By Andrea Garzon & Ole Henrik Skjelstad
Almost all of Christianity is obsessed with this idea that we have to change. In the church this quest for becoming more holy and righteous is characterized by self-effort. The emphasis is on you and what you have to do in order to improve and become a better person. In grace circles the stress is put upon correct teaching. If you just get to learn how much God loves you and how righteous and holy you are that change in your life you long for will quite effortlessly come to pass.
Let us for a moment speak about geography: Would you call a mountain an imperfection or a flaw because it’s not flat? Or a valley an imperfection because it’s hollow? God’s view on beauty and perfection as displayed in nature is fascinating. And this applies to our personalities too! His creation might seem “crazy” and from a human perspective marred when we only focus on outer things like mountaintops that are not flat and erupting volcanoes.
Let us also be pragmatic for a moment. I can’t change? Can you? Why do we encounter this emphasis on change when God lives His life as me? Can God change? No! How can the immutable God change? If He wants my valleys to be deep then let them be deep. If He wants my mountaintops to be ragged, well, let them be so. May our inner eyes be opened so that we can embrace ourselves in our stunning and amazing perfection!
The fact is that those who preach a gospel of change are opposing themselves. To put it bluntly, they look like a bunch of clones trying to “be more like Jesus”. We are not supposed to be clones. God’s idea is that we are supposed to be “more like ourselves”. There’s no need to be afraid of ourselves, because it is Love that drives us. When we have tasted the Real thing, we cannot go back to a gospel that put all its emphasis on that we are not whole and need to be changed.
Behind all these “doctrines”, no matter the label, unbelief reigns. To enter the gate of Gal 2:20 is scary because that in a sense implies zero control for man, but the paradox is that in the instant we enter that heavenly entrance we find ourselves in Christ with all His resources at our disposal. It is when we recognize the PERSON, the Real Thing, as us confusion must end. When we learn what a person is, that is, a person is a person containing a PERSON, and recognize this person in work in us as us that quest for change becomes void and nothing.
To be depraved of the knowledge that God is the one acting and working in us is, however, a necessary preludium to possessing our heritage as free sons. It is most necessary that we learn that change is impossible by either this or that, so that the Son can emerge in us. But, this is not either our full heritage. True freedom is attained when we “forget”, that is, “not knowing or perceiving” that it is God acting in us as us. We are just ourselves in true freedom.