How It Really Works
The following is taken from an address by Page Prewitt at the 1986 Louisville Conference.
I love to be given the opportunity to speak. The Apostle Paul says (Col. 1:25): Of this church I was made a minister, according to the stewardship of God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God. So God does mean for us to speak to groups, and I love it.
But I am not fooled by what it accomplishes. It seems to me that very little ever seems to be caught and understood resulting in a changed lifeby listening to a speaker talk.
Where I see lives being changed is in what takes place when you and I give this message out to others in the one-toone, day-in-day-out relationships (whether by long distance or close at hand). People really seem to catch onto this message when they work through it with someone else.
I have run into lots of people who know who they are in Christ. But as a whole, our message at this time is most unpopular. Part of the reason, in my estimation, that the message has been so unpopular is that people have been taking bits and snatches of a total truth and have gotten stuck on just this point or that point or another point, and what theyve got doesnt come full circle into the total truth. And what they have isnt working.
Cutting with Half a Pair of Scissors
I will tell you this: if this truth is not working for you, you dont have the full circle either. What happens when you dont have the whole thing and you have bits and snatches? What happens when you grab one part and miss another? It’s like someone says to you, Heres a pair of scissors, heres a pattern, go cut out a dress. The problem is, you see, youve gotten just one side of a pair of scissors and you cant figure out why you can’t get the dress cut.
Time after time, the thing that I find the hardest is continually being asked questions and confronted with things that are half-truths. People will say, Yes, I know Christ in me as me but I just cant cope. Or some variation like, Tell me how to cope…tell me how to deal with my new baby…tell me how to deal with my new job. Or, someone will say, I havent had a job for six months, or two or three years; how can I cope with that? And they just seem to want an answer for whatever their problem is.
If youve got a problem in your life and you havent caught on to the secret, you want to deal with the problem. For years and years, weve talked to each other, weve talked in our minds, and weve talked to other people about our problems and struggles. And thats why we might think this message doesnt work. Because concentrating on the problem just isnt the answer.
You see, the way you begin to make this total truth work in you is that instead of concentrating on the problem (I just cant cope), instead of saying thats not me, you begin to focus on what I call the front end of the sentence.
Let me ask youwhen we say something like, I just cant cope, who are we talking about? Havent we many times said in our minds that the person were talking about is just me or there I go again?
But whats the real truth about the I in that sentence? Isnt it that there has never been a just me and that saying there I go again is just saying a lie about ourselves?
You never were, and you never will be, a just me. If you are born again, you are a Christ/you…a union that can never be separated. Youre not independent… thats Satans lie, and the truth about you is that youre a Christ/I. So when you say the I, if you leave it at its just me, you are not going to be able to make life work.
To say, Thats not who I am, Im not a non-coping person when you are thinking a thought like I just cant cope, is still using only half the pair of scissors to cut out the dress. Youve got to look back at the beginning of that thought to the very first word. Youve got to see that the I you are describing is not just me and its not just Christits Christ/you.
And if Christ and you are one, and thats who you are, then Hes the One living the life. But then, do you just sit there when the negative thoughts come up and think to yourself, This isnt who I am, and then expect Christ to live the life out? That hasnt been my experience.
You see, the reason we can get up and do the work and live the life…make the life work…do the hard stuff…do the things weve always wanted to do but were scared to try and thought we couldnt…isnt because we say, Well, thats not who I am, I am not….
I think its great for us to be able to say that about ourselves. It was wonderful for me to know that I am not a scared person. It was wonderful for me to know that I wasnt an idiot and a drip and all the stuff I had always thought about myself. And Im sure its been wonderful for you. But if youre going to move out, and get off your you-know-what, and start getting this truth into somebody else, youve got to catch onto the other side of the equation and say, This (Christ/I) is who I amthis is me.
I woke up one morning thinking about all this, and thinking about the first time Norman spoke to us and said, Take the ought and should out of your vocabulary. I wondered how it all fit together.
You see, when we are just starting out, and are just learning who we really are, its wonderful to know we can take shoulds and oughts out of our vocabulary. Its a great relief. But it is just as glorious for me now to know that I can go somewhere when I dont feel like I want to. In the early days I didnt do things like that very much. Probably you wouldnt have either. We couldnt because we were just catching onto who we are in Christ, and we were living up to the degree of light we had been given. And we would say things like, If God wants it done, Hes just going to have to make me do it.
