Freedom is attained by thinking like God

Ordinary humans are far removed from God. To them, the idea of thinking like God is farfetched. However, the enlightened ones are privileged to think like God, representing Jesus, who is no longer physically available. Unfortunately, the enlightened can be mistaken for being arrogant. They receive constant persecution for behaving differently from those of this world.

Physically, life on earth is not pleasurable, unless one conforms to the dictates of earthly conditions. For the enlightened ones, nothing can be exciting when observing injustice and other forms of human suffering. They desire to move out of their bodies and be with Christ. The enlightened are misunderstood and treated as infidels. Those of this world cannot have anything in common with those communicating with God.

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. My Father will love him who loves me, and I too will love him and show myself to him. Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, ‘But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you will believe” (John 14:15-29 NIV).

Verse 1 of Chapter 14 is most cherished by most Christians. The maintenance of their hope is based on this verse, but they remain unaware of its fundamentals. Jesus divulged hitherto, unknown secrets before the moments towards His crucifixion. There are four secrets that we can unpack in the above passage of Scripture.

Jesus uttered the first secret: “I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me” (vs. 19). Others link this to His activities after resurrection. There is no record of Him having gone to the synagogues, as had been His custom on Sabbath days. He only interacted with His disciples for forty days before ascension (Acts 1:3).

Jesus was referring to the period after His ascension. He would not be part of this world and invisible to those of this world. This would be the time after the disciples would have received the Holy Spirit, transforming them to be separate from this world. The disciples would spiritually see Jesus, but without physically associating with Him.

The second secret is that they would communicate with Jesus through the counsellor. This describes a condition where the disciples would perceive what those of this world would not see. The counsellor represents the tree of life from which Adam and Eve were banished (Genesis 3:22-23). That counsellor serves as a link between God and humanity. The disciples would access it only on condition of keeping His commands.

The third secret is that the Counsellor would be with them forever. Jesus had been with God, although in this world. The promised counsellor would enable the disciples to experience the same. Jesus left the scene, but the disciples took over from where He left. There is no truth in that the appearance of the mysterious Jesus ended after His ascension. Jesus was the only human who had called God His Father. The disciples would similarly address God as Father:

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of son-ship. And by him, we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings so that we may also share his glory” (Romans 8:15-17 NIV)

The above Scripture leaves Trinitarian advocates clutching on grass. They say Jesus is a member of the Trinity. But where do they place the other children of God that Paul is talking about? A truly God-believing Christian seeing through falsehoods cannot be misled. How can those Trinitarians honour Jesus, if unable to honour those categorised with Jesus?

The fourth secret is that while Jesus spoke about God’s Kingdom, more would be revealed after His departure. “But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). The Counsellor provides more than three-and-a-half-years of Jesus’ teachings. Through the Holy Spirit, God provides more information than was revealed by Jesus.

While the entire world is stuck on assuming that the information provided by Jesus was exhaustive, the Counsellor provides more. The only difference is that the individual Christian information may not necessarily always be recorded. But there are some recordings, currently taking place, of which the majority of Christians will be awestruck at His second coming.

They will realise having ignored God, through some people in their midst. The gnashing of teeth phenomenon cannot be limited to failure to appreciate Jesus’ Biblically recorded teachings. God’s children, whose attributes are similar to Jesus’, learn more from the Holy Spirit, who is more real than the physical Jesus.

“And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:31-33 NIV).

Ordinary people are stuck on physical Jesus more than any other manifestation of God’s power. They sustain their commitment to the miracle of resurrection. Their behaviour is understandable, though. The problematic area lies in the aspect of insincerity, by those claiming to believe in Him. The test is on doing everything that Jesus commanded, first and foremost.

The troublesome area is the failure to appreciate the freedom brought by Jesus. That freedom is difficult for ordinary people. But certainly, it is as true as celebrating the time of being killed for the testimony of Jesus. True Christians wish they could be separated from the physical body. Nothing is exciting about remaining in the physical body, after having become God’s child.

The most gruesome condition of God’s children is when caught up in having to make decisions among alluring offers of this world. Jesus was a free man, but the god of this world never allowed Him freedom. The Titanic battle was during that episode after having fasted for forty days and forty nights. The three temptations appealed to the condition of ego (Matthew 4:3-11).

However, the most terrifying of all temptations exerted upon Jesus was the Garden of Gethsemane episode. He needed companionship from his physical friends, who could not overcome drowsiness. The humanness in Him could not sustain the condition of torture that would befall Him. Only God knows what most of His brothers go through in this life.

The Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law considered Him controversial. Healing people from their infirmities motivated His enemies to make His life extremely uncomfortable. On several occasions, they attempted to stone Him. They failed only because His hour had not yet come.

From hence, we can see the unmitigated freedom, where death comes only at a designated time, for God’s children. As long as aware of the fact that death cannot come without God’s agreement, what’s there to worry about, with God’s children? That is what signifies the granted freedom with God’s children.

There is no guarantee that God’s children will ever be treated well and have time for happiness in this world. Their only time of rest is departure from their physical bodies. A cursory view of the disciples suggests that they were privileged to have been the apostles of Jesus. But on following their stories, one finds that there was nothing admirable in being in their shoes.

Paul indicated his desire to die, insisting it was gain. However, Paul opted to live on, citing his desire to serve his brothers (Philippians 1:21-26). On three occasions, Jesus insisted that Simon Peter would experience unpleasant conditions, as part of His ministerial assignment. That was another way of showing the significance of loving Jesus, as denoted in following Him:

“I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go,” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one, who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:18-22 NIV).

Another fascinating incident was when they rejoiced after flogging. Those pre-medieval punishments were crude and unimaginable, except in nations considered uncivilized. The apostles demonstrated that being punished for doing the right thing was noble. This was after a Scholar named Gamaliel had intercepted their stoning that had been planned against the apostles.

His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name (Acts 5:40-41 NIV).

All this spells truth in that the only instance a Christian rejoices is when receiving bad experiences on behalf of Jesus. The state of rejoicing would be driven from the heart when standing on a solid foundation. It cannot be possible for double-minded people.

When not having understood the principle of Christianity one can be counted for double-mindedness, without exception. The behaviour of Peter before receiving the Holy Spirit was different from his behaviour, afterwards. The Simon Peter who denied Jesus three times was not the same as the one reported as having died in the ministry.

Peter had become freed, after having received the Holy Spirit. True Christians are those able to stand under the most difficult conditions. The carnally minded cannot understand how Jesus could have opted to die for the sinful humanity. The test of true Christianity is a willingness to experience anything of this world.

As long as one feels intimidated by anything, that person is yet to become a Christian. That which is feared most, rules over those unable to confront it. This includes rulers of this world, who can kill without anyone asking them to account. True Christians are above all intimidating conditions, imaginable. This is why Jesus advised to first count the cost (Luke 14:31-33).

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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