Is there a superhuman life or is this a closed universe limited to what we can see and touch? Right from our beginnings as a human race we and our forefathers have always felt there has to be some power beyond this earth who is ultimately responsible for our existing at all. In other words, there has to be a first cause, however many intermediate or evolutionary causes lie in between. Is there any empirical evidence of a life above and beyond ours? Is there any touch-and-see evidence of life from outer space?
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by Ernest O’Neill
Life Gets So Old
It does, doesn’t it? Exciting at six; exciting even at eighteen; but after you’ve mouthed the same old platitudes year after year (you can’t trust people, think great and you’ll be great, nobody can be honest all the time), life seems to grow more and more stale. And you yourself lose the sense that you are capable of anything new or different. All your friends know what you’re like, what you’re good at-and what you’re not good at. It seems that all you’ve got to do is keep on doing what you’re doing until you finally run out of breath!
This is what happens when we grow out of that bright intuitive knowledge we used to have as children. Even the dullest of us said little wise things that surprised our parents. Exciting little thoughts seemed to spring up in our brains at times-life seemed somehow more “first-hand”. Now it’s become “second-hand” -we repeat others’ thoughts, newspaper headlines, summaries of others’ theories. At school we began absorbing the “knowledge of good and evil” precedents that mankind has collected through the centuries, and that worldly wisdom is the only dead map we have to follow now.
Leaping Into Brightness
But this is not reality! This is the insufferable boring fantasy that we human beings create when we cease to be as direct and sensible as little children. This is the second-rate unreality to which we reduce life when we pretend there’s no God and we’re on our own here to do what we can with our lives. The first step back towards that intuitive knowledge that you once had when you were young is-to act as trusting and simple as a little child. Look up at the stars-of course, somebody must have put them there and ordered their orbits; of course, he must know you’re here.
Of course, he must be trying to get through to you-otherwise-why did he bother to make you. Now-set up a “listening-post”-five or ten minutes each day when you sit alone with your eyes closed-think of him as like Jesus of Nazareth (whose life Buddhists, Moslems, Christians all regard as one of the most godly lives ever lived)-and quietly ask him to come through to you somehow. This very tentative move on your part is the beginning of the way back to what you were meant to be.
What Will You Hear?
Paul put it like this in a letter (included in the Bible) that he wrote to people in Galatia about 58 a.d. (Galations 4:6) -“because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts”. The Creator of the world made you-but not quite the same way He made the animals and the mountains. First, He made you with his Son’s help (John 1:3); secondly He made you out of his Son’s life (John 1:4 : Greek literal translation – “That which has been made was life in him”); thirdly, “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4) to be His children. And because we are in reality His sons (and part of His only-begotten Son), He has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. Why?
Because He wants His Son to live a unique, unrepeatable life in you. That’s why you have the attributes, traits and talents you have. They are all exactly right for the original life that Jesus has planned to live in you. The wonder of it is that He can only live it if you let him. He will not, indeed cannot, force you. He can only DO with you if you WILL with him. But in order for you to do that, you have to know the things he has planned to do through you in this world. That’s why He has put his spirit in you. That Spirit is waiting for you to listen to Him-if you do, He will begin to come through. Somehow –sometime –somewhere. And gradually, his life in you will become normal and constant. And your intuition (that you experienced) as a child will commence to bright and energize your life!
by Ernest O’Neill
Can you change your life? Can you break the patterns of thought and habits of behaviour that have ruled your life for years? Some of us dream of a permanent holiday-not just a wishful break in the Caribbean where something unexpected may happen or where we will somehow erupt into a new, wonderful existence-but a permanent liberation from all that we are and have been.
This has always been the plan for our lives from the very beginning. Our maker wanted us to experience life without him so that we would be making a conscious, intelligent choice if we determined to recognize Him as our Creator. So he has allowed us to become what we are-a product of our environment-and a prisoner of our environment! Our thoughts are so often the echoes of the TV commercials or the superficial comments -‘the “rich and famous” or the ideals presented in the magazines. At times we fall back into things our parents or teachers told us-and at other times we do just what we have become i.e. we react like robots programmed by the constant repetition of certain thought patterns that seem to repeat themselves independent of our wills.
So, as we do again today what we did yesterday- as we make the same responses to the same situations or people as we did last week as we sink into JUST doing our jobs, JUST passing ourselves socially, JUST meeting our minimal responsibilities at home-we grows smaller We actually shrink-we were made to expand (not just physically) were created to grow and develop far beyond what we are ourselves. How? By thinking new thoughts, following new aspirations, attempting new things, speaking new words, going to new places, interacting with new people- because we are growing internally into new personalities.
This is what Jesus of Nazareth meant when he said: “If you lose your life, you will find it!”
Deep within you-below the level of your mind-below the level of your emotions below the level of your will-which all tend to be programmed by your body and the world of people and things-deep, deep down is your spirit. It’s the part of you that is asleep; it is barely able to send up to your conscious mind some suspicions that you are unique and different from everyone else. As the years pass, these vibrations become fainter and fainter, but they are God’s “taps” on your shoulder to remind you that He is there. This is Him telling you that he still has a dream for your life that is entirely different from the routine you have fallen into.
Starting from these little innuendoes in your spirit, it is possible for you to be completely renewed. You cannot yourself produce new ways to think or new ways to feel. You yourself cannot change your behaviour. But your creator is able to show you the way-the personal way he has devised for you to live His life here on earth. This is what is meant by the life of intuition. It’s different from the counterfeit vibes of spiritualism or the new age-they are simply psychic, pseudo-spiritual messages sent by the world-spirit to make you an automaton. The Spirit of God wants you to be free-wants you to act as a truly free spirit. His whole plan for the universe is based on the possibility of your loving him because you want to love him. He wants you to want Him not only because he thought you up, but because you see what a kind Father he has been to you. Only then is he able to tell you through his Spirit and yours what he wants to do together with you in His world.
The Intuition of Your Spirit
How do we live like this? How do we begin to respond to this spirit? In daily life-at work or at home how will this spirit get through to us? When do we repress him? How do we please him? Let’s talk more about this change of life.
by Ernest O’Neill
We all think we’re made for something special, don’t we? It doesn’t matter how ordinary we are how unremarkable our appearance even how dull our personality seems to be to others. ALL of us feel somehow we were put here to do something special. It may not be something great in the world’s eyes, but is something that we can do in a way that no one else can.
Admittedly this feeling is stronger when we’re very young and it gets pretty battered as we track through the twenties and thirties, but still we continue to feel just a little nudge from time to time. And though we may not have achieved anything world shaking, we nevertheless persist in feeling that we are different from other people–and we are here for some purpose.
And we’re reinforced in this conviction by the simple fact that we are different from every other person in the universe-we may look very like someone else-perhaps we are an identical twin. But we’re not exactly like anyone else. Our brain works just a little differently from everyone else’s; our eyes and face and emotions form a combination that no one else possesses. So, you feel you’re not “completely crazy” when you feel you’re unique because — because you are unique!
Your Personal Destiny
The depth inside you that gives you this sense of uniqueness can be the vital link that opens out for you the special life that you were made for. The Bible refers to that “depth” as your “spirit”. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:11 “For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him. So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” In other words, you have a spirit that is deeper than your mind or intellect-and this spirit can receive direction from the Spirit of God. If you determine to make use of this for yourself, of course, there are other spiritual forces in the world that will use your wilfulness to lead you into the pride of spiritualism and so-called New Age thinking. But if you will patiently pursue this under the guidance of the New Testament, you can begin to discover and live the spiritual, mental, and practical life that the Creator planned for you.
It will actually be a continuation of the personal sense of destiny that you have felt at times. Often it will evince the same apparent contradiction of the evidence of your senses that this feeling gives you at present. What prevents this drifting into megalomania or schizophrenia is your patient study of and balanced embracing of the attitude and truth of the books in the New Testament–and of Jesus Himself. However, as you do this you will find a soundless voice within that gives you a solid sense of Someone’s opinion of you that differs from everyone else’s. As you “march to this different drum” in your thoughts and behaviour, you’ll find that the One who made you thinks a lot of you. His high opinion of you is not based on your worthiness-he can see your shortcomings clearer than anyone else-but it’s based on His own love for you. He’s not blind-nor is he a fool he knows your weaknesses and your pride, but His Spirit communicates to your spirit His interest in you–and His awareness of you. This sense of your personal destiny comes from your spirit through its–and really your–intuition of Our Creator’s personal awareness and love of YOU.
Apart From Others’ Opinions
This kind of knowledge wells up within you apart from the opinions of other men and women. It is independent of and usually opposed by the “norms” of society and can grow only if nurtured by your respect for Jesus Christ and the things he said. Such an intensely personal development can fall into psychotic and eccentric behaviour if you do not live in the sane, balanced attitude that fills the pages of the Bible. But, if you do stay close to the spirit and truth of that book, then you can find your way back to the life of intuition that you touched when you were a child. The fact is that this life of real knowledge of God and yourself has been overlaid and displaced by the norms and precedents of human society. But it is possible to be born again into real life — and to continue that life here on earth. Let’s talk more about this in the next article.
by Ernest O’Neill
We believe what we were told when we were young. You’re on your own in this world — it’s tough out there — no one will look after you when your parents die. So get a good education so that you can get a good job and have children and keep yourself secure and comfortable! The result is that we spend the next 50 years striving to make ourselves comfortable and secure, so that we can then be happy and enjoy life.
The truth is utterly different from this. You’re not on your own — you aren’t even alone when you’re alone. You aren’t at all just a piece of flotsam –a scrap of humanity — a little speck or amoeba thrown up by chance plus time. You are part of the maker of the universe. No, you’re not “the Maker” of the universe you’re not equal with him — he exists outside you. BUT you are made from his life. His life is in you — it’s his life that makes your heartbeat and your brain work. If he is the fire, you are one of his flames!
This is why you feel you’re worth something — you are worth something. This is why you feel you’re different from other people — you are. This is why you feel you’re here for some special reason — you are. Here’s the way our Maker explained it through John in the first century: “that which has been made was life in him” i.e. Jesus, the only son of the Maker of the universe; “all things were made by Him and without him was not anything made. That which has been made was life in him” (John 1:4,5 — footnote in Revised Standard Version of the Bible).
A Predesigned Life
God expressed it in other words through Paul when he wrote Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” You exist not because your father or mother decided to have a baby — that is simply the physical, temporal expression in this time-space world of your real creation in the son of God. That creation has taken place in the timeless — spaceless world of God Himself. It’s meaningless to say it took place before your birth here on earth because there is no such thing as time in this limited local earth of ours. It’s more accurate to stress the design and purpose of this reality rather than its place in time.
And the truth is that God carefully predesigned you as part of His Son to do certain things that He himself has prepared for you. This is the meaning of the Greek word “pro-oridzo” in Romans 8:29- predestined in the sense of pre-designed rather than forced like a robot to do things you can’t help doing.
Moreover, God has not left you to somehow do these things by your own hit-and-miss efforts. You’re made from his Son’s life and the life of His Son is in your veins and your heart and your brain. In fact, you are part of His Son (1 Corinthians 12:27) so he will act through you — IF YOU LET HIM! Even though God has planned all this, He refuses to do anything without your willing agreement. He does not want shackled robots — He wants people who love like his son and enjoy being part of his family.
This is why it’s vital for you to realize that there is a spirit inside you that lets each of us know what Christ has planned to do through us to complete his creation. It’s this spirit that enabled Einstein to do what he believed he was made for. It’s this spirit that enabled Caruso to do what he believed he was made for. But it’s also this spirit in you that will let you know what the son of God has planned to do through you for his world. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s cleaning bathrooms or playing the violin in Carnegie Hall — either will seem natural as Christ gives the gift to do it. So you’ll experience fulfilment without self-congratulation. AND God will add to you the other things you need — clothes, food, and shelter.
