One Woman’s Answer
What To Do When Your Life
Resembles Alphabet Soup!
(Please see PDF version for illustrationss)
Life for me had become a hopeless search for a reason to live. My search was rewarded when Norman Grubb, a retired 80-year-old missionary from England, began to share with me what the Bible said about me. I was thrilled and shocked by what I saw and heard.
My dilemma, liking what I heard but not daring to believe it to be true, plunged me into a search to check out Norman’s teaching. As a result of that search, I became convinced that what Norman taught was what the Scripture taught—that real life was God living out through His children.
Knowing this to be true did not make it a reality in my life. I was desperate for Christ to take over my mess of a life and live it for me. My focus was always on “me” and how terrible I was. Then one evening, while standing at the stove in my kitchen, the Lord said to me, “Dare to say about yourself what I say about you.”
It was at that moment that I first said I am Jesus Christ in His Page Prewitt form. As I said that, I appeared to myself anything but what I thought Christ would look like. I had been waiting and waiting to look and feel differently before I would declare myself to be the Page form of Christ. God’s word came and I obeyed (the obedience of faith—our only requirement—Rom. 1:5).
I said it and believed it. I don’t know why—desperation, I guess—but I took it “hook, line and sinker.” Since that day I have never doubted the truth of it. God has been faithful and has never let me down.
God in His precious love for me knew I was desperate and sent Norman with His truth in the nick of time. I believe, had I not caught on when I did, I would have eventually killed myself or would be in a mental institution today.
Knowing that there was another here (Christ) to do for me what I had proved I could not do for myself (live life) began to put me at ease. The pressure, the condemnation and the self-hate began to lift. I began to experience a freedom and pose that I had never known. It was now up to Him to live and be how and what He wanted to be through me. I had failed miserably, so I had nothing to lose.
My outer circumstances didn’t suddenly become wonderful. Life as a wife and mother remained hard. My husband continued to dislike me and felt free to say so. Dealing with my four children was still very difficult, but I began to see it all in a new way. I started to see that things were exactly how God wanted them to be. Life was not a nightmare that had trapped me; it was God’s situation for me. He was in my circumstances and was in me to handle whatever circumstances He sent my way. I was Christ in my form, not because I said so, but because the Bible said so.
I also knew there was a time, before I became a Christian, when I wasn’t that and that I became “Christ in my form” at the time of my conversion. But before that day in my kitchen, I had only been aware that I had been born again, that I was saved. When I made my statement it was the first time that I acknowledged aloud—to myself and to God—that as a Christian, this is who I am. So let me go back to the “beginning.”
How I Came to Christ
From my early childhood, I had a desire to know God and a desire to be a right person. I knew I didn’t know God, and I wanted so to know Him and to go to Heaven. I knew I wasn’t “right” and wanted so badly to be right. My mother would say to me: “Little girl, you had better change your ways.” I wanted to change my ways—but how?
I finally concluded that probably only priests, missionaries, ministers and nuns (and possibly my saintly grandmother) did right, knew God and were going to Heaven. There didn’t seem to be much hope for my becoming a nun, but I thought that maybe one day when I was old, I would be like my grandmother—wear my hair in a bun and sit pleasantly doing needlework.
One time as a teenager, spending the night with a friend, she asked me, “Page, are you saved?” Too embarrassed to ask what she meant, I vaguely nodded assent. Whatever did being “saved” mean?
When I was seventeen years old, living in Coral Gables, Florida, I found out. I was invited to a Youth for Christ meeting and heard Ephesians 2:8-9 quoted: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
There was that word again—”saved”!
The result of hearing that was that I soon received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and was “born again.” I was saved!!
But until I found that being saved meant more than just “going to Heaven” and that who I had become when I was born again was Jesus Christ in my form, my salvation did little for me but assure me of Heaven. Life for me was as if I had written the seventh chapter of Romans. What I didn’t want to do, I did; what I hoped I would do, I didn’t. The bondage of being a Christian was as bad as the misery I had in my search for God.
College, Marriage and a Family
After I had moved away from Florida, gone through college in North Carolina, married an attorney, moved to Mississippi and borne four children, I finally discovered the living truth of Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.” And I myself began to really live.
