John the Baptist, quoted by the apostle John:
“I must become lesser, he must become greater.”
Printed on my coffee cup sleeve this morning:
“You are not here to shrink down to less, but to blossom into more of who you really are” – Oprah.
It would seem we have two competing views of human nature presented before us. Not only John’s words, but thousands of years of history bear witness to the accuracy of each statement. Simply living and acting out of more of who we really are has not worked out particularly well for us, in any civilization or time. One could argue that a select few may appear to have “blossomed” by just being more of who they really are, but most of us haven’t pulled it off with much success. Our close friends and our own souls bear this out.
On the other hand, perhaps Oprah is telling us more than she realizes. Paul startling statement recorded in his letter to the church at Corinth reveals an even more robust vision of human potential:
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
And then, a few chapters earlier:
“And we .. (those who have placed themselves on the path of learning Jesus’ way) are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (3:17).
This is, I believe, the vision of God for each person: “ever-increasing glory” is quite an optimistic, spectacular fate for humans that exceeds even the imagination of Oprah. Indeed, she is on to something – but the path to that something is found exclusively in the person of Jesus.
Thankfully, we are not left to discover this good and true path on our own; we are not left in the dark without a flashlight. We have in Christ a guide, a friend and a Savior.