But it’s this spirit within you that guides you to the unique life that God’s son wishes to live in you: let’s talk again about this light inside you (Proverbs 20:27).
by Ernest O’Neill
One of the most satisfying moments in life is when you sit across the room from someone you respect and you know that you both feel exactly the same about something. This is especially restful when you not only feel the same but want the same thing. If you know each other well then you can tell whether the other person wants what you want or is just trying to please you. You also know whether they want it for the same reasons as you or whether they want it just because it seems reasonable.
Why is Oneness of Desire Unusual?
Why is it so difficult for two people to want the same thing ? Because free will enables us to choose just what we want to choose. And integrity of personality requires that we do this from motives that are honest and real.
Day after day, people agree superficially in order to get practical jobs done. Moment by moment, men and women agree outwardly because of authority, fear, or admiration. But everyone is different – brought up by different mothers, attending different schools, experiencing different sorrows and successes. We all bring different views and attitudes to every situation, so it’s difficult for more than three people to honestly want the same thing for the same reasons and from the same motives. Usually, the agreement is superficial and expedient rather than internal and principled.
The Purpose of Life
Yet this is the purpose of life ! This is why the Creator made us. He made us “in his image” and this meant giving us free wills like His own. Our quest is to come into agreement with Him. You can see that the inventor of a microchip for a computer knows best how that chip will work. He knows its potential and can tell how that can be fulfilled.
It’s the same with our maker. He knows what he put in you. He knows why He made you the way He did. He knows how His Son Christ will bring His world into order through your life. But this can happen only if you come into oneness with His will in every detail of your life. God will do nothing against his own will, but he will do nothing apart from our wills.
Superficial Oneness with God
Human beings know these things, but cannot face the inner integrity that is required to enter complete agreement with the Creator, so we have invented all kinds of partial or superficial agreement. So today, people talk about “obeying God”, identifying oneself with God’s purposes, and becoming a disciple. We join Bible studies, attend conferences, enter monastic orders, study principles of godliness, do what our religious peers do, try to improve our personal behavior, endeavour to pursue internal spiritual progress, and make God’s will the ruling passion of our lives.
But we do not desire what God desires from deep-down within us. Sometimes we feel some of his love for others; sometimes we are surprised that we seem to feel the same affection as God, but often we are aware that we do not feel at all what He seems to feel. This is what our Maker is interested in. He knows we can treat Him as a god – as someone outside ourselves – whom we try to please. But He put us here on earth for seventy years so that we could, by the choice of our own wills, come into absolute oneness with Him IN OUR HEARTS.
Intuition is the Proof
This is the remarkable function of our intuition. In this deep area of our human spirits we sense whether we are in absolute oneness with Our Creator or not. Intuition (from the Latin verb meaning “to see within”) reveals what we really want – what we truly desire. God is waiting for us to want what He wants – to desire what He desires. We know we are beginning to mature when our desires are the same as His – all the time. When we want to speak what Christ’s Spirit within us is speaking, then we are beginning to understand God’s heart. Jesus said: “I have not called you servants because a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends.” Our maker wants us to be his bosom friends, his dear children – bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. He wants us to love him and feel what he feels; he wants us to think what he thinks and respond as he responds. What does your intuition urge? Note that. Then transact business with your maker.
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?
by Ernest O’Neill
Happiness is wanting what you have – not having what you want ! But most of us think happiness is “having what you want”. As little babies, we grabbed our teddy bears whenever we wanted them. And – as the years passed – we felt this was our human right – to make things the way we wanted them. Many of us had temporary breaks in this behavior – when we were in the army or in a business where we had to do what someone else wanted. But we have always looked forward to “getting back to the basics” of what we want out of life.
Strangely enough, it hasn’t worked out as we thought. Somehow we don’t feel as free as we used to. Doing what we wanted when we wanted seems to have led us into behavioral ruts – eating ruts, drinking ruts, television ruts, job ruts – habits of society and culture that make us more like robots than free human-beings.
Many of us still say “I wish I were really free to do what I want !” But our lack of freedom seems as internal as external ! G.K Chesterton said that we humans think of happiness as a combination of excitement and peace; in the same way we often yearn after a freedom that combines freedom and direction.
Your Life was Planned
This is exactly what the Maker of the world planned for us. There’s a startling verse in the Bible – Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” At first glance we twentieth century people are repelled at any suggestion that our Creator has planned our lives ahead, yet we are often very glad when a tour company plans a visit to a new country for us. We say we can follow the tour or strike out on our own – but that’s exactly what Jesus said about our freedom to reject God’s plan for our lives – “How often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you would not !” (Matthew 23:37)
In fact, God has made us exactly right for the work to be done, but we have this crazy notion that freedom is “doing your own thing” whether it’s related to the overall plan for the universe or not ! The result is that we end up lost and dissatisfied with our lives – feeling we’re specks of nothing that achieve little. The truth is, of course, the exact opposite.
Another Person Inside You
Christmas is the heart of our misunderstanding. We get it right when we see that God’s Son, Jesus, became a human like us. We get it wrong when we think he rose from the dead, ceased to be a man, and went back up to being God. He never stopped being a man (God as well, but at the same time a real human being) – even at the last judgment in Matthew 25:31, he is called the “Son of man”. God didn’t just “visit” us poor humans – he became us – permanently – even while he continues to be God. That’s why Jesus is called in Colossians 1:15 “the first-born of all creation” and why all things (according to Romans 8:28-29) work together to conform us to the image of Jesus – so that he will be the first-born of people like you and me who can be called his brothers and sisters.
Actually, Jesus is the great human being – all of us were simply created inside him as part of his body. He is the one who knows how to develop this world in order – according to his Father’s plan – but he himself is so diverse and magnificent that you are needed to express a part of his character and ability that no one else can. He has always planned and wanted to live in you and do his work here (John 17:23), but he can only will – if you will with him !!
Like any baby inside his mother’s body, you can kick him to death from the inside (he has borne the pain of that sin for years), but until you die he will continue to work things together in your life to try to get you to “let Him live” through you! He is in you now – it’s his Spirit that gives you direction at times. But he will never force your will – he will let you even crucify him before he’ll force your hand, but if you once begin to let him do through you the works he has prepared beforehand, you’ll at last experience that combination for freedom and direction that is perfect liberty.
by Ernest O’Neill
Most of us feel we were made for bigger things — bigger things than we’re involved in! We recognize that there are megalomaniacs – people who think they’re Napoleon or God; we know that’s insane and wrong. But we still feel we have something unique inside us — something which we were made to do – that nobody else can do in the just the same way ! But we feel we’re somehow “missing it”: we feel a bit let down – a kind of anti-climax in our lives. It seems as if we’re not fulfilling our full potential: there’s a saying in the Bible that expresses it – it’s in Ecclesiastes 2:11: “He has made everything beautiful in its time: also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end”.
Do you ever feel that ? Do you feel there’s something you were put here to do but you can’t quite get your hands around it? Sometimes you think you know what it is, but then you seem to lose it – and life sinks down into the old repetitive rut. What is the explanation of it all this sense of futility and missed purpose?
You’re part of Someone Else
You think you were made inside your mother ! But that was just the human channel God used to get you here on earth. He makes it clear in Ephesians 2:10 that you were created inside someone far more important than your Mom: “for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. This means that God planned this whole thing long before he made the planets and the earth. In a millisecond he looked at his only-begotten Son, Jesus, wanted his beauty and infinite being to be expressed, and resolved to make you and me (and millions of others) inside His Son so that each one of us would express a unique beauty of Christ that only we could.
Immediately our Creator saw that this entailed us having the same free will as Christ to obey or disobey, to do what He planned for us or go our own way. At that same moment (because a thousand years to Him are as a day), He resolved to let us go our own way, destroy and recreate us, and then let us see the choice played out here on earth, so that we would have a true freedom to choose that way – or His way ! And all of this – inside His own Son, who would have to bear our choosing and our destruction and re-creation inside Himself ! (This is why Revelation records in chapter 13, verse 8 that the “lamb was slain before the foundation of the world” and 2 Corinthians 5:21 states that “he made him to be sin who knew no sin”.
Your Present Destiny
This is why you sometimes feel that you’re missing it – that you were put here to do something that you haven’t quite found out yet. You were – there is actually only one plan for one human being – that’s the plan our Creator has for his dear Son. He is the great Human Being – all of us are just parts of Him – we’re “the body of Christ and invidually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). Jesus is in us and we’re in Him (John 17:23) – and there are things He has planned to do in you and through you – which only He can do – and only if you let him – and will what he wills – and are willing to speak what he wants to speak !
The terrible truth is that you can bleed him to death from within – He will hold you in Himself until you die – and bear the pain and agony you may choose to torture him with – right to the very end. Then at that point even He has to accept your final decision – and let you go – even though it is like losing his own arm or leg. But until that moment, he continues to move inside you, giving you feelings that there is something you’ve been put here to do – or let him do!
What Can You Do?
What can you do about this ? Jesus said it plainly in Mark 1:15: “repent” – change the way you’re thinking about life – “and believe the gospel” – believe that this is reality – you are part of God’s only Son – and He has things to do and be through you – things that He cannot be and cannot do through anyone else. Believe that – and begin to let him live inside and through you. Stop burying him – stop pushing yourself and your old former interest forward – and let him begin the life that he wants to live in you!
by Ernest O’Neill
Can a man live without air? Can you survive without breath? That’s what man has done! The man Jesus, who made his physical body visible in the first century, explained what was going to happen to him in these words: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40); then “as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, ‘Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead.'” (Matthew 17:9). Finally, he made it plain where he now is (even though we can no longer see his physical body) — “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64)
Jesus is “THE MAN”. NOT “he was the man” – and has now ceased to be a human! He is always the “Son of God”, but he makes it plain to us that he has become a man also forever: he now sits at the right hand of God AS A MAN — as THE MAN. Because all of us men and women “were created in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:10) and are part of his body (1 Corinthians 12:27). What he is — that is what we are. And the historical fact is that he ceased to breathe air in 29 a.d. — guaranteed dead by the spear of an experienced Roman soldier — observed by hundreds of eye-witnesses, yet he lived and breathed again for another month. He then made it clear that — even though we couldn’t see him physically — he is still alive!
Existence Apart from This World
When this man Jesus lay in his tomb from Friday night to Sunday morning he did not breathe. Yet he obviously continued to live — because on Sunday morning he got up, shook off the grave-clothes, and spoke to Mary in the garden outside the grave. So humanity can survive apart from breath and food — and all the so-called “life-support systems” of this current world. This means that we need have no fear when our breath stops. Nor need we be preoccupied with this visible world and the things it can give us. While we have food — and water — and air — and friends — and relatives — and outward happiness and favourable circumstances — we should accept them. But let’s not GRAB them or covet them or treasure them or be reluctant to let go of them! Let’s relax in the reality that we humans continue to exist apart from these transient things. Our life is more than “food and clothes” and air and water.
The simple fact is that Jesus appeared more alive than ever during the month between his crucifixion and his ascent off the earth. He was able to eat fish and drink water, yet he found matter or space no barrier. He passed through walls and covered distances with ease and speed. His appearance was so transformed that at first his friends didn’t recognize him. So let’s not be slow to close our eyes and enter into his breath and life — even while we’re still here in physical bodies. In the apparent darkness of prayer, his vital life stirs inside us and energizes our mental and emotional activity far more deeply and livingly than mere animal life does.
