Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spiritual Amnesia

When the devil tempted Jesus, he chose his most vulnerable spot - his Achilles heel. He always does. After Jesus was baptized, he went into the wilderness for forty days of solitude, prayer and fasting. The devil paid him a visit and said to him, "If you are the Son of God...." That was Jesus' soft spot - his identity as God's Son. What came after that phrase was of secondary importance. The specific temptations were nothing more than consolation prizes for giving up his divine birthright.

The devil wanted to put doubt in his mind as to his true identity. He knew that was the heart of the issue. If he could put a crack in the armor of his self-knowledge, then he had Jesus' soul. It is our soft spot as well. The greatest temptation in life is not the temptation to sin; it is not money, sex, or power. It is the temptation to forget our true nature.

Who are we ... really? Different spiritual traditions have different ideas as to the nature of man. We who call ourselves followers of Christ believe that we are made in the image of God. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him." Man is not just made in God's image. According to the apostle Paul, man is God's image: "He is the image and glory of God."

Furthermore we are children of God. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."

This is our identity. When we remember this identity, everything else falls into place. When we forget, we are lost in the wilderness. When we see ourselves as we are, then we see everything else clearly. When we forget what we look like, then everything else is distorted.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? If you see the image of God, you see clearly. If you see a child of God, you see wisely. When you walk away from the mirror, what self-image do you carry with you? If it is anything other than the image in the mirror, then as the apostle James says, he "is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."

"The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"
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Art is Amnesia by Jennifer K Mulcahy, 8x10 archival matte print, digital collage

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