The Normal Way
When we were children, we slept when we felt tired and we ate when wefelt hungry. Soon our mothers began to feed us when they reckoned it was goodfor us. Later, we began to eat at the times most other people eat — usuallythree times a day. This is the way we did most things — play, attend school,and work: we learned by observing what other people did — and we followed thatpattern.
Thus we learned what to do and think and speak by watching others. Thissource of guidance was enhanced and refined when we discovered books andtelevision until all our daily decisions and actions were guided by what weobserved others doing or not doing. There were occasions when we would sensethat we ought to do something different, but usually we rejected that innerurge and did what we sensed society did. Anyway, the urge to do something elsecould often be traced to a selfish desire to get our own way or to makesomebody else do what we wanted, so we did feel some guilt about this innerurge. Moreover, we were rarely encouraged by older people to follow our innerurges and this seemed reasonable advice as we saw how many of these urges wereanti-social.
In this way, most of us grew up believing that this was the only methodof finding your way in life and so we followed the guidance of our examinationsand test scores until we graduated to our present jobs.
The Really Normal Way
What we’ve seen in these last ninety-nine chapters is that this ordereduniverse of regular sunrises, orbiting planets, and intricately designedorganisms was made by an intelligent and gracious Being who made you and meinside His only Son. He then planned the detailed actions and words by whichHis Son in each of us would complete our own creation and that of the universe.The completion of our individual creation involves our willing choosing of theways He designed us to act and think: this is what our present life is allabout.
This meant that our Creator had to be willing to face all theconsequences and pain that our rejection of his plans for us would cause: thisis what we observe in this present temporary world. But, as we gradually turnto his moment-by-moment will for our lives, his spirit within us begins to giveus directions from his will and our lives stop inflicting pain on Him andothers. This is the normal way we have been created to live rather than the waymost of us have become used to – simply doing what we saw others do. It meansliving from the inside out rather than from the outside in — getting ourdirection in life from within ourselves rather than from watching what othersdo either to us or themselves. It means no longer living simply in reaction tocircumstances as they occur but taking independent initiatives based on our ownunderstanding of our Maker’s heart. It means basing our behavior on the factthat He has planned a certain life for His Son to live in us — and that Hewill reveal that to us day by day.
Faith is accepting that this is reality — that “we are God’sworkmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he has preparedbeforehand that we should walk in them” — faith is believing that this is thepurpose of our lives rather than believing that we’ve to do what others do tous or themselves. We are to “walk by faith and not by sight”. As we adopt thisattitude to life, God “sends the spirit of his Son into us” so that we begin towant to behave as his sons and not as just our independent selves with no oneto please but us ! Gradually as we walk by this faith rather than by sight –watching for the hints that come from our Creator, we find a new awareness ofan inner life and experience that enables us to sense our Maker’s desires inthe various situations that we face. We are able to perceive a whole newattitude or spirit in ourselves and we can see similarities between it and theattitude of Jesus of Nazareth. Thus we seem to talk in that spirit more than wewalk in the spirit of those around us — more by faith rather than by sight.It’s this viewpoint or attitude that increasingly governs our behavior and ourthinking so that we realize the spirit inside us is influencing our wills andminds and feelings rather than other people and things and circumstances.
This is often called being born again because it seems as if we’vestarted living in a new way and in a new world that is directed by the Son ofGod Himself. And, in fact, that’s what has happened!