This is a continuation of David Heisler's popular series which began here
When I was twenty-six years old I played minor league football in Wisconsin. One summer day in 1980 I was running wind sprints along Lake Michigan. I have been telling myself for seven years that I was in Union with my Creator, however, only understanding that truth on an intellectual level. Well, in mid-stride, I stopped on a dime. I said, “I’m dead”. Not only did I agree with Paul, but I understood. In a flash I understood on a heart level what I had been saying on an intellectual level since I was nineteen years old. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” [Col. 3.3] Very soon thereafter I also understood the following. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…” [Gal. 2.20]
The Young Man stage ends with the heart knowing of the truth that a “dead” person is unable to improve self. How is it possible to go from a “not so good Christian” to a “great Christian”? What part of “dead” is going to become a better, more devoted Christian? What part of “dead” can live an ethics – morals – values based life? No part, whatsoever! The understanding – revelation – epiphany of Fatherhood – and of true Christianity for that matter, begins when a person understands that their life is over and that it is Christ that lives His life as you. Now, I will discuss this later, but this does not mean you live a “dead” life? By no means! Your life will be full and vibrant with true Life – Him as you and you as Him.
There are many fine religions in the world. When I say that I mean that if you are looking for an ethical or moral lifestyle and you want to make that lifestyle your religion, you have some good choices. Christianity, however, is not a religion. But, when it is approached as religion, as the Young Man does, Christianity fails. You will fail at Christianity and Christianity will fail you, if you approach it as a lifestyle of ethics and morality.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life…” [John 14.6] So, “Life” is not a thing to be possessed, earned or created. Life is a Person – a Person that lives His life as me. It is quite humbling to grasp that He actually chooses to live His life in me and you, as me and you. But, upon recognition of the failure of Christianity as religion, and realization that Life is a Person, you commence the process of “Christ … [being] formed in you”. [Gal. 4.19] Christ, Himself living in and as us is not a religion. Jesus did not found a religion. Christianity is the living Christ, living in and as us.
Certain things in life must be learned by failure. And, certain things in life can only be known by first knowing the opposite. Christianity is no exception. You will probably never grasp the truth of your Union and that He lives in you until you become frustrated and feeling a failure at rule based, self-improvement Christianity.
Recall, John tells us that there are three stages of understanding or perception of our identity in Christ – Children, Young Men and Fathers. [I John 2.12-13] In the first two stages we perceive ourselves as independent beings – I’m here and God is there. As “independent beings” we go through all manner of exercise and programs as we attempt to work at and perfect our Christianity. Some use terminology such as our “walk with God”. Even that seemingly harmless phrase is so totally misleading. We don’t walk with Him. He walks in us. There is a difference. It’s all in how you see yourself. In Fatherhood we see and understand the difference between “walking with God” and “God walking in us”. But first, you must be thoroughly grounded in your attempt to live and see yourself as an independent being, perfecting your version of Christianity before you move on to Fatherhood.
Having started Christianity at a relatively advanced age  the whole deal came flying at me very quickly. At age 19, about 13 months after my salvation, I heard my first message of “union” - Fatherhood. I had the privilege [coincidence?] of accepting an invitation from a friend to hear an old missionary speak at All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, Texas. At that point, in my short Christian existence, I really had heard every different take on “real” Christianity and this message was different.
On that day in January 1973, at age 19, I really don’t recall exactly what that old missionary said, but I knew he was on to something. That’s understatement, as he was probably on to something from before my father was born. He encouraged me to see myself as God’s asset not His liability. And so, for the next seven and one-half years I said, to myself, over and over that I, David Heisler, am the David Heisler form and expression of the Christ. And, that is exactly what John meant when he said “Father”. And, I believed that to be true. But, for those seven and one-half years I really didn’t “get it”. It was initially only a concept to me – a concept I whole-heartedly accepted and wanted to know – but only, none-the-less, a concept.
So, why should we know our union? Because “Christ must be formed in you” [Gal. 4.19] – and the “forming” is the “knowing” – intuitively, permanently, unquestionably. And, the reality is the forming has already happened and now must be grasped. You must own your possession. You must know and be who you are.
As a Father you now know that He lives His life, not just in you, but as you. You drop the Child and Young Man notions of self-improvement and attaining or obtaining a better Christianity. You stop running down those dead ends.
Why is that so important? Why must I know this?
We must all take our best shot at grasping, understanding and living in the full expression of who we really are. Human beings are the highest form of created beings; higher than angels. With all due respect to the angels, and believe me I don’t want to anger one of those great warriors, but they know nothing of faith as we do. They see God face to face. As humans, locked in time and space, we simply don’t see Him that way. Moses might have. But, we, for the most part, operate in a realm of faith and intuition, but not always by sight. “The just shall live by faith.” [Habakkuk 2.4 and Romans 1.17]
We are sons and daughters of God. “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” [Gal. 4.7] This is a strong affirmation of our personhood. As I said earlier, we are God’s assets in this world. And, indeed His best assets. So we must settle once and for all the question of who we really are.
And “who we are” is plain. We are Fathers. Father’s know their identity. Father’s know and are settled in the reality that He lives His life in us and as us. And Who is He that lives His Life in and through us? In the Old Testament He tells us His name - “I am”. Jesus also said “I am”. But that sort of begs the question – “I am who – I am what?” Well, He answers that question also …