It was not so much that my life situation got better (for actually it got worse!), but that I experienced a total change in my way of seeing myself and life around me. And even though there was much that brought me to near desperation, there is nothing about those years I would want to have been changed. I see it all as God’s perfect purpose and plan.
Some time after I first said that I was the Page form of Jesus Christ (who I am), the day came when I needed an explanation for how—although I knew I was an expression of Christ—sin and failure played such a mammoth part in my experience.
I had found the basic answer concerning my life years before when I saw the truth of who I really am. Now, God was getting ready to show me the next step: what to do when knowing and saying who you are is not enough.
I have found the key to living this Christian life as Paul said it could be lived. Taught from the Scripture, and with the help of Norman Grubb and countless friends, I have, by positive and negative “pulls,” come to see the missing explanation.
No Independent Human Self
In a word, for me, it has been finding out there is no such person as an “independent self.” Today I not only affirm who I am, but I have been privileged by the Spirit to lead many other believers into this same acknowledgement. Bill Bright, of Campus Crusade for Christ, used to say that until you see those you introduce into the Kingdom bring in others, you haven’t experienced real in-depth fruit-bearing. I even have “grandchildren” in the faith of knowing that they are expressions of the Living Christ.
Now, after years of experience in real-life situations, I can say I know how to fully operate as a “knower.” I “know” who I am and I now know how to operate as who I am.
The term “independent self,” as such, is not found in the Bible. The idea, however, pervades the Scriptures in the lives of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament believers. We find it in the teachings of Paul and in the words of Jesus. Jesus said it, Paul explained it, John confirmed it. And I dug until I found the hidden treasure.
This truth has been available for all believers, and there have always been those who saw it. In our age, however, there is a resounding emphasis on the self. We can say that since Freud in more modern times, and even as far back as Aristotle, attention has been drawn to the self. But today’s quest is almost a hallmark of our times.
So it seems appropriate that the Holy Spirit is giving to God’s people the true answer to “know thyself.”
This is what I have found for myself. I already knew God and had found Him always complete. What a joy (what a relief!) to finally know myself, and to find that I, too, am complete. As Peter says, “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life” (2 Pet. 1:3). And James adds that we are “perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4).
At a recent conference in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, I was asked to speak and began by saying, “I want to talk about when saying ‘who you are’ is not enough.” Over the last few days there, I had talked to individuals whose lives were not working out to their own satisfaction. They told me, and I knew it to be true: “I know and say who I am. What is the problem?”
I could see there were problems in their lives, and they would proceed to relate them in depth. There seemed to be a dilemma over life, even when they could see and know and say that they are Christ in their forms. In fact, the longer their experience in this was, the more frustration they had when life just was not “working out.”
As you read this, if you are someone who has been saying, “I know who I am and I know what it is to be a believer,” but somewhere you have a “sticky wicket” that you can’t work out—in your interpersonal relationships or in some situation that you are part of—then, as a friend of mine often quips. “LISTEN UP”!
We Are Body, Soul and Spirit
Knowing I was Christ in my form and at the same time feeling all kinds of negative feelings were very confusing to me. How could fear, anger, hate, etc., and Christ all be fit together in this person I called “me”? It began to come clear to me when I saw a simple illustration in a Watchman Nee book. I have added to his illustration.
The circles give a picture of us as persons. We are tripartite—made in three parts: body, soul and spirit. The body is the house for soul and spirit. The soul is where we experience feelings and thoughts—emotions and reason. Our spirit is the part of us that is created in God’s image and is the seat of desiring, willing and knowing.
Before we can appreciate who we are in Christ, we need to understand who we were before Christ became our personal Savior—in other words, before we became born again.
In our non-Christian state, we were joined at our spirit center with the spirit of Satan. You probably don’t think this can be true, because when you think about Satan, you immediately think extreme evil. Satan is not necessarily always some killing, stealing, horrible person. The evil that he is (really, all the evil there is—period) all boils down to one simple thing: self for self. All the evil there is originates here: self for self.
How Evil Began
Satan, originally Lucifer, was created to be God’s light bearer. He would proclaim God. God did not make Lucifer into Satan. Satan did this by his own choice. In effect, he said “I will be equal to God, I will be like God, I will be God unto myself.” (Compare references from Isaiah 14 and Ezekial 28).
