Q & A: Presence & Temptation
Q I: Do you have moments where you don't believe Christ is living in you?
Do you ever have moments where you don't believe its Christ living in you? moments when you have blown it? or maybe didn't treat a loved one as you should have or worried about finances? do you ever battle doubt as far as Christ living in you? sometimes it seems so different from daily life and my soul "noise". I do appreciate the article, "Excuses for Myself." Very encouraging.
Is life basically a process of Christ being birthed in us or manifesting more and more on a daily basis?
Paul talked about Christ being formed in them. Is this like a baby growing so to speak? Or is it more like us deferring to the spirit more and more?
A 1: Dear _________,
Yes, I have those moments. We all do. But where we learn to stay in our faith is that even though we may feel all these things, and even though their reality seems to be paramount and it could seem that this "faith" is maybe only wishful thinking, nevertheless we continue to believe the truth, that He lives my life as me, that He has all things in His hands of perfection, nothing excepted. Even your supposed screwups! (And mine!)
Our eyes are not on ourselves in this, brother, or our progress. We don't measure ourselves and how far we've come. What yardstick would we use?
The continuous answer is this: you are now Christ manifesting now, today. That's where you live. Today. This moment it is Christ manifesting Himself in me and you. The future is nebulous -- the past is tricky -- but the now is where God is. This moment the kingdom of God is within you. He is not "out there" -- "lo here," "lo there." He is IN you! This moment He flows out of you as rivers of living water. Live in "this moment." (It's the only one you've got!)
So all of your questions are swallowed up in the reality of who you are. He is your real You, and the entity that you know as "me," is the outer manifestation in the world, of Christ within you. You give the Lord form by willingly being joined spirit to Spirit with Him that He might continue to manifest Himself in the world in your body.
You will always have the soul "noise." You will always be tempted to doubt. But the One Who is in you will overcome all those temptations in you, and swallow them up into resurrection.
You're exactly where He wants you. Rejoice and give thanks!
Q 2: What's wrong with my desiring?
As I wrote to you before, my problem lately has been having desires for certain things in my life which I am unintentionally putting before God. I say unintentionally because I have struggled against these wrong thoughts and what I think are idolatrous desires for months to no avail. I just can't make myself think right. So my mind wonders, is this turning away, when at least sometimes when I contemplate the Lord, I don't desire Him like I should?
So lately, thanks to your advice and some sermons I've heard lately, I've tried to quit fighting the thoughts and just let the Lord bring me the proper thoughts in His perfect time. Meantime, though, I suffer a lot of (self-imposed?) condemnation for having these thoughts and for wanting, on any level, something or someone more than I want God. I believe, thanks in part to your message, that I am at one with Christ in my spirit, but there's that little voice in my head that just says 'what if this is what they meant by turning away?' After all, I know what it is to love and serve the Lord and know how wonderful such things are, and so how could I desire something more? I don't believe I really do, and thank God for His Spirit who is constantly reminding me of the Truth which I truly believe lives in me, so that even while having these thoughts I know they are not true, but I just want to make sure they don't put me into the category of one who has turned away. I mean, actually, if anything these thoughts have probably brought me closer in some ways to Him because I've been on my knees praying so much and seeking Him.
Anyway, I believe that I have been saved and cannot maintain my own righteousness, not even in my thoughts, so I know I need to depend on Him to take care of it all and trust that He has my mind right where He wants it. In your opinion as a teacher, do you agree that this trial I am going through is not the turning away they describe in these passages?
Thanks for the continued guidance! It helps more than you know!
A 2: Dear _________,
I believe you are in a normal state of grace but you just do not understand what is happening with you.
One thing I would ask you to do is to listen to the recent 57 minute talk I did on Galatians 2:20 I posted on YouTube. Galatians 2:20. That will help you a lot.
Secondly, it would be good to understand the difference between soul and spirit. And to understand the difference between temptation and sin.
Do you think Jesus temptation in the garden was sin? Of course you don't. Where do you think the temptation came from (other than the devil)? It came out of thoughts and fears rumbling around in his humanity -- specifically in his soul, or psyche, emotion, reason, etc. To have thoughts that we deeply consider doesn't make them ours nor does it mean we "want" what the thoughts bring us. Thoughts, until joined to committed will, are at the most temptations, sometimes just options.
The fact that we see good and evil displayed in front of us in our consciousness is as normal as breathing. We live in world which has as its major feature "the knowledge of good and evil." That is what the whole world from the top down debates and argues over every single second of the day. Turn on the TV. It's everywhere you go. Good and evil being debated.
So of course your thoughts reflect that. Part of our soul's function is that it "receives" from the world, and the other part of it is that by its reception from the world of various things, it gets to sort through things, and in finality spirit "chooses" between alternatives, discards this and that, or takes to itself this and that.
The fact that I am tempted (and understand, it's not temptation unless desire and "I want that" is part of it -- you're not tempted with stuff you don't feel like you want or desire), does not mean that I really want it. It just means it is available and I am feeling its availability.
I don't know what you are meaning about "wanting things more than God," but that's kind of a trick. The answer is because of who you are -- and you always stick with that and not how you feel about who you are -- one is a fact based on absolute eternal truth, and the other is a transient feeling based on temporal, fleeting, here-now-gone-in-a-minute reality -- you cannot "want something more than you want God." It is an impossibility. You can be tricked into believing that you do, but you would have to swallow the lie that you are independent of Christ first, because when you are One with Him you want what He wants. The lie is that you are not who you are -- Christ living in you, in the total you, every part of you.
My friend, as many times as I've told you that you are Christ living as you, I still don't think you have seen that, and still just see yourself separate and apart, with you being this mess of thoughts and feelings, and Him being somehow separate from all that. He is One person with you, so that you walking and talking in the world is He walking and talking. When that hits you just a little bit, EVERYTHING changes in your consciousness!
Back to our issue, though. Because of Who you are, Christ in you as one person with you, you ARE righteousness. You ARE wisdom. You ARE holiness -- because He is all those things and many more IN YOU! That's where you start from.
Therefore sin has no more dominion over you. The fact that you still have thoughts and desires only means you are human, and praise God, you ARE human, because you can relate to other people in their humanity, and haven't become some unreachable "God" person who no longer has the same thoughts and feelings other people have. You are left human in order to "bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus," (that's all the toughness of life, the sorrows and joys of living, the pains, the fun, everything about this temporal life which He took into Himself in the Cross and which He is now living in you), that "the life of Jesus would be manifest in your mortal flesh." You can't be that to others without feeling the same things everybody else feels.
It is just that now, in your life, He is resurrection. He has raised YOU to newness of life, so that, even though you still feel all the same types of things, they no longer define you, and you are in the state Jesus called, "in the world but not of it."
Trust Him to keep you. He can put you pretty far out there and still keep you. Christ is not interested in the safe and tried and true way that everybody else walks. He throws aside everything for love. He is interested in fulfilling Himself in you, which is simply the life which is "a corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies, and therefore brings forth much fruit." Abiding in Him, which you cannot HELP doing once you know that you and He are one, you will bear the fruit He has determined for you.
You are exactly where and how you are supposed to be. Rejoice. Believe.