Description: Our spirits are dead - our decisions make or break us
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Importance of Making Right Decisions
by Ernest O’Neill
We’ve been talking about the vicious circle that many of us get into in operating our own personalities. We
are doing this in connection with an overall subject that we’ve been discussing for several months now, and
that is, “What is the meaning of life?” That is, why are you and I here?
We’ve come to the point in our discussion, after all kinds of intellectual substantiation, of seeing that the
Creator of the universe is actually a Being more intelligent than us, and as personable as we are, which is
very reasonable to expect.
We have seen further the reason He had for making us, according to what His Son Jesus has explained to us. And
we examined in detail the historicity of this man’s life in the first century of our era.
We began to discuss some of the documentary evidence that lies behind that history and we’ve concluded that he
was in fact the Son of the Maker of the universe. The explanation that He gives, of the reason why His Father
made us, is because He wants you to be His friend. That’s it!
He wants you to be in friendship with Him. He loves you and He actually knows you better than your own father
knows you. He has actually counted the hairs of your head and has designed you with infinite care. He desires
that you love Him, because He does already love you. That’s the purpose of life here on the earth.
He wants us to use the free wills which He has given us to become like Him. In order for us to become like
Him, we do have to choose ourselves certain things of our own free will. So, He has put you here on earth with
certain abilities that nobody else has in exactly the same combination.
Some people may have what the world considers to be better abilities than you, but none have exactly the same
combination of abilities and personality that you have. So you are unique in the universe.
The Creator of the universe has put you here to do a certain job in bringing part of the world into order
under His will that no one else can do. As you do that, and trust and obey Him in that, you become more and
more like Him every day through your own choice. So that is why we are here.
We’ve been discussing how that operates through our personalities. We’ve seen how our personalities exist at
three different levels. It is outlined by him in the Bible.
The Bible shows us that we operate on a physical level which is, of course, our bodies with their five senses.
Then there is the psychological level with the mind, emotion and the will. We call that level the soul. And
lastly, we operate in our spirit level, which is the real you. It is you as you really are.
Your spirit is you as you are when you’re alone, unstimulated and unconstrained by external compulsions of any
kind. What you are when you’re alone – that you are – and nothing more. Your spirit is the very essence of
Now that spirit of yours is the part that is meant to contact the Creator and, in turn, govern the rest of
your personality. If you take a page and divide it into three horizontal levels, the top level would be the
spirit; the middle level would be the soul; the bottom would be the body.
The upper section contains your spirit. It is your spirit there that is able to commune with God. When you are
quiet and on your own, you are able to sense His existence and His presence. He actually pervades the whole
universe, but we are so busy with all that we do and so noisy that we cannot sense His presence.
Really, His presence fills the whole world. You feel it at times when you are sitting by a quiet pond in the
country or a lake or a river. There are moments like that when you sense His presence. Further, there are
moments when a loved one dies and suddenly life stops and you sense there is a Presence in the world. Of
course, it is Him. It is through your spirit that you are actually able to commune with Him.
Further, through the intuition of your spirit you can actually know what He wants you to do. Then your
conscience actually gets you to live up to the best that you know, and what you know is what comes through
So, your conscience then constrains your will, as part of your psychological being, or your soul, to do what
your spirit has told you to do. Your will then directs your mind and your mind thinks the right thoughts and
designs the correct plans. Your emotions, in turn, are elevated by that because your emotions are simply
governed by your thoughts.
If you think of a certain person, you become angry; if you think of another person you become kind. Your
feelings are governed by your thoughts. That, in turn, dictates what the body does, and your will enforces it
and acts upon the world. As a result, the world is filled with more of the presence of God and His will and
Of course, what you and I find is that when we determine no longer to be governed by our bodies — no longer
to be driven like little puppets, by what the boss thinks of us — when we determine we’re going to be our
real selves — we find we don’t know who we really are and who we should be.
You’ve probably experienced that at times. You’ve come to a place in your life where there did seem to be less
confusion and disorder than usual and some things were settled, and you sat alone in a quiet room and thought,
“What am I to do? Who am I really?”
It is at that moment that you come to the dreadful discovery that there seems to be nothing inside. You knock
at the door of your heart and you find that there is nobody home. You find that you have lost yourself and you
can’t find yourself again.
That has happened actually by a sequence of decisions, or lack of them, that you have made. There is that
moment in the movie, “A Man for All Seasons” when Sir Thomas More says, “There comes a time in each man’s life
when he holds his life in his hands like water. If, at that moment, the man opens his fingers even a little it
will all flow out and be lost forever.”
That’s how we have lost ourselves. It is by a sequence of compromises and man-pleasing actions. It is by
choices made in fear of consequences and possible discomfort. We have, over the years, lost ourselves and we
don’t know how to find ourselves again. We can’t even remember what we were like.
You remember that Wordsworth says the same in one of his poems. He says, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy.
Shades of the prison house begin to close around the growing boy. At length a man perceives it die away and
fade into the light of common day.”
Many of us have experienced that. We’ve gradually lost contact with ourselves. Really, what has happened is
that our spirits have died. Our spirits haven’t died completely, because the conscience part of the spirit
still remains alive a little, but even it becomes perverted very quickly.
The conscience is always trying to get us to live up to the best that God has told us personally to do. Yet we
pervert our conscience. We make it live up to the best laws and standards that we’ve learned. So we learn
standards in the financial realm and we abide by those standards. We learn standards from our society and our
families that tell us to be wise and clever and witty.
We try to live up to those standards and, as a result, we pervert our conscience. But our conscience, really,
is a pure part of our spirit, and will try to constrain our wills to live up to the best that God has told us
to do. But we, of course, try to pervert that and prevent that happening.
Now, how on earth, or in heaven, does one ever get one’s spirit to come alive again? That is what we need,
isn’t it? We need, in a sense, to be born again and to be recreated. How does that come about? Let’s talk
about that tomorrow.