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Who Is The Christ?
by Fred Pruitt

The Father begetted/birthed/found the Son, by going outside of Himself. Being in Himself One who "needs" nothing, but IS ALL, and could conceivably be an endless eternal sea of divine unmoving bliss, contemplating only Himself and His Sufficiency Within, He was nevertheless moved by the miracle of Love to beget Himself anew as an Eternal Lamb. (The former would have become darkness, as it did in the devil, a black hole of hungry raging consuming self.)

Likewise, we ultimately find Christ outside of ourselves -- in every other man and woman we encounter. We first know Him as the "outer" (outside of ourselves) Savior, and then through discovering our total nothingness and weakness, we make the ultimate personal discovery we can make, that He has come into us and has donned our identity as His own, so that we living are He living, and then we come at the end of that progression to finding Him likewise in all the other selves around us. Every one of them.

This is the only way we can find the fulfillment of Paul's admonition: "(Phil 2:3 KJV) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."

Ever try to do that? Every try to "be humble?" Every try to "esteem others better than" yourself?"

Hard to do, isn't it? It sometimes has to go against all the grains we've got. Pretty much every person we know we are certain we could remake into a better person by their conforming themselves to our image of them. If only they would get on the stick and see!

But when every "me" out there becomes "ME" speaking -- as if through the human voice, whatever or however it might be -- God is saying, "Don't you recognize Me? I'm here, too."

It overpowers everything and brings everything into its sharpest focus to see Him in everyone else out there, and only there can the humility come, because you have been made a servant of All, a servant of God, and suddenly seeing Him in everyone, everywhere, no matter their condition, their status, or any other measure of their humanity, you want only to serve Him wherever you see Him. We bring Him homage, praise and glory to treat everyone as God Himself.

In the 1970s I belonged to a church that had an aggressive "street ministry," and we made efforts to have rehab programs and bring people in off the streets -- lots of hitchhikers and homeless youth in those times -- and get them "saved" and "sanctified."

Now, mostly the folks we met were looking for a meal and a place to sleep and not necessarily for anything more affecting to their lives than that, but we were of the forceful kind; we were young, strong and BOLD in the Lord, and in order to stay with us one had to come to the Lord and take all our classes and, most importantly, do whatever we told them. We were also one of those churches which taught literal, total obedience in every facet of life, to those above you in the Lord, and so those coming among us had to agree to that as well. We were tough.

Now, at the time of this incident, I was barely a neophyte myself, but I'd been "with the program" long enough to be "over" all the new guys, which meant they had to obey me as much as anybody else. So one night I came into the room where the some were watching TV. At least one guy, and after all these years I still remember his name -- Jason -- was watching the TV. Now, maybe the TV was mine, or it was communal, I don't remember, except that I had a "legal" right to take it. So, even though Jason was sitting enjoying a show, I just walked past him, unplugged the TV, and started to walk off with the set.

Of course he protested: "HEY, what're you doing, man? I was watching a show!"

So I said, "I'm your minister, and I want the TV," and I took it, against his many protestations and calling me a hypocrite and unfair and everything else.

I got the TV, but 30 plus years later I still wince about that incident. Even then my heart smote me, though I didn't take the TV back. I must've watched my show, but I'm sure I didn't enjoy it.

But now I know why my heart smote me. It wasn't so much that "I" had acted badly, or selfishly, which of course I had, and it certainly wasn't the last time. But it was that Jason was Jesus sitting in there, watching the TV. In my mind Jason was an undisciplined, unambitious mooch, not serious about the Lord in any way, and not worth my time -- someone for my disdain. I had good reason to think that, because the evidence proved itself in so many ways in my sight, and not long after he left us (and we thought the Lord also) to go off into the unknown. So the truth was, after a sort, that he truly was an undisciplined, unambitious mooch, not serious about the Lord in any way. But still the Lord said when I afforded Jason no respect and ill-treated him, "Didn't you know it was Me?"

That's what it means to "esteem others better than ourselves." Because they are He living, and there, in THEM, we find our salvation and life manifest -- in the living breathing Emmanuels we speak to, see, rub elbows with, work for, help out, compete with, etc., every day.

It's an aberration of Christ to find Him in our selves and then to expect the world to come worship at our feet because we are the Christ come to them. But it is the total fulfillment of ourselves in the Father's love to, after having found Him in ourselves, to forget in a sense that He is there because we are so glad to see Him everywhere else, and delight in Him in everyone else.

That is heaven.