The “True Self”
If you want to know what Jesus thought about our “true self” – it’s simple – one’s “true self” can be discovered when we achieve the openness and receptivity of a small child. It’s the state of innocence human beings possessed prior to developing an “ego” or “false self” to deal with a potentially hostile world.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14-15.
Jesus – in telling us to become “like a small child” – means we need to move towards a radically different, and earlier, version of the human spiritual world – accepting the “natural reality” directly created by God – as opposed to a “reality” created by technically and theologically “sophisticated” human beings in modern manmade civilizations.
The “Essential Choice”
What deters us from becoming “like little children?” It’s our desire for and love of money – creating a stark choice between love of God and love of money.
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Mathew 6:24.
Jesus made this crystal clear by pointing out the impossibility of someone who’s rich to be able to enter God’s kingdom.
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Mark 10:24-5.
Jesus also emphasized God’s preference for the poor:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Luke 6:20.
And said we needn’t worry about clothes or food:
“… do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body, more than clothes.” Luke 12:22.
What Kind Of “Human Love” Does God Want?
If you want to know what God is “like” – that is, how human beings can start “living like God” – it’s simple: “God is Love” and “Love is God.”
But that begs the question, doesn’t it? What is this “love” God wants for us and how are human beings supposed to achieve it?
Jesus radical (and true) answer is: “Love your enemies!”
“I tell you: Love your enemies… that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous…. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mathew 6:44-48.
So, don’t be nationalistic, tribal, or self-centered – no, be like God. Remember, people who love their enemies have no enemies. If we can live like this – that is, how God would live if God were a human being – then we’d be able to enter God’s world and start living like God’s children. After all, there’s no ego in the sun or rain!
Another good example was love of one’s “neighbor.” In response to the question of “Who is my neighbor?” (in the context of “Love your neighbor as yourself”), Jesus gave the example of the “Good Samaritan.” Because there was serious animosity between Judeans and Samaritans at that time (another example of “Love your enemies”), the story demonstrates that non-Jews (and, later, non-Christians) sometimes follow God better than the “official people” of God. Therefore, people like Muslims, or even atheists, may be able to do what God wants even better than those committed to the Western majority faiths.
Such “radical” examples of love go further than the “Love Commandment” later set forth in the Gospel of John:
“A new command I give to you” Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
This, however, is the least radical of Jesus’ love teachings. That is, it’s significantly less radical than loving one’s enemies or hostile neighbors! This kind of “love” was addressed to Jesus’ immediate circle of disciples.
Who Should We Spend Our Time With?
Jesus tells us that people who act on behalf of God can be spiritually closer to us than our blood relations or close friends – emphasizing doers over listeners.
“My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Luke 8:21
How Can We “See” God?
Finally, how can we see and experience God’s kingdom? Jesus indicated that God’s rule is close or already present but unobserved – that God’s rule is all around us but difficult to discern:
“The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say “Here it is!” or “There it is!” because the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21.
In other words, God is spiritual, not materialistic. God’s Spirit can be seen and felt through one’s imagination and heart. That is, it takes an awakened inward “mystical” sense for us to be able to “see,” “feel,” and “sense” the presence of God.