There are many communities of Christian faith. The healthiest of them are the ones for whom Jesus is life personally and together. I mean the ones who have taken seriously the truth I heard an astute Christian leader declare many years ago: “Christianity is not a religion. It’s a person.” Just make sure your ‘person’ is the Christ of God and not some ‘other christ’.
‘I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist’ 2 John 1.7 NIV.
The denomination you belong to is not the key element in your effectiveness for God – assuming that our gospel is His gospel. The difference between a flow of spirit and life from our being and mere words is the difference between a hunger for Jesus to be our life Himself and a placid acquiescence in the status quo and an identity that we think we have - in the beliefs and the community we are used to. Stagnant water is never alive.
Throughout my life I have been aware that there are people who are genuine and people are who superficial. The former have a ‘deep self’ that is grounded in a reality that is greater than themselves. There are people who have established a self entirely in things that do not really matter and who blow about like leaves in. the breeze.
There are other sincere souls who are almost entirely ‘human doings’ who fear that if they stop their activity their self will disappear. This ‘them’ is not their real self but the insurance policy they have adopted as a means of creating one.
Another set of Believers are more calm, even phlegmatic. They too have a self that is not their real self. They have made a self for themselves from their accomplishments, status and the identity they think they have in their community. These things are part of them and often a worthy part. But this is not the real self. The real self is who we are in a non-insulated relation to Jesus.
There are others who have been too serious about themselves and have almost lost themselves and the joy of being as a result.
I think of Maud who sought godliness for Herself in the law. While she achieved some good in ministry she never rose above the morbidity that law-mongering imparts to an already melancholic temperament. She never became the real self that she could have been in a relationship with Jesus plus nothing.
When Christ is our life our temperament is relevant only insofar as it becomes the medium through which the person of Jesus is expressed. The true self emerges in encounter and relationship with you and our Father. In Jesus you and our Father are one and you grow into your authentic self in the spirit of sonship. Law based religion in all its forms nurtures degrees of depression. It inherently suffocates the spirit on the altar of religion.
God foretold our coming liberation when He set the younger version of Abraham free, (his son) and substituted a ram from the thicket.
Your genuine self is Christ as you.
MORE THAN AQUITAL The lamb of God is for more than the forgiveness of sins. It’s about the infusion of life into you and the transformation of you from a sacrifice into a son of God. The spirit of sonship comes in our flesh to be expressed as the real us, the real joy of life in being ourselves in the consciousness that we are imparters of His life and that we will live forever. Richard Rohr writes,
PLACE AND TIME
“Place does not exist except in God. There is no time outside God. God is the beauty in all beauty. Those who allow divine friendship enjoy divine friendship, and it is almost that simple. You are that which you are looking for, and that is why you are looking for it. God’s life and love flow through you as soon as you are ready to allow it.
That is the core meaning of faith—to dare to trust that God could, will, and does have an eternal compassion toward you. Everyone who asked Jesus to heal them or help them had somehow made that simple act of trust that he cared—and so the flow happened and they were healed.” (1)
All that can be summed up as life – all that is joy and exuberance and peace in contented stillness is God. This Christ is in you and by the Spirit becomes you. The un-encumbered, undiluted, un-added to Jesus is life to the full.
HOW WILL YOU LIVE?
‘Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me’ John 6.57 NIV.
The genuine self does not exist apart from God. There is no real self apart from Jesus as our life. The self we attempt to make for ourselves through career and religion is not our real self. Our true self emerges from the adventure of life in partnership with Jesus, Father and Holy Spirit. When this relationship is our state of being we becomes sons and daughters in spirit and in truth – not just by definition as a figment of the letter that shrinks.
It's true that a person with a passion for God will find God and know God. Jesus reveals the fullness of God as God is to such people. An unrelenting following of Jesus liberates us from false christs, false gospels and false selves. To know Jesus as Jesus is to know yourself and your life without limit. This is to be sons not notionally or positionally but in spirit and in truth.
(1) Rohr, Richard. Immortal Diamond: The search for our true self . SPCK. Kindle Edition.