Of course our big news is the mystery which has been hidden from the ages, Christ in you the hope of glory, (Col. 1:27). But if you look a little further, here is what Pauls really all about: And we proclaim Him, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom that we may present every man complete (perfect) in Christ. And for this purpose I labor, striving according to His power which mightily works within me (Col. 1:28, 29).
The book of 1 John talks about children, young men, and fathers. Or as I paraphrase it babies, adolescents and grownups. And an adolescent, if youve ever lived with one, just sort of goes with how he feels. He can start out the night with the full intention of studying, and then a friend comes by, and the next thing you know theyve hopped in the car and theyve gone. No more studying for tonight. But there comes a day when an adolescent has to grow up.
What do fathers and mothers do when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night? Do Mom and Dad go by their whims? Do they say, Dont put should and ought on me, and dont put me under the law!? No, of course not. They do what has to be done.
You see, when I got settled in who I was, I had to move on past the baby stuff (Hebrews 6) and the adolescent stage, and pick up the work of a father. As a father, I am operating from the knowledge that Christ and I are one, and because this is me, the scary, bad word work isnt a scary, bad word anymore.
Once you become settled about who you are, that you are in an inseparable union with Christ (Christ/I), then you can put those words back into your vocabulary. Im telling you, I (Christ/Page) do a lot of shoulds and oughts.
My trip to England is a great example. When it was time for me to go, I wanted to stay home. I had been gone from home all summer already, and I was homesick. But, you see, I wanted to go to England; I knew I had to go, and there was a drive in me to go. And yet there was something else in me, pulling against the whole thing. While I was over there, I had to take it one day at a timeI couldnt even count off the days as they went bybecause I felt so homesick (everything being foreign around me didnt help either).
What worked, what kept me going, was not just knowing that I am not my feelingsthat goes without saying because Christ and I are one. But it wasnt just saying, I am not my feelings. And it also wasnt just Christ living out the life, doing the things, talking to people, and adjusting to a different culture, different weather, different language, and different food. If it was, I could have just stayed in bed with the hot water bottle they fixed for me and had a glorious time, and when it was time, He and I would have caught the jet and come home. The trick is, HE WALKS IT OUT IN AND THROUGH ME!!!!
The glory of the mystery is not just me and how I am and how I was made, and what Im to do. And the glory of the mystery is not just God either. The glory of the mystery is the incarnation. Jesus Christ, THE PERSON OF GOD IN ME, IN MY BODY.
So its not just me. And its not just Christ. Its me dying, and then Him living out the life through me. The dying for me comes when my feelings rise up, and the enemy (who is outside of me) yells at me, trying to get me to believe that my feelings are me. Then I come back at him with the knowing, a subconscious consciousness, that says but that isn’t me (Christ/me).
The reason its a death to you and a death to me is that He does the work out through me, through my humanitymy soul and body. He walks this life out through me. He walks it out through you. And the dying is me living from the reality that its He living, walking, and doing through me. And because of that, you and I can do our oughts and shoulds.
People, weve got to keep moving on. Weve got to begin to pick up the work of the Father and take up His burden to present every man complete (perfect) in Christ.
You and I need to ask ourselves: Do I really know this message? Can I work it in myself to the point that I can work with another human being, a Godcreation, and see this same truth come forth and lived out in that person? Thats what Paul meant when he said: For this purpose I labor, striving according to his power which mightily works within me (Col. 1:29).
When he started Campus Crusade for Christ, Bill Bright said something like this: Youll know that someones conversion is real when you see them giving out this new life in Christ to someone else. Its that same principle that were talking about here: knowing our union with Christ well enough, that not only are we working it in our own lives, but were helping others work it into their lives. Thats what I believe God has called us to.
My challenge to myself, and to you is, Do you know it that well? Can you make the life work enough in you so that you can pass it on?
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 22 No 4
- The Life of Faith
- How It Really Works
- Faith Lessons
- Faith Defies Difficulty
- Words to Live By
- Testimony–C.T. Studd
- Wanted: Faith and Fools
- How Acquire Faith?
- Bible Study: Faith
- Not my Will but Yours
- Tape Review: "Faith Creates a Reality"
- Mighty Through God
- Editor’s Note
- Book Review: The Law of Faith, Chapter 26