Deuteronomy 12-13 / Ecclesiastes 5 / Acts 2
As a man comes, so he departs, and what does he gain, since he toils for the wind?
It might be easier to say what we shouldn't do rather than what we should do, still it's somewhat cloudy what we should and shouldn't do. The Lord wants us to go one way, but our animal wants to pull us another, so oftentimes we end up just mentally throwing up our hands in an irrational anguish, not knowing what to do or not do, remaining confused. The confusion is there because we cannot secure for ourselves an agreement by the power we are used to employing by our own effort to control this new way, like we did with every other thing. Before, if we didn't get that agreement with whatever it was we just worked it out of our lives. Our clearest and most poignant example of this that we observed first hand was how the christadelphians did that to us because we wouldn't give them the agreement they demanded, so they legally worked us out of their assembly in a way that they felt gave them the "legal"—according to the gods—recourse for their actions, that they were doing it for the gods. If the animal can't find (or force) an agreement with something, then it can't stand to have that thing in its midst. That principle is what the Father used to have the Son sacrificed at the hands of the unclean animals, to preserve something much better—the actual lives of all the sons He ever loved and wanted to be near Him where He lives, where no unclean animal can come (why the sacrifice of God's only Son had to be offered).
Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him:
"I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
The suffering of the flesh (the natural, the things of flesh and blood humans as opposed to the spirit, of God) is the letting go of the animal nature, which is all we have as our life so it's painful. We have to trust the the Father will give us something in its place if we're willing to let go of all that keeps us feeling even the little bit safe by what we can effect for our frightened selves by the power of getting what we can, which gives us that agreement we are always seeking to make us feel just a little bit more secure. We're asked to let go of what we know—everything we have and are—to trust another way that we cannot control like the old way, which is a lot to ask of a pathetic little animal that counts on those things it learned—all what we had to be able to control in order to survive. What we're now learning to do and not do, since we have this truth from and about God that no one else seems to possess, is part of the learning process of growing into the life that has been born into us. And it's not an insignificant thing when we choose to trust the unseen rather than all we know, what we can easily get piles of reinforcement about everywhere we turn and find another animal reinforcing the old way by merely existing.
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while,
"He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
We learn what the Teacher wants and doesn't want us to do as per the letting go process of the transformation away from the animal identity toward the new identity of the son of God. The old ways are the things we incorporated into ourselves when we became fully animal (mature—fully alive to the humans and fully dead to God). They are how we learned as animals in a world full of animal competition how to survive best. The details of the shape they take are particular to each one of the sons because they were developed as a reaction to their own particular circumstance to which they were exposed. They are the defense mechanisms and every other thing they used to cope with in their own little world, and they perfected those things in order to survive as well as was possible for themselves—to get what they thought they needed to do it best. Although particular to each one, they do overlap in that they are the things that must be abandoned, turned away from and denied so that the new nature can actually be plugged into the place from which the old nature is being extracted.
These are the statutes and the laws that you shall keep to do in the land that the LORD, God of your fathers, has given you to take hold of it all the days that you live on the soil. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you are to dispossess worshipped their gods—on the high mountains and in the valleys and under every lush tree. And you shall smash their altars and shatter their sacred pillars, and their cultic poles you shall burn in fire, and the images of their gods you shall chop down, and you shall destroy their name from that place.
When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are coming there to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, watch yourself, lest you be ensnared after them after they are destroyed before you, and lest you seek out their gods, saying, "How do these nations worship their gods? Let me, too, do thus." You shall not do thus for the LORD your God, for every abhorrence of the LORD that He hates they have done for their gods.
Those things are what this and other OT words are speaking to, which is the better thing that the words are only ever meant to be the copy of. The secret sons of God are the reason they were written and then preserved, because they contain hidden information with which they can begin to understand their predicament and position—toward knowing what they should and shouldn't do, among many other things the sons of God learn about their real Father.
