Purpose #3: You Were Created to
Become Like Christ
Which Is It, to Be like Christ or to Be like You?
“Discipleship is the process of conforming to Christ. The Bible says, ‘We arrive at real maturity—that measure of development which is meant by ‘the fullness of Christ.’’ [endnote: Ephesians 4:13 (Ph)] Christlikeness is your eventual destination, but your journey will last a lifetime.” (PDL; p. 219)
Rick Warren refers to this third purpose as “discipleship.” The Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Scriptural definition of discipleship, which is to grow in the knowledge of Him so that we can believe, follow, and obey Him in the faith. Although the version he quotes even includes them, Rick Warren chose to leave out unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God from the verse he quotes above in discussing what discipleship is.
Conforming to the image of God’s Son requires the knowledge of God’s Son. Ephesians 4:13 actually says:
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
The very next verse elaborates on the reason for this indispensable knowledge in true discipleship:
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” (Ephesians 4:14)
Although Purpose #3 says, “you were created to become like Christ,” the purpose-driven life is really about becoming “more like you.” Thus the knowledge of the Son of God has been largely omitted.
“It [this book] is about becoming what God created you to be.” (PDL; p. 19)
“Besides, God made you to be you!” (PDL; p. 245)
“God’s gonna say, ‘Why weren’t you more like you? I made you to be you, and if you don’t be you, who’s gonna be you?’” —Rick Warren1
But “it’s not about you.”
The Fruit of the Spirit, or the Fruit of Community?
Even though Rick Warren says that growing to “Christlikeness” is accomplished through the Holy Spirit, he insists that it cannot occur in isolation. So the arm of the Holy Spirit is so short that He cannot work in an isolated believer, whom He inhabits? Again, Christianity is being transformed into Churchianity as community continues to be placed above Christ and His indwelling Spirit.
“Real spiritual growth is never an isolated, individualistic pursuit. Maturity is produced through relationships and community.” (PDL; p. 11)
“Spiritual maturity is not a solitary, individual pursuit! You cannot grow to Christlikeness in isolation.… You need to be a part of a church and community. Why? Because … you can’t practice being like Jesus without being in relationship with other people.” (PDL; p. 176)
Jesus Christ is not our model that we are to practice being like. He is our Lord to Whom we are to obediently surrender so that He lives His fruit through us via His indwelling Holy Spirit.
Contrary to growing opinion, commitment and accountability to one’s local church or community is not the same thing as surrendering to the Lord God and His will. Community does not give victory over sins. The all-sufficient and all-powerful Lord God does. He is not too small to help individuals spiritually mature and overcome their sins. Community is not more powerful than the Almighty Lord God.
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:16-21)
The Lord God is not dependent on community to work in anyone because His work is based on Who He is, not on who you or we are. Yet Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Paradigm is dependent upon community because his purpose-driven works and discipleship are about who you are, not Who God is. If they were about Who God is, he would never conclude that God is also dependent on temptation.
The Fruit of the Spirit, or the Fruit of Satan’s Temptations?
“How, then, does the Holy Spirit produce these nine fruit in your life?…
“This next sentence is one of the most important spiritual truths you will ever learn: God develops the fruit of the Spirit in your life by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you’re tempted to express the exact opposite quality! Character development always involves a choice, and temptation provides that opportunity.” (PDL; p. 202)
“While temptation is Satan’s primary weapon to destroy you, God wants to use it to develop you.” (PDL; p. 201)
“In fact, he depends more on circumstances to make us like Jesus than he depends on our reading the Bible.” (PDL; p. 193)
“Every time you defeat a temptation, you become more like Jesus!” (PDL; p. 203)
Yes, God does work everything out for good to conform those of us who love God to the image of His Son (see Romans 8:28-29). This is a wonderful promise, not a statement of God’s dependence on circumstances or temptations to do so! Nowhere in the whole counsel of God does He say that circumstances are more important to our growth than reading His Word. Nor does the Holy Spirit need us to walk through temptation in order for Him to live His fruit through us. We are to walk in the Spirit and be led of Him (e.g., see Galatians 5:16-18), and in this way we defeat temptation when it does arise.
