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Monday, 19 August 2013

Yes I Am 51 - A Letter of Much Insight

Yes I Am by Norman Grubb
Chapter 51
A LETTER OF MUCH INSIGHT

The fact is… we have long misused our souls and bodies under the old illusion that the evil was in us, not in Satan. We now know differently; and we know that now Christ is expressing Himself by us in place of Satan. Yet we, most of us, still remain suspicious of our flesh, particularly regarding sex - especially we men, most of whom have strong sex drives. We may have misused our sex in our former days. We may even have slipped since. But let us really accept that the trouble is not in our sex or flesh, but was caused by Satan (sin) in us, and that God has now replaced indwelling sin by His own total ownership of our bodies as His dwelling place. Now we can fully trust Him that every appetite and faculty has been put there by Him for His full, liberated use. But where we have not totally accepted that fact, we walk fearful of our body passions and think that we must keep some check or control on them - or who knows what we will do? We do not totally accept the fact that God only is our keeper of body and soul, as of spirit.

Paul speaks of keeping our bodies under subjection, lest we become disapproved in His service (1 Cor. 9:27). This means that we are to settle the matter that our bodies are so totally His living sacrifices that we are in total safekeeping. We cannot consider them being used for any sin purposes - and we are in full physical activity, not seeking to keep our bodies by self-effort but by faith and without fear.

So then, as we move right through to who we really are, whole persons, wholly His and none other’s, we know the limits the Spirit of love has put on us. We know plainly that sex is sacred to marriage and our bodies are for our mates. So we boldly take the stand of faith - that misuse of sex is sin and is out for us. Paul stated it plainly: "Shall I... take the members of Christ and make them the members of an harlot?… Flee fornication. Every [other] sin… is outside the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?" (1 Cor. 6:15-20).

So this kind of sin is not in our vocabulary. Any thought in that direction is rejected. We boldly do this on the word of Scripture, inwardly confirmed to us by the Spirit, that God is our keeper as He says He is, and will keep us. We "cannot sin because [we are] born of God" (1 John 3:9). Therefore we accept our freedom in soul and body, and express our love one to another, for it is God loving by us - unafraid.

It is on this basis that some of us have used our soul-body affection - even if tempted to misuse - not to condemn ourselves, but by accepting the temptation as a door being opened for us as intercessors, for God’s love to reach another.

John T. (Tony) Ketcham, a Washington lawyer, and his wife Bette, live in Bowie, Maryland, where their home is a family center for many of us who have fellowship together in the Spirit. Bette has very helpfully written to a friend on the operation of soul-affection and spirit-love, and we will all profit by it. I quote her letter at length:

One of the big questions in my own life was always the why of my own apparent unfulfillment in the area of feelings! And it is a big question to be answered in each one of us who are operating now in union and thus manifesting Father’s life to others. I did know, as you do too, that all that was happening in me was for others; and in the beginning, I reveled in that fact. But, as time went grinding on, my excitement of being for others began to dissipate, and my longing to feel all those "good feelings" began to choke me. It has just become a recent thing for me to know that the stress, or tension (soul-body tension), manifested in us is necessary; for it is the way persons in union and intercession operate.

Your spirit is joined - fused - with His. That being so, the truth about you is that you can only be selfless and for others. Obviously your soul is not who you are (any more than light, heat, or power is electricity), but your soul has a function to perform in order for spirit to be manifested and fruit to be produced. Soul’s natural appetite is to reach out and fulfill itself; it always will. It is of the earth, earthy, and is meant to be part of the "operating machine" we call the body. Soul doesn’t run the machinery, it is only part of it. Spirit is the operator. As spirit in you is pure and righteous, all that comes forth from you is selfless and pure love. I believe we are to say that pure light is who I am, no matter how contrary the circumstances may be, because Jesus says that we are the light of the world.

Now, if there is confusion in our minds as to just how our machinery gets in gear to produce fruit for others, we fall into false condemnation and guilt which leads to "sin." As you stated on the phone, "My soul tells me I’m selfish." If you believe that, you will live out what you believe, and sins will follow. Your spirit (married to His Spirit) is a lover-spirit, searching for those who are in desperate need of God’s total love and acceptance. The "machinery" is put into action by your spirit when your soul is engaged by reacting and reaching out to "John Doe." You can literally feel this engagement. Something begins grinding into operation inside and we find ourselves literally reaching out for "John Doe" and loving him in every one of our senses. This is the normal and natural use of the "machinery." Part of the tension rears its head when soul realizes that the Spirit (who is "the law") will not allow a lawless loving. All the while, poor soul is saying "more, more," for soul’s operation is to continually try to fulfill itself. Fortunately, in our union life reality, we are safe lovers. I find that I am filled with God’s Spirit and I am not left to the ultimate end experienced by unfulfilled persons living on the lower level of fallen man. They must allow soul to keep running amuck, for their spirit-centers are Satanic and they must manifest the self-centered father whose lusts they are showing forth. They must constantly and continually try to fulfill themselves with no apparent end in sight. They cannot know, until the new birth in Jesus Christ, that their only fulfillment is in the spirit, not in the soul-body. Soul is there just to get the machinery working to react in love to others.

