What does it truly mean to be a follower of Christ? If you have read some of my other blog posts, then you already know that the quelling of our own egos is part of the package. But did you know that when we crucify the ego, something incredible happens?!? I want to focus on a scripture this week which will help us to realize the importance of this great spiritual transformation. I also want to compare it to traditional Christian teaching and show you how powerful it can be to disregard religion and involve yourself with true spiritual transformation.
Have you ever wondered what Paul truly meant when he made that famous statement in Romans 12:2:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
This scripture is so important to understand correctly, which requires an esoteric rendition, by the way. So what does the “renewing of our minds” truly mean? How does renewing our mind cause a transformation that lets us prove the “perfect will of God?” For any Christian, this can be a daunting and frustrating task. This first time I read this scripture, I thought no problem; I’ll think like Christ, be a good obedient Christian, and do the “perfect will of God.”
There are two major problems with this traditional Christian mindset (thinking like Christ): first, everybody has a different opinion or belief about what’s acceptable to God. If you don’t believe me, interview a hundred different people in any given congregation on any scripture. Most likely, you will get a slew of different answers. Even returning to the original Greek and Hebrew doesn’t help. Everyone has a different interpretation of what the original interpretation means, too! Secondly, no man or woman defeats sin in their life by trying to fight against it. As we will see, this is impossible because that would be like fighting against your own self. Usually, something you fight against gets stronger. Remember what Paul said? “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (Romans 7:15).
One of the real ways to follow Jesus is to first realize that renewing your mind and being transformed is not THINKING like Christ—it is about BECOMING a Christ! Does that sound sacrilegious to you? If so, you may have missed the entire point of the Bible.
Many people think “renewing your mind” means to stop bad, sinful habits because Christ wouldn’t want you to. Maybe it’s cussing. Maybe it’s drinking or smoking. Maybe it’s lying. While these are all great habits to break, they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to “renewing your mind” and being transformed into something new. First starters, it doesn’t take Jesus to quit a bad habit. Many people have accomplished this task on their own. Second of all, and contrary to popular belief, these acts don’t constitute salvation, unless you’re talking about being saved from lung cancer or for the sake of sounding unintelligent. In fact, we can take this line of reasoning even further and state that thinking your mind is renewed by having a certain opinion or belief system is a shallow perspective indeed; how could your mind be truly renewed by believing something is bad or good, right or wrong? That’s not RENEWING your mind. That’s just your opinion. I don’t care if it’s a conviction, either. That’s just YOUR conviction. What the Apostle Paul said about renewing our minds is about something much, much greater than a set of beliefs, opinions, or even convictions. Beliefs and opinions are part of your ego, and people who are run by their egos—about 99% of the human population— can never completely defeat sin or ignorance. The ego, you see, has the sin nature built into it. The ego’s very essence is sin and ignorance, and most importantly, separation from the “perfect will of God.” The ego is as much a part of sin as the devil himself. And guess what? The devil, esoterically speaking, IS the ego!
Why do you think Jesus addressed Peter by saying, “Satan, get thee behind me!” Was there a literal devil with a pitch fork inside Peter? No. Jesus was speaking to his ego. The ego always believes it has the right answer when in fact it’s always the opposite. Peter thought by keeping Jesus from the cross (esoterically killing his own ego), he was doing the right thing. In modern times, Jesus might have slapped Peter on the side of the head and said, “Peter, it’s not about you or me. It’s about the spiritual nature within us. That’s what I have been trying to tell you.”
So renewing our mind involves not only thinking differently, but it also involves BECOMING something different. It involves being transformed into a spiritual being, excluding your personal beliefs and opinions.
When the ego is quelled by living in the now and accepting what is, the ego loses its power. Instead of focusing on the world with beliefs and opinions, which is just another way of saying judgment, your intuitive, spiritual self (Christ nature) lives through you. All that which makes up the ego, like fear and control and judgment begin to fall away, kind of like a snake (which is the ego) shedding its skin. And this is the part of you which dwells beneath the ego until it is awakened and brought to the forefront to take over and superimpose on the ego. As Paul said, “It is not I (the ego) who lives, but Christ (my true spiritual nature) who lives through me!” Who do you think this Christ was that Paul was speaking of? It was the CHRIST NATURE that everyone already has inside of them! And this is the true message of Christ that was high-jacked by religion, and replaced by the shallow doctrine of salvation taught today. The Christ that is your salvation already lives inside of you. The historical person we refer to as Jesus came to show us that. So your job is to pick up the cross like Jesus did and crucify your own ego. That’s what truly makes you a follower of Jesus. It is the renewal of your mind. And THAT is the “perfect will of God.”
Remember also that crucifying your ego is not something you strive to do. If we had to strive to crucify our ego, wouldn’t that just be the ego trying to crucify itself? Of course it would. So stop worrying and struggling. Stop fretting. Let go. Whatever situation you find yourself in, accept it. I don’t mean condone it. Just accept it for what it is. By accepting it, you have already overcome it with love. Then, when you get the chance, go somewhere quiet and meditate. The renewal of your mind has begun. Anger, fear, greed, control, and even depression (all ego-driven) will fade away over time!
If you want to learn more about how the mind actually works, check out Adam and Eve: The Story of Human Consciousness here.
So what do you think it means to be a follower of Christ?