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True Selves

John 1:9-13

The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn't even notice.
He came to his own people,
but they didn't want him.
But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
not blood-begotten,
not flesh-begotten,
not sex-begotten.

I have a confession to make. Over the years I have begun to think that there is more to this whole following Christ thing than simply being able to “go to heaven” when I die.

For a long time that seemed to be the thing about following Christ. I can’t even count the number of conversations that I have had with people about becoming a Christian. Many of those conversations centered around the need to receive Christ so that the person would go to heaven. In my evangelism, for many years, the issue of eternal destiny was really all that mattered.

As I read the gospels more and more I am beginning to think that I have missed the mark. There is so much more to following Christ than eternal fire insurance.

Did you catch this little bit in the poem from John,

But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.

As I continue to live this Christ-following life I am learning that this is really the central part of following Christ. This whole “…made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves,” is really what it’s all about.

When we think that following Christ is only about eternity we miss out on the here and now of a life of faith and spirituality. Christ’s work of reconciliation I have often only thought of as something rooted in our eternal destiny. That is simply not the case. The reconciliation that Christ has wrought through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension is to make us our true selves.

The reconciling work of Christ is a reconciliation of all things. This includes reconciling ourselves. In Christ we are able to finally become who we really and truly are.

Perhaps this is something that you’ve thought about before, but for me, it’s still in that whole “revolutionary” realm of thinking. I feel a bit dumbstruck by the ramifications of this truth.

God is not simply concerned with my eternal destiny. No, God wants me and you to become the best versions of ourselves right here and right now!

I think this is why we need to be in community and live life with one another. Because it is in the context of other child-of-God selves that we are challenged to become more loving, gracious, and kind. In other words, in the midst of deep community we have the best opportunity to become the best or fully reconciled versions of ourselves.

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