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Life Notes

How Did I Miss That?

Part 10: We are to Become Christ-Like

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

Author, teacher, and speaker Fr. Richard Rohr likes to remind us that Christ is not Jesus’ last name. Christ is a designation for one in whom spirit and body are perfectly integrated and manifested. Christ consciousness is a state of being that has existed as part of the Godhead since the beginning of creation. Jesus was 100% human and 100% God – a perfect expression of body and spirit, and he invited us to become the same. His oft-repeated mandate, “Follow me,” did not mean to go where he went, but to become who he became – to do what he did, to love as he loved, and to heal as he healed. How did I miss that?

I find ample evidence to justify that Jesus encouraged us to fully develop our spiritual natures, even as we develop our human nature. For example, beginning with John 17:20, “I ask not only on behalf of these (his disciples), but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us…” Those who have come to believe in Jesus through the words of his disciples, i.e., the Gospels, are invited to become one with God, Jesus, and with each other. That proclamation of oneness with God is what got Jesus crucified.

Whether by teaching or by imagination, I grew up assuming Jesus the Christ was a larger-than-life figure that I could never aspire to imitating. I, after all, am a lowly and unworthy sinner. It is evident to me now that Jesus believed differently. He not only loves us, but he envisions a divine destiny for and with every one of us. He clearly directed his disciples to continue his work, and we are the current day descendants of those disciples.

To imagine becoming one with Christ while still on earth is difficult to grasp. And yet, with God all things are possible. Clearly, we underestimate our capability and our possibilities. Science has shown that we only develop a fraction of our intellectual capacity. What portion of our spiritual capacity is ever realized? Likely, it is minuscule. What if we were to truly surrender what have become the driving forces in our lives – prestige, possessions, and power – and unwaveringly centered our lives on service to others, as Jesus did? What if we became such pure and empty vessels that Christ could work through us without resistance? Dare we believe we could heal illness with a word or a touch? Dare we believe we could lift the weight of sin from another’s shoulders? Dare we believe the limitless possibilities? I think Jesus urged us so to dare.

We are to become like Christ. How did I miss that?

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