In the New Testament book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul explains the spiritual revolution that we need in order to grow into the life of Christ or our true self.
“So I declare and testify together with Christ that you must stop living the kind of life the world lives. Their minds are empty, they are alienated from the life of God. That is hardly the way you have learned from Christ,unless you failed to hear properly, when you were taught what the truth is in Jesus. You must give up your old way of life; you must put aside your old self, which is being corrupted by following illusory desires. Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution, so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s likeness, in the justice and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:17-18, 20-24)
Awakening and embarking on the spiritual journey invited me to have a good hard look at reality. I was being invited to die so that more of the life of Christ could live in me. “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
When I first embarked on the spiritual journey I began to recognize my false self and the ways in which it controlled me and kept me from being fully alive. “False Phileena” let particular cultural and religious expectations define and limit her. I was overly concerned with what others thought of me, and those actual or delusional opinions determined many of the decisions I made and responsibilities I stepped up to. My true self was a “prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” But having embarked on the spiritual journey, my true self was waking up and was a force to be reckoned with.
The true self is free, unattached to power, possessions and prestige. Unencumbered, the true self is able to follow Christ wherever Christ leads.
The thing about the true and false self is that both are within us and even if we’re unawakened and unaware of this inner dynamic, the two parts of our self are at work. If the false self dominates our unawakened state, we still have probably lived from our true self at times.
- Can you recall a time when you did something or said something or made something in a totally un-self-conscious way? Do you remember an experience when you were totally unencumbered, free and flowing in your best, unhindered self? That experience is probably an expression of you’re true self. Notice what that part of you is like in contrast to the part that is enslaved or attached to what you do, have or what other say about you.
- Listen to the deepest stirrings within you Do you notice your true self stirring? If your true self could speak to you, what would he/she say? If you true self could do something, what would she/he do?
photo credit: Jennifer Speight