Taken from an E-mail from Bob
I can't wait to see you again to share all that is happening to me/in me. I finally understand the Gospel, that I know there are rivers of living water, and that they are flowing inside. I'm not exactly sure of the sequence of the entire revelation, but it occurred something like this.
Several weeks ago, a month ago, I'm really not sure, I was having my quiet time and was writing in my journal how I really wanted to be close to the Lord and how I longed for real intimacy with Him. I know He wants to be closer to us than we can imagine and even wrote that down. Them I jumped to my introspection catalog of beliefs and wrote, "I must be the problem." Almost without any further thought, I knew that what I had written wasn't really true, and I wrote that it wasn't me that didn't want to get close to God, it was my sinful, religious self who doesn't want to be intimate with Him. Romans 7 came to mind and I finally understood what Paul was trying to say in his argument about "sin in me". Sinful self was separate from the real me in some way. It still wasn't clear, but at least I began to see myself as not being the source of all my behaviors.
About a week, two weeks ago, I began to read a bunch of different stuff on the internet and happened upon a site and read an article by Norman Grubb. Then I seemed to read alot of his stuff. Somewhere, I began to see what he calls "the lie of the independent self"--the idea that we have had since the fall that we can live life apart from God. Something clicked and I made the connection that there is then nothing I can do to surrender, submit, or obey enough in my flesh to be who He already is in me. He is our life. I read more.
Last Wednesday, Beth was teaching at kinship and I was reading Colossians 2:9, 10. Here it says that all the fulness of Deity was in Him and that we have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and power and authority. So, she's teaching on the Prayer model and I'm thinking to myself, "This means that He is head over Satan and every demonic power, and that He is head over every other spiritual and temporal authority. What would ever give me the idea that He isn't head over me? That I by my will, freedom of choice, or whatever, could hold back the God of the Universe?" I'm beginning to get it. All these years I have believed the lie that I can be an independent, free agent. First, I believed that I could work my way into good standings with God. Grace came and I saw that I was a hopeless sinner. Then for the past 30 years I have moved back and forth between grace and works, but mostly majoring in my efforts. Afterall, I still believe that I am a free agent, especially free now that Christ has done His thing, but I am still responsible for living the life. Christ is in me (whatever that meant) and I struggled with flesh and spirit. God loves me, but most of the time I don't really care much for me. He must love me with smoke and mirrors and the Jesus filter in place. This intimacy thing with Jesus becomes a bigger deal and I look everywhere. (Well, not really, but for at least for a few moments in a few places). Then it's back to trying to be who He has called me to be, confronting my weaknesses, fighting the moods, accusations, past regrets, yada, yada, yada. There's the baptism of the Holy Spirit pursuit. The Vineyard thing. Conference frenzy and self focused prayer. "I need, I need, I need!" More Lord! Come Holy Spirit!
Over time I got glimpses of freedom but got sucked back under the yoke of spiritual law. But if what Paul writes in Romans 6-8 is true, then I have never been a free agent. I was a slave of the sin nature and produced his bitter fruit in my life. Then I am bought by the blood of Jesus and am freed to serve my new master, obedience. Now, I will produce His fruit of righteousness. Why? Because of my discipline, abilities, self-effort? Of course not! I have been grafted into Him. I am not a free agent branch that can be attached to this branch or that branch by my will. Before I was a Christian, I thought of my life, simply as my life. Sins were my own and not the product of the sinful nature. I did that bad thing. I did that good thing. It wasn't "the devil made me do it", no, I did it. The sinful nature loves the fact that I believe in the lie of independent self. I'm deceived and he can inspire all sorts of evils to be lived out through my will and body.
But when Paul sees this principle in his own life, He calls sin for what it is. No good thing dwells in his flesh (life apart from God, independent self). Romans 7. If I can't rid myself of this sin nature, who will? Thanks be to God! Christ completely identifies with me, dies in my relationship with my sin nature husband, is resurrected and marries me! I'm not a widow, or single person who gets to choose if I want Him, even though I do get to choose. I'm Gomer who Hosea comes after.
What makes me think that I have a life apart from Him? All my life in separation thought, independent self belief, maintains the lie of the enemy and my enslavement to the law. His life is pursued as if it is something other than the life I already have. Ridiculous. I have died with Christ and am raised with Him. The Life He lives He lives to God. He is my life. I am no longer sinful nature-Bob (that I have known as me). I am Christ in Bob, Christ as Bob. He who made Himself nothing to manifest The All and the All of the Father, now ones Himself to this nothing but dust creature, Me, who HE LOVES and made, in order to display His fulness in Christ through me and in me! What a miracle that is!
Thursday, I was praying for someone who was under demonic attack I quite naturally began to pray in tongues and then sing in tongues. The person began to say, "It can't be true! It can't be true" followed by "Was what He said true?" When she told me what He said to her I confirmed that it was true. Jesus had spoken through me, Christ as Me, to her. And I got it. It wasn't that God had used sinful-nature-surrendered-Bob for anything. He simply was Who He is in all that I am not, to display His glory! The mystery of Christ in us the hope of glory! What a glorious union this is! The incarnation in us!
This is just unbelievable!
What a treat to be able to talk with you yesterday! I spent much of the afternoon reading off your website and thinking about what you had said. We had communion last night at church and I went forward to receive prayer. A man that I rarely ever talk to came up and prayed that I might know God's "affirmation" for me. Afterwards, he said that he had this strong sense that God saw me differently than I see myself. Little did he know! Within minutes, a woman from my small group came up and shared that she was doing dishes yesterday when the Lord brought my face to mind. She said that she saw in my adult face, my face as a child surrounded by light. The Lord told her how precious I was to Him. She saw me and felt that she should share it with me.
But the thing that excites me even more is the realization that the lie of independent self has prevented me from really believing that God loves me in all of my humanity, as my Abba! I've believed He loved me because of Christ, somehow by using smoke and mirrors to see past the person I have continually rejected in the pride of the lying self. But now I see that He really loves me as Christ-as-me, in all of my humanity joined by spirit with His Spirit! "Abba, Father" is the cry of the true self, for it is His cry in me!
I am going to go and be giddy somewhere!Bob