The slavish man regards his own dominion over himself as a freedom infinitely greater than the range of the universe of God’s being. If he says, “At least I have it my own way!” I answer, you do not know what is your way and what is not. You know nothing of whence your impulses, your desires come. They may spring now from some chance, as of nerves diseased; now from some infant hate in your heart; now from the greed or lawlessness of some ancestor you would be ashamed of if you know him; or it may be now from some far-piercing chord of a heavenly orchestra: the moment it comes up into your consciousness, you call it your own way, and glory in it! Two devils amusing themselves, one at each ear, might soon make that lordly me you are so in love with rejoice in the freedom of willing the opposite each alternate moment. The whole question rests on the relation of creative and created, of which few seem to have the consciousness yet developed. Freedom from God can only mean an incapacity for seeing the facts of existence, an incapability of understanding the glory of the creature who makes common cause with his creator in his creation of him, who wills that the lovely will calling him into life and giving him choice, should finish making him, should draw him into the circle of the creative heart, to joy that he lives by no poor power of his own, but is one with the causing life of his life. Such a creature knows the life of the infinite Father as the very flame of his life, and joys that nothing is done in the universe which the Father will not share with him as much as perfect generosity can make possible.
Gotta Serve Somebody
by Diane Adams
Bob Dylan, during his Christian songwriting phase, wrote, “You gotta serve somebody. Now it may be the devil, or it might be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” I got to thinking about this, and I believe it is true. It’s the same idea the Apostle Paul touches on when he said, “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.”
According to some researchers, the average person has 50,000 thoughts each day. Obviously, we cannot and should not act on every one of those. So then we have the issue of how to decide which thoughts we should accept and which to reject. This calls for some form of external standard. If we alone decide what is right, how can we be sure that this decision is not just another bad idea or the result of our own subconscious desires?
Human beings are followers by nature. We will align ourselves with something, or else become unable to act in a consistent and sensible manner. Everyone ends up needing a set of principles, some type of creed or philosophical framework from which to accept or reject his own thoughts. At this point we are choosing, fundamentally, whom we will in fact serve. To serve means to perform duties for another. We will serve, spiritually speaking, every day. The only question, really, is who are we serving?
If I must have a creed, then I would like the very best, most uplifting, hopeful one there is. Believe me, I need it. Jesus encouraged his followers to test his words, to find out for themselves if what he spoke was true not merely by listening, but by doing. When I set out to care for my neighbor, to speak peace, respect, and hope to others, this brings the same thing back to me on the inside. When an inner and outer truth align, this is the point of revelation, the acceptance of truth.
To be a servant of Jesus Christ is to follow his pattern for living, to heed his words and to become like he is. When I actually live this, rather than think about it and talk, I find the inner reaction revelatory. His words are not just instructions on a good way to live. They bring life to the inner man. They transform sorrow into joy. There are a million others in the world who would like people to follow what they say; and if you gotta serve somebody, what better master is there than one whose words bring life to the very soul of the one who obeys him?