recently left a ministry we'd been involved with for 7 years, which we felt we'd had no choice but to do, but we were nevertheless eaten up with guilt and condemnation for having done so.
When we got there I started in on my tirade, my justifications, my heart desires to "only please the Lord," all the wrongs done us, etc., etc., etc. Ya-da-ya-da-ya-da.
At some point in my presentation I must've said something about needing ministers "above" me to show me God's way (always trying to prove my humility). It was like a bolt of lightning hit 85-year old Norman. Up until that time he'd been leaning over against one wing of his wing-back chair, and looked disinterested and mostly asleep, but when I said that he suddenly straightened up like he was hit with 50,000 volts and he raised one finger up and almost belligerently told me that I didn't need any man to teach me, that Christ was already my total adequacy inside me.
I don't remember the exact words he said, or anything else he said in that meeting for that matter. I just remember that bells and whistles and foghorns went off and lights flashed and birds sang and every valley was filled and all mountains became plains in that one instant of realization of the truth. Scales fell from my eyes, frozen rivers suddenly cracked and ice began to break up, flowers crept through the barren topsoil, and the abundance of lush summer green popped out of every fiber of the fabric of creation.
All the issues I'd gone there to get answers for -- What should I do about this, What should I think about that? What about the people? What about their teaching? Did I do right? Did I do wrong? Was it God's will? Am I in God's will? -- all those questions and their hundreds of already-speculated answers went flying out the window into the land of irrelevancy.
In a moment, eternity opened up and I saw the whole ball of wax.
God -- Father, Son, Holy Spirit -- was my permanent indwelling adequacy.
Simple, huh? Surely somebody had mentioned that before. I'd been part of a charismatic/pentacostal church, which believed in the infilling of the Spirit and all the gifts. So I surely believed in the Holy Spirit living in me. Even had the "gifts" working which should have been fair evidence to my mind.
But this was something different. Despite my charismatic "training" about being "filled with the Spirit," which I had experienced numerous times, I still didn't "get it." God was still apart from me, and the infilling of the Spirit seemed to come from without me and was directly dependent upon my performance, my behavior, my habits, and my discipline.
I certainly believed in Spirit "power" coming from beyond me. But I was basically heathenish in how I (and everybody else with me it seemed) conjured up the Holy Spirit.
Like the heathens, I was convinced that if I went through all the rituals just-so, I could materialize God into my mortal plane and make Him do stuff -- heal, send money, help us understand, get people saved. Every religious tradition has its rituals to invoke the deity, and Pentecostals and Charismatics are no different. In a nutshell, if we were pure enough in our lives before we got to church so that we wouldn't have to do some major repenting once we got there, then maybe we could raise our hands high enough, and shout loud enough and long enough, to prove to God we meant business, like Jacob not letting go of that angel until he blessed him, saying "Praise You Jesus," or "I love you Lord" enough times, invoking as much sincerity and emotion and concern and tearfulness as we could into our shouting and praising and interceding, then God might just "come down" and bless our service and make people shout and jump and maybe perform a healing or two for good measure.
And so, even though knowing the "indwelling of the Spirit" and practicing the use of the "gifts" for years, I still had no inkling of the permanent adequacy of God within me, and even less of an inkling that the adequacy existed in my deepest depths because in my new-birth marriage to the Lord, He had become one person with me.
I "saw" it ALL that day, in that moment, but I'll have to admit that years and years have gone by in my "settling" into that "seeing" as a day-by-day permanently residing reality.
You see, the issue on the line that day, every day before, and every day since, is this: is the inner adequacy of Christ steadfast every moment on its own, without any attempts on my part to whump it up? Is God REALLY a well of water springing up into everlasting life, and I will never thirst again?
That day, I saw in a heartbeat that it was. Nothing I could do or say could "make God" come down and work his magic. And yet because God is eternal abiding Love, NOTHING could stop Him from doing just that! In other words, it WAS NOT, IS NOT, up to me! It's up to HIM! And it is His GOOD PLEASURE to GIVE us the kingdom. GIVE US! That's the word used in Luke -- GIVE!