The Advantages of Withdrawing a Little
Just as you can often recreate a past experience by closing your eyes and shutting out the circumstances around you, so you can often experience more of the reality of human “breathless” life by closing your eyes in prayer. Although you still have breath — and drink water and eat food, you can withdraw a little from the immediacy (and the distraction) of your present circumstances by thinking yourself into Christ himself (in whom you live and move and have your being). It’s His life that maintains your consciousness — not your breathing or eating (though these maintain your life on earth). So the closer you are to him in your thinking and feeling, the more solid and stable is your own grip on existence and life. The truth of the matter is — consciousness of THE MAN of whom you’re a part — makes life more real than all the sea-breezes and parties and lively conversations you’ve ever experienced. This Jesus in his tomb holds all the mountains and oceans that he has made in his heart: when your heart beats with his, boundless life surges up inside you!
by Ernest O’Neill
It’s such a new thought — the thought that you are actually part of someone else. In a way it’s the first thought that is real for you — beacuse you entered this world as part of your mother. But somehow once we’ve been born we begin to regard ourselves as absolutely “our own” and on our own”. Much of our mother’s pain as we grow up comes from our desire for our own way and our own subsistence independent of her. And yet, as life continues, this very autonomy produces depressing feelings of inadequacy and angst. Despite many temporary experiences of self-sufficiency, these feelings of insecurity are eventually justified when we succumb to the final disease or senility — and die. Then others carry us to our final resting place because we cannot walk ourselves!
So it’s a very reasonable thought that we so often feel we need something or someone else to complete us (and think we’ve found it in marriage or children or friends). All the great religious leaders like Buddha, Mohammed, and Confucius try to lead us into participation in a spirit greater than ourselves. But somehow there’s a vagueness and distance about it all — even though we feel it speaks somewhat to our deep feelings.
But none of them ever says “you’re part of me”. They don’t seem to have the stature to say that convincingly to us. But — more than that — they don’t claim it. They don’t say it because they don’t think of themselves like that — they know they’re only human beings like the rest of us. However, this is exactly what that unique man Jesus does say — He says “you’re part of me” — abide in me and I in you — without me you can do nothing — I am the life”.
An Encouraging Metaphor
Un-naturally we think “what a lovely metaphor — that we’re part of that wonderful human being known on earth in the first century as Jesus Christ!” It’s so uplifting — to think that we are part of the one perfect human being that ever lived.
But the problem is that the Bible doesn’t seem to see this as a metaphor — it keeps on repeating it as actual fact. Paul writes in his letter to the people in Ephesus (Ephesians 2:10) “for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which He has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. John says the same kind of thing about our origin: in the first chapter of his gospel, he writes “in the beginning was the Word (one of the words he uses for Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made. What has been made was life in him.”
This means that you came out of Jesus’ life — that the feelings you have at times that you’ll live forever are because it’s his life and energy that pulses through your brain. Even the partial insight of reincarnation or a past life is a misunderstanding of the inner sense we have that we are part of another — that we come from someone else — that the life that is in us is bigger than we are — and will continue after us. But the truth is even deeper than this!
The Eternal Man
There’s a book in the Bible called Colossians: in chapter 1, verse 15ff., we read “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” In other words, Adam was not the first-born of all creation — he was just the first human being created here on planet earth. Jesus was the first-born of all creation — our Creator “begot” him as his “only-begotten son”: and he was the beginning of all creation.
So when we say we were “created in him”, this means we were part of him — part of his own being and life. Moreover, we “are” part of him — because he not only “was”, but “is” and “will be”: his life is timeless — he existed before the world — and will continue after it disappears. And we are part of him — unless we choose finally to live in deception. This is why we have feelings of eternity at times — feelings that we are part of something or someone greater: it’s also why good desires sometimes rise within us. Before Jesus lived on earth, the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote “He has made everything beautiful in its time: also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end”.
But we are even more closely related to Jesus and our Creator than this: let’s talk about it in the next article.
by Ernest O’Neill
Most of us feel we’re on our own! We have felt this way ever since we left the family home. Some of us feel it even before that. We try to become part of somebody else by making friends or marrying, but often we still feel we’re alone. This is a downright lie.
You Are Not On Your Own
You are not on your own! You are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus! “Don’t be crazy,” you say, “talk sensibly — I’m a product of my father and mother having intercourse — I came out of their bodies!”
That’s the way the Creator brought you into existence here on earth, but He made you yourself in that same millisecond “in Christ Jesus” His only-begotten Son. That’s what Paul, Jesus’ follower, wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 10 – “You are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus”. But, you say, I don’t believe in Christ — I’m not religious. It doesn’t matter — that doesn’t change the facts.
The facts are that Jesus Christ (whose life in the first century is more reliably documented than that of Julius Caesar or Plato) “is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created” (Colossians 1:15-16). “All things” includes you! The truth is that Jesus is the Son of our Creator, and He Himself was the first to be born in His Father’s creation; then the Creator made you IN HIS SON!
Why Do You Surprise Yourself?
Don’t you surprise yourself at times? Aren’t you surprised at what you can do when you try? Aren’t you taken aback at some of the thoughts and good feelings you have? That’s part of Christ’s life surging up within you. “Oh, don’t be ridiculous,” you say, “how can Jesus have been born in 4 B.C., died in 29 A.D., and be the first Human Being in which everyone else was made?”
Because Jesus is eternal — He is outside time and space — so he is always alive. He prayed to God: “and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made” (John 17:5). Jesus was before everything — and everything that exists was first “life in him”. So it’s some of His life that you feel at times inside yourself. Those moments when men and women produce strength and bravery that they never knew they had — are moments when His life rises up within them and lifts them higher than themselves.
But I Don’t Believe In This Jesus
But, you say “I don’t even believe in this Jesus”. That doesn’t change the fact that God made you as part of His Son so that you would have the same life and blood running through you as His Own Dear Son. The Creator didn’t make you as part of some kind of experiment or plaything. He made you part of his own family. “Wait,” you say, “don’t I have any say in the matter?” Of course you do — sure, you’re having it right now — by the way you live and think and speak. But it’s all happening inside the One in whom you were made — He bears all the kicking you do (much as your mother did before you were born). There isn’t a malicious thought that you have — or a sarcastic word you speak — that doesn’t tear apart the one perfect Human Being that has ever lived. But Jesus will bear it all from you as long as you’re alive — in order to give you the chance to let Him live in you.
Finally, of course, the decision is yours. But He’s the One that has faced the music for you — when He was crucified. That was before the “foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8), when God foresaw the life you and I would live and asked His son if He would bear its destruction inside Himself. So really, when we exercise our nastiness today, we create an evil that has already been borne and destroyed in Jesus. It’s the hopelessness that stems from its destruction that brings such darkness to ourselves.
So, in a sense, the life we live here is a replay of our old rejection of Christ’s life — the original hostile life was destroyed with us in Christ before this all started. Now we can look at what might have been — and either acquiesce in it or choose the original life we were created in Christ to live.
You’re not at all on your own — you’re an intimate part of Jesus Christ who has not only borne you in Himself, but has died with you in Himself — so that you have a real choice between killing Him and letting Him live instead of you.
by Ernest O’Neill
What Does Christmas Mean?
Most of us learned at Sunday School that Christmas is the birthday of Christ: that’s why we call it Christmas. We learned also that Christ was the only-begotten Son of God, our Creator; so Christmas really meant God Himself (in His Son) came to earth as a human being. We were taught that this was the great difference between Christianity and other religions – according to Christianity, God himself became a human being. Jesus was both divine and human in a way that Mohammed and Buddha never claimed to be.
Later on many of us learned that, after His crucifixion, Jesus left the earth and returned to heaven i.e. he ceased to live on earth as a man – he went back to being God’s Son As we studied the New Testament we noticed that Jesus sometimes called himself Son of God, but at other times he called himself son of man. We learned that one title emphasized his divinity while the other emphasized his humanity.
Jesus is Human Forever
But certain verses contradict this. For example Matthew 25:31 states “when the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” But surely this is something that Jesus will do as the Son of God – surely by the time of the judgement, He will long ago have ceased to be a son of man – a human being! He will not be again the Son of God — and that only! Even in Revelation 14:14, John writes “then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand”. He’s obviously talking about heaven and the end of the world, yet he describes Jesus as son of man.
In other words, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that Jesus did not cease to be a human being when he resumed his position at God’s right hand in heaven as Son of God – any more than he ceased to be Son of God when he came to earth as a human being. He became a human being forever while remaining also Son of God.
What Happened at Christmas?
But the facts are even more startling than this. Not only is Jesus a human being today even as he is also Son of God. BUT HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A HUMAN BEING! Actually, He was the first human being. He was the first man – that ever was!
Here’s how Paul describes it in Colossians 1:15: “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation”. In the same millisecond that God conceived His only begotten Son, in that same millisecond Christ became the first born of God’s creation. In the spaceless-timeless world of eternity, Christ, God’s own Son, became the first human being. And all of us “were created in Him (Ephesians 2:10). Indeed Colossians 1:16 states “for in him all things were created”. That means you – and me!
Christmas simply marks the moment in earth’s time and space when Jesus, the One Great Human Being, in whom all of us were created, revealed his humanity to us. But Christmas really looks back to the moment in eternity when our Creator bore His Son and asked him to become the human forefather of all of us. This is partly why Isaiah 9:6 states “for to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace — Jesus is your everlasting father, as God is His Father. So Christmas is a world-shaking event for you and me! It is our birth in Christ as human beings. In a sense, Christmas is the birthday of all of us who are human-beings.
Do we have human fathers and mothers? Yes – just as Jesus had. But our real father is Jesus Christ, just as His real Father is God, the Creator – who created us in Jesus!
by Ernest O’Neill
Why do we worry? Many of us answer: “Because our father was a worrier.” Why do we lose our temper?
Most of us have been taught that our present nature is the result of heredity plus environment — and we attribute our heredity to our earthly parents and their forebears. Indeed, most of us would say that the character of our parents has become a dominant factor in our lives. Either we blame their nature for our personal shortcomings, or, our reaction against their personalities drives us into opposite excesses. Besides, we human beings find that we want absolute freedom but also like to blame others for our apparent errors. In one way we want to be free from our parents; in another way we use their vices to rationalize our own.
When Were You Really Born?
But our origin started long before the existence of our parents or grandparents! It started on the first Christmas Day — and that Christmas day occurred long before the earth was made. The man Jesus (whose earthly birth we celebrated at Christmas) existed long before the historical record of his birth in Nazareth. He explained to the Pharisees “before Abraham was I am” and he prayed to God “restore to me the glory that I had with thee before the world was made” (John 17:5). Paul described Christ as “the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) and told the Ephesians “you are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
As we have talked about before, “time” is only the splitting up into minutes and centuries of the one eternal millisecond that is the reality of God’s presence. In that first millisecond God, who sees everything at once—our past, present, and future — conceived His only-begotten Son — with the same Divine nature as Himself AND with a human nature so that He could beget all of us. From the point of view of eternity, you and I were “God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus” when Christ Himself was conceived. We are not “only-begotten” as He is, but we are made of His life — we breathe because of the breath He has given us your heart beats and your mind thinks because you live off His life inside Him. You are literally “his body” — parts of Him.
This all took place “before” (in the language of time-space) your mother ever felt you within her. God inspired the Psalmist to write “for thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance” (Psalm 139:13-16). This is why Paul wrote to the Ephesians “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the earth, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ … for he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth’ (Ephesians 1:4-10).
Who Is Your Real Father?
This also explains why Jesus was given that unusual title that we hear sung in Handel’s “Messiah” every year around Christmas-time: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:15). Christ is your real Father. Our earthly fathers and mothers are the dear people by whom God brought us into our earthly lives, but our real nature comes from Christ — He is the source of our life — and the continuing maintainer of it.
