“The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light… whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves.” -from John 1, The Message
How many times have I read through the traditional language from the standard versions of this verse and skimmed right past the the words “child of God”? Of course, being a child of God is a staggering idea if you take time to give thought to it. But that phrase has been used so much that it rolls off of me like water on oil. In The Message, Peterson expands it just enough to make me wake up and pay attention.
My true self is my child-of-God self. And that changes everything. Suddenly I see that the spiritual enemy’s primary goal is to prevent us from ever believing this astonishing statement. And if he cannot keep us from the initial belief, then the new goal is to make us forget who we are.
This broken world is all about stealing innocence and marring childhood. Our child-of-God selves get buried beneath layers of insecurity, expectations, abuse, self-doubt, and shame.
What I am learning in my middle years is that every moment I am not connected to God, I am actively moving away from my child-of-God self. This broken world floods me in an instant. But when I return to His company and protection, I am instantly back where I belong.
What does it feel like to be our child-of-God selves? Most of us cannot look back at our own childhood to find it, but maybe we knew moments of it – moments of freedom so pure we were floating.
Returning to The Message, Peterson shines a new light on the verse about the yoke and the burden. I think this is what living as a my true self is like. From Matthew 11:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”