It all comes down to surrender -- bowing the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ and being willing to crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts, in His name (e.g., see Galatians 5:24 and 2 Timothy 2:19). Conversely, today’s Christianity is giving new life to the flesh in the name of purpose-driven fellowship and unity with the world.
Rick Warren claims that God “depends” on circumstances in which we’re tempted in order to develop the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and make us like Jesus. If these claims were true, then Satan the Tempter would have an essential role in conforming us to the image of Christ! God has absolutely no dependence whatsoever on temptation or on Satan to conform us to the image of His Son! The upside-down thinking of the new Paradigm continues.
Satan’s work is to seek to devour us, not to merely “trip us up”:
“He [Satan] knows exactly what trips you up, and he is constantly working to get you into those circumstances. Peter warns, ‘Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.’ [endnote: 1 Peter 5:8 (Msg)]” (PDL; p. 206)
A very serious scriptural warning has been completely diluted here. A “roaring lion” “seeking whom he may devour” is not the same thing as “poised to pounce.” Even playful kittens like to “pounce” when you’re “napping”!
Again, the fruit of the Spirit is such because these characteristics are the fruit the Spirit manifests in us as He works in us in His mighty power, giving us the victory in resisting the devil, withstanding temptation, and making the right choices. And it begins with the knowledge of the Lord God.
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)
“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:2-4)
Instant Sainthood Through the Power of God vs
Spiritual Formation Through Spiritual Disciplines
“Contrary to popular book titles, there are no Easy Steps to Maturity or Secrets of Instant Sainthood.” (PDL; p. 222)
Contrary to popular opinion, people do not have to go through a long process so they can become saints. That includes a proclamation of the Pope or through spiritual disciplines, neither of which can make one single person a saint no matter how much effort is put into the process.
True saints do indeed become instant saints through the power of God the moment Jesus Christ is believed in as Lord and Saviour. Behaving like saints also comes each time we obediently surrender to the immediate leading and power and work of God through His Holy Spirit living in us.
Amidst the multitude of contradictions in his book, Rick Warren rightly acknowledges that “you cannot reproduce the character of Jesus on your own strength” (PDL; p. 174). But he negates this statement in many places.
“Habits take time to develop. Remember that your character is the sum total of your habits.…
“There is only one way to develop the habits of Christlike character: You must practice them—and that takes time! There are no instant habits. Paul urged Timothy, ‘Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress.’ [endnote: 1 Timothy 4:15 (GWT)]” (PDL; p. 221)
Scripture does not say this. We are told in I Timothy 4:15 to “meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” Furthermore, “these things” refers back to things such as giving “attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine,” as well as being “an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (verses 12, 13). In addition, verse 16 says:
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
But God has His ways of putting the handwriting on the wall. The first verse of this chapter includes what Timothy is being asked to seriously think about:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1)
“Seducing spirits” and “doctrines of devils” are behind the popular yet occultic mysticism often included as “spiritual disciplines.” The following quote is a continuation of Rick Warren’s previous quote on “practice these things”:
“If you practice something over time, you get good at it. Repetition is the mother of character and skill. These character-building habits are often called ‘spiritual disciplines,’ and there are dozens of great books that can teach you how to do these.” (PDL; p. 221)
First, remember that building and transforming our character is to “become like Christ” in this third purpose. So for him to advocate “dozens of great books” for this says that God’s Holy Spirit and Holy Scriptures are insufficient in conforming us to the image of Christ and need help in this area.