As intercession is brought forth and manifested through the tension of a fully operating soul and its spirit "operator," the intercessor feels the tug between the two. I quite frequently hear my spirit operator talking to the soul:

"Hold up now, soul, I’m in this unconditional love adventure of intercession for ‘John Doe,’ not for you. I choose to draw him to Christ through your operation of reaching out to love and cherish, but I mean to meet his needs in your reaching, not yours. Soul, you forget so often that you are not running things; I am. You would reach and reach and then reach some more, as if that is all you are meant to do. You forget once in a while that you are not spirit, and you therefore mistakenly feel that you should be somehow ‘getting’ something and thus feel fulfilled. O foolish soul, the only fulfillment there is to be had is for the spirit. You so conveniently forget from time to time that I am a responsible and mature son in Jesus Christ, and not an irresponsible human, one whose soul does not yet have a responsible and cooperating spirit in union with God’s own. Because I am in union with Christ, I cannot let you run unchecked. You will quite naturally feel as if you were still not fulfilled, but my love for ‘John Doe’ can only do what is best for him."

Well, dearest, this is God’s way in me. He has shown me that the tension of soul pulling me one way and the Spirit in me pulling the other is the operation of the "machinery." This is just how it works. I’ll always be privileged to feel the pull and tug, as that is the evidence that He is in operation. Don’t fear that your soul will take over, as it doesn’t run anything. Your spirit is fused with His. He’ll control your soul very nicely, thank you, as you live in the reality of your being one with Him.

Lovingly,

Bette

I think this is of sufficient importance to underline this fact again. We may have entered in by the Spirit’s revelation to knowing we are He in our forms. We know that, as spirit joined to Spirit. But often we have not equally totally recognized that He is the owner and indweller of our whole persons - soul and body as much as spirit - as we read in that word of Paul’s: "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless" (1 Thess. 5:23).

Therefore our soul and body are not mere appendages to be conveniently used - they are we! In our old misconception we wrongly thought there were evil tendencies in them, such as sex, greed, hate, jealousy, etc. Then we found out that the evil in our souls and bodies was the indwelling sin (Satan) misusing us. Then we moved on by faith recognition and inner witness to having indwelling sin replaced by indwelling Christ. But our problem is that often we’re not so quick and complete in boldly recognizing that He has now taken full possession of our soul emotions and body appetites. We are not to walk in fear of our old excesses - as though, if we are not careful, they might recur and grab us. If we still have not had that settled in our believing, we are leaving the door open to much temptation. And we are still partially bound, because we live in secret fear of our soul-body rushing us into some sins. We still carry the graveclothes of some negative believing into our resurrection life. We are afraid of our temptation… so we must watch ourself; and we also suspiciously watch our brother and sister (or our mate) as though they still carry their graveclothes around.

So there’s a further bold step needed: a total accepting of our death in Christ to sin, the world, and our flesh in its "affections and lusts" - recognizing it as crucified, so far as its misuses are concerned (Gal. 5:24). Against fears, suspicions, temptations, we boldly say He is our keeper, and He is doing His job and will do it. When any stirring strong winds of temptation blow on us, instead of fighting, or fearing, or running away, we say, "No, it is what God means us to have - the temptation that James has told us to count all joy." It is merely sin shouting at us through the prison bars. "But You, Christ," we say, "have all of us, including our tempted areas; and You will now use them to express Your self-giving love through us in place of our temptations to self-getting and self-gratification."

I think this is a further stage of total recognition of this word of Paul’s earlier quoted: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless." The whole of us. So reject fear, for "perfect love casteth out fear." Replace it by the boldness of faith, for what you believe holds you. If we continue in the negative belief that we are so weak and temptable that we had better keep watch over ourself, then we shall have the fruits of our negative faith in temptation and bondage. If we replace these perverted believings by a bold, total, positive faith in Him, the Total Sanctifier, we shall have the fruit of our faith, the freedom to be ourself in expression of our emotions, reasoning, and body-affections; and equally, we shall free ourself from negative suspicions and judgments of our brethren.

This will obviously appear dangerous to some who read it. And it is! Life in the Spirit is living dangerously. Of course it is nonsense and absurd! - not only for those still in the flesh without Christ, but also for those of us in Christ who have not yet entered into union - in death-resurrection reality - with Christ, and who therefore are fearful (as in Romans 7) of the assaults of the flesh, not knowing how to meet them. But I am writing on the third, the intercession level, where we do know that difference between soul and spirit, and can discern (or maybe learn by experience) that soul’s inordinate affection is outer flesh-pull, not the true love of the spirit. It is of this I am writing - of how temptation to self-gratification can be reversed into an outgoing of the Spirit of love... for God’s "completing work" of Christ to be formed in the object of the affections.






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