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Christlikeness in Christ Alone

Wayne Dyer stars in his own movie called The Shift which is viewable on Youtube – may not be a legal copy out there, or maybe it was posted there by him for free. In The Shift Dyer reveals a lot of punch lines so-to-speak for his dualistic faith he landed on which seems a mix of Christianity and Taoism. I’m not a deep-into-the-waters guy on a lot of religions, but I do smell a stink in what I dug down into on this guy’s faith. I’m not the judge when all is said and done, but we are called as Jesus’ followers to discern and identify false prophets.

Wayne basically ends up concluding that we can look at our own selves and eventually identify divinity to be our own, much like how Mormonism dives into “we are all gods” as they encourage people to get excited about along their path as they encourage it. More and more I’ve learned from the LORD in a prayer path and soaking in His Word that deception isn’t always something people consciously intend. In fact there is much of Dyer’s philosophy that I enjoyed soaking in, but I kept asking the LORD to help me discern any concerns, and probably the biggest one I see in the Tao and in the dualism Wayne encourages is this element of “becoming part of God” as my brother helped me understand about Taoism… There is such a focus on virtues in a sense apart from God, simply calling God “Source” as Dyer does, ultimately hoping to become so good that one becomes part of God.

Isn’t it interesting that there is a purer opportunity than this, one that doesn’t risk us going down Satan’s path? Satan was so drawn to being God himself that he was willing to combat God…. something Dyer makes no mention of, but this would be the ultimate destination of one hoping to become more and more part of God instead of being surrendered to Him, a worshiper of Him.

We should instead be drawn so deeply into an intimate walk with Jesus that God makes us more and more aware of being in His family, being used and moved by Him for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13). As God moves us and influences our thoughts and steps, we become more and more a part of His movements, His work, His good pleasure. Yet, it’s critical that we never call ourselves divine, never call ourselves “part of God” but rather tools in His good hands and children held in His heart, His beloved Bride (Ephesians)… People we encounter may see so much of God’s goodness and character in us that they want to become disciples of us ultimately, and we must creatively and steadily direct their gaze to the Savior, to the LORD and His goodness – not allowing would-be Jesus disciples to become disciples of us ultimately.

(A side note here… People can also get discouraged when they see us living out various Christlikeness virtues, feeling they can never live out as many virtues as well… allowing their hearts to be down-case, or sad, comparing where they are to where we are… Virtue is critical and Christlike living is what Christ calls us to, but we must not make an idol of various virtues. The key is following Jesus and enjoying the process of Him working through the Holy Spirit along with other believers to cultivate lives of Christlikeness and making disciples of the Lord Jesus – our ultimate mission all together.)

“Follow me as I follow Christ…” not “follow me and that’s it because I’m such a good guy… Oh, and I do call God ‘Source’ so that keeps you thinking I don’t think too highly of myself because some of the highest virtues are humility and selflessness…”…. The DANGER is the deception… We can’t let our goodness be our ultimate focus but rather God Himself must be our ultimate focus. It seems Dyer is quite genuine, sweet, kind, living out a lot of virtues including a constant pursuit of Christlikeness actually. Where he’s missed the mark is clear to me though, finding his feet on two different paths – following Christ and the Tao. He’s so focused on inter-twining the two, maybe hoping for world peace somehow by supposedly thinking the Tao is for the eastern world and Christlikeness is for the western world and hoping to weave the world together for the common aim of world peace. The key to keep in mind here is that CHRIST IS FOR ALL NATIONS. Jesus Christ died for all the world to have hope, He is Himself the Hope of the nations, the Savior of the world! My prayer is that those so swayed by communicators like Wayne Dyer would come to find Christ as the ultimate Messiah and Savior to follow rather than thinking this dualism is where it’s at or any other dualism. All of this said, as C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity, it’s key to note that there is a lot of truth in other world religions. God has given us this wonderful thing we call natural revelation. It’s so cool that we can discover a great deal about godliness even in a place of meditation, because as is said, “truth has a ring to it”… The danger however is that we do not ultimately get to the Destination Himself, the Savior of the world, the definite article THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life – JESUS CHRIST.

Where I saw the issue is a slipping from relationship and into our own character becoming an idol in a way.

Jesus is good, and we are only as good as we are overwhelmed by and used by God, not ourselves being innately good but rather filled with HIS GOODNESS. Ultimate salvation and removal of the evil clinging to us is when we either die and are removed from this sinful world and our sin entirely, or when Christ returns! It’s extremely exciting, however, to also see that incremental removal of evil from us even in this life. That’s something Dyer is grasping at and shares in a compelling way, some natural revelation there it seems, that we can have good and live out goodness, virtues, Christlikeness in THIS LIFE, while we are alive! Imagine if he had of found the highest level of consciousness, a constant following of Jesus Christ, a constant embrace and receiving of the power and joy of the Holy Spirit!

There is a character Dyer portrays in this movie that really did draw my attention, as I do feel the church doesn’t prioritize Christlikeness and virtuous living high enough. It’s the gardener, the server, the grounds keeper, the janitor – the same guy, keeps showing up here and there, and ultimately you learn he’s the owner of the place. Dyer portrays this protagonist very well, and honestly it drew me because I saw something of the message I’ve sought to live out as a business owner. Christlikeness is what Dyer challenged people to live out “instead of Christianity” and that’s where he slides hard off the path. Our faith creates our character because it’s faith in the One Who moves us and cultivates in us the virtues which are ultimately HIS VIRTUES… not virtues we idolize in a way but rather bear as fruit, fruit of living out a sweet soaking in His presence relationship in following the Savior.

We emphasize the Gospel and repentance and faith, but we forget that this influences everything in us and every part of our life. We should constantly be living in an ever-increasing path of repentance and faith, such a steady following of Jesus that people see Christlikeness in us more and more as we go along, as we live this life TOGETHER as Jesus’ followers. What a shock to this dying world to see us living TOGETHER paths of REPENTANCE (turning from sin) and FAITH (following Jesus with all we are, forsaking all other “gods” and knowing and following the true and living GOD OF THE WORD).

God, I do pray for the church, for all followers of Jesus Christ who have placed their faith in Him as Savior and Lord, receiving the Holy Spirit thereby and being moved and used for the pleasure of the Father day-by-day as Christ was, not ourselves being Christ but being tools and instruments in the Redeemer’s hands. Jesus, incarnate Yourself through us as Your disciples, show up face-to-face with this hurting and dying world THROUGH US, YOUR FOLLOWERS! We love You, Oh God! You are worthy of our praise and our fully and joyfully devoted lives TOGETHER as YOUR CHURCH. In the name and character and delightful reality of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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