by Ernest O’Neill
What are you going to do? What are you going to be? What would you like to do? What would you like to be? We learn to regard these questions as normal soon after we’re four years of age. At times we are told to ignore them — at school, in the army; but most of our adult life is spent answering these questions. As fathers or business leaders, we sometimes rise above them in order to do what is best for the family or the business, but even that motive is flavoured with our own eventual self-interest.
The result is that we have come to believe it is our right to answer these questions just the way we want. This is what life is about — doing what you want to do!
At times we’re aware that we are no longer answering them from deep within ourselves; instead, we answer the way our peers answer — or the way the television or magazines suggest that we answer. And somehow, as the years pass, we find that we don’t seem as free as we used to be; we appear to have slid into ruts in our thinking or our choosing. Our bodies get used to certain foods and certain sleeping habits; our minds get used to certain views on politics and automobiles; so, somehow we seem to make fewer and fewer choices, and everything becomes more machine-like. Even though we still have the feeling we are absolutely free, yet we sink gradually into a soporific resignation to the predictable consumer-statistic we have become.
Nevertheless, we still feel we’re free (even though our choices seem increasingly limited) because we can’t conceive of any other freedom that is possible. What greater freedom is there than to be able to answer each day the question “what do you want to do” ?
There is actually a greater freedom. There’s the freedom to choose from deep within you what your Maker made you for. There is! You’ll only do that, of course, if you think He’s real — and if you think He cares about you. But that’s exactly the reality — He made you so that His Son (the one who appeared on earth in the first century of our era as Jesus Christ of Nazareth) could live a unique life again IN YOU !!! WITH YOUR PERMISSION !!!!
That’s why you’re different from every other person in the universe! God made you that way — hoping that you would choose of your own free will to let His Son live a new life (with the same kind of spirit he exhibited in Galilee) in and through you — using YOUR tongue, your hands, and your face and feet.
The reason you recoil from this whole idea is because you’ve got the idea that God is a dictator who cares nothing about your free will or what you would like. But you’ve only to look at the way people behave and the way they behaved towards his Son Jesus to see that He is certainly not a dictator. Our Maker has gone to great pains (and great personal suffering) to give us time (seventy years or more) to see that he has a beautiful life that his Son wants to live in us — and to let him begin to live that life. That’s why we’re here! Not to keep on trying to choose what we want to do — or what we want to be — but to let Jesus (who actually made us out of himself) do what he planned to do for this world IN US — IN YOU !!!
Freedom to Choose
This is the highest point of freedom a human being can enter — to choose an attitude to Jesus, His Maker, that permits Him to live the unique life He planned to live in that human being. When a person enters this restful state, his life takes off — or rather, gets back on to the track God had in mind at his creation. Obviously, the first need is to clarify that we were not intended to live our own lives, doing what we want or being what we chose. This is, as most of us realize after years of living, a second-best which ends up in internal deadness. So, let’s talk in the next article about this whole paradox of Jesus living our lives for us while we actually live them ourselves. How can you let another live inside you without becoming a robot?