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Becoming More Like Yourself, and Less Like Jesus: Coming to God as Your Whole Self.

Is becoming more like Jesus or any religious or spiritual figure and less like yourself a productive and self-affirming spiritual exercise? What do we stand to gain in attempting to become more like Jesus, The Buddha, Moses, Abraham, Prophet Muhammad, Confucius, or Lao Tzu? In what ways is this spiritual practice of less of me, more of you preventing us from showing up as our whole selves in our relationships with God, our spiritual communities and in loving and accepting ourselves and others for who they are?

Becoming more like Jesus and less like yourself is thought to be the greatest example of spiritual living, the most appropriate way to show up in the world, the highest calling on humankind, and the most authentic method in which to connect to God. But is becoming more like Jesus or any spiritual or religious figure counterproductive to experiencing an authentic God relationship where we are allowed to show up authentically as our whole self?

The traditional goal of the pious person is to be more like their praised and honored spiritual and religious figures and less like themselves. Your connection to God, relationship with God, and value to God, is based on your ongoing work to be more like them and less like yourself. Therefore, we emulate Jesus, The Buddha, Prophet Muhammad, Abraham, Moses, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and the people that occupy the Holy scriptures that have established our religious and spiritual convictions.

We come to know God according to the stories, experiences, and teachings, of the religious and spiritual figures we follow, accepting their perspectives not only as truth but ultimate truth. We believe that our spiritual journey should be traveled in the same way they traveled their own. We look to be enlightened and spiritually nourished in ways they were enlightened and spiritually nourished. We compare our connection with God and spiritual experiences with the connection they had with God and the spiritual experiences they encountered. We read their writings and what was written about them and aspire to adapt their ways of thinking, what they believed about themselves, how they felt about the world, humanity, and who and what they personally understood God to be.

Why do we believe we have to become like our religious and spiritual figures? Is it because we desire to have what they had? The same outlook on life, the same kind of spiritual experiences, the same level of enlightenment, the same kind of connection with God? The truth is becoming more like them will not give us what they had with God, because what they had with God results from the relationship they had with God. A relationship with God can’t be duplicated it’s a one-of-one experience, meticulously customized to who you are. Every relationship with God is a different experience, no two people have the same relationship with God just as no two people have the same relationship with a mutual friend.

Are the relationships between a mother and her three children the same? No, the mother must relate to the child in a fashion that accommodates each child’s unique personality and needs. Healthy parenting relationships are based on there being enough space for each child to show up as who they are without requiring them to become more like their siblings and less like themselves. Each God relationship has the same elements, respect, worship, love, dependence, spiritual understanding, communication, guidance, etc., but the manner and method they are employed in each God relationship is different based on the uniqueness of who the person is. This is why a life changing spiritual experience that you have does not always manifest the same results with someone else. We all experience God and what God is doing in our lives in a different way.

Becoming more like a spiritual or religious figure will not grant us what they have with God, because the God relationship, and the experiences that result from that relationship are unique to the person. Since the God relationship is specific to each person, then spiritual understanding is unique as each person. Since spiritual understanding is unique to each person the God experience is unique to each person and can’t be replicated or manufactured by becoming more like a spiritual or religious figure, pastor, guru, priest, church member, or friend.

Each relationship with God reflects who the person is and what is needed to ensure the progress and longevity of the God relationship. God communicates and relates to me in a different way that God does with you. It’s the same quality of communication it’s just done in a manner that is specific to each of us to ensure relatability. God takes into consideration who you are, your strengths, your weaknesses, your personality, spiritual maturity, and idiosyncrasies. If you’re trying to be someone else, how can you and God have a healthy relationship? Because God is communicating and relating to you in a way that is specific to who you are, you jeopardize a deep connection because you’re trying to become less of yourself and more like something else. The key to having a deep relationship with God is coming to the relationship as yourself, whole, complete and enthusiastic.