Why then do we seem to have a different nature from His? Because we refuse to face all this reality — and our God has given us the freedom to face it or reject it. If we reject it, what we see around us today is what results! This whole “fallen” world — and our fallen lives are what we choose when we reject the reality that we are part of Christ Himself! This present world is the beginning of the Hell we face if we refuse to face reality. But where, then, is reality now? Let’s look at this next.
by Ernest O’Neill
Many of us think of Our Creator as playing “catch-up”. We imagine his creation of the world and us in terms of our own small minds. We can grasp that He wated children whom He could love and enjoy; we can even understand that they could not be His children unless they had freedom of will like Him. But then we begin to see reality as if He were as limited as we ourselves are.
We think He was surprised and taken off guard when we refused to depend on Him and obey Him. We then imagine He had to frantically devise a rescue operation in which His Son somehow allowed us to be destroyed and made over again in Himself. Thus we now have the chance to start again and live the life that God originally planned for us.
This, of course, is based on the belief that God could not possibly forsee what we would do with our free wills. Besides, if He could forsee what we would do, He surely could not hold Himself back from arranging other people and circumstances that would force us to do eventually what He wanted. Somehow, we cannot imagine that even our Infinite Creator could forsee everything we would do or say in our lifetime, arrange all kinds of circumstances and events to draw us to Himself, and yet be so fair and true that He would not cross the line that would restrict our final exercise of our free wills.
Yet that is exactly what God in His love has done!
Only One Human Being
God conceived of you and me when He conceived His only-begotten Son, Jesus. Christ was not only God’s unique Son: He was also the “firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) and in Him all things were created – all things were created through him and for Him (verse 16). “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (verse 17).
Christ is so wonderful and infinitely varied that He could only express His nature through the lives of many other human beings that were truly part of Him. Only in such a body (1 Corinthians 12:27) could He be on the earth what His Father wanted Him to be! But both His Father and He knew what we would all do: thus we are “His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them(Ephesians 2:10).
But more than that, they knew the disaster we would create in our own lives and the very body of Christ Himself through our desire to be on our own. Yet instead of letting us cease to exist (because apart from Christ we had no life or breath of our own), Christ resolved to hold us inside Himself and bear our kicking and murdering and hatred until we had a clear view of what life on our own would be like. This is why He is called the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8) — the moment in eternity that He and His Father saw what would happen, that moment they bore the consequences of their love for us.
This World and Reality
This present fallen world is a foretaste of what life apart from Christ will be like. Yet it is not wholly apart from Christ because He still holds us within Himself so that we continue to receive the protection that His life affords. So, disease is still counteracted by the healing power of His own Body, the international economy is still moderated by the built-in laws of correction that are maintained mercifully in Him, and the impending social and technical chaos is held in check by the corrective action of His infinite wisdom. So we have been given an incredibly fair choice because we stare daily at life without God, yet we exist in a life in His Son while we live on earth.
The present world is like the replay of the world that was “crucified” (Galations 6:14) in the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world: it’s the unreality that is past. Our own situation in Christ is reality — but cannot be experienced by us unless we accept it and believe it. Meanwhile, Christ, who made us and all things, waits humbly and mercifully for us to stop bleeding Him from within. He waits to begin living in us the life that He cannot live in anyone else!
by Ernest O’Neill
Often we feel the urge to do something noble – something really unselfish – something for someone else. We wonder where such a feeling comes from. Although we don’t think of ourselves as mean, unpleasant people, yet we know we’re often moved by concern about ourselves. So we feel a little elated even humble when we have this sense that we ought to “just go out and do good – whatever it costs us”!
Why Do We Want to Be Good at Times?
The reason is that our Maker has given us a real choice. He made us in His Son” i.e. in Jesus (who existed long before the world was made) BUT He has allowed us to live here the life that we would live if we were “on our own”. So our present life shows us what it’s like to live as if we were not part of God. However, from time to time, Jesus exerts His own kind heart within so that we can clearly see the difference.
Nevertheless, most of the time we live in unreality – as if we’re “on our own”. We assume we somehow happened here on earth and ought to do just what we want. That’s why we feel so empty inside so destitute of direction and purpose in our lives. It’s pleasant to be free to do whatever you want, but it’s also frightening in such a huge universe. And in our most thoughtful moments we realize that our complex little lives must be more than just blips in infinity: someone somewhere must know that we’re here!
That’s partly why God’s Son in us sends up to our consciousness at times the good desires He Himself feels. He wants you to know that you’re really part of someone bigger than yourself. In fact, you were made in him — as part of him. He became the first human-being before anything was created (Colossians 1:15) and you were made part of Him before you were born here on earth (Ephesians 2:10). This is why we experience from time to time a kind of freedom from our normal preoccupation with our own security, significance and happiness — a feeling that wants to do something generous or unselfish for someone else.
These moments are really — signals from our origins!
You are Inside Someone — and Someone is Inside You
Actually there is only one human being Christ, the Son of our God; and we are all part of Him really, we’re his body. We were made by Him — begotten in Him — and are sustained at this very moment by His life and energy — and love (Colossians 1:17). He gives us the strength to reject His wishes, if we want! Why? So that we can see for ourselves — as often as we need to that living as if we’re on our own is empty and pointless — and UNREAL.
But doesn’t this cause Him strain? Certainly — it causes continual strain because we exert our wills inside Him. Everything we do forces Him to experience what we experience. If we abuse our own bodies, we force Him to feel the dissipation and emptiness. If we walk over other people or destroy another person with our words, we make Him part of the destroying in us and the destruction in them. So, constantly our God in His son is paying a stupendous price for keeping us alive with his own breath and energy. Not a moment passes but He suffers the strain of our independent striving for our own satisfaction — inside Him. Thus He faces constantly the cost of bringing into existence beings who have free wills yet retain His life within them. Without this direct connection with Him inside us, we cannot even exist.
But the other side of reality is that in you there lives Christ, the Son of our God. He has things to do here on earth and words to speak which He has planned to do and speak through you. That’s why He created you inside Himself. That’s why you are here on earth. You are not just a little speck of dust in the sea of humanity — not a statistic or the result of a mindless evolutionary process. You are a unique part of Jesus Himself “created for good works which God has prepared for you to walk in”. That’s all you have to do — be willing to walk in the events and circumstances, the achievements or the sufferings by which Christ intends to complete his creation through your life.
That’s reality! What are you going to do?
by Ernest O’Neill
Who Was Socrates?
Socrates is regarded as the father of logic. The “Socratic” method of question and answer is the basis of all our teaching techniques. The great Greek philosopher used it skilfully to motivate his students to think more deeply about truth. Although he lived hundreds of years before Christ, some of his last words on the day of his death were these: “Whether or not God will approve my actions I know not; but this I am sure of, that I have at all times made it my endeavor to please him, and I have a good hope that this my endeavor will be accepted by him”.
How did Socrates develop such a respect for God ? Well, wasn’t he made in God ? Isn’t that what the Bible states in Ephesians 2:10 – “for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” ? And he may have read Psalm 139:13 – “for thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb” or verse 16 – “thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy books were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them”.
In other words, Socrates was no different from you and me – we were all made by our creator inside His Son, Jesus Christ – long before the earth itself was created. As John wrote in the first chapter of his New Testament book – “Jesus was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” So Socrates and you and I and the earth itself were all made by God through and in and out of his Son. That’s why we feel at times such a kinship together.
Where Did Disorder Come From?
Just as God did all this in a millisecond, so Christ knew in the same moment that we would not necessarily use our wills as He does – some of us would exercise them for our own aggrandisement rather than God’s ! In that same moment He bore the disorder and chaos which such independence created in the world and in us. But, instead of ejecting us from Himself (which would have annihilated us completely), He held us within Himself and set about rectifying the disorder our attitude brought.
All of this happened outside finite time – in eternity – and is alluded to in Bible verses like Galations 6:14; Romans 6:6; 1 Peter 1:20; Ephesians 1:3-10; Psalm 129:13-18.
Then, in order to give us an opportunity to see and understand it all, God created time and allowed our creation in Christ, our disordered independence, and Christ’s bearing and forbearing with us – to be played out in temporal reality here on earth in these present years.
What Has This Got to do with Work?
You and I are still in Christ – until we finally face our own judgement at the end of this life – and He has planned to express through you some of the order that He brought when He reconciled the cosmic disorder in eternity. That is what Christ does through you at work !
If you are a cleaner or an accountant, Christ has certain order to bring to this disordered world through you. You yourself cannot do it – all you do is re-arrange the dust or the figures, but God has “works which He has prepared beforehand that you should walk in them”: all you do is “walk in them” i.e. re-arrange the dust or the figures. But Christ fills your re-arranging with his “work prepared beforehand” – a spiritual order that overcomes the disorder brought about by man’s sin and independence.
So all your work each day is filled with Christ’s continuing activity as He redeems and completes the world He originally made. This is the significance of your daily job – it is not a series of chance tasks that anyone could do. It is not a way to “earn your bread by the sweat of your brow” as a punishment for sin: this consequence of man’s independence was replaced by Christ’s death with God’s original commission to “fill the earth and subdue it”. Your job is a way that Christ resolved to use you to express the order that he brings into the world. You are involved daily in a miracle: through your work (whatever others may think) the Maker of the universe is bringing invisible (and at times, visible) order and beauty into His world of people and things.
by Ernest O’Neill
Are You a Nothing?
Most of us spend our lives thinking that we are little separate humancreatures who appear for a brief moment — and then go out like a light! Someof us feel we matter to our mothers, but many of us feel we matter to nobody.We feel this isn’t somehow right, so we expend a lot of energy and thought toget society to notice us, but usually they never notice us enough.
This whole scenario is untrue! In the first thirty years of the firstcentury the son of the creator of the universe lived on earth in Palestine andsaid that YOU ARE PART OF HIM. He and his father resolved that their completionof the universe would be carried out through you and the rest of us. They knewthey would have to bear the consequences of our actions if we were to be freelike them. That’s what they have done — in what for them is an agonizingmillisecond in spaceless timelessness. The outworking of it is taking place nowin time. The great news is that this is the meaning of your life in thesepresent years.
Where Does Work Fit In?
It’s also the meaning of your work-life. When our Creator conceived HisSon, He also conceived your existence and that of the universe. He knew ourpotential and the chaos we could wreak on the earth. At that same moment, Heresolved in His Son to bear the destruction we would cause to their loving life– and in His Son to counteract this destructive chaos with constructiveharmony. All of this occurred in a moment long before the earth was made.
We human beings were then created inside time and space to live out bothof these effects of our free will in this present lifetime. Thus our lives andour work simply ignore or uncover the harmony wrought by Christ in the universethrough each of us in Him. This “uncovering of something already done” isrecognised by countless “discoverers” as they uncover the beauty of thestructure of the DNA molecule or the simplicity of E=MC squared. This “dearestfreshness deep-down things” is the renewal or reconciliation that God hasgraciously worked into the torn fabric of man’s life: Christ has planned toreveal some of that harmonious beauty through you at work.
This is part of the meaning of the statement in Ephesians 2:10 that “weare His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which He hasprepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. The real resolution ofsocial, personal, economic or mechanical conflicts is the uncovering of areconciliation that was worked into the fallen world from the beginning.Similarly the mental and physical benefits of removing dirt from a floor,disease from a body or error from a cashfiow are the results of eternalreconciliation wrought by the creator through his Son. The harmony of peacebrought apparently by our actions comes from the hidden exercise of God’s workin Christ. So He works — and we work also!
What If I Clean Bathrooms?
