Some years ago, I was a missionary in Amsterdam. I was praying alone on my knees, with my face and elbows resting on a couch. I was seeking the Lord, because I had become acutely aware of my weaknesses and failures, and I knew that I needed much more of Him, in me. As I prayed, my spirit was calling out to God with profound longings for Him to draw near to me. He seemed so very high above me and far away. The more I prayed, the more He seemed to draw closer. While this was happening, I also became aware of a powerful dread coming over me. As my spirit kept calling Him and the Lord seemed to come nearer to me, I became more and more fearful. I thought, “if the Lord comes into this room, I’m just going to turn into a puddle of hot grease on the floor!”
Without realizing it, I had begun to burrow into the cushions of the couch, trying to hide myself under them. But it was impossible to conceal myself from the Holiness of the Lord, which was overwhelming me. Then He spoke to me saying, “Get into the Rock.”
It was then that I remembered that story of Moses in Exodus 33: 18-23. He had asked to see God’s Glory, but the Lord said, “If you look upon My Face, you will surely die.” Then He told Moses to get into a cleft in a rock and hide inside there. He said he would cover it with His Hand until His Glory passed by, then He would remove His Hand and let Moses see His Back, and still live.
I knew the Rock was Christ, and that Christ was in me, but how was I to get into Christ? It was some years later, when I began to see that I needed to radically change my believing about myself. The meaning of my identity in Christ had eluded me. I had persisted in believing that God had to keep coming down to me to make things happen or change. God was always up there and I was always down here.
I was walking in the perception of my soul feelings and not the spirit truth about who I now am in Christ. If I felt abandoned by Him, I believed my feelings. If I was confused in my thoughts, I believed my doubts. More seriously, if I had strong sinful urges in my body, I believed my flesh was the real me, and I was incapable of obeying God.
Now I know something about soul and spirit. I know something of what it means to put on Christ and put off my old nature. I put on my new nature, which is the righteous nature of Christ. (Ephesians 4:20-24) By faith, I’ve laid hold to the truth of the Word, which says, my old nature that wanted to sin is now dead. My flesh still wants what it wants, but my flesh is not me. My flesh is mine that I may now live in this physical plane, but I have the power to control it by enduring temptation. He old nature wanted to sin, but has been replaced when I was saved and filled with the Spirit of God. My new nature in Christ wants what Christ wants, as Jesus said, “It is my meat to do the will of My Father.”
In John 17, Jesus says that He and the Father are one. He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. He prays that His disciples will also be one with them in the same way. Then He prays that those of us who believe because of the testimony of the disciples will be one with God in the same way the Father and the Son are one with the disciples. Jesus prayed this would be so just before He willingly offered Himself on the cross. Do you think His Father said no to Him?
If Jesus did not deny His Father, His Father did not deny Him, either. Therefore, we now have the same nature God has, in wanting to live righteously. We are not gods, but if we believe these words of Scripture are true, we will bare His fruit in us. When I make a choice to obey because I believe the real me wants to follow God, I am walking in the spirit, no matter how loudly my flesh protests. I am in Christ and He is in me. Christ is the overcomer by me.