It is commonly thought that the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to make us more spiritual. That through indwelling and empowering us, He connects us to our “spiritual” side so that we become more Godly and spiritually-minded.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Holy Spirit is given to us, not so that we can be more Godly, but so that we can be more human. So that you can be you, and I can be me.
One of the great lies of the Christian religion is that God wants you to be like Him.
This is not true. God does not want you to become like Him. God wants you to become like you.
God wants you to become fully you.
God wants you to become like the person He created you to be.
God does not want you to become fully divine, but to become fully human.
We Must Come out of Hiding
C. S. Lewis once said that the goal of life is to learn to come outside of ourselves. He did not mean that you become less “yourself” but that you become fully “yourself.” Most of us hide our “true self” in the dark recesses of our hearts and minds, afraid that if we come out, people will not like us, love us, or accept us.
We feel that the true person crouching in a dark corner of our heart is not worthwhile, not valuable, not able to contribute, not worth revealing, not worth loving.
This is the great lie, and it seems to me that Christianity often contributes to it.
The Great Lie about Humanity
Many Christians, churches, pastors, and books tell people that who they are is “wrong” and “of this world” and they need to die to themselves and become like Jesus Christ. And while there are attributes and character traits to each of us that need to be sloughed off so that other aspects can be raised up to their potential, I think that we sometimes get the two reversed so that we disown and discredit that which should be strengthened and honored, and we raise up and glorify those things we should let die.
Christianity is great at making clones.
We all wear church-sanctioned clothes, use church-sanctioned language, and engage in church-sanctioned activities.
We do this for the sake of “community” but such community is dead because all the people in it are dead. Sure, they may be breathing and talking, but they are not really living. They are not living within the astonishing uniqueness which God gave them.
You are not fully alive until you become fully you.
The will of God for your life is not a “to do” list so that you can change who you are and become more like God. No, the will of God for your life is that you discover who you are, and then become most fully “you.”
God does not desire a performance, but a person, and He loves you for who you ARE, not for who you might one day become.
As Robert Farrar Capon wrote, “The will of God is … his longing that we will take the risk of being nothing but ourselves” (Hunting the Divine Fox, 275).
God doesn’t want you to be Him; He wants you to be you.
The Holy Spirit Makes You “You”
And this is one reason God gave us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to us to lead us out of the prison of our mind and lead us into being the person that God wants us to be.
The Holy Spirit does not make us like God; the Holy Spirit makes us like ourselves.
The Holy Spirit does not make us more spiritual, but more physical, that is, more human.
The Holy Spirit does not prepare us to live in another world, but prepares us to fully live in this world.
This work of the Holy Spirit happens in two stages.
The Two Stages of Spirit-Inspired Human Development
First, the Spirit helps us to see that the person we are inside is the person God wants us to be.
The “me” inside is not someone to be ignored, locked away, or hidden from sight, but is someone to be embraced, loved, and strengthened.
The Spirit helps us “see” ourselves for who we really are, and learn to love ourselves for who we are.
Second, the Spirit gives us the courage to reveal ourselves, our true self, to others.
Each of us is made with amazing gifts, talents, abilities, insights, ideas, and personalities. The Spirit helps us learn what these are, and learn how to share these with others.
When we do this, it is then that we begin to become truly human, and in this way, begin to truly reveal Jesus Christ to others.
How to Become Godly
The surprising thing is that when we learn to become more like the person God made us to be, when we live up to our divinely-sanctioned human potential, it is only then that we begin to develop into godliness and Christlikeness.
Jesus was the perfect man, not because He didn’t sin, but because He lived up to His full potential.
Similarly, when we also start to live up to our full potential, when we start to become who God made us to be, when we live the way God created us each to live, it is then that we become more Godly.
It is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. In chasing after godliness, we end up denying ourselves and who God made us to be, and the result is a life that is less human and less divine. But when we, with the indwelling Holy Spirit as our guide, chase after the person God created us to be, it is then that we become more human. And since becoming the person God made us to be fulfills His plan for us, we become more like God in the process.
So stop trying to become like God. Instead, ask God to use the Holy Spirit to mold and make you more like you.