Do I look like Jesus? Jesus looked with loving, gentle, knowing eyes. His eyes were aided by the Holy Spirit.
Do you sound like Jesus? Jesus spoke the truth in love, in every situation as gently as the situation warranted. He spoke what He heard from the Father because of the Holy Spirit's empowering Him to live the life we are called to.
Do we act like Jesus? He did what He saw the Father doing. He even told us that greater works shall we do.
So do we? Oh, I mean the greater works; do we do them like Jesus said we would? That question should be mulled around in the old noodle, to see what's cooking.
Is it soup yet?
The way we understand God, reality and ourselves is called a worldview or paradigm. Everyone has a paradigm, even Adam and Eve (though they didn't need belly buttons.) Every last one of us is created in a kind, and a type (or likeness therein).
During our development into adulthood, we are influenced by the worldviews we are exposed to by all mediums and means. As we move chemically into puberty we begin owning our own paradigm. Our brain chemistry continues to form until about the age of 23 for females and up to 28 for males. Same kind, different type or likeness.
When we speak of being "born of God", this is not speaking of an event we "grow" into, like evolving spiritual development. It is also not a role we mature into.
Being born of God is the intervention of God to create a new spiritual life form within our soul of this peculiar flesh and blood person. This new being we are lives forever, and we are not sure what actual form we will have on the other side of death or Rapture - but we do know we will be like our Master. The Bible tells us so.
Nicodemus was flabbergasted by the concept of being born again. Jesus disturbed the compacency in old Nick's scholarship and devotion as a leader of the Jewish faith. On our side of the coin, so many in the Christian arena are used to the phrase, and get a little-dulled to the concept. Their eyes glaze over. Yet, this is Jesus' own words. This isn't something made up in the 1970's. This is not something Jimmy Carter should have been slandered with by some in the Christian community. But he was.
We can help others in the community of faith understand the concept by hearing their real testimony of God's handiwork in their life. Others know it based upon an event or activity since which they are new people. The awareness of having been born of God is more important than knowing assundry items like time, place, event, etc.
Some people cannot comprehend that knowledge; nor that works are not the way we are born of God. Jesus tells us we are new creations by the power of the Spirit of God, who goes around untraceable as the winds. These are the words of Jesus, not some student of doctrine or theologian. Not all flesh receives the Holy Spirit of Christ in their life, but every new creation has gone through the process of receiving God the Holy Spirit who indwells us.
Proven track record
Once we start, we are spiritual babies, then spiritual children, then spiritual adulthood, and then maturing into spiritual adulthood -- which is of the stature owned by Jesus, you know, He who is the self-revealed Son of Man.
No amount of knowledge may make an event occur; so it is with our spiritual birthing into union with God through Jesus our Lord. It is not our will, nor actions we have or have not done. The righteous have always lived by faith. We are not Gnostics. Only God alone can speak things into existence, can make things happen by knowledge of it.
Now, to think with the unrenewing mind, means to buy into a complex set of concepts which have no foundation in reality. May we remind ourselves often enough that Jesus Himself had to grow in knowledge as he developed from childhood into young adulthood. He set aside the privileges of being God so as to become the Son of Man, the Servant, the perfect human who walked the real world without sin.
Because of a renewed mind, and interrelational activity between ourself and God, we find God revealing in us the paradigm of God. We being sharing the mind of Jesus by supernatural means. We do this through God's previous revelation in all its forms. This task is accomplished by God the Holy Spirit sealing us in communion with God.
There is joy discovered in God's worldview. It is the transcedent truth in immanent locale. The word of God becomes flesh, and in Christ Jesus we are promised to share in the peace, joy, satisfaction, security. We are released from captivity of our mortal mind and its inability to know truth. We, as saints, are now able to receive things of God.
A quote I saw stated that if our world is getting larger and funnier, our intelligence is increasing. If our world is geting smaller and depressing, our ignorance is increasing. This aligns itself with the experience we kknow from the history of faithful righteous saints of the past. Is this your experience?
Tell me, how else could we rejoice in our sufferings? How could it be that we maturing priests of God, are not driven by the same old compulsions, obsessions and preoccupations? Is it really possible for us to announce we are forgiven in Christ, without a peaceful Amen resounding in our being? How can we respond to inquiries as to the hope others see in us, if we have not the comfort of God with which to comfort others?
We can do all things in Christ who strengthens us. This we know for the Bible says so.
To be connected with the only source of all life and living means that we have abundant life, just as Jesus promised. Of course we like to think of that in terms of all blessings, which is true. But we live in a fallen world, and there is authentic heartache, sorrow, mourning and tragedy. This too we are now open to abundantly. This was the world as Jesus walked it, and we are called to follow Him.
In love we are created, in love we are sustained. In love we are corrected, healed, and conformed into His mature image of the human who walked according to the will of God the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus comes, this partial knowledge and conformity will by fulfilled and we will start eternity as completely new creations. Then we will know as fully as God intends and prepared us to be. This doesn't mean omniscience, for only God knows all. We will fully know as God's creatures designed for right relationship with Him and each other.
In our current position, our desire and obedience, to know in part, is not optional. It is deemed essential by God according to God's own counsel and wisdom. Healthy new creations have this desire, obedience and partial knowledge.
