by Jon Reeverts, But really, by Dan Stone and David Gregory
I feel tongue tied, incapable and often unable to express what I harbor deep inside. It creates a torrent of emotion. Can you guess which of these primary emotions it evokes?
sadness, happiness, fear, anger, surprise or disgust
Yes, usually anger, expressed as frustration and occasionally rage at my goal being blocked.
So, when I found authors that expressed what I wished I could, I decided that this blog would be theirs. We have recommended this book to many; it’s one of those that every time I return to it, it speaks for me.
What does this passage do for you?
“People always live after the but. The word, I mean: but. Go out and listen to people talk. Everyone lives after the but, whether they’re Christians or not. I don’t care what they say first, before the but. It’s after the but that you hear what they really believe.
“Sam’s a nice guy. We’re lucky to have him as a pastor. But…” Now we’re going to hear what they really think about Sam.
“But, he talks too much.”
“But his sermons are a bit dry.”
“But my momma was sick and he never visited.
We’re always living after the but. Unfortunately, Christians typically put the wrong things before the but and after the but. We put God stuff before the but and our situation or feelings after the but. We say things like:
“Well I know God loves me, but it doesn’t seem like it. Everything is falling apart.”
“I know God is my sufficiency, but I really don’t have what I need.
“I know that God promised me wisdom, but all I have is confusion.
You do that and where are you living? You’re living in the junk. You’re living in circumstance. It’s got you. The only thing you can hope for is a change in circumstance. And if that doesn’t come, you’re up a creek. But even if it does, you still haven’t learned to live out of the life of God within you. Satan doesn’t care how much God-talk we use, as long as we put it before the but.
I have a name for putting God after the but, where it belongs. I call it the “Holy But.” Jesus used the Holy But in the Garden of Gethsemane. My paraphrase of His famous prayer is: “Father, I don’t want to be separated from You. If it’s possible, let Me out of it. In fact, this is so heavy on Me right now that my soul feels very depressed…
...not as I will, but as You will.”
That’s the Holy But. The Holy But is a bridge. It picks you up from where you are stuck and moves you into faith.
“I feel awfully weak, but God is my strength.”
“I’m sorrowful, but God is my peace.”
“I’m in pain, but Christ is my sufficiency.”
“I want to watch this TV show, but Christ in me wants me to take time to listen to this person’s hurt.”
The "Holy But" moves you from the level of the soul, from thoughts and feelings (which are perfectly normal reactions to life’s situations), to the level of the spirit, to faith, to allowing Christ to respond to situations through you with His life. The situation is the same, but you have shifted on the inside.
That’s what happened with Jesus in the Garden. He didn’t deny the situation. He didn’t deny His thoughts and feelings, which felt overwhelming. But He chose to live from Father rather than from His feelings. He turned the situation, which never did change for Him, into our salvation.
To operate the Holy But, we have to put the stuff first and God’s truth last. You can’t always change the stuff, but you can change whether you’re going to receive it or not. What comes after the but is what you have received.
Paul, too, also understood the Holy But. He wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians:
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body (4:7-10).
Paul was living after the but. He put trouble in front of the but and God, or God’s perspective, after the but. Did that change the fact that he was afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down? Not at all. He continued to experience those things. But where was he taking his life from? “The life of Jesus…” He moved within himself.
Because we know the truth and live from the truth doesn’t mean the external situation is going to change. But we are changed. The Holy But moves you from the circumstance to the solution, and the solution is a Person. It moves from without to within, the outer to the inner, the temporal to the eternal from looking below the line to looking above the line.
Paul said that he was, “always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus” -- that’s the seen and temporal perspective -- “so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body.” That’s the unseen and eternal perspective. In the seen and temporal realm, the life of Christ was flowing out through him.
The Holy But always changes your perspective on a situation from external to internal. Regardless who you might want to say is the origin of it - Satan or God - you take that situation back to the Person within you and get God into it.
What are You about God? It looks like the devil, but what are You about, God? My child is rebelling, but what are You about, God? I lost my job, but what are You about? My husband left me, but what are You about? We somehow come back to say, “But God, You’re in this.” We’re not talking about cause; we’re talking about God being in it. He is our Source. We go within.
Most of us want to escape our circumstances because we don’t know how to operate the but. If we don’t know inner life, we want to escape. But if we know inner life, we understand that the Christian life is us living in the same situations everyone else lives in, but we live differently.
No one can chain your spirit. No one can make a slave of you internally. Satan is off-limits there. Your spirit and the Holy Spirit live in perfect harmony. When something is in perfect harmony, it runs smoothly. It’s quiet. It’s at rest.
The soul is seldom in harmony. If you get to a point where your soul is in harmony, just enjoy it, because it isn’t going to last long. What’s going on in the soul, the body and the world is confrontation and strife. We are pulled and tugged. Our feelings fluctuate. Sometimes we’re as high as a kite and sometimes we’re dragging on the floor.
That’s where the difference is seen in our lives. Apart from Christ, we can’t respond to life’s circumstances differently than anyone else. If we try. We’ll only produce something phony. Only Christ can be this life, but He doesn’t operate His life in a spiritual vacuum. He operates His life in human beings. He operates in you and me.”
(Stone and Gregory, The Rest of the Gospel, 181-185).
This book is available at our ministry and also for order online.