Second, books in the area of “spiritual disciplines”/occultic mysticism are flying off the presses in today’s bewitched Christianity. Occultic practices are also growing in popularity at conferences for church leaders. Rick Warren was one of the speakers at the National Pastors Convention 2004 where occultic methods of prayer (the labyrinth, contemplative prayer, and yoga) were featured and preceded his talk.2 These occultic practices continue to be featured each year at various conferences for pastors and youth leaders, as well as at other events held in a seduced Christianity.3
Christian author Ray Yungen, who has studied religious movements for over twenty years, goes into detail warning of the dangers of these practices in his two excellent books, “For Many Shall Come In My Name”: How mainstream America is accepting the ‘Ancient Wisdom’ teaching and what this foreshadows, and A Time of Departing: How Ancient Mystical Practices are Uniting Christians with the World’s Religions.4
The god of the realm of false spirituality, who is also “the god of this world” (see 2 Corinthians 4:4), has severely deceived people into believing that certain practices referred to as “spiritual disciplines” (e.g., contemplative prayer, breath prayers, centering prayer, the silence, spiritual breathing, the labyrinth, and yoga) are “Christian” practices. The Master Deceiver who transforms himself into an “angel of light” (see 2 Corinthians 11:14) has had millennia to perfect the lying experiences that he derisively enjoys giving all who disobediently enter his counterfeit realm.
Regardless of the adamant yet deceived claims to the contrary, these occultic spiritual practices will never make us “like Christ.” In addition, these things never have been nor will they ever be the fruit or the work of the Holy Spirit. This is self-evident in that although the world cannot receive or know the Holy Spirit (see John 14:17), people in different religions (faiths) practice these same spiritual disciplines and methods of prayer with the same experiences and the same “fruit” that so-called “Christian” mysticism produces.
The (New Age) New Spirituality and its disciplines of mysticism bypass theology/doctrine and go straight to experience, which is now being given greater authority than God’s absolute Holy Scriptures. Mysticism is coming to the forefront because it is being used to bring all religions (faiths) together in the unholy unity of a false spirituality through unholy spirits.
Yet none of this has opened the eyes of today’s Christianity to the fact that it has adopted the behavior of the Angel of light’s broad way of darkness. The “light” of the New Spirituality, which has deceptively tried to veil its New Age foundation specifically to entice and please professing Christians, has taken Christianity by storm. No wonder it has become blind to the fact that its thinking and beliefs have changed away from the truth. Satan brings great deception on those who choose to enter his realm of lies via its various practices.
Incidentally, prayer is only a ritual in other religions (faiths). In the true faith of Christianity, it is simply talking to God. We don’t “practice” or “develop the habit” of talking to those we love! Turning prayer into a ritual or a method or a mystical practice denies Who God is and what He says about prayer.
“One way [to ‘pray all the time’] is to use ‘breath prayers’ throughout the day … You choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath …” (PDL; p. 89)
“With practice you can develop the habit of praying silent ‘breath prayers’ for those you encounter.” (PDL; p. 299)
“Confession is ‘spiritual breathing’. Exhale your sins, inhale God’s love.” —Rick Warren (Emphasis added)5
Aside from the fact that exhaling your sins, etcetera, is sheer nonsense, “spiritual breathing” is an occultic method taught by Eastern gurus, such as Sri Chinmoy, for exhaling one’s impurities (sins) and inhaling things of God. It is based on the Eastern belief in pantheism that All is One -- All is God and God is All.
“We are all seekers, and our goal is the same: to achieve inner peace, light, and joy, to become inseparably one with our Source …
“To live in joy is to live the inner life. This is the life that leads to self-realisation. Self-realisation is God-realisation, for God is nothing other than the Divinity that is deep inside each one of us, waiting to be discovered and revealed.” —SriChinmoy.org6
“When you breathe in, if you can feel that the breath is coming directly from God, from Purity itself, then your breath can easily be purified. Then, each time you breathe in, try to feel that you are bringing infinite peace into your body.…
“Feel that you are breathing in not air but cosmic energy … and that you are going to use it to purify your body, vital, mind and heart.… It is flowing like a river inside you, washing and purifying your entire being. Then, when you breathe out, feel that you are breathing out all the rubbish inside you … Anything inside your system that you call undivine, anything that you do not want to claim as your own, feel that you are exhaling.…
“When you have perfected this spiritual breathing, all your impurity and ignorance will be replaced by God’s light, peace and power.” —Sri Chinmoy Centre (Emphasis added)7
In The Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath, in a chapter titled “Yogi Spiritual Breathing,” Yogi Ramacharaka also points out the goal of “spiritual breathing.” Basically, it is to come to the realization or “consciousness” that the true “identity of the Soul” is Divine (“a drop from the Divine Ocean”) and is connected with “the Universal Life” (i.e., All is One -- “at-one-ment with All”).8
Occultic practices, which originate from “doctrines of devils” regarding universal energies and forces, do not suddenly become acceptable to the holy Lord God merely because churches have “Christianized” them and refer to them as “Christian.” On the contrary, these practices have been designed by the evil spirit world to bring unity and “connection” with the god of this world, “the God of forces,” whom the Antichrist will honor (e.g., see Daniel 11:38-39).
