This morning I was reading the book, No Rusty Swords, which is a volume of the collection of writings and lectures by Dietrich Bonheoffer. In my reading today, he was talking about transcendence. I was struck with a strange thought about myself that was sort of a transcendent thought.
Those of you who know me know I’m just an average woman, I’m not deep thinking intellectual; but I do like to read things and ponder things that challenge my thinking and my faith….that is to say, I like to ponder things that challenge my faith to make it stronger. I am convinced that Jesus is, indeed The Way, the Truth and the Life and I’m going to follow his way until I die; but back to transcendence.
In this thought, it seems I was taken back to Falfurrias Texas (where I was born) when I was a child visiting our Mama Grande in the mid to late 60s. It seemed to me, or seems to me now (I’m not sure which) that my memory sees Falfurrias as it must have been in the 30s rather than in the 60s during my childhood. Perhaps it is that Falfurrias, like so many other small towns, doesn’t change that much over the decades; but it also may be that I experienced a moment of transcendence at just that moment; as if I was looking at myself through the eyes of another.
Perhaps that’s the way we view ourselves in our own personal history and in our own personal future. We see ourselves, not so much as a part of who we are, as much as who we were. It’s like we’re watching a movie about someone else. Or maybe it’s just me that sees myself as I was. I’m certainly not the person I was. For one thing, I’m much more confident and I know who I am more than ever in my life.
Is this because of me or anything I did on my own? Not hardly. If I was left to myself, I’d probably be a type of sniveling, passive aggressive woman who uses manipulation as a tactic to get what she wants.
It is because of Jesus in me that I can beat that other woman who lives within me down. The Bible tells us that when we become a Christian, we are new creatures. But we also have to remember that we can’t stop at that point. We have to continue to become a new creature.
Now, there are people who will be glad to guide you in the best way to kill zombies, but really, there is only one zombie each of us has the ability to kill and that’s the zombie that lives within ourselves. And since we can only kill that inner zombie, the only way to truly kill it is to saturate oneself in God’s word and to live with a desire to obey God in all things.
Which brings me to another thing that D Bonheoffer said in The Cost of Discipleship,
“Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient believes.” Or, as Jesus put it, “If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments.”
When we live to obey God through Jesus, we become more that new creature and the old creature diminishes. We look at ourselves as if that earlier version of self is a totally different person, and those who knew that person as he or she was before would see a transformation that cannot be explained without the grace of God.
Seek God and seek to obey him. Only through believing and obeying can we reach the full potential of who we are.
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