And Man=You and Me
I have been taught about God extensively since I was a small child. My Grandmother told me every detail she could think of regarding Him. I went to Christian schools for eight years and learned all that they had to say about God and Jesus Christ. Yet my life never worked until I understood what I was as a human being and how I functioned. Even though I knew a lot about God my life was a tragedy of sin and addiction until I understood what made me tick. The portion of the teacher training manual entitled Creation and The Fall of Man gives us some facts about ourselves that are absolutely crucial to any kind of successful life.
Fact number one is that we humans are created to contain and express the person of Jesus Christ. Get this: humans are not created to be in a relationship with God as though he is out there and we are here. We are meant to be the temple in which the Spirit of Jesus Christ dwells (Colossians 1:25-27). We are not meant for some undefined relationship with a higher power. We are meant to be the dwelling place for Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:19).
It is also important to point out that I do not contain God naturally just because I am human, as the new agers say. I must make a conscious choice to receive the Spirit of Jesus Christ within me (Rev. 3:20). If I do not make that conscious choice, I am by nature a container of the spirit of selfishness, Satan (Eph. 2:1-3). So we aren’t just naturally divine; we must make a choice as to whom we contain. Not making a choice by default leaves Satan inside us. Choosing to accept Christ gives us a new spirit operator within, Jesus Christ himself. So we are not meant for a distant subject/object or person to person relationship with God. We are meant to be the temples in which God lives, moves and walks (2 Cot 6:16).
Yet even after getting into a church that taught that Christ had entered me as a Christian and that I was now a temple of the Holy Spirit, I still was living a secret-filled addictive life style. I thought Christ was within me but I still thought I had a selfish part to overcome. I understood I was to surrender myself daily. However, this view only exacerbated my problem. I was believing I was more than just a container for Jesus Christ.
This brings in a second crucial point from the teacher training manual. Man has no operating nature of his own. Let me explain what that means because it is very important.
Scripture says man merely expresses the nature of the deity within him. I am either an instrument of righteousness or an instrument of sin (Romans 6:13), a slave of righteousness or a slave of sin (Rom. 6:16), either a vessel of wrath or a vessel of mercy (Rom. 9:22-23). In other words I don’t have good or bad qualities of my own (in the moral sense). I simply express the nature and motivation of the one within me.
When I asked Christ into my heart and Satan was booted out, I thought Christ was in me to do battle with a tainted selfish independent me. Of course, as is often mentioned in this magazine, that believing allowed Satan to misuse me from the outside (Satan is no longer in me as a Christian). When I believed I had an operating nature of my own, which was in opposition to Christ, I was destined to repeat and repeat the sins I inherited through my earthly family.
Paul once said sin deceived him and killed him (Rom. 7:11). It worked the same with me. The deception or illusion of having a moral nature within me which could be improved by will power was finally and totally destroyed by my twelve year failure to control my sexual behavior. The truth is there is no such thing as a human nature: in fact the term human nature is not even a biblical concept. My believing that I had an independent self or nature made me a slave of sin. The sin overcoming me again and again finally convinced me I was powerless (see the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous).
So. Here I was 32 years of age. I was finally convinced that there was nothing within me that was able to live the Christian life. Twelve years of constant failure to live in a moral way had convinced me that I had no independent nature of my own. All of a sudden the verse Galatians 2:20 meant everything to me. The verse says "It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives within me." I couldn’t live the Christian life but thank God another could. I took the verse for my own literally. I actually believed it was Jesus Christ living my life. The miracle was I stopped the sin behavior that I had been totally powerless over for most of my life. For when I changed my believing about myself my behavior changed. For me to be living in a pure way was an absolute miracle and could not be me doing it. It had to be another. As the Big Book of AA says, God was doing for me what I could not do for myself. I knew what the Big Book did not say: it was actually Jesus Christ living my life.
Because I was now getting comfortable with the idea of Christ living my life (Gal. 2:20, Matt. 10:20), another startling concept became real to me. I began to be open to the idea that my sinful addictive life had been Satan in operation, disguised as me. This brings me to the final point I want to cover in this section of the teacher training manual. When the first man Adam received the forbidden fruit, he unwittingly received the one who offered it. What he took took him. So mankind through Adam received into itself the spirit of error (Romans 5:12,18,19, and Ephesians 2:2). Jesus even goes so far as to say that unsaved man’s actions are really the actions of Satan (John 8:44). This is strong stuff! Before I was a Christian Jesus says that I did the deeds of my father the devil (John 8:44). Paul says that even as a Christian Satan can do his activities by us by misusing our members (Romans 7:23).
I now understood what had been happening all those years as a Christian. I had wanted to do the right thing, yet I lived sinfully and addictively. Paul says if I am doing what I don’t want to do it can’t be "me" doing it (Romans 7:16,17, 20). If it is not me doing it, and obviously not Christ doing the sinning, it must be Satan! This was startling news to me! Now this doesn’t get me off the hook: it was my choice to believe a lie which allowed Satan to operate in me. But now I had a new basis to live. I was a vessel to contain Christ, with no nature or independent self of my own. As a vessel with no nature of my own it would be either Christ or Satan to live my life. With this as our basis, man as a temple capable of expressing Christ or Satan, we will discuss in the next issue how the cross of Christ affects us.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 9 No 3
- Judging Good and Evil
- The Self Can’t Be Improved
- A Look at a Book
- Excerpt from The Intercession of Rees Howells
- Moments with Meryl
- And Man=You and Me
- Creation and the Fall of Man
- A Call To Arms
- THE MAILBOX
- Where Are the Elijahs of God?
- Powerless Over Alcohol & Life: Steps 8 and 9
- HOPKINSVILLE, KY CONFERENCE
- JACKSON, MS CONFERENCE
- SEVENTH BRITISH SPRING CONFERENCE 1993
- From "Real Man" To "God’s Man"
- Editor’s Note
- No Independent Self Part Two