Those who try to “Christianize” occultic practices are playing with “strange fire.” It is not a coincidence that professing Christians who practice the occultic Eastern methods of “prayer” are being gradually drawn into the interfaith Oneness of the world and its (New Age) New Spirituality. This “New” Spirituality is actually based on the so-called “Ancient Wisdom.”
The fruit of the unholy spirits who lie in wait to deceive all who enter the Angel of light’s realm is destructive. Their ultimate goal is to get mankind to believe in its own divinity -- the ultimate defiance against the Lord God.
To further their goal, the spirit world approached Alice Bailey to spread its teachings (the Ageless/Ancient Wisdom). Bailey was a theosophist and occultist who “telepathically” channeled many teachings from one of her spirit guides known as “the Tibetan,” or “the Master Djwhal Khul” -- “one of the Masters of the Wisdom.”9 (Appropriately, Bailey’s Publishing Company, which is now called Lucis Trust, was originally named Lucifer Trust.)
Together, in numerous books, these two detailed “the Plan” of the spirit realm (a.k.a. “the Spiritual Hierarchy”) for the coming New Age/New World Order/New World Religion and its (counterfeit) “Christ” and his kingdom (which will be elaborated on later). In fact, coining the term New Age has even been attributed to Bailey.10 She and her spirit guide also detailed the methods and fruit of occultic practices, such as the following:
“… by surrendering himself to the life at the center and there holding himself poised and still, yet alert, the light will break in and reveal to the disciple that which he needs to know. He learns to express that inclusive love which is his major requirement and to let go the narrow, one-pointed attitude which he has hitherto regarded as love. He welcomes then all visions, if they serve to lift and comfort his brothers; he welcomes all truths, if they are the agents of revelation to other minds; he welcomes all dreams if they can act as incentives to his fellow men. He shares in them all, yet retains his poised position at the center.” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (Emphasis added)11
“Contemplation has been described, as a psychic gateway, leading from one state of consciousness to another.” —Alice Bailey (Emphasis added)12
“In contemplation, a higher agent enters in. It is the Soul that contemplates. The human consciousness ceases its activity and the man becomes what he is in reality - a soul, a fragment of divinity, conscious of its essential oneness with Deity. The Higher Self becomes active, and the lower or personal self is entirely quiescent and still, whilst the true spiritual Entity enters into its own kingdom and registers the contacts that emanate from that spiritual realm of phenomena.…
“The man’s consciousness, therefore, is no longer focused in that waiting mind, but has slipped over the borderland into the realm of spirit and he becomes literally the soul, functioning in its own realm, perceiving the ‘things of the Kingdom of God,’ able to ascertain truth at first hand …” —Alice Bailey (Bold added)13
“… on the higher planes we are all one. One life pulsates and circulates through all … This is part of the revelation which comes to a man who stands in the ‘Presence’ with his eyes occultly opened.…
“Faith is lost in sight, and things unseen are seen and known. No more can he doubt, but he has become instead, through his own effort, a knower.
“His oneness with his brothers is proven, and he realizes the indissoluble link which binds him to his fellowmen everywhere.” —Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul (Bold added)14
Sadly, warning people to compare all subjective experiences with the final authority of God’s Word is commonly dismissed with scornful and fallacious worldly reasoning. Subjective experience is now more important than truth to people and is even now viewed as “truth” itself. Refusing to acknowledge the dangers shows a tremendous lack of understanding of the occult and of the devices of our spiritual enemy.
