In a conversation with my spiritual director I mentioned that for many years I have made it my goal to be one with God. Sometimes the term that is used is having union with God. My director referenced Thomas Merton who said that oneness with God has already been achieved. This was a tremendous gift to me. What it means is I can stop striving to become one with God and begin to live more fully in the oneness that has already been provided in God’s grace.

It was close to 40 years ago that I realized that when we allow God to take up residence within us, it is all of God that comes. God does not dole out only certain aspects of himself a little bit at a time. The full presence of the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, live within each one who has given their lives to the Trinity. That means that we don’t have to ask for more of God, we only have to find ways to appropriate and live into the fullness of God that already dwells within us. It seems to me that it is only a small leap from this understanding to the idea that we are already one with God, but for some reason it took me 40 years to make it.

So, if I am already one with God and I have the fullness of God dwelling within me, why am I not experiencing all the promises of God? Why is the character of Christ not more evident in my life? Why am I not fully aware of the Kingdom of God? I think it’s something like corrosion on the contact points of a flashlight. The battery is good and the contact points are okay but the corrosion gets in the way of proper functioning. Getting rid of that corrosion (which takes so many forms in our lives) is the purpose of Christian spiritual formation.

Just to be clear, when I talk of oneness with God I do not mean equality. Oneness is the depth and ease of relationship that our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, had with God, their creator, before their disobedience. Oneness comes as a result of God’s grace, mercy and love. It is mine only through Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. God remains God and I am always creature, but we are one. 

Learn more about Charles Ayars’s Tall Oaks Ministries by visiting his website.