Does this apply to all work? Yes — in our jobs we are either ‘fillingthe earth” with the beauty and peace that the creator has worked in His son’sdeath and resurrection or we are emptying it by the “sweat of our brow” for ourown survival. Cleaning bathrooms or excising cancer uncovers God’s beauty andharmony, but each worker determines how much he participates in the glory andbenefit inherent in this work of God. So you in your daily work appear tocreate or order material or immaterial things, but actually you are onlyuncovering order that God has already worked into the universe through His son.Although you or Einstein or a policeman or a custodian may all seem to bringabout improvement of various kinds, you yourself will experience absolutefulfilment only if you see that the effectual result has been brought about byGod Himself. So the purpose of work is the actualization of Christ, God’s ownSon in you!
by Ernest O’Neill
The mysteries of DNA are being unravelled daily by researchers. What began as a seemingly academic attempt to diagram the structure of the DNA molecule is leading to ways of identifying not only murderers who have ended others’ lives but also ancestors who have begun others’ lives. So, we are now able to trace the descendants of the 5,000-year-old man found in the Italian Alps and can see some startling indications about the ancestors of the 9,000-year-old man found in Nevada. It is easier and easier to see that each of us contains some of the genes of the first man and woman that ever lived; indeed, we ourselves were actually contained in them. Perhaps science will eventually be able to demonstrate even this!
However, there is clear — and startling information about this very event from writings in the first century of our modern era. About the middle of that century these words were written about Jesus whose life and triumph over death are corroborated by more reliable manuscripts and eye-witnesses than any other figure of ancient times. Paul wrote: “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created — all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Jesus was not only the uniquely begotten Son of the Creator of the universe, but he was also the first-born of all creation — the one in whom all of us originated! He was the first and great human being from whom all of us came.
Writing to the Ephesians, Paul states: “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” This means that you were actually created in Jesus, God’s unique Son; the flashes of lightheartedness and the moments of tenderness that you have felt come from his genes. He is your real original father — it is from him that you derive your humanity. Because he lives, you live also! Although he brought you into this world via your father and mother, you originated in him and it is his life that keeps your heart beating. Any good that you have comes from his heart and his nature. This is why so many of us human beings often feel a kinship to one another; it’s the reason we can understand and sympathize. We come from one common father, who himself is part of God.
Why Are You Here?
But this fact does not only affect who you are; it affects what you do here on earth. The gist of this is in the words quoted above “created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The Creator not only made us in his son, but he created us in him for a purpose –“for good works which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” We don’t need to do them — they have been prepared beforehand — we just need to “walk” in them.
Christ himself assured his disciples “I have overcome the world” and he demonstrated his power over the natural world by stopping a storm on a lake and by healing sick bodies and changing water into wine. We human beings don’t really change things or create things; we simply move things around and rearrange them. It is Christ who has changed the world and subdued its disorder in eternity before the natural world ever appeared in time and space. We have been made in him so that these changes could be manifested as we go through the motions of doing them — of “walking in them.”
Thus one of the early doctors said that he simply sews the skin together, but God makes it grow together. Einstein stumbled into enough hypotheses to say that “all ideas come from God.” We ourselves look at our financial lives and know that we cannot control the hundreds of contingent events that need to occur in order that we will remain solvent. In business we put out the advertisements, we open the shop doors, but we are repeatedly taken off guard by the results that follow. Even after prolonged postmortems we are unable to put our finger on exactly what we did right and what we did wrong. The careers that fill the greater part of our lives often failed to appear even on the top five or ten preferences we had at college. So, wherever we look, we see evidence of another hand in our lives besides our own; we feel that Woody Allen had a point when he said “the most important thing in life is just to turn up.”
The fact is that Jesus Christ has completed the work of subduing the world in eternity and you and I are here to reveal that work as we “do” our work. This means that your daily work is much more than simply a way to “eat your bread in the sweat of your face.”
by Ernest O’Neill
One of the most difficult concepts to accept is that you’re so insignificant. All of us feel this even though we don’t say it. After all, everyone else seems to put up with it! Nevertheless, it makes you wonder whether you’re anything more than a little blip on the huge radar screen of the centuries — and you want to cry out “it ain’t necessarily so.”
However, it seems to be so. Each of us lasts just about 70 or 80 years. Most of us don’t touch or change any people or things very much. We usually die and are remembered by a few relatives for about 10 or 20 years — and that seems to be it! Yet, somehow, we feel it isn’t or shouldn’t be this way. We don’t know why we feel that, but we do. Indeed much of our own restless egotism springs from this desire to get someone to notice that we aren’t just a millisecond nothing.
But are we? The things we’ve just said are more or less true for all of us. It does seem that this is the whole story. But a thought keeps nagging at us — aren’t we more than this? Don’t our lives have more significance than a short appearance here on this planet?
The reality is that you are bigger than this! You are more than a millisecond blip on the vast screen of the cosmos. But this reality has been hidden in the centre of the Christian religion so long that few of us have ever thought about it. It’s vital for us to think clearly through this if we are to avoid living our lives in a dark little corner of unreality. Probably the first thing we have to do is to stop playing at democracy in our attitude to this Christian thing. Christ just happens to be utterly different from all other human religious prophets and leaders. We don’t need to insult or show disrespect to Islam and Buddhism: they have given millions of our brothers and sisters hope and encouragement. But we do need to see that while Buddha and Mohammed succumbed to physical death like the rest of us, Christ actually got up and lived after he’d been executed. The history of his life and death is better documented than the history of Julius Caesar or Plato so his unique existence is based on empirical, eyewitness evidence that defies scepticism.
But what has this life of Christ got to do with me being a little nothing? You are part of Christ! THAT’S WHO YOU REALLY ARE!! A living personal cell in the only-begotten Son of the Creator of the universe!
When Were You Born?
The problem with most of us is that the only things we know about Christ are the things we heard at Sunday School. We stopped any study of the most important human being in the world when we reached our teenage years. So we think that this Jesus Christ visited earth for about 33 years, then died, lived again for another month and returned to heaven. When we read that he said “before Abraham was, I am”, we pause for a moment at the poor grammar, scratch our heads, and then watch television. When we read his prayer “Father restore to me the glory I had with you before the world was”, we wonder if He was alive before he came to earth, but all this deep thought seems beyond us, so we return to the idea that he was just another human being that came and went.
The fact is what Paul stated in Colossians 1:15 : “Christ is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible — all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” That’s why Jesus said “before Abraham was, I am” — he was born of our God before the universe was made — and in that same moment in eternity he became the first-born of all creation — and “you are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which He has prepared beforehand that you should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
That’s how significant you are — and that’s when you were really born in timelessness though God has permitted your life to be lived out in time so that you can begin to understand fully the choice that faces you. Think about it — and we’ll try to talk more about it in the next article.
by Ernest O’Neill
When were you born? Now, is that when you really started to exist? Some would say that you might have existed in a previous life as an animal or a different human being. People who believe in reincarnation would say that this could be your second or third or umpteenth life, but empirical evidence for this does not exist. Reincarnation is one of those plausible misunderstandings that stem partly from self-will and partly from inadequate presentations of the true reality. In fact, you did exist before you were born in your mother’s womb – but not as a different creature or human being!
The empirical evidence (touch-and-see evidence such as science demands) is found in over 4,000 ancient manuscripts that detail the life of the historical figure we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Some of these manuscripts like the Codex Alexandrinus and Sinaiticus can be seen in the British Museum while others like the Chester Beatty papyrus of the Gospel of John are in the University Library in Manchester, England. Like this papyrus in Manchester which is dated around 125 a.d., they provide what historians regard as eye-witness accounts of Jesus’ life. They call them eye-witness accounts because they were written at a date that was so close to the original events that readers would be alive who could corroborate or contradict the facts. The unparalleled historical evidence is the reason why the facts of Jesus’ life and ability to overcome death are regarded by historians as far more certain than those of Julius Caesar or similar figures of history.
The Eternal Man
Jesus himself explained to the Jewish scholars “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58) and he spoke of his own pre-existence as one would expect the son of the creator of the world to do – “Father, glorify me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made” (John 17:5). If you examine his power over nature and disease and death, his perfect character, his unequalled teachings, and his rising from the grave, you are driven to the conclusion that this unique person is indeed the son of the creator of the universe. But the astounding (though logical if the absolute supreme being sees all of “relative” time as one moment) fact is that you were created in Jesus Christ long before you were born in your mother. Paul, one of his most intelligent followers writes “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared, beforehand that we should walk in them”(Ephesians 2:10). This ties in with the statement by David in Psalm 139:16 : “thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them”.
Obviously this truth of reality does not suggest you were ever here on earth as some other creature before your present life, but it does show how partial or self-assured insight into reality can produce the half-truth of reincarnation. Despite this deception, the fact remains that the best evidence indicates that you yourself were created in the Son of the Creator of the universe long before you were born here on earth. This helps to explain some of the feelings you have about death. The Greek writer of a book called Ecclesiastes put it like this in chapter 3,verse 11: “He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end”. It also helps to explain why we feel we are more significant than the world seems to think – we are – because you yourself are part of Christ himself. In fact, Paul said “now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
The Purpose of Faith
Of course most of us don’t believe this so we live as little individual pieces of the human race feeling alone and temporary – and often inferior. But this is not the reality of life. The reality is that you are indeed a bit of Christ, God’s only-begotten Son, and He has a life that he planned long ago to live in you here on earth. While you believe only what you think you see, you’ll continue to feel and behave as if you are nothing more than your mother’s child. You’ll live with the limitations which this lie imposes on you and you’ll feel the frustrations of not realising the full potential that Christ has planned for himself in you.
There’s a lot of glib talk about faith today as if faith can change us. Faith can do nothing – it is not just power of positive thinking that you need. It’s belief in that kind of self-help that got us into humanity’s present mess. What you and I need to do is think about these things and decide whether this is truth and reality or not. If it isn’t, then we must continue as we are. But if it is true that you were created in Christ before the world was made, then it’s vital that you begin to find out from Him what He wishes to do through your life. That means that we need to understand more about the reason our Creator had for making us in the first place. Let’s talk more about this in the next article.
by Ernest O’Neill
Because the Creator of the universe made us part of his own son!
That’s the startling truth.
Before the earth was made – indeed, before the universe was created – God conceived a Son like Himself – with the nature and power that He Himself possesses. At that same moment (if one can talk about a moment in the spaceless-timeless realm of eternity) He resolved that his Son would also be the origin of the human race. He did this out of sheer love in order to share his own happiness with others.
Our Real Father
This is part of the meaning of a profound statement in Colossians 1:15: “He (the Son) is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation”. This means that the man we know in the first century as Jesus of Nazareth was conceived in eternity as God’s only-begotten Son but also as the first-born human being. And in Him in eternity you and all of us humans were created. This is part of the meaning of another profound statement in Ephesians 1:4: “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world”. Paul, you remember, put it very succinctly in Ephesians 2:10 “for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus”.
Does this mean that the man Jesus of Nazareth is really our father? That’s how the Old Testament prophet referred to the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father…..'”. Does this mean that Jesus Christ is not only the Eternal Son of God who exists apart from the universe but is also the origin of all us humans ? Yes – moreover it is His present life that keeps us alive at this moment. Paul expressed it this way in Colossians 1:17: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”. If He existed before all things, does this mean that in him we existed before all things? Although we are conscious of our existence only after we are born here on earth, it is plain from Ephesians 1:4 above that our Creator chose us to be his children in His Son in the same milli-second that He conceived His Son. This helps to explain some of the goodness that appears at times in even the worst of humans. There is no one good but God, however we all have our origin in the very Son of God, who lifts us by his obedience and is borne down by our sin.
Why is Christ both God and Man?