God is encountered by various peoples through a myriad of cultures, languages, and theological perspectives. God is not encountered strictly through a single perspective, a single idea, a single a system of beliefs, one, two, or even a collection of religious traditions, spiritual activities, cultures, or methods of interpretation. This is proven by how many different religions we have, denominations, images of God, theologies, and spiritual philosophies. The reality is that God reaches each one of us in a radically distinctive manner that is deeply intimate, so good and unusual that it is impossible to copy.

So, when someone says you must be more like Jesus, The Buddha, Prophet Muhammad, Abraham, etc., what are they really saying about the value and spiritual potential of being yourself? Let me be clear, I have nothing against Jesus or any religious or spiritual figure. We should highly respect our religious and spiritual figures as they have done the work of being true to themselves and discovered God, Self, and Enlightenment to such great degrees that they have become examples for us all to finding God through the activity of being ourselves.

There is nothing wrong with who Jesus is and how he lived his earthly life but being more like Jesus is an activity that is exclusive to Jesus himself. Only Jesus can be more like Jesus, only Jesus can walk like Jesus, only Jesus can live like Jesus, only Jesus can have the kind of relationship with God that Jesus has. What Jesus has is exclusive to Jesus, who Jesus is, is exclusive to Jesus, and what manifests from the activity of Jesus being Jesus is only possible

because Jesus is embracing his God given identity as Jesus.

What if the Buddha were trying to be more like Zoroaster and less like himself? What if Loa Tzu were trying to be more like Confucius and less like Lao Tzu? What would the relationship between Jesus and God have been like if Jesus were trying to be more like Moses and less like Jesus? What great works would God have been able to do through Jesus if Jesus were trying to be more like Abraham and less like Jesus? What would the impact on the world be today if Jesus were trying to be more like Isaiah and less like Jesus?

The identity of Jesus was not affirmed with the virgin birth it was affirmed when Jesus knew and accepted who he was. The ability of Jesus did not begin with the first miracle it began when he believed and accepted who he was. The work of Jesus did not begin with his baptism, it began when he accepted it was him that was the one to come. The ministry of Jesus did not begin after Jesus was tempted in the wilderness; it began when he accepted that he is greater than the one that is in the world. It all began with Jesus choosing to show up fully and unapologetically as Jesus and not Moses, Abraham, The Buddha, Isaiah, Elijah, or David, but Jesus.

What about you? What are you missing out on by trying to be like your religious and spiritual figures? What would the relationship between you and God be like if you were trying to be more like yourself and less like a religious and spiritual figure? What great works would God be able to do through you if you simply accepted who you were? What impact would you have on the world today if you were being more like yourself and less like someone else? Just like your religious and spiritual figures that you honor and respect so greatly, your power, your ability, your work, your life begins with the activity of you choosing to engage with God and show up in the world as they did, as themselves and not as another.

The problem is that when we’re trying to be like Jesus or any other prominent spiritual figure, we’re failing to do what they themselves did which was to authentically and constantly be themselves and discover God through that activity. It is through the activity of being yourself that our religious figures found themselves in a very one-of-a-kind relationship with the creator, humanity, and themselves. They were empowered by how God was informing, guiding, and adding to them very specifically and very personally. The key therefore is for us to embrace the activity of being ourselves and be empowered by how God is informing, guiding, and adding to you very specifically and very personally.

Our spiritual and religious figures were adamant about staying true to themselves, going inward, and discovering the Divine in a way that was unique and meaningful to them. They embraced who and what they were and used that as the foundation for enlightenment and a profound discovery of the Divine within themselves, in others, and out in the world. They broke away from the spiritual conditioning of their time and discovered who God was for themselves. Just as they discovered God, Self, and Enlightenment through their own deep look inward, and spiritual exploration of the Divine, we should be inspired to do the same deep exploration for ourselves.

So, let’s be more like ourselves and less like our spiritual and religious figures in a way that is spiritually productive, God honoring, and makes room for others to do the same. Let’s celebrate the mastery of the creator that gave us our uniqueness by embracing all of who we are and coming to God as our whole selves.


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