Do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
We have to know, as Jesus himself knew (being the firstborn Son among many brothers—us who have been called, chosen and are being transformed) that the words are copies for us, then understand their purpose, then be obedient to the teacher who is showing us what they're about. That is the way we learn to become sons instead of animals who must remain unaware of God as they exist and then are no more on the earth, going into it to become one with it which is just one ordinary cycle amongst the billions that are going on concurrently, which is why there is an appearance of the eternal, even though it's all very terminal. There were specific things that the Israelites were to do and not do and God also provided a reason for them. Not necessarily each one specifically; but their ultimate purpose was to keep their hearts set on Him because it was obviously very easy to be led astray and worship the false gods of the nations around them. It should be somewhat clear what this means for us since we have come to the conclusion that they are indeed copies meant for us, the way our Father expects us to learn the hidden way. They can be for all sort of whatever purposes for the animals—history, rules to live by, another way to control and manipulate for your own purpose. Actually believing that they are what they are is another thing, which is why it isn't always clear.
The knowledge of the significance of the copies is a supernatural process that the teacher does in us. In that sense we are powerless to get more of it by our own will or aptitude. All that we can do is be good by being willing to conform to the way that is being introduced in us by the teacher, which we will know by the secret things done in our heart. The transformation can be helped by being exposed to what they say and mean in light of the whole truth, and becoming separated from what will, according to the reality they point to, contaminate us and make us unclean, not pleasing to the Father. That means we have to know the real truth about things, and that takes a long time to learn. Our ignorance only helps to fuel our unbelief because it makes us keep hitting our heads against the wall that we're trying to climb over by our own will and power, when we really just need to sit quietly and let the wall dissolve. In the meantime, there is bound to be lots of anxiety in these temporary bodies, because our nature is not predisposed to being reared by an unseen therefore uncontrollable God, but to the one we learned to be ruled by, the nature that rules, leads, guides and teaches all the humans across the board with no exceptions.
I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
We learned to find and make our own way, to satisfy and fulfill our own desires, not to wait for someone else to give us what we need. Interesting, though, is how waiting for someone else to give us what we need is the process of becoming like little children who know nothing and have to wait for their parent to give them everything because they have no means of reaching out their hands and grabbing whatever it is. That is what Jesus meant when he said it to his chosen brothers.
God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.
We have tasted the life without question, we have been given just a little peace and the gladness of heart to make us content, as per its measure in us. There is no doubt that we have been chosen to have this thing happen inside us which we are beginning to be able to understand by some of the things we observe in the words, and how they reinforce what's happening in us because of the action of the teacher doing his work in us. We are beginning to understand the hidden meaning for a lot of the things that we were reading for many years before now, yet never understood because the Teacher wasn't doing his work then. We know something is going on out of the ordinary, that is not according to the way things normally go. That is the call to listen up and observe. One dilemma is that we can't get more of it by anything we can do within or without our selves, which is the old way we used to do everything and get everything we had. It's what produces the dependence on our Father that He requires, but it's totally against how we learned to survive, so it's confusing and frustrating because we can't get what we think we should have. We only get a little at a time, gradually like a seed that turns into a plant and then a tree. We always want to get it going faster because the animal hates to patiently endure; it's used to getting things now, by its own hand and whatever power it has available to it to get what it wants, needs and craves according to the instincts which continually demand satisfaction and appeasement.
The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.
It must be why the first century brothers urged and exhorted toward patiently enduring in the way that had been established within them already. We can find a brotherhood with them in that in the sense that we know something has definitely happened within us. Yet it feels so often that we are twisting in the wind because there is nothing in the natural (what we're used to) that can validate what we believe is happening in us. But that is what actual faith is about and for, as opposed to this thing which is apparently not happening in other humans (so they cannot validate it for us, which we crave). Faith to the humans is believing in some god although they can never understand who it is, but they think they need to "have faith" anyway, because it's something their god wants because they can read the words not meant for them and they want what they can't have, what may not be intended for them. At any rate it isn't something that can be bought and owned, as the leaders of the humans teach, as though the guarantee that God gives to His sons is just another thing they can own, possess and control like a house or an identity.