Why did God grant His Son this dual privilege and dual responsibility? Because He wished to have many like His Son and because He wished His Son’s beauty to be expressed in many. As the literal Greek of John 1:3b-4a states: “that which was made was life in Him”; each of us began as part of the Son of God – which is part of the reason Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:27 “now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it”. We exist so that Christ can live the life He planned to live in us! Far from being ejected by some primordial explosion or being the result of a chance conjugal relationship, we have been in the mind of Our Creator from the beginning. We are not an after-thought or a toy which He produced as an experiment that failed. On the contrary, God has tied Himself willingly to us and opened the very intimacy of His own family to our love or hatred. If we rise in love and joy, we rise in Christ Jesus; if we fall into depression and despair, we fall in Christ Jesus. So our goodness comes from Him in us, and our sins are borne by Him in us.
Then is Christ human forever? He is the only Son that God begot directly: He is the only Son who shares all God’s nature and powers. No human or superhuman being is exactly like Him; no human or superhuman being has the position or relationship that He has to God. He is God – no one else can be that.
But Christ has willingly become the first-born human. This is why He is described even in His specifically Divine Judgement responsibilities as human in Matthew 25:31: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another…” From him all of us have derived our humanity – He is our father – we live by his life and energy. Even the Roman soldiers who lashed him at his trial in Palestine did so by his life and strength. He is the great human – the great human race. In eternity His Father saw the life of the whole human race in His Son in a milli-second. Obviously the infinite mind of the Creator does not need the sequential time-based happening of events to see the potential of what He has created. So, in a complex way that preserves our free-will, the psalmist rightly states in Psalm 139:16: “Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them”.
So your life originated in Christ who already knows what he wishes to do in it. In the timeless world that Einstein and others have glimpsed, Christ has already lived that life and made all the rough places plain. He has already accomplished the “good works which he has prepared that you should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Yet all of this can only “be unto you according to your faith”.
by Ernest O’Neill
Most of us believe that there is some Being somewhere who created the universe. It’s too irrational to imagine that this complex network of planets came from nowhere. Someone somewhere must have created the original thing that exploded or evolved into what we know as the planet Earth.
Most of us also believe that God is as good a name as any to designate this creator. We think that God may be different from us in many ways, but we certainly feel he cannot be less personal than we are. He must be as personal as we are — otherwise, how could he have designed or made us?!
Few of us think that he knows us! By analogy with the limitations we face in a mass-society we infer that he cannot possibly be aware of our personal existence. The president or the prime minister doesn’t know us — so how can the God who made everything and everyone that exists through the centuries?
Thus most of us, who believe there must be a god somewhere who created everything, are deists. We believe in a deity, but we believe he made the universe millions of years ago, wound it up, and then let it run itself. We doubt if he ever looks down at little creatures like ourselves — and we doubt he has any time to waste on the details of our petty lives!
How Close Are You to God?
All of the above is our misconception! And that is why Jesus is such “good news”. We think of him as a Jewish carpenter born around 4 b.c. and killed around 29 a.d.. But the historically reliable information we have of him is that his body was never found after his resurrection because his life existed outside this time-space world of ours. In other words he existed before he was born in Bethlehem and continues to be alive after his crucifixion in Jerusalem.
But there is more than this! Paul puts it like this in his letter to the Colossians 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation”. Jesus of Nazereth is not simply the unique Son of the God who made us all, but He Himself became the first-born human being. He did not appear on earth as himself until 4 b.c., but he himself was the first of the human race in that eternal, ever-present moment when God conceived everything.
But there is even more that this! You came into existence in Him! That’s what is stated plainly in Ephesians 2:10: “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” You are a human-being because you are part of the one great human being — the one who is called repeatedly in the New Testament “the son of man”. How close are you to God? Part of Him — part of his very own Son!
Far from being a little nothing — far from being the insignificant child of insignificant parents in an insignificant town, you are part of God’s own inner family. Your are a bit of his Son Jesus. You are part of his body — a unique expression of him. Why? Because Jesus is infinite and his beauty and parts can only be seen in all their glory through his living a unique life in you — and a different one in me — and yet another one in your mother.
But there is even more to it than this. This earth can only reflect the full wonder and complexity of God if it is fully developed in the way that he has designated for it in a free universe. Although this may involve its destruction and re-creation, it can be subdued and developed only by God’s own action through his Son. Some of that work is to be done by Him through you. This is the real work that you exist to do on earth.
You may think that your job as a brick-layer is to lay bricks, as a writer is to write books, as a driver is to drive trucks, as a teacher is to teach students, but beneath these outward vocations Christ Himself is effecting changes on the earth through your life that will be evident only when the whole thing is concluded. Only then, when we are in his presence, will you see what your work (or His work in you) accomplished.
How Can You Live in Reality?
How then can you live in accordance with these realities? There is only one way – and that is to believe that this is the truth. You are not a little human being on your own trying to eke out some kind of successful existence here on earth. You are in fact part of Christ, the Son of the Creator of the universe. When you speak, you make him speak those very words. Either they are a delight and a fulfilment to Him or they are a dreadful torture and pain to Him. When you act, you make Him act. Either your actions express His love or they express indifference or dislike — either way, He has to bear them.
He has identified Himself with you so that you could experience existence. He has buried Himself in you — tied Himself to you. It is His miraculous life that keeps your heart miraculously beating and enables your eyes to miraculously see and register objects to your brain. This is the wonder of your life — and this is how important you are to the gracious Being who made you.
by Ernest O’Neill
We have been discussing the fact that you and I are not simply sons and daughters of our parents. Although we entered this life on earth through their bodies, we ourselves have been created by God inside His Son who appeared on earth around 4 b.c. as Jesus of Nazareth. He existed outside this planet with his father, our creator; and inside him, we existed – long before we appeared here. The myth of reincarnation misinterprets this miraculous event by implying we existed in all kinds of other forms, but the reality is that we are human because we are part of the Great Human, Jesus Christ who is permanently both god and man. This is why Matthew referred to Jesus as the son of man even when he was describing the final judgement day when Jesus would return to earth as the judge of all (Matthew 25:31).
What is Christ Like?
But because you have been made inside Christ, that is what you’re really like. Just as you cannot escape some of the characteristics of your mother because you were born inside her, so you share the nature of Christ, God’s son. His nature is, of course, your real nature where your mother’s was often a temporary perversion of that. The result is that you yourself can live in the pain of deception about your own real nature because you don’t see or accept what God Himself (and therefore you) is really like.
God himself is the person who resolved to have others like himself to share his love and life. Although He could do this only by making them inside his only-begotten son so that they shared his own actual nature, yet he determined to do this. However, his nature is free – that is, he is free to do what he wants – he has free will. This meant that the beings that he created inside his son would also be free – free to abide in Christ in peace and love or free to tear Christ apart inside by asserting their will either in activity or passivity.
That is God’s nature – willing to bear whatever pain is necessary in order to bring into existence others like Himself ! It is also the nature of Christ. And it is also your real nature ! God is one who faces all the consequences of his good actions – that is his nature. He does not evade the agony caused by those he has given freedom inside his son: he actually dwells inside his son – and his son dwells inside him. So whatever Christ bears from you each day, God himself bears. This is why Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:19 “in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself…”. Our creator did the unthinkable; he put himself at our mercy and bore the worst that we could do. Reality is that we are still inside Christ and all that we do bears upon Him; and through Him, our actions crucify God himself again and again. This is His nature ! This is the only way he can bring into existence beings like himself – however long it takes.
But you cannot escape the reality that, however far you may have wandered from it, your real nature is that of the “stone from which you were hewn” or the person in whom you were created. You, too, are made to bear and bear and bear again. Whenever you try to reject this reality, your life looses direction and you become bewildered and unfulfilled. Eventually, you can even die in desolation and disorientation.
We humans can bring about such an unreal perversion of ourselves either by rising against such a consistently “submissive” nature or by sinking away from the activity of such a nature. From his own birth in infinity, Christ has continuously bowed to His Father’s commitment to “work all things according to the counsel of his will” i.e. to make things work the way He wills. Even when Jesus felt on the cross in 29 a.d. that he was utterly alone and cried out “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me”, still he stayed on the cross and trusted God to see him cease to exist, if necessary. This is his nature; and it is ours also. We are made to allow Christ to continue to be himself in us. We are made to live a life of active trust and submission to whatever God allows in our lives; we are made to act in positive love and to refuse to “call a host of angels to our aid” or to use Peter’s sword to protect ourselves by our own chosen ways. Whenever we reject our real nature by evading God’s burden-gifts or acting to remove them by our own methods, we experience dislocation and disorientation – the darkness of Hell.
We can also pervert our real nature by passively sinking away from this whole reality that we are actually part of Christ by withdrawing into our own selves and running a little imaginary world where we are the center, not God. This is the opposite of the Prometheus-life assertion of our wills against God’s ways; it is rather a passive withdrawal into ourselves by refusing the whole truth that we are part of Christ and do not have an existence of our own inside ourselves apart from Him. This leads to a Hell of loneliness, isolation, and self-defence that becomes utterly unbearable.
Reality is that you are part of Christ – part of God Himself – and your happiness is firmly anchored in being what you are. Such an attitude and life enables your creator to be what he wants to be in you; and it enables you to be what you are in Him.
by Ernest O’Neill
Most of us wonder what life is really about. We don’t, of course, express this to other people because they all seem to know. So, we keep on living day after day and do the things we’re supposed to. Eventually, we avoid this basic question altogether and get lost in the details of sheer subsistence. But, now and again, if illness strikes or some relative dies, we do wonder about the purpose of existence.
The Reason We’re Here
We’re here to share actually the life and abilities and attitudes of another person. From childhood days we were taught that Jesus Christ was God’s Son and that he came to save us from our sins by his death and give us a pattern for living by his life. We were taught that he was vitally different from Buddha and the other great religious leaders because He was God’s only begotten-Son whereas they were just human beings like the rest of us. Their bodies were buried as ours will be, but His body came alive after death and then rose up and left the earth and has never been found. He now lives with His Father in heaven.
But this Jesus was much more than all of this. He wasn’t only the creator’s personal son long before there was any physical universe – he himself actually became also the first human being. This is the remarkable fact stated in Colossians 1:15 in the Bible: “He was the first-born of all creation”. The usual concept is that Jesus came down to earth for about 30 years, put on a human body, then accepted its destruction, and went back to being God’s son. But the Bible is full of statements that affirm Jesus not only is the Creator’s Divine Son but also that he became human in the timeless-spaceless world of eternity. He is the perfect Man and out of Him we were all made!
That’s the greatest surprise. But it is stated repeatedly in the Bible. In John 1:3 “all things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made”; in Ephesians 2:10 “we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”; in Ephesians 1:6 “you were destined in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will”. Long before you appeared on earth through the physical union of your father and mother, you were part of God’s only-begotten Son. This doesn’t mean you or I are Christ ourselves – our sonship or daughtership is derived from His: that’s why the Bible states we are adopted children of God. But it does mean we have capabilities and qualities that belong to our real father (in Isaiah 9:6 Christ is called Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.
How Should We Think of Ourselves?
Why then do we not naturally heal sicknesses and express the patience and love of Jesus? Because God gave us free will. He gave us the right and ability to live as if we were not part of Him and His Son! That’s why we’re the way we are at present. You may say this is stupid to give us the freedom to live a lie, but that’s how committed God is to begetting children who are really like himself and his son – people who are truly free and love him because they want to – not because they have to. According to Romans 8:29 “those whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His son that He might be the first-born among many brethren”.
Because of this plan to have a family of free-will agents who love and trust because they want to, the Creator has allowed us to see in physical form the lives we would live if we were apart from Him. This is the life we see around us at this moment – the life of the world, society, and ourselves that would result if we were not a part of the Creator’s only Son. But this is not our real nature – our real nature is that of Christ, the Son of God. He still holds us inside Himself – despite all our selfishness, pride, and covetousness. He bears all this inside Himself because it is part of Him – because we are part of Him. This is the pain of our sins that He bears in order to continue to maintain our existence. This is the extreme but necessary agony that our Creator bears in His son in order for us to see clearly what life outside God is like. Only thus can we make a real choice between life and death!