Should one have little to no desire to know in part, in a growing and maturing relationship of kknowing God, it is time for that one to pray "I believe, help my unbelief." To ask, seek and knock until the desire to be in union with Him and His household is restored. This is not said so as to swerve off in a mystical direction. What does Jesus say?
Love your enemies, do good to all men, pray for those who persecute you, forgive and you will be forgiven, love even those who do not love us. We are called to be perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect. How is it that anyone can stand content that they love and share God's grace in action, perfectly. Please mull over the word "perfectly." It doesn't give room for almost or not quite, so it is beyond our own means even as new creations; that is, unless we are plugged into Jesus and bearing His fruit.
We are not to bear our own fruit, for such is worthless for eternity and pitiful before God.
Are we content with only with receiving God's partial grace, love and forgiveness? Does God settle for us getting in the way of Him providing grace, love, and forgiveness to others? Which God do you serve? We must be all means continue rejoicing and experiencing God's inviting us to the inner sanctum. This of course may sound "mystical " to some folks, it is beyond ourselves and our imaginations. It is mysterious to the old nature; which cannot know the truth.
You and I were raised by varying degrees, in conformity to the world, so as not to actually acknowledge the Supernatural. That is the world we live in. In Jesus finally no doubt is left, the Supernatural has invaded our planet. This realm for many is the habitat for boggarts, elves, ghosts, fairy tales and possessed tortured individuals. Of course the world considers it such, for their idea is full of childish rumor, fears and secrets. But as adults in Christ we move on because of knowledge which tells us this version of the supernatural does not exist. It is for the natural mind a delusion of the realm of Evil.
As new creations we know that when we were children we thought, spoke, and reasoned like children; as Paul says, "but when I became a man I put away childish things. Have you wrestled with all your own childish things? Do you want what you want when you want it, on your own terms? That is completely childish. Even if what you desire rightfully is maturity in the faith.
Theology, as the study of knowledge of the persons of God Himself, must be our passion of Him. Proclamaton of God's truth and revelation is the point of theological study in our missional duty as citizens of His Kingdom. We believe, therefore we speak. The power of God is not seen in our ability to dazzle folks with theory, possibilities, and fancy language. It is not found in a pagan-style endorsement and persuasive tactic to "work a crowd."
We are absolutely not to walk in the futility of darkened understanding, in hardness of heart. But I do at times. God is faithful to break me, then. To experience God's discipline means that we are His offspring. Paul tells us that our worldly mental constructs and machinations of thought are not what we were taught by God. "You did not learn Christ this way", Paul exclaims in exasperation, "if indeed you heard Him and were taught in Him."
I lay aside my corrupted, deceived old self to be renewed in the Spirit of my mind. We are to think, therefore, with the renewing mind. But having a renewing mind means we think about what?
Plainly spoken, we are to think the thoughts of God after Him. These are revealed by God the Spirit, according to our position we are placed within the Body. I take off the old suit, and put on the new garment, which is described by the Apostles' Teaching as "clothing ourselves with Christ." Sounds fancy and mystical, does it not?
In Christ we receive the annointing of His Spirit of Truth, whereby we know the word of God abides in us. We know this because God announced that ahead of time. Does the word of God teach us to contemplate and reason according to the flesh? But I do, at times; I know you do too. Our calling is to be taught by God, not by our fallen neighbors in this world.
We know there are elemental things which we can learn of by even the fallen humanity in this world. But we are called to be in the world, not of the world. Jesus did not come so that we could be happy pagans, enslaved by lusts, passions, pride and self-oriented egotism. No, we are told that Jesus has overcome the world by His coming as a Servant. We are told we are hidden in Him, by faith. If we only hope this is so, it is not enough. We know we have eternal life when we reason with our renewing minds. The renewed mind is faith and knowledge of God in action.
We are not the focus, either of God's love and salvation, nor of knowledge and function. This processing of information in terms of what this all means to "Me" is what we are to have put away with childish things. Such self-focus is not Godly reasoning, and Christ's mind does not agree with this manner of behavior. Instead, we are called into the community of the faithful saints alive here and in God's hands. We are called to be in unity with the Spirit of Truth, that we are the Bride of Christ, our Lord and Master, Jesus the Son of God.
Jesus' cousin John told his disciples: "He who has the bride is the bride-groom... He must increase, but I must decrease." This is the testimony of the one whom Jesus says "But I say to you, that Elijah has also come, and they did to Him whatever they wished..." He was the last of the Old Covenant prophets. He proclaimed Jesus was our Bride-groom. How is it then, that the Church acts like the husband in this relationship?
We know from Jesus' parents experience that betrothal meant they were man and wife so as, unlike today, if the betrothal was broken it entailed a writ of divorce. Remember, we are thinking with the renewed mind. Jesus Himself refers to being the Bridegroom.
In Genesis, we read that God tells Eve "... yet your urge will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." Paul when writing of this mystery in reference to Christ and the church says, "Wives be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the Head of the Church... as the church is subject to Christ... because we are members of His body... let the wife see to it that she respect her husband."
We of course find loving Jesus appealing, and so we must. However the church as always had trouble respecting Her husband.
BTW, WE are the CHURCH. We aren't just talking ancient history anymore.
Now, think about that. Selah!
Soli Deo Gloria