You need money? You get a job! Right? Of course–that’s just commonsense.You’re feeling a little depressed–so you take an upper, or a sherry, or anicecream. You feel a little inferior? Go out and buy a new outfit or stereothat your friends will admire– that will help your self-esteem. This is the wayhumans lived for two thousand years–though they had other names for theirstimulants and their treats. Nevertheless, they thought as we do–whatever youneed, you get it either from the world around you or from the people around you.There’s no other source for the security and self-esteem we need.
Then about two thousand years ago a remarkable human being appeared on theearth who said that his father had made the world and us. He said his fatherloved us and would himself supply what material things we needed. He said alsothat his father would transmit his love to us so really that we would never havetrouble with our sense of self-worth again. All we had to do was believe what hesaid and act accordingly.
This was the first time we men and women grasped the idea that the power weneeded so often in our living would come from outer space–from beyond thispresent world. You would think all of our forefathers would immediately havechanged their attitudes and begun to establish relations with thisfather-creator!
Why didn’t they? Just look into your own mind and you’ll see thedifficulty. At first glance it would seem wonderful if the God who clothes theflowers of the field and feeds the birds of the air would even more attentivelyclothe and feed us. But would he do it the way we want to be clothed and fed?Would he give us the kind of clothes we want in order to draw attention toourselves? Would he give us the kind of drink that we need for enjoyment? Theseare exactly the feelings that motivated our earliest forefathers to reject Godas the answer for all the needs in the first place. These are the very reasonswhy they decided to depend on the world and other people. This way they couldget what they wanted when they wanted why they wanted.
It’s the same with us today though we have the advantage of hindsight. Welook out on a world that is confused and bewildered. We don’t understand whypeople take guns and mow down innocent children in school playgrounds or blowairline passengers out of the air. We don’t understand why people beat up theirchildren or their wives. But worst of all, we don’t understand why we get sopetty about having our own way at home or why we can spoil beautiful days andrelationships just in order to say the nasty things we want to say. So often, welook back on spoiled evenings out or summer vacations, and are bewildered at theapparent devil inside us that makes us destroy ourselves and those we love.
We can look back over 4,000 years of history and see that millions of ustrying to get from the world the material possessions we need irrespective ofwhat anybody else needs has turned us into selfish monsters. Moreover, when weproduce a little effort to change, we find the monster inside grows even worse.The more cocaine we throw away, the more effort we put into family life, thefairer we try to be at work, the worse the demon within seems to become. Many ofus feel we’ve become so perverted that the only hope for us lies in somehowstarting life all over again. The ruts in the cortex of our brains are so deep,the emotional habits and the mental pattern of our lives are so much part of usthat the only answer seems to be a destruction of us as we are and a raising ofsome kind of phoenix from the ashes.
The Cosmic Death
Only when you’ve got to the point of realistic despair and extremity, areyou ready to experience the radical, surgery that was done on the human racebeyond space and time. Until you see the human predicament (and your ownpredicament) in the above terms, the Creator’s action seems unreasonable. Whathe actually did was to foresee the way we would use our free wills to substitutethe world of men and things for him to supply our needs. Then–in eternity–thetimelessness an spacelessness that lies beyond the planet–he put us all intohis Son, Jesus, and destroyed what he foresaw we would become–and raised us upabsolutely new and fresh. He then expressed this within our time-space world in29 a.d. on a hill outside Jerusalem in the historic person of Jesus of Nazareth,and gives us now the choice of living whichever life we choose.
But the choice of the world of our father-Creator means a complete turningfrom one to choose the other. In other words, “dying with Christ”means giving up our right to our own way here on earth. It means a deepreadiness to allow him to live in our place. Only in being a physical and mentalframework with which he can live the rest of his life, we fulfil the originalplan of our Maker. However, if we do adopt this attitude to Him and to life,then all our past perverted personality is blotted out and our Creator startslife all over again for us. We literally are born again and start life new–theold has passed away, and the new has come. This cosmic miracle becomes apersonal one if you are willing. Let’s talk further about the implications ofsuch a change time.