It is probably evident that the “call” I have been writing about in this article, is a “call” to FOLLOW JESUS. How do we accomplish this? We attempt to change the way that we think and behave, realizing that the thinking of most people is driven by their unconscious thoughts and experiences and that our thinking drives our behaviors. Also, humans, like all animals, have instincts, genetically hard-wired behaviors that enhance our ability to cope with vital environmental contingencies – fight or flight. There is a natural instruct to defend ourselves from perceived dangers. Other basic instincts include denial, revenge, tribal loyalty, greed and the urge to procreate.
Jesus calls us to thoughtful reflection on how we think and act and then work to bring our thinking and behaviors into line with His way of thinking and behaving. His way is a thoughtful human way which has a firm “spiritual” foundation – that is to allow God’s Spirit within us to direct our thinking and behaving so that we grow in our likeness to Jesus. This requires that we believe that the “meaning and purpose of life” is to grow in our likeness of Jesus Who is truly God’s revelation of what humans were created to be like. When God created humans, He gave us a free will and an ability to grow in our understanding of who we are in His creation. He loves us so very much, that He granted us freedom to be our own persons. Why, because He sees us as His children and we are created in His image. He did this so that there would be a possibility for us to “freely return His love”. To make that possible, He risked being rejected by us. To truly be His children we need to be free.
Any good parent, I believe, understands this. They only want their children to freely return their love. The goal is to freely return God’s love by freely choosing to think and live like Jesus.