We live from a mirage when we live from a self-made identity. Living in this construction we may think we have made a palace when all we have made is a shack – compared to who we actually are in Christ. Being ‘in Christ’ is really being in your real identity – this identity is your ultimate being in God. Outside of this we are never our real selves and we emit something and nothing to fill spaces and time. We are not formed as sons of God because we are not reborn.
A STRAW MAN
We can make an identity up. It consists of things like our self-made self, our abilities and achievements. Many attempt to borrow an identity by association with admired others or there is an attempt to build a self by belonging to a club or a denomination. The latter is seductive because it hollows out the genuine self and replaces it with a substitute that is not actually you, but a pseudo you. We can belong to our things and submerge our being into groups in a bid to build a sense of self. But they turn out to be superficialities – false wives and inferior husbands; insubstantial states of being that can never provide the sense of self and genuine purpose that is ours as sons of God.
We are all potentially sons of God. Notionally in the old covenant and in spirit and in truth in the new. We move from shadow to reality when we are born again – born out of superficialities and shadows into the reality that is Christ our life. We are sons when we are living in God, when our being is rooted in our Father. Now we are sons in spirit and in truth. We have become agents of the new creation. But we cannot be our real selves. We remain merely notional sons when live from false images of the self – a dead tree instead of a tree of life.
FALSE IMAGES, FALSE SELF
Richard Rohr writes, “We need to let go of these false self-images. They do not serve us well. They are debts that hang over us because we ourselves are both the creditor and the debtor, and enough is never enough. Most people spend their entire lives living up to these mental self-images instead of living in the primal “I” that is already good in God’s eyes.
But all I can “pay back” to God or others or myself is who I really am. That’s a place of utter simplicity. Perhaps we don’t want to go back to it precisely because it’s so simple. It feels unadorned. There’s no dressing, nothing to congratulate myself for. I can’t prove any worth, much less superiority. There I am naked and poor. After years of false adornment, it will at first feel like nothing. But being nothing has a glorious tradition. When we are nothing, we are in a fine position to receive everything from God.” (1)
We are the genuine Body of Christ when our being is one with our Father and we are in fellowship with the trinity, enjoying the relationship with them that they have with each other. The ‘primal I’ is who we are when part of the being of God. The false me is who we are when we have attempted to establish the self in any lesser mode of being than in God. This is the knowledge of good and evil self – the pale ghostly self that arises from a borrowed identity. Your real self is the ‘done with separation’ self – the self in which whom you and Father are one.
The nothingness of which Rohr speaks begins at the cross and our returning to it. Many of us minister something and nothing because we have not been there – not in totality. Part of our self has. But not the views and positions we cling to that we think are the essential us and our status. Unless we are born again from nothingness we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Let alone discern it or live in the Spirit. But when we are nothing we are on the road to being something and more. We are advancing daily into who we were really meant to be and will become – because Christ is our life we are advancing into Him we are growing into our real selves.
The ground of our being is the Family of God -the trinity. It is this soil in which we are rooted by the Vine and it is this dynamic life and personhood that makes us living branches with living fruit. C Baxter Kruger writes, “The Trinitarian life is a life of unchained fellowship and intimacy, fired by passionate, self-giving love and mutual delight. Such love, giving rise to such togetherness and fellowship, overflows in unbounded joy, in infinite creativity and unimaginable goodness. The gospel begins here with this God and with this divine life, for there is no other.” This life is ours. Nothing need be done except agree in faith.We have been drawn into this life in Jesus and have become channels of this life because Jesus is our life.
You are not a person who tries to be like Jesus. You are a being whose person is the manifestation of the trinity. This is the incarnation and gospel of the Kingdom. Jesus said, ‘You are gods.’ We are not divine BUT WE ARE SONS.
As a manifestation of Jesus we are more than enough. It’s way better to be the expression of God than a human construct of the law, a set of behaviours or the effect of religion. There’s more to being a son than the attempt to be Christlike. The latter is a subtle legalism, the effect of our version of Jesus, whatever that may be and no more attainable than any aspect of the law. God knows who He is. He is I AM. He expresses Himself in you in the verisimilitude of Himself. As are result you become more than a Christian, more than a try-harder conscript and more than a son of Adam. You live as a son of God. Out of you flow rivers of spirit and life.
(1) Rohr, Richard. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (pp. 76-77). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.