A shift in my consciousness began in earnest that day, as I still had a ways to go from knowing God's adequacy was sufficient in me always, to the further knowing of Christ living in me as simple ol' me.
And everyday that same question rears its head, and every day the answer is the same. The question ALWAYS is this: Is God sufficient, right now, in me, in this present moment? The answer is ALWAYS: YES! And further along, daily the question is asked and answered: Have I died in His death and been raised again to new life, so that He is now joined as one spirit, one person, within me? In other words, is Christ my True Real Self?
Other questions pale here. No other questions belong here. Questions like: "Well, if I were Christ living, then why is my life like this? If Christ is living my life, then how come this happened, or that?"
All those questions are answered by answering the One Primary Question: Who are you?
The answer you give is a present moment answer because God is only in the present moment. You will not discover Him in the past or the future. God only lives in reality, and past and future are not real. All that is real is Now.
And today is the day of salvation. Today is the day the Holy Spirit speaks. Today "thou are my son, THIS DAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE."
The day springs eternal now. This day God has begotten you as His son. Don't worry about yesterday, or tomorrow. Today is the Day of God. And today He has begotten you as His son.
"No, wait a minute, I was saved on June 5th, 19 & 58, and ...."
No, no, no -- you miss my point. Yes, maybe there was an earth day, the "day" you got saved, the day you finally turned to the Lord with all your heart. O Glory Day! Hallelujah!
But EVERY DAY is the day of salvation! Every day He is begetting us anew even as the Son is always new.
The reason is that God emerges out of the Eternal in His Love and takes up dwelling in time in us by the power of His own desire. He is the instigator and the empowerment, not we ourselves. Every moment is His moment, every situation His situation, every obstacle His obstacle, every negative His purposed negative.
Why? Because he puts us to the test, not to test "us" to prove that we are inadequate, but to prove Himself in us. He overcomes all things. It's a purifying ordeal, trial by fire, not to find all the bad stuff in us and make us give it up (all that's gone in changing kingdoms from darkness to light -- the only "bad stuff" in us was the wicked one who had secretly hidden himself in our false independence, and now in the Cross and death of Jesus and our death with Him the wicked one is OUT of us, and in the resurrection only ONE now indwells us), but to make our faith as pure gold. And our faith as pure gold is simply this: we latch onto one faith "object" and one only, the Living God. God purifying our faith simply means to me His further and further latching our faith capacity onto God Only, and nothing else, no one else, no church, no teaching, no books, no men or women, no social position, nothing else except God Himself.
In other words, just nekkid God and nekkid you. Everything else stripped away.
Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. That's the first commandment.
He sees to it. You don't have to. Anything you do to try to look good and attract God's attention to how much you dedicate yourself to Him is laughable vanity. I know. You can't consecrate enough. Take it from one who tried.
Likewise you can't mess up enough to get Him off your back, either. You can try to "believe not," but He "abides faithful."
In hell, when you can't speak because of your thirst, when you can't believe because it's just too preposterous, when you can't take another step because it's pointless, when victory is not possible because you have not worked hard enough, or said the right words or made the right incantations, when everything seems lost and it seems you made a wrong turn somewhere and got lost out in the boondocks -- is Christ right then and there your total adequacy and are you One with Him?
It's easy to believe when all is hunky-dory.
A suddenly-upon us storm out in the middle of the sea can change all that in a moment. We quake with fear, and know surely we've done something wrong, or there wouldn't be a storm.
Right then and there in the midst of the storm, ourselves cowering in fear in this fragile little boat, a Man who'd gone unnoticed for a while, forgotten, asleep in the back of the boat, arises and with no effort speaks and stops the wind and the sea.
That Man is You and Me. And He is our permanent Adequacy, and our hidden True Self. (Col 3:3,4; 2 Cor 3:5).
1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
You do understand, don't you, that the Messiah dwells in YOU, and this passage, which refers to HIM, describes YOU?
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.