What it is in us is the same situation that Abraham encountered, knowing that God was speaking to him, yet at the same time God was invisible—as He always is to the humans. And he probably tried to tell the other people in Sumeria what was happening inside his mind and heart, how it was different than what everyone thought. Do you think they listened to him? He thought he heard that voice tell him to leave all that he knew and go somewhere wild and uncivilized. We can't assume it all happened overnight, which is the tendency. The Father no doubt got him ready, just like He is getting us ready. How can we stand up then if we cannot stand up now?
What is our opposition now? It isn't some hindrance to preaching the message that we know, because there isn't anyone who has been given the ears to hear what we have to say. That would have to happen as a miraculous work, as it was done in us. It isn't the "bad people" who we need to turn into "good people," like us so that we can get the validation that we deeply crave within us, which is the emotional component of survival. It is a strong impulse to learn to deny.
Our opposition now is our own selves (those same cravings and impulses), the animal nature that still makes us serve and worship it (the serpent, the devil, the created thing) instead of our Father. It is the reason we are far away from Him, unable to feel and comprehend His love for us. In a big way everything is still theoretical. But we have to assume that this thing was started for a reason, and that continuing deeper into it has got to be a desire of the Father for us, which is why we need endurance to continue and patience to withstand what stands in the way of doing that—to a large degree the urges of the animal nature that always wants & needs to freak out and keep us confused. I guess what it keeps us, though, is dependent on our Father to give us what we need to keep going.
That probably brings us to the place we are now, and may be in as long as we are in these temporary bodies. Although it does seem to get better, easier in a way if we find a lonely, quiet place to live and patiently endure, away from the influence of the world full of humans who are 100% ruled by our enemy. If we keep entertaining the desires of the flesh then we have to employ the constant repentance we feel afterward, which may be indeed genuine, but has to be what Paul is referring to when he talks about quenching the spirit. So each of us knows to a certain extent what not to do, what inflames our flesh, the things we are sorry for later. But it's not easy to just say, "Okay, I'm not gonna do those things anymore." But that could be the whole point, because it may be easy on one hand to say no, but there will be other times when it's not easy at all, and that is the time we need to do the work of believing that what we once knew we shouldn't do still holds true.
Our own selves will be our worst enemy in those times, because we will be the thing that tries to convince us that maybe God didn't say we couldn't do that, and it will be working on us hard, because it is our own conniving mind, and it knows how to convince us—we know all our weak points. That is why belief is called work, because it's so appealing to us, even to an irrational degree, but if we indulge then we wish we wouldn't so there must be something to it. It's a brain and heart twister—mentally and emotionally agonizing. That is what Abraham must have felt too, but a hundred times more, when he thought he heard God tell him to kill Isaac.
What we do is to continue to listen and follow—not any human but the voice of the Teacher—to not partake in the things we know create havoc inside us, to not believe the animal which says there's no point in denying what we want, that we won't be better off for it, that God won't see anything good that we do on His behalf, so we might as well go ahead and do it. It's hard to grasp on to anything in these times, but we must because we know that if we gratify the desires of our instinctual cravings, what it is trying to make us serve it by, then we will be sorry and ashamed. That's why it's so hard, because there's no where to go to fulfill ourselves like we used to, but doing the right thing seems so unappealing that we don't even know the way since it's so blurry and cloudy.
Maybe a contemplation about what we know is in order—what does God want His people to be? Holy, separated from the things the the world filled with animals love and consistently run after. How do we get there? By denying it the ability to dominate and control us by our own manipulations, rationalizations and justifications. Think about the anguish of Abraham and the prospect of killing Isaac. Think about the anguish of Jesus in the garden and not knowing which way to go, so confusing to him that he had to pray which way to go.
Jesus began to be deeply distressed and troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
Separating ourselves from the world and its influence is a step in the good way. Denying what we know doesn't help us understand the life within us is good too. Even though choosing the wrong way brings grace and perhaps temporarily an end to the anguish of not knowing which way to go, it obviously doesn't lend toward progression or we would be eating and drinking as those who die. Remember what happened to Jesus the third time he prayed. Being strengthened by an angel, he was able to continue choosing the right and rejecting the wrong. Turning away from the devil and all he has to offer us is obviously harder than turning toward our Father and His will for us.
God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call.