The journey down this occult path will not lead to becoming “like Christ.” But it will lead to the deceptive “awakening” of the “Christ consciousness” within, which is defined as the following by Ray Yungen in A Time of Departing: How Ancient Mystical Practices are Uniting Christians with the World’s Religions:
Taught by New Agers to be the state of awareness, reached in meditation, in which one realizes that one is divine and one with God and thereby becoming a Christ or an enlightened being.”15
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Return to Chapter 5 Proceed to Chapter 7
1. Transcribed from a sermon video clip televised in Josh Mankiewicz’ interview of Rick Warren that aired on NBC’s Dateline, October 3, 2004.
2. http://www.nationalpastorsconvention.com/programs/gs/sandiego.php and http://www.nationalpastorsconvention.com/sched/sandiego/3.php. (A copy of the schedule has also been posted at http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/nationalpastorsconv2004.htm.)
3. There are many ministry websites that address the spiritual dangers of mysticism/contemplative prayer and the (New Age) New Spirituality, such as those listed in this book and at “‘Emerging’ + ‘New Spirituality’ = ‘Emergent Church’” at http://www.erwm.com/TheNewSpiritualFormation.htm. See also, “Extra Activities,” National Pastors Convention 2006, http://www.nationalpastorsconvention.com/content.aspx?sp=extras; and “National Pastor’s Convention: Where America’s Pastors Meet Contemplative” at http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/nationalpastors.htm.
4. Ray Yungen “For Many Shall Come In My Name”: How mainstream America is accepting the ‘Ancient Wisdom’ teaching and what this foreshadows, Revised Edition, (Woodburn, Oregon: Solid Rock Books, Inc., 1991) and A Time of Departing: How Ancient Mystical Practices are Uniting Christians with the World’s Religions, 2nd Edition (Silverton, Oregon: Lighthouse Trails Publishing Company, 2006), (available through http://www.lighthousetrails.com).
5. “‘The Purpose-Driven Life’: Author Rick Warren,” Talk Today: Interact with people in the news, March 25, 2004, USATODAY.com, http://cgi1.usatoday.com/mchat/20040325002/tscript.htm.
6. Spirituality, Introduction, SriChinmoy.org, http://www.srichinmoy.org/spirituality/.
7. “Breathing Exercises,” Sri Chinmoy Centre, http://www.srichinmoycentre.org/meditation/meditation_exercises/breathing_exercises.
8. Yogi Ramacharaka, The Hindu-Yogi Science of Breath, Chapter XVI - Yogi Spiritual Breathing, © 1903 (Expired), Online Magical Library, http://www.hermetics.org/pdf/ScienceOfBreath.pdf, see pp. 62-65.
9. Alice Bailey, The Unfinished Autobiography, Appendix - The Arcane School - Its Esoteric Origins and Purposes (Appendix written by Foster Bailey), (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002), http://www.netnews.org -- http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/autobiography/auto1103.html. See also this book’s Appendix - My Work (Appendix written by the Tibetan), http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/autobiography/auto1084.html.
10. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing: How Ancient Mystical Practices are Uniting Christians with the World’s Religions, 2nd Edition, pp. 28, 112.
11. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, Esoteric Psychology II, Chapter II - The Ray of Personality, The Coordination of the Personality, (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002), http://www.netnews.org -- http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/psychology2/psyc2149.html.
12. Alice Bailey, From Intellect to Intuition, Chapter VI - Stages in Meditation, III. The Stage of Contemplation, (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002), http://www.netnews.org -- http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/intellect/inte1043.html.
13. Ibid., http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/intellect/inte1042.html.
14. Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul, Initiation, Human and Solar, Chapter XII - The Two Revelations, (Caux, Switzerland: Netnews Association and/or its suppliers, 2002), http://www.netnews.org -- http://laluni.helloyou.ws/netnews/bk/initiation/init1047.html.
15. Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, p. 196.
Copyright © 2006 Tamara Hartzell. All rights reserved.