I’m dedicating today’s blog post to a comment from Amy, who is a mother to beautiful triplets (OMG bless your heart!)
and before that was a pastor at the church where Vince and I got married and most recently attended.
This church is a shining example of the goodness in Christianity where they have a deep experiential understanding of the Spirit — this church is full of Freedom, Life and Love! I have been focusing in my blog on the downsides of Christianity, and I do think as a whole there are a lot of issues in this religion; however, there are churches like this and people like Amy who exemplify the love of Christ, and raise Christianity to a new level, where unconditional love is utmost, and they don’t get lost in dogma. Her family (she is one of 12 kids) contains some of the most beautiful, loving, full of Spirit people I have ever met.
Instead of getting offended or preaching at me when I stirred up great controversy in my recent post: The Biggest Christian Lie Ever Told,
Amy responded with this gracious and heartfelt comment:
Noelle, This topic is something dear to me, and too much to put down in words. To try and simply put it: I believe God sees and treats us according to our heavenly nature. He loves us all so deeply. In fact I have made it the very focus of my parenting to call out who they are in Christ. If my daughter hits her sister I show my grief (not anger) and tell her that she was made to love her sister. I learned that from my own parents. But we are fighting a spiritual battle. The Word says we are constantly choosing between being led of the spirit and being led of our human nature, even Jesus was dependent on his Heavenly Father. In that way we are dependent on Christ’s love, not our own. When I am in a moment of pain where someone has severely wronged me, my first desire is to defend and want to make them hurt the way I have. But I have made it a habit to go to the lord in prayer and ask for his love. His eyes for what’s happened. It’s in that moment of dependence that I find all the love I could possibly need. I don’t pretend to have everything all figured out, but it’s in Christ where I have truly begun to live! I love you and I hear your heart in this matter. I would love more discussions around this. Peace
I think we are more on the same page than we realize, and this is an example of how, when you surrender to the Spirit of God, to LOVE, it doesn’t really matter what the beliefs were that got you there. That is why I do feel a great kinship with Christians who are not SO attached or lost in the Bible, but really live in the Spirit. We actually operate in our daily lives very similarly, and if a spirit-led Christian didn’t know what my core beliefs actually were, and we got together for coffee, there would be no lack in spiritual connection, because we are both focusing on the Spirit. It’s only when we get so tied to dogma that we lose some of our freedom. I experienced great Freedom, Life and Love while I was attending church with you. My experience beyond church has just taken it to a new level for ME, but especially with someone as full of Love and Life as you are, Amy, I am not thinking that I’m somehow ‘ahead of you’ or that you need to follow where I’m going. I just have a passion for all of us to have the most freedom possible. And I look at your life, and I see great freedom, Joy, and Love. While this isn’t true for all Christians, this IS true for you, and I support you and applaud you for how you are living your life in the Spirit.
I love what you said about how “God sees us and treats us according to our heavenly nature.”
YES! I agree! I would just add that I think our heavenly nature is our ONLY true nature, whereas I think you would say that our heavenly nature is only received through belief in Jesus as Savior.
And then you said “The Word says we are constantly choosing between being led of the spirit and being led of our human nature.”
And YES I agree with the basic premise behind this statement, as well — I’ve just had a big TWEAK in my definition of the human nature.
Christians would say that our human nature, our flesh, is who we are, and it needs to be surrendered.
I would say that our flesh is just the ego, and YES it needs to be surrendered, but here’s the difference in my perspective:
IT IS NOT WHO WE ARE.
Christians say that our basic nature is sinful, and we need to surrender it, so that the Holy Spirit can take over and lead us.
I say that our basic nature is good, and as we allow our ego to fall away (by focusing on our magnificence), we are naturally led by the Spirit, because it’s our identity.
Bottom line, we are both being led by the Spirit of God, but the way we get there is different. You get there by surrendering who you are. I get there by waking up to who I already am.
God is woven into the very fabric of our being, like I learned in ministry school at your church. The god-particle that was recently discovered shows us that God is literally holding everything together – every single cell in our bodies would collapse without this ‘god-particle’ on which every atom depends. It’s been scientifically proven that God is a force from which none of us CAN be separated!
So what’s the experiential difference in my line of thinking that we are fundamentally good, always connected to God, and just need to let our egos fall away
the Christian idea that we are basically sinful, and can only connect with God once we surrender our basic nature?
I, too, experience my ego rising up when someone hurts me, and I too, surrender it and find Life in the Spirit.
But here’s how this shift in perspective has dramatically changed my life:
Because I no longer identify Noelle with my ego at all (which you call the sinful nature), I find myself staying at peace more easily, more constantly, and it takes much more to offend me than it ever did before.
When I believed I was basically sinful, but just needed the grace of God to cover my sin, I got offended and hurt MUCH more often. I was much more insecure and prone to being hurt, because I thought I was basically BAD, and only God was good. I have found a much greater freedom in the truth that I AM LOVE, I have never been separate from God, and that all I have to do with the ‘sinful’ part of me (ego) is to realize that it’s NOT REALLY ME.
You said, “But we are fighting a spiritual battle.” And I disagree with that, as I explain in my post There Is NO Spiritual Battle. As I have stopped seeing life as a battle, the battle has completely disappeared.
You say “we are dependent on Christ’s love, not our own”, and I think that they are one and the same. I have found a deeper alignment and congruency in my thoughts, feelings, and actions as I see that I am a vital part of Christ’s love, as a Daughter of God, and that LOVE is my basic identity, not something I have to receive.
You said, “Even Jesus was dependent on his Heavenly Father.”
YES on this we agree! I definitely live a life of dependency on the Father, and I love relating to God as my Father, just as Jesus did.
I would love more of your thoughts on this, and please do let me know if I have misrepresented your beliefs in any way.
Thank you for this great discussion, Amy, I love you!