By Norman Grubb
So, when temptation draws me and would grab me, it is now easy for me to transfer my initial tendency to respond as if I’m an independent self back to who I really am. I don’t have to seek and pray and try to find a Christ who will deliver me. I simply recognize myself as crucified with Him. Now He is the real me, and I recognize Him as me. He, the love or purity or power or peace or whatever virtue, swallows up the pull of the attraction. We can’t see two ways at once. When I am drawn to see and respond to some negative temptation, I take the place of faith by denying the existence of this false self with its negative seeing and affirm it as now crucified with Christ. I replace it by the positive seeing of Him as my true self. Then where is the temptation or pull? The positive swallows the negative!
In other words, I don’t fight against darkness in a room, or stop to condemn it, or struggle against it. I just turn on the light, and where is the darkness? And when we inwardly know we are that light (He in us), it is quite easy to recognize Him in us, and that is how we inwardly turn on the light. Life swallows up death, Paul says, and likewise light swallows up darkness.
Temptation is really a means of temporarily diverting my believing into some flesh attraction, for what the Bible calls unbelief is really negative believing. I am temporarily grabbed by that thing-some fear, depression, tension, lust, resentment, sense of inability, or weakness-and sometimes the hold may last for a long time. As soon as I awake to the hold that a thing has on me through my negative believing in it, then I can always exercise my freedom of will (which is not soul-emotion but spirit-action) and affirm who I am, Christ in me. I do this by the word of faith, quite apart from feeling or reasoning, and I am restored and free.
Above all else, I must rely on Romans8:1 – no condemnation! James says we are to count temptations all joy (count in spirit, not feel in soul!), because they provide practice in becoming established in faith-in the faith of Christ as the real me. So when I am tempted and snap back from illusory self to Him, my true self, then give thanks and enjoy that little bit of good practice, but I never take condemnation.
When His own disciples remained in negative believing fearing a storm, not having food for the multitude, or no fish, or not believing the resurrection – Christ did not condemn them as sinners, but He did call them “fools and slow of heart to believe,” and He did chide them for their lack of faith. So I don’t mind being often a fool and a slow believer, but I don’t mistake foolishness for sinning. No condemnation!
And if I go beyond temptation and indulge in the thing tempting me, then I have sinned and will undoubtedly feel guilty. But I must not remain in that guilt, for God does not see the sin, but only the blood which cleanses from all sin. So I see the same. I confess (a word in 1 John 1:9 which means “say with”, so I am inwardly saying with God, “Yes, I did sin”), then` immediately the sin is no longer there. Since He remembers it no more, neither do I. I immediately change from guilt to praise. That is why it says in Hebrews 9:14 that the blood cleanses the conscience from the dead works. It is adding sin to sin, if I choose to remain guilty instead of replacing it by the positive believing that I am righteous as He is righteous.
And I refuse to step into the added false bondage of that illusory self which says, “I’m sure I’ll do it again. How can I be delivered from this wrong habit?” I am not there to be delivered! I am now Christ in one of His human forms, and all I am told again and again is to walk, walk, walk. And “walk” means that I take one step at a time. So I don’t say, “What about that habit grabbing me tomorrow?” Take no thought for tomorrow, Jesus said. I only say, “I am my freed self now. As for tomorrow, He is my keeper. He has taken on the keeping of me. I’ll surely do it again unless You keep me, but You are my keeper.” So I only live in the present.
In order to live the “Not I, but He” life, I must have that inner consciousness. That is the faith being substance. When I was saved as a sinner, I had to transfer my negative believing in my sinful condition to my positive believing that Christ is my substitute who bore my sins in His own body on the tree. As I said that word of faith, the Spirit witnessed with my spirit that I am a redeemed child of God, and I live in that consciousness.
In the same way, I now turn my attention (my negative believing) away from my flesh-consciousness as “the wretched man; who shall deliver me from this body of death,” and I say the word of faith (positive believing) that I have been crucified with Christ and now I do not live, but He lives in me and as me. Then what happens? Into my inner consciousness (my know-how) comes the inner witness, “Yes, you are no longer your old lonely you. You are Christ in you, the real you.” And now, with Paul, in place of saying “I’m a wretched man,” I am saying, “I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord that I am a delivered man, and that He who is the Spirit of life is my real inner self” (Romans 8:2).
And the outcome is significant, for it changes my attitude – not just toward Christ, but toward myself. I no longer regard my human self as a wretched liability, always bugging and tormenting me. I now see and accept myself as Christ’s precious asset. My human ego is His holy temple, His branch form of Himself the Vine for reproducing fruit, His body agency by which He the Head operates in every phase of saving love activity. So I accept myself and love myself as He accepts and loves me! This is precisely what Paul said when he knew he was Christ in His Paul form.
He came out boldly to be himself in all freedom; “the life / now live in the flesh I live (not Christ lives) by faith, the inner substantial consciousness of the fact that He loves me; and He gave Himself for me, so I can now give myself for others.”
I live spontaneously, for I say with St. Augustine, “Love God and do as you like!” I think, I will, I choose, I plan. It looks like it, but it is really He. I live with a kind of wink. I, yes I, yet actually He!
In that freedom and spontaneity, temptation is less bothersome, for I am no longer living in suspicious fears and anxious watchfulness lest some temptation grab me again. Job said what we greatly fear comes on us, so that a lot of our temptations come because we are temptation and sin-minded, and fearful of our illusory selves. As we become self-accepting in place of self fearing, temptations will be all the fewer.
Finally, there is a sense in which we forget God and live. For when I have an inner know-how of my profession, I forget about the know-how and just do my job. I don’t keep reminding myself, “I’m a cook, I’m a teacher, I’m an engineer.” I just cook, teach, design. I don’t keep saying or remembering, “I am Christ in me, I am His human form.” I just immerse my human self in my thinking, speaking, and acting-and that is Christ.
Actually all this is only the background for living. It helps me find out who I really am in God’s eternal predestination of us as sons. It helps me to be who I am, and when I am that person, what am I? I am in my God union. I am a co-lover, co-savior, and co-worker with Christ in God’s eternal outgoing love-purposes and love action.
I move with Paul from knowing Christ in me for my liberation to knowing this same Christ as “mighty in me towards the Gentiles” (Gal.2:8). That is, I know Christ not for my own benefits, but for the sake of others. The inner fountain is now an outflowing river. But, that is altogether another aspect of things. It is the third stage from infancy, through adolescence, to adulthood; from co-crucifixion in Galatians, through co-resurrection in Colossians, to co-ascension in Ephesians; from Christ as our Moses, to Christ as our Joshua, to Christ as our Melchisedek. Daniel puts it simply: “The people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.” That is the final reality of our Christ-union.