There is no truth in the belief that a created being can ever be equal to his Creator. Lucifer came out of God, and in his original form he was a self-giving self because he was “bearing” God’s light. But by his own choice of believing wrongly about himself and rejecting that “light,” he became a fallen form of God. He became a misused form of the self-giving, all-loving being of God. He became Satan, a self-for-self, an “I’ll be for myself” distorted form of God. God Himself had eternally said “no” to being that, and in this God cannot deny Himself or lie. His eternal, fixed choice was to be forever the God of outpoured love. Lucifer chose the opposite.
Sometime after Satan’s fall, the Bible tells us that Adam fell and that all persons come into this world in the form of fallen Adam.
So as the circle represents, at their spirit center, all persons are joined to the spirit of Satan from birth.
Now to you, the reader. Before you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, your spirit was in a “hook up” with Satan. Everyone you know who is not a Christian still is. The characteristic in all non-born-again people is self—self-for-self—an “I’m for myself” attitude. Even in their good deeds, the root is self. They are expecting to get something back for themselves.
If this is an unacceptable view to you, just begin to watch them, and sooner or later you will see this. For example, you will hear the whine of “I was so nice to her, and do you know what she did?…”
People do not like to hear this about those who are not Christians, and I don’t particularly like to mention it. I mention it, however, for two reasons. First, so you will realize who these people really are by nature. Second, because your heart and mind needs to be broken for others. You need to be more concerned. This concern includes (if they have not received Christ) your husband’s best friend, your golf buddy, the friend you lunch with, your precious sister or just “good ole Mary Sue” who waits on you at the drugstore.
Now let’s look at the circle that represents the “born-again” person.
We notice that the body of the Christian contains a soul, and a spirit that is now hooked up with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. How did this hookup occur? The Bible says it happened through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. You ask, “What has that got to do with me…Jesus Christ, in history, dying on a cross?” You might add, “I know that the blood of Jesus washed away my sins, but how does it work that it gets a switch going and gets my spirit ‘unhooked’ from the spirit of Satan and now ‘hooked up’ (united) with the Holy Spirit? How does that work?”
“One Died for All, Therefore All Died”
The Bible says we “died with Him” (Rom. 6:6) and “in Him we are dead “ (2 Cor. 5:14). What does that mean? What does that mean to you? When I used to think about it, all I knew were those words. They made no sense, and I had no understanding of what they truly meant. Even though the Bible talked about me being dead, I knew that I was very much alive. One of the reasons it meant nothing much to me was that I was also ignorant then of the fact that before my conversion I was joined to this other spirit—this wrong spirit— and needed to get rid of that spirit.
The way spirit gets out of a person is through death—which is not annihilation or ceasing to be. When you die, the spirit goes out of your body. So when Jesus Christ took us to the cross in Himself, what he did for us was take on this sin nature. In some mysterious way—don’t ask me to explain it to you—for our sake “He made Him to be sin, [He] who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21). He became sin for me! And He became sin for us so that “we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (also 2 Cor. 5:21).
Jesus Christ took on that sin spirit and He died, so the sin spirit went out. And when we take him as our Savior, His death works the same thing in us. The way to get a spirit out of a person is for that person to die. So Jesus took that spirit of sin, died on the cross, and that spirit went out. But did it go out of me when Jesus Christ went to the cross? NO. It went out of me when I, by faith, took the work He did on Calvary to be my own.
So he died on the cross, and I died in Him. In some mysterious way—I don’t understand how—the Bible just says in Him I died and in Him you died too. In that death, the old spirit of sin went out. And death is only the means to life.
The body of Jesus lay in the grave for three days. There was no spirit in it, being dead. Then the Bible says that God’s own Spirit quickened Jesus’ body and resurrected Him. The Bible also says that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead now therefore lives in you. That very same Spirit quickened you and brought you back to life. This is the new birth of John 3.
So that is how you, at your spirit center, became joined to the Spirit of God. Your spirit becomes joined to the Spirit of Christ through this work of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 6:17 we are told that he that is joined to the Lord is “one spirit with Him.”
Continued in the next issue.