Nevertheless, our real nature and capacities are those of the Being in whom we have been made – not the pale, grey shadow that we experience daily through our attempt at autonomy. The only way to live realistically what we are is to see plainly that we are part of Christ himself and that He has a life to live in us here on earth that will complete His father’s creation. The Bible constantly speaks of this attitude as “faith”, but we look at it from our temporary unreal self-centered life and think of it as some kind of imagining what isn’t true. The exact opposite is reality – faith is seeing ourselves as we really are – part of the Maker’s only Son! As soon as we begin to think of our lives in this way, our own lives commence to make sense, the failings of our present world can be understood, and we ourselves enter into a fuller existence.
by Ernest O’Neill
A great deal of our insecurity comes from the feeling we have that we’re “on our own”. Finally, after all we say about family and friends, colleagues and community, neigbours and relatives, peers and class-mates, we think of ourselves as “me against the world”. Although we don’t like the insecurity that this brings, we do like the freedom it appears to grant. As life goes on, the freedom seems to fade behind duties, responsibilities, and personal habits, but we are so convinced that we’re obviously on our own that our thought-patterns cannot move any other way. Besides, isn’t it obvious that we were separated from our mothers at birth and will be separated from the living at death ?
You’re More Than Just You !
But this is all wrong ! Even though we want to do what we want – even though we find it irksome to do what somebody else wants instead, we do often feel part of other people and other things. There are moments when we feel family unity, team spirit; there are times when we feel another person’s pain as our own. At times in the past we’ve looked up into the sky or down at a peaceful meadow and felt we were part of it. In many people, this has been turned into a kind of nature-worship or philanthropic humanism, but for all of us this sense of being part of something bigger than ourselves has lifted us momentarily into a higher level of living. Wordsworth, the English poet, puts it like this –
- “And I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts
- A sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused
- Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, the blue sky, the round earth,
- and in the mind of man”–
- A motion and a spirit, that impels
- All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
- And rolls through all things.
You’re More than a Statistic
We may not express it in such poetic words, but there have been times in our lives when we’ve felt that we were part of the universe in an organic, integral way that connected us to everyone else. But, if we are practical, intellectual types, we are inclined to interpret this vague feeling as simply human consciousness that we are like everybody else.
Moreover, there are some things about this sense of being one with everyone and everything else that we don’t like. We certainly rebell against the “great leveller” attitude of communism or socialism where everything seems to end up at the lowest common denominator rather than the highest possible factor. We don’t like being treated as a cipher or a consumer statistic and we’ll wear anything – unusual clothes, jewelry, hairdo’s – to prove that we’re different. Despite the fact that we have this feeling of being part of everything else, we have a decided conviction that we are different individuals from everyone else. So, life often resolves into a long struggle to resolve this apparent contradiction within our own beings – we’re different, but we feel the same!
You’re Part of God
It is reality that causes all these feelings we have; they do, in fact, reflect reality. The truth is that you are part of the creator of the universe – not in the heretical sense of spiritualism or hinduism, but in the very real sense that our God explained by his Son in the first century of this modern era.
Here’s the way it was stated in a letter written by Paul to the people at Ephesus in 56 a.d.: “you are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus”. Other parts of the Bible confirm that “all things were created through him and for him; He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”. Most of us have felt ourselves utterly unconnected with this man Jesus Christ!
Most of us feel the religious people have a corner on this truth – we don’t really understand all their talk about forgiveness of sins and his crucifixion, but we do feel that it has nothing to do with us and our lives. The result is that we don’t feel entirely at ease when even his name is mentioned, and we certainly don’t feel that we have any connection with him whatever – nor do we want one.
Reality is You’re in God
But – whatever you may want or not want – reality is that your Creator made you inside his Son – long before you were ever born in your mother’s womb. We have difficulty with this because we think it implies some kind of pre-programmed life that eliminates our obvious free will. Or we get all wrapped up in defining creation in terms of our finite, human abilities rather than God’s infinite, divine abilities. The result is that we reject the great truth of reality because we cannot explain every detail of it – something that little creatures understandably cannot do unless they created themselves.
The simple fact is that our Creator sees everything in a milli-second of timelessness: when He conceived his only-begotten Son in before the world was created, He conceived that his Son would also be the “first-born of all creation” – the first, really the only, human being. He determined that he would be the “first-born among many brethren” – He made you at that moment in His Son – and His Son has continued to hold on to you through thick and thin. Everything you have done and said, your have done and said inside Christ. He has born the pain of all your errors, mistakes, crimes, immoralities, anger, sins, critical words, cruelties – and He has held on to you because your would cease to exist if you were once expelled from Him.
That’s why we have these feelings that we belong to each other. It’s also why we have these feelings that we are individuals – unlike everyone that has ever lived or will ever live. This is also why you feel you are important and valuable – because you are a part of the most valuable Person in the universe – God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. Believe it or not ! We’ll talk more about this in the next article.
by Ernest O’Neill
The Great OOOOM !
Many of us feel a oneness with the universe. Some of us express it in the spiritualist terms of “cosmic consciousness” while others express it in terms of human unity or the Hindu idea of possession by a world-spirit. Somehow, whether we’re Buddhists, Moslems, or agnostics, we all feel that we belong vaguely to each other and to the creation itself. Our perceptions of this unity lead us into many different kinds of behavior and philosophies, but the truth is that re-incarnation, cosmic consciousness, Hinduism’s great “ooom”, Buddhism’s negation of the self, and much contemporary emphasis on racial or social unity are just shadows of one great reality.
That great reality is that you and I were created by our Maker as part of His Son – His only-begotten Son – known and often mis-represented as Jesus Christ. Despite all the shallow references to him both in agnostic and religious discussions, his life and resurrection are undoubted historical facts backed by more reliable manuscript evidence and historical research than any others of that time. Besides, the eye-witness confirmation of the lives of his disciples occur repeatedly in the non-Biblical literature of the period, so that the unprejudiced intellect cannot avoid the conclusion that this man is indeed the Son of God. Moreover, He did not become God’s Son at his well-known birth in a stable in Bethlehem – He existed with God before the world was made !
Why Were you Created?
It was at that time – or timelessness, which we call eternity – that you were created inside Jesus Christ. This is what Paul, one of his disciples, wrote in a letter to the Ephesians (2:10) – “you are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for good works which he has prepared beforehand that you should walk in them”. This is possible, of course, because God is infinite, can see around the ends of time, and sees everything is one moment. So your life was brought into existence first in Jesus Christ – and secondly, years later, made visible in your mother here on earth. This is partly why we all feel part of each other in some vague way.
But it also explains the reason for your own existence. You were made as part of God’s Son because He too is infinite and is the result of His Father’s love. Many of our fathers had something of our Creator’s nature – they delighted in seeing us be what we were – or do what we could do. God has the same delight in His son, so He wanted him to express the infinite beauties of his nature so that they could enjoy together the love they had. But this kind of love involves all the wonders of unselfish giving and forgiving, bearing and forbearance that is required whenever beings are free. So, the moment God conceived His only-begotten Son, at the same moment He created in him all of us – including you. He knew that He himself could not be satisfied with captive beings who obeyed because they could do nothing else: such beings could never love because they were loved, but only because they were forced. The world and its consequent development followed from this situation.
God Foresaw the Mess We Would Make
Our Creator foresaw the creation of the earth in His Son, our disastrous exercise of our free wills in Him and their cataclysmic effects on the physical universe, and at once enabled His Son to bear all these and reverse them by His innate power. But through it all, both our Creator and His Son have held on to our universe and have kept you and me within their own life-power whatever pain this has cost them. The expression of this “eternal”, timeless suffering is what the crucifixion at Calvary is all about.
This helps to explain why we all feel related in some way, but it also explains the great hostilities and insecurities we feel in regard to each other. Most of all, it makes it plain that you, in this life, are not only part of Christ’s pain, but are also part of his reversal of the world’s chaos. Not only were you created in Him, but it is His life that keeps you alive; in other words, He Himself is in you – and has already settled the things He wishes to do through you in this world.
Far from being a little speck that has no reason for being here, you are part of the Son of God. You are not him, for only He was begotten-personally by his Father, but have been made part of Christ: again it was his disciple, Paul, who wrote to the Corinthinas “you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it”.
by Ernest O’Neill
Christ, the infinite Son of our creator, who transcends all time and space and as Jesus of Nazareth and Josh of Birmingham lifts up prostitutes like Magdalene in Galilee or Maggie in England, is living inside you this very morning as you awake! He wishes to be and do certain things this day through you that will delight his Father who made you inside Him.
There’s Another Person Inside You
This is the actual reality of your life. It’s not just an uplifting thought to encourage you; it’s not simply a philosophy that will help you; it’s not just a way of thinking that will improve you. This is, in fact, reality – you were made inside Christ, our Creator’s Son, so that you would share his relationship with his Father. In fact, this is the only life you actually have – the one that you pretend to live on your own (inside yourself) is a temporary seventy-year shadow of the life you’d have had if God did not exist. When He granted us free will, He had to face every consequence of that life inside Himself in eternity before he could in integrity destroy it.
This is why he made you inside His Son – he bears daily in you every consequence of your independence. At the same time, He continues to feed you his own life to keep your heart beating and your blood circulating. But, more than that, He rises with you every morning desiring to fulfil in you the things that he has planned to do through you this day. You were made to share and experience his thoughts and feelings and actions. You were made to live in the expansiveness of his mind and the exaltation of his feelings. In him, you awake each morning in paradise.
But outside Him and inside yourself, you experience the deadness of a TV without electricity, the inertia of a car without petrol, the emptiness of a life without direction. And He – Christ – bears the strain and stress that would otherwise kill you. Our vague consciousness of this terrible unreality causes what Churchill called the “black dog” of depression or the dreadful sense of unrest that keeps so many of us doing, doing, doing!
Yet all the while – paradise lies all around us – and presses to fill us with its happiness; for Christ holds on to you – despite your own determination to die by living a godless life in a world made by God. That’s why you feel good at times: He is graciously sharing some of his feelings with you. That’s why you feel generous and unselfish at times – why you can even love others. Just as Einstein said that all ideas come from God, so any good that you do is done by Christ inside you. Usually at these times you’re least conscious of yourself – sometimes you feel it’s something other than yourself that’s doing or thinking these good things. The truth is – it is!
Your Present Life
This is the reason for the apparent slang names used in the first paragraph: Christ as Jesus of Nazareth in the first century expressed gentleness and clear direction to the prostitute, Mary Magdalene; today He is still doing the same in his Spirit for some prostitute called Maggie. He transcends time, so He is able to live both outside it and inside it: it is Him himself that you often feel as your “better self” when you’re struggling against selfishness or pettiness or temper. Our Creator has committed Himself in His Son to suffer imprisonment inside you and to bear the strain and pain you choose to inflict upon him by your sinning. Resolutely He lives and waits inside you in order to begin the life He and His father planned to live in you with your active co-operation. This is the whole purpose of your life.
The moment you actually realise this becomes your first moment in paradise – simply because this is reality! The life you’ve been living as an autonomous, self-made human being who finds himself or herself on this earth with responsibility for their own survival and happiness is history! It’s a life that God foresaw you would live – a life that He and His Son saw in every detail before they ever created you; it’s a life that they endured inside themselves and therefore in integrity had the right to destroy. Christ then raised you up new inside Himself in that pre-creation milli-second of eternity – and that is the only life that really exists now. This is the life that Christ waits every day to express through you, but He can do nothing until you abandon the life that He crucified with Himself.
