Letters from Norman
Oct. 24, 1972
What a precious letter from you. Actually the day it arrived (two days ago) I was thinking of you and hoping that, when I am able to come to Texas again, hopefully next April, though I haven’t worked out details yet, I might also be able to come to you. So you indeed encourage me to do so!
My dear, you are well on the way (for it is those who hunger and thirst who are filled), and you actually have arrived, only you don’t "recognize" it because of various snags!
It is our misconceptions about ourselves which tie us up. You mention right at the end about "How can self be dead" etc. Self isn’t meant to be dead, but very much alive! The self has died in Christ from its central control by the Satanic self-centred spirit of error; but the same self is well alive in Christ in its new union relationship with Him, the Spirit of truth. Rather like if a man works for a steel firm under a steel boss, then changes to a cotton firm under a cotton boss, he has "died" to the one and come alive to the other. But because both the steel and cotton firms continue in existence, the steel boss may try to tempt you back again. So we are still in a world where we are now in the Spirit; but the old spirit of error still gets at us by temptation.
But, dear, this is just as God means it to be. A positive can only manifest by having a negative which it swallows up. So God Our Positive must have human negatives (we), who are stirred up by our self-reactions–fear, worry, annoyance, hurt, lusts, dislikes etc.–and so are alive reacting negatives. Now our misconception is if we think we human negatives should change and not have these reactions. That’s our mistake. We are meant to have them and we never change.
But what Gal. 2:20 means, (the "Exchanged life", yes, that’s the best title) is that you are not really just your Page you, nor I just Norman I; you are in an eternal, inner unity, the branch of the Vine; you are the Vine in its Page-branch form. Now then, as you have these self-arisings, you don’t condemn yourself, you don’t get guilty or try to change; but inwardly you transfer your inner recognition from what is humanly stirring you up to the True Fact, which is CHRIST the Real you. Then as you recognize and affirm Him, and praise, you find He overflows, swallows up your negative human reactions, and He manifests Himself in love, praise, faith, peace, what-not by you.
So you see, love, it is not a matter of you hoping and searching and looking for some new experience of Gal. 2:20 not yours already. No. You ARE eternally in that union, and HE is eternally within you, the Real You. All you do is to dare to affirm and recognize; and as you do this, He Himself will confirm to you that this union is a fact.
Then you see you don’t accuse or condemn yourself for being yourself and having your own will, wanting your way etc. No, when you feel like that, don’t be afraid of going your way and reckoning it to be His way in your union; or you just say to Him, "That’s what my will is and how I feel about it. If I should be different, You get changing me." So be yourself, and dare to believe the fact that you are not you, but Christ in you.
And where you have guilt or conviction that you have slipped, well, immediately thank God for the precious cleansing blood, and where is the guilt of sin? Not there, disappeared long ago in the blood! Yes, for books, a great many have found help in Watchman Nee’s "Normal Christian Life." Others like "Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life." Others find help in Carruthers "From Prison to Praise."
Yes, I know Miles Stanford and his Green Letters. They have helped many. My one question might be whether they put too much emphasis on the death side, and leave folks rather as you say–how can I be dead when self is so evident? And does not enough bring you thru to the full sunlight of the life side which has swallowed up the death, but not swallowed up self, but liberated us to be real selves!
And how fully I agree with you about those who say, "If God gets anything done, it will be done by the Holy Spirit working in me." No, that’s not the answer and is proof that those who say it don’t know it yet. Because the answer is "God is getting things done–in and by me"–though all Hell and other folks and accusing self would seek to deny it. "Ye ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD" not become it, may be it, ought to be it. No, ARE it! So are you, my dear.
Should love to hear from you again and I think it wonderful that you have so poured your precious heart out to me like this.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 26 No 3
- Zerubbabel’s Commission
- Editor’s Note
- A Christmas Letter
- A Look at a Book
- God’s Standards Have Not Changed: British Fall Conference 1997
- Editorial…Our First Issue
- Free At Last!
- The Faith Process
- Why We Are Attacked
- The Missing Truth
- Nothing Short of a Miracle
- Our Financial Support
- Letters from Norman
- Thoughts on Abraham
- Not by might nor by power…
- Words to Live By