[An excerpt from my graduate thesis: The Resurrected Self: Finding our True Identity in Christ]
The statement can be made without much argument that the majority of people walk through life half-alive, if not completely dead. We live captive to our sin and brokenness, or fighting to simply sludge through the days trying to survive. It is clear from Scripture, as we have seen, that God calls us to be alive. Since He gives us this call, there is reason to believe that it is possible. He would not call us to something or promise something that was not achievable. Verses such as John 10:10, “I have come that they might have life, and life to the full,” promise us that life in Jesus means to be fully alive. Colossians 2:13, “When you were dead in your sin…God made you alive with Christ,” lays out for us the idea of the Resurrected Self. Before being resurrected with Christ, we were dead in our sin. Now that we have been raised with Him, being made co-heirs with Christ, we are not only saved but also awakened to live fully and be who God originally intended for us to be. David Benner speaks of this idea of awakening and becoming in his book Spirituality and the Awakening Self.
“All things are not only sustained by God; but all things are also being made new in Christ. All things are being liberated and restored – becoming more than they are, becoming all they were intended to be in their fullness in Christ.” He discusses a “theology of becoming.” It is a journey that God invites us on in order to find the fullness of life that He intended for us. We need to push back against the reality that so many people walk through life half-awake, and help one another engage in the transformation and awakening into which God draws us.
We struggle to believe that real transformation is possible. It is easy to go through life thinking that change is a futile attempt and that God is too distant to care. Paul resists this in Acts 17:27-28: “He is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.” Not only is He near us, He gives us our very life. “It is we who fail to notice divine presence. It’s all a matter of awareness.” This awakening, Benner says, is what Jesus described as being “born again.”
Becoming and living out who God created us to be is not only of benefit to us, it is a worshipful and obedient act to God. “A tree gives glory to God by being a tree.” The more we are who God designed us to be, the more glory we give Him and the more we reflect His Image.
While we are from the moment of our birth the person that God designed, there is a process of becoming in which we partake. Because of sin and brokenness, our sinful human nature keeps us from naturally being the person that God created. We have to engage in the process of sanctification and resurrection. These steps are available to us because of what God has done throughout history for us. Through the covenant, the crucifixion and resurrection God has not only made salvation possible but has opened the door for us to walk into new life and become who He originally intended us to be.
Just as a butterfly must shed its cocoon in order to fly, so we must go through the process of becoming who we truly are. A caterpillar that stayed a caterpillar would be wasting its full potential. We think that we would rather remain the way we are, that we are just fine with the life we have now. If only we could know, like the butterfly, that transformation will bring us into a new life more incredible than anything we could have ever imagined.
It is a journey of discovery. Like a sacred treasure hunt, God is revealing more and more of who He is and who we are in Him. As we walk more into the process of sanctification and experience God at deeper and deeper levels of intimacy we find ourselves becoming the holistic person that God desired. He longs for us to unearth who we are in all its glory and fullness.