But the very second that you see all of this and turn to Him, that very second all his sentiments and attitudes flood your mind and spirit; your life lifts onto a new plane, and all the brightness and power of eternity begin to percolate your character and your behaviour. This continues and grows in intensity as you continue to operate in reality. So, your fallen life is replaced by your real life!
by Ernest O’Neill
In Christ! Now don’t go to sleep intellectually and tune out! The religious people have – with the best intentions in the world – turned this statement of reality into a mantra or clich?. But this is what we have been saying to each other all along – that our creator made you and me – in his son – way before he made the earth. And that he did all this – right in line with what Einstein discovered – in the one great eternal moment where He sees all things at once. In other words, it is really true what the physicists and cosmologists tell us – time does go slower the farther out in space you go. Obviously, even in physical terms, there’s a place where it is one eternal moment!
Why in Christ?
There our creator can see everything – millions of years – certainly your life – in one moment. He therefore knew that the gift of free will meant we had to be given the opportunity to destroy him if we wished – and he had to be able to survive that and yet bear what we did – otherwise free will was simply a mirage. So he made us inside his own son, who then bore inside himself all our egotistic yearnings and destructive cruelty – and held on to us – so that we could continue to share his own eternity. So he actually lives in each of now – and we live in him – even though the life most of us live now is the flashback to the earth-life and its consequences which we would have experienced if he hadn’t held us inside himself out of love for us.
This is why we say – there’s superhuman life in Christ – because he is inside you waiting for you to let him live your life – the life that he looked forward to when he made you inside himself. That life appears at times in you when you seem to have an odd moment of real unselfish feeling, but generally you live life imprisoned in your own earthy closed universe. All of this is what one of the earliest church fathers said – his name was Athanasius, and he explained that everyone who builds a house makes provision for its repair – so God made provision in his son for the repair of our human soul if we maimed or perverted it by our own wills.
So – This is “Your” Life – Christ’s Life in You!
Most of us have had moments when we did sense something higher inside us than ourselves – moments when we acted and thought above ourselves. It isn’t just Handel who wrote the famous Messiah in three weeks – we, too, have at times done things that we didn’t know we had the power to do. Those moments are “signals from outer space” – from eternity – from God’s Son inside each of us. And – far from being exceptional – that is the life we have been made to experience every day. Indeed, the lack of this reality is what brings black depression into our minds – or the hopeless empty feeling we have as we get older. Those signals are simply our dear Father Creator telling us we’re missing the secret of life – his son inside us!
So What Do We Do?
Begin to believe this! That’s the first obvious step. Then start reorienting the way we think each moment. Stop thinking that we’re little human animals out here on our own – start realising that there is a dear person (Christ’s own Spirit) inside us who has a whole existence that he wishes to share with us. He has things to do and say here on earth in us that we have ignored. Let’s see that he has borne all our wretched mistakes as well as all our self-righteous goodness – He bore it before even the world was made (John in the Bible writes that Christ was “crucified from before the foundation of the world”). This was so that God could bear it all and destroy it all in Christ (this is part of the meaning of what Paul meant when he wrote “our old self was crucified with Him”). Only God can bring about a retroactive destruction of the mess we have created with our lives – but he can – and had done that, so believe that – because “without faith it is impossible to please God”.
Many of us try to eradicate our evil self by psychology and the power of positive thinking, but there is only one way – “by the spirit to put to death the deeds of the body” – and that way is to believe that our Creator ended that subverted life of ours in his Son in timeless eternity. We can turn from the shadow – or burned out cinder of that former life – right now.
The Kingdom of God is Within You
Then begins your real life – because inside you is Christ’s own spirit – He will begin to give you a whole new way of thinking and acting and feeling. This means the end of a life lived in reaction – reaction to what this person says or what that government or boss does. It means an end to a life dominated by what the media or your peers expect of you. As you start to look to Christ himself, you’ll realise that you are actually part of him. In fact, you are him – not in the way megalomaniacs think – they think that they are Christ – apart from Christ. You realise that you are part of him – his actual expression – precisely because He Himself is in you.
But it’s vital to see that you are Him in the sense that his living in your name is a life that He has never lived before. You’re not just living a version of his Galilee life – you’re launching out on an exciting adventure – to live a life that God’s Son has never lived before in the universe – and that he has been looking forward to that as much as you!
by Ernest O’Neill
If you are like many of us, you get up in the morning and try to feel how you are! “Do I feel rested? Am I feeling optimistic? Am I looking forward to the day? Am I worried? Is it raining? Will I have a miserable or exhilarating walk to the station?” Most of us find ourselves preoccupied with “us” and how we will relate to the world we’re about to face once more.
And the result of this introspection or self-preoccupation can be quite depressing. Nevertheless this is often our experience as one day follows another. Sometimes some of us bounce out of bed and project ourselves and our thoughts right out into the outside world. We look out at the sunshine or the rain or the roofs of the houses opposite — and we’re immediately thinking of the outside world. We switch on the television and the images of other people and events fill our eyes and our thoughts. We’re not the puppets of our own introspection and moods – we’re the puppets of outside happenings and people.
Usually we find ourselves living a mental life that is strongly influenced either by our own inner thoughts or by the outer world’s circumstances! And most of us feel there’s no other way to live — either the outside world or the inside self must dominate one’s personal experience.
What is the Reality?
But this is nowhere near the reality of the situation! The reality is that God is inside you — and you are inside God. The sheer joy that you used to feel as a child on a spring morning didn’t come from your own inner thoughts or from the outside world; it came from God’s son inside you. He — Christ — is always trying to lift you up with himself. As the years pass and you live more and more preoccupied with yourself and your own concerns, the weight of self-preoccupation dampens this spring of life inside you, but now and again you feel a tinge of the old joy. But most of us have no idea what it is, so we learn to ignore it or attribute it to spring-time or last night’s light meal. What is the explanation of this reality?
Whether you evolved from a monkey or not here on earth, your actual creation took place inside Christ, our Creator’s Son, long before the earth was made. That’s’ the gist of a statement made in the Bible by Paul when he wrote to people at Colossae — Christ “is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created…”. Christ is not only the divine Son of God – he also was the first-born of all creation — the first human-being; and all of us, including you, were made in him — and are part of him. In fact we’re human just because we’re part of him — He is actually the great human being — we are just individual parts of him — his body.
It’s thoughtless of us to think all this is very mystical: we know fine well that whoever is the maker of the universe must have the same ability as we have to design something and foresee what it can and can’t do. So, obviously, God was able to see that beings made inside his own Son would share his free will and had to have the ability to exercise it — even against Himself. This is what our Creator committed himself to when He made us in his Son — suffering whatever we might do to destroy him – then annihilating us as He had to — although it meant annihilating his own Son’s human life. Then, out of sheer grace, He made us alive again when he raised His human life up again. To conceive all of this in a milli-second of eternity was to live through it in that milli-second; the “playing out” of it here on earth has taken centuries. But that is the reality of our existence.
So What Are You Going to Do?
The self that was destroyed in Christ is full of death — for you yourself and all you love; the self that lives in Christ is filled with life for you yourself and all you love. You can decide which self to believe in! Yes, your Maker gives you the right to believe even a lie if you wish. You can choose to believe that you are a little human being that exists separate from its maker: even though that is not reality, you can choose to believe it. BUT you will then experience the death that God brought to that life in His Son in eternity. This is where the depression and discouragement and anxiety come from — the cosmic death that destroyed that independent self in Christ. Your Creator still loves you enough to send you these warnings that you are in denial — and you have still the opportunity to live in reality if you wish.
Right now — start looking away from yourself and your circumstances — intelligence is the perception of relations and correlates. The higher the intelligence, the wider the sphere of relations and correlates that is perceived. Look beyond this little planet — look up to the One who made you – and begin to live in reality — in Him — in His Son, the one in whom all things hold together — the One of whom you are a part — the same One that turned the earth round today — look out to Him — he has plans for his life in you today.
by Ernest O’Neill
This then is the glorious reality in which we live! We are not little insignificant insect-like beings trying to thread our way through this evolutionary puzzle of complexity. We are actually each part of God Himself — who has “created us in Christ Jesus for good works which He has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. We don’t actually do them — we just “walk” in works that He has already prepared in His transcendent Son, Christ Jesus.
One Great Human
There is really only one Human Being and that is God’s only-begotten Son — we are all made in Him and therefore parts of his body. But He is the great manager — we are simply the managed. He is the Head – we are just His body. His is the initiative — and the responsibility; ours is the response.
You are relieved of the intolerable burden of making your life count or ” making the world a better place to live in”. You cannot make one person do what they should do — you cannot prevent one person from living in unreality. Indeed, your own life is perverted whenever your attention is focused on things and circumstances and people. You don’t really have a direct line at all to these phenomena– you have a direct line only to the great Person of whom you are part. He alone can affect any change or improvement in this universe!
The Work is all Done
He has seen the whole of the world’s life in a milli-second before it all began — and He has already brought it all into line with His Father’s will. Now, slowly in time, He manifests through you and me what He has achieved in His cosmic death and resurrection in eternity. But that’s our only responsibility — to move our hand while He manifests the piercing of the wood by the nail as our hammer touches it. It is Him that holds the wood together and parts its fibres to allow the steel nail to go through it.
So — with all the apparent changes that we seem to bring about on this earth — it is not us that cause the effects — it is He that is simply revealing what He has done already in eternity. So, why all our fretting and sweating and striving to succeed and live a good life? No reason at all — a tale told by an idiot – a great charade that we play to make ourselves seem important! Yesterday we sent our 92nd space-shuttle into the sky with millions watching the launch of this little flaming object in the sky; today, the massive orb of the sun rises from the same horizon with no fuss or publicity. So our petty preoccupation with our self-importance distracts us from the great relief that reality brings to each of us.
Whose Life is It?
This life of yours is not yours – it’s really His! You came here because the Son of your Creator owns you as part of Himself, and your life here on earth is a life that He and His Father planned from the beginning of eternity. That’s how really important you are! But you mutilate the whole glorious experience when you think of yourself as apart from Him rather than a part of Him! Of course you move your hands and will your mind to think certain thoughts, but as you rest in Him and in your appreciation and love of Him, you end up miraculously doing what He planned to do through you.
You don’t need to worry about doing what He destined you to do — simply see “it like it is” — that you are part of Christ, God’s Son, and that this is really His life, not yours — and He will ensure that your resulting actions correlate with the “works He has prepared beforehand that you should walk in them”.
Foresight and Free Will
Part of our own bewilderment arises from this attributing to God a mind as limited as our own, that is, a mind that can only see things sequentially where the future has to come after the past. Thus we cannot see how God can see what we will do and then preserve our free will while He “works all things according to the counsel of his will”. But He is infinite and in Him all human paradoxes are resolved – He is able to plan the piercing of the wood by the nail — and then, centuries later, manifest that as we (through the free exercise of our own will) hammer that nail into the wood.
So your life is not a burden to be carried or a goal to be achieved — it is an exhilarating joyride to be enjoyed as part of God’s Son. Each morning, the Son does rise — within you! And there lies before you a wondrous series of experiences to be relished as you sense the pleasure of God in His powers being exercised in you. This spells the end to your toiling to succeed and make a mark for yourself; it puts to death all the labouring to fulfil your destiny and the ambition to satisfy others’ expectations. Now life can begin — that carefree life that replaces the care-ridden life — the life that is not yours but His!
How can this all come about? The place to start is the truth. And the truth is that you were created in Christ and are part of his body here on earth. You need to think about that and quietly see the consequences for your own attitudes and behaviour. Gradually, the strain will begin to slip away from your face and forehead so that your whole body will relax. Then, you will start to hear or know His activity within you — and you’ll know what to do.