John Eldredge in his book, Wild at Heart, sees the futility of striving to
live a life without God and recognizes how it contributes to the creation of a
Distorted Self. ‘The whole false self, our 'lifestyle', is an elaborate defence
against entering our wounded heart. It is a chosen blindness. Our false self
stubbornly blinds each of us to the light and the truth of our own emptiness and
I cannot locate the source of this quote. Nevertheless I will use it because it uncovers the reason why so many choose the false ‘comfort’ of woundedness’ and un-life as their life.
There’s our real self and there’s our dull self. There is a self that lives out of the status quo. It draws its security and identity from things as they are. This is a self that rejects or minimizes prophetic words that depict the demolition of the kingdoms of man to make way for the Kingdom of Heaven. It is the distorted self that finds comfort in things as they are, choosing blindness over the freedom and adventure of the real self whose life is Christ.
As Christians it’s not hard to live a life without much of God. Some consciously or unconsciously choose this and even participate in church life to hide from God; to hide in a little god they can handle of control. Thus when Jesus arrives through a visitation of the Holy Spirit, they take offence, withdraw into their religious cocoon or simply fade out of God and out of the higher life.
Of course this kind of god is not the real God who was and is and is to come. It is a projection of ourselves; a projection of the false self that is the lie we in which we live when religion rather than Christ is our life.
THE DISTORTED SELF
We can rationalize our distorted self by imagining that our difference to the more spirited is due to personality. Some of it may be. But the truth is our basic difference arises because we are embedded in old Adam rather than new Christ. The Adamic life is a lie. Only in Christ are we alive.
‘For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive’ 1 Cor 15.22 NIV.
Living in anything less than Jesus we are always less than our real self. ‘The lesser self’ is not only normal but invisible to the population of the old covenant. Law aficionados and performance addicts strive to be what is forever beyond them, imagining that they are following Jesus when they are following themselves in order to follow Jesus. Big difference. Those who live in the Spirit of Christ have spirits that soar. They fly without effort on the wings of life. They fly in ways inexplicable to the captives of the letter. The lie that many of us must reject is the lie that tells us we must earn the place in our Father’s Heart that is already ours in Jesus.
The common thread in all lies that belittle the human spirit is the lie that His cross was not enough.
There is this other self. There is a self that has been distorted by the father of lies. This self we can live in when we do not live in resurrection and in life. This is the self that was ‘born,’ so to speak at the fall, when Adam chose to believe that he could be like God making it on his own. Adam exchanged union with the Father for the lie purveyed by the father of lies – that life, dignity, honour and sonship can be found in things other than God. But all these things are ours in Christ. They always were.
Again we are the sons of God, filled with the Spirit of Sonship and made whole to reign as His kings and priests in our everyday situations.
Just as Jesus is I AM, so I am my true self when He is my life. The glory to glory I enjoy when I grow in Christ is the glory that was originally mine and that is mine in my savior’s resurrection. The only real self we have is the self that was originally in Christ before the foundation of the world. And the self that has been redeemed by God in Christ reconciling us to Himself. Christ is not only in us. By the Spirit He lives as us so that we might be who we are.
‘Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it’ Rev 2.17 NIV.
‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ Gal 2.20 NIV.