In our Monday night online study group, we looked at the essentials for spiritual rebirth: you need wholehearted faith to believe that 1) God is in charge, 2) you are a child of God, and 3) that doing the Father’s will is the key to happiness and eternal progress (see earlier post).
That all sounds fine, but once you do this, this is not enough. That may sound hard to believe, but simply believing those 3 key truths is not enough: they enable you to open the door for more truth and growth, but while you are trying to follow your divine leading, while you are trying to know and do the will of the Father, you need nourishment. And since we have a mind, a body, and a soul, we need to take care of all of them.
Just as ordinary pig iron is transformed into the remarkable material of steel by just 2% carbon mixed in, we can be transformed into better people by adding the ingredients of nourishment. Again, even though you may make sound decisions, even though you set your heart on a goal, it will be impossible to reach unless you provide food for mind, body, and soul. When you start to try to do the will of the Creator, you are using up real energy, just as your body uses up energy every day and needs food, water, exercise, good hygiene, and rest.
When I look at the times I run out of steam, when I think about how I was making good progress, then got off track or sad, it’s because I was neglecting my personal garden of growth–spiritual growth. I takes sustained, very substantial effort to change, to do great things, to realize your spiritual dreams/goals. So, we must provide the foundation–a balanced foundation. As The Urantia Book says,
It is to the mind of perfect poise, housed in a body of clean habits, stabilized neural energies, and balanced chemical function — when the physical, mental, and spiritual powers are in triune harmony of development — that a maximum of light and truth can be imparted with a minimum of temporal danger or risk to the real welfare of such a being. By such a balanced growth does man ascend the circles of planetary progression one by one, from the seventh to the first. (Paper 110:6.4)
In addition, The Urantia Book states these habits in another way:
Religious habits of thinking and acting are contributory to the economy of spiritual growth. One can develop religious predispositions toward favorable reaction to spiritual stimuli, a sort of conditioned spiritual reflex. Habits which favor religious growth embrace cultivated sensitivity to divine values, recognition of religious living in others, reflective meditation on cosmic meanings, worshipful problem solving, sharing one’s spiritual life with one’s fellows, avoidance of selfishness, refusal to presume on divine mercy, living as in the presence of God. The factors of religious growth may be intentional, but the growth itself is unvaryingly unconscious. (Paper 100:1.8)
So, when we take care of our entire beings, when we nourish ourselves, then, and only then, can we give our outmost to others. We certainly shouldn’t wait until we think we have perfect habits of nourishment, because if we did wait, we wouldn’t be growing. Spiritual growth depends on nourishment and exercise. Each grow as the other grows: they are commensurate. You can’t have one without the other. But, we begin with charging up the spiritual batteries. As Rodan of Alexandria puts it in The Urantia Book:
The effort toward maturity necessitates work, and work requires energy. Whence the power to accomplish all this? The physical things can be taken for granted, but the Master has well said, “Man cannot live by bread alone.” Granted the possession of a normal body and reasonably good health, we must next look for those lures which will act as a stimulus to call forth man’s slumbering spiritual forces. Jesus has taught us that God lives in man; then how can we induce man to release these soul-bound powers of divinity and infinity? How shall we induce men to let go of God that he may spring forth to the refreshment of our own souls while in transit outward and then to serve the purpose of enlightening, uplifting, and blessing countless other souls? How best can I awaken these latent powers for good which lie dormant in your souls? One thing I am sure of: Emotional excitement is not the ideal spiritual stimulus. Excitement does not augment energy; it rather exhausts the powers of both mind and body. Whence then comes the energy to do these great things? Look to your Master. Even now he is out in the hills taking in power while we are here giving out energy. The secret of all this problem is wrapped up in spiritual communion, in worship. From the human standpoint it is a question of combined meditation and relaxation. Meditation makes the contact of mind with spirit; relaxation determines the capacity for spiritual receptivity. And this interchange of strength for weakness, courage for fear, the will of God for the mind of self, constitutes worship. At least, that is the way the philosopher views it.
When these experiences are frequently repeated, they crystallize into habits, strength-giving and worshipful habits, and such habits eventually formulate themselves into a spiritual character, and such a character is finally recognized by one’s fellows as a mature personality. These practices are difficult and time-consuming at first, but when they become habitual, they are at once restful and timesaving. The more complex society becomes, and the more the lures of civilization multiply, the more urgent will become the necessity for God-knowing individuals to form such protective habitual practices designed to conserve and augment their spiritual energies.(Paper 160:3.1-2)
So, the reason that so many times we falter, grow weak, or get off track, is that we are not spending enough time with God in solitary meditation, prayer, and worship. What type of living creature or organism do we know of that can survive without nourishment? What group, institution, or nation can survive without worthy ideals, sound ideas, and the strength and determination to pursue them. In the end, all truth progress is from our dedication to God. The imitation of God is the key to progress, and we must immersive ourselves in his presence to begin the process.
You are truly a child of God with a limitless future and a limitless well of power and light. Think of all that you can accomplish; think of all the people you can help; think of the personal transformation that you can have; think of doing the impossible!
May you enjoy the thrill of communing with the Creator and live the joy and adventure of doing His will.
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