I read an recent blog by Fred Pruitt in which he tells of a man saying to him, “ I just don’t feel the presence if the Lord anymore like I used to.” Without thinking the first thing that popped out of Fred’s mouth was, “I don’t feel the presence of the Lord. I AM the presence of the Lord.” In my recovery ministry I talk to people every day who basically tell me the same thing. I believe this is our major problem as Christians. We are trying to get our feelings to line up with what God says is the truth about us. If you figure out how to do that let me know. I’m being facetious, as it will never happen. Yet it seems that for most Christians this is their method of sanctification. If you want to read Fred’s article, which I highly recommend, go to http://thesingleeye.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/feeling-the-presence/
Recently someone from Chile on my web site said, “I am 38 years old, married with an 11 year old child. For the past 11 years I have been struggling with alcohol and feel like I am losing the battle. I have read Freedom From Addiction, Breaking the Chains and Victory over the Darkness, the testimonies that are there seem surprising, but for some reason for me I did not have the same results. I know I am a believer and want to serve God; I am desperately looking for help because it is my desire to break free from this bondage.”
I am convinced that our major problem is trying to get our feelings and experiences to line up with God’s truth about us. We believe if we could have feelings of His presence, His joy, His peace, etc., we would believe that we are OK and that we are right with Him. So if you are anything like me we spend the majority of our Christian life trying to get our feelings and experiences to measure up with the truth, which will never happen. BUT, what is it about the truth we don’t understand? AND, praise His name, hallelujah, we are right with Him and we cannot get any more right with Him. He is our life and lives in us. We cannot get any more complete than we are (Col. 2:10). We cannot get any more holy, righteous, sanctified and perfect than we are (Heb. 10:10, 14). We cannot get freer than we already are (Rom. 6:6, 7). Now at this point you may be thinking, “You just don’t know what I’m going through and feeling.” Oh yes I do! I struggled mightily for 18 years after I became a Christian to do right, avoid sin, and be a good Christian and failed miserably. I spent eight of those years in a nightmare of bondage to alcoholism destroying everything that was any good in my life.
I was a seminary graduate and a former pastor and I sincerely wanted my life to count for Christ and to serve God. I did everything I knew to do and everything anyone told me to do, all to no avail. As my friend Steve McVey says, “All my Christian life I tried to make Jesus Lord, but then I learned I could just trust Him to be my life.” That one sentence sums up the difference between legalism and grace and between trying to live for God and knowing the old self is dead and no more and knowing we no longer live, but Christ lives in us and we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us (Gal. 2:20).
I had lunch this week with a man who was struggling with an addiction. If he asked me once, “Do you mean I do nothing?”, he asked me ten times. My answer was “You don’t do anything, but believe Christ is your life and you’re dead to sin and freed from it.” What else could we possibly need? Feelings? Experiences? Or the truth? Do we pray for deliverance? NO! Do we pray for holiness, righteousness and to stop sinning? NO! The sinless One lives in us. Holiness and righteousness lives in us. It is for freedom Christ set us free (Gal. 5:10) and freedom from sin is our birthright as a child of God.
Do you feel the presence of the Lord? No? So what? Neither do I most of the time. But the truth is that I am the presence of the Lord and so are you (I’m assuming that you are a Christian). No matter where we go, not matter what we do, no matter how we feel, as wild, weird and bizarre as it sounds we are the presence of the Lord. Of course we are! Christ is your life (Col. 3:4) and He lives in you! That is the greatest, monumental and liberating truth that you will ever hear. Truth lives in you.
When Jesus was on the way to heal Jairus the synagogue ruler’s daughter some people came from his house and said to him, Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher any more? Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid, just believe” (Mark 5:35, 36). Yes, Jesus raised her from dead. He is the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were (Rom. 4:17). By the way He has raised you from the dead But because of His great love for us God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead (Eph. 2:5). I know you don’t feel dead to sin, you don’t act dead to sin and you don’t even look dead to sin and I don’t either. You think that’s just what God says about you and how God sees you. But what God says is truth and what God sees is reality. As Jesus told Jairus, you and I will have to ignore what people, friends, experts, theologians, facts, circumstances and feelings say and Don’t be afraid and just believe.
It’s been 15 years since my granddaughter Aryele was in the hospital having seizures and the doctors didn’t know what was wrong with her. I remember her mother (my daughter) Audrey saying, “She is in God’s hands.” I was so worried that night I couldn’t go to sleep and God reminded me of the passage in Mark 5 about Jairus daughter. The next morning Aryele was healed and we took turns chasing her around the hospital. Today she is a beautiful and talented young woman and I just talked to her on her 20th birthday. God is so good.
I had grown up feeling insecure, inferior, inadequate and guilty and believed that was my identity. Those lies kept me in bondage to alcoholism for eight years. 25 years ago when I believed the truth that Christ was my life and I was dead to sin and freed from it, I was free from alcoholism. I told the couple I had lunch with that hardly a day passes that I don’t feel insecure, inferior, inadequate and guilty. But those feelings don’t define who I am and don’t determine my actions. I am Christ in me, the hope of glory. I no longer live but Christ lives in me and the life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God. I AM the presence of God. WOW! IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT!
Our support this month is the lowest it has ever been. I have seen God do so many wonderful things such as healing Aryele and as I say, “God has taken care of me for 76 years and I have no reason to believe He won’t continue to provide for us. If God should lead you to support us and send a gift toward our support, just make out the check to Grace Walk Ministries and send it to PO Box 6537. Douglasville GA 30136. Include our name on a separate piece of paper in the envelope and not on the check (to make it tax-deductible). If you want to do it through PayPal, just send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you should decide to give us a gift through a credit card, you can do it on the web site. Just go to gracewalk.org and click on “donations” in the left column, then click on “To Make a Donation” and fill out the blanks. Be sure to scroll down and put our name in “This gift designated for” space. We are very grateful for every gift we receive. We know that we couldn’t do this ministry without it.