Choosing God as Our Ruler
We choose God as our ruler by turning away from evil and doing the divine will.
Evil is degrading, whether held in thought or carried out in deeds. Pain and suffering is the result. Evil is the fruit of wrongly directed thinking. It is evil to see sin where there is no sin; to see no sin where there is sin.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
– Isaiah 5:20
Evil is also the path of false doctrines in the sense that one might create false stories about what we know to be right for the purpose of placating some unholy desires – including the desire to control and manipulate others. We can avoid this type of evil by being honest and seeing things as they are, and thus embracing the truth. We can make an end of our misery by loathing sin and turning away from sin with a whole heart. We should make no apology for evil; nor any excuse for sin. Thereby, we can minimize and potentially eliminate sin from our lives, and we can actually eliminate iniquity.
If we truly want happiness and peace of mind in our imperfect world, we must follow the path of pure thinking and virtuous living. Virtuous living is not as difficult as we might think if we check sin at the door, so to speak, and cut it off at its root by correcting our thinking. As Paul counseled:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
– Philippians 4:8-9
Choosing to do the divine will includes being honest with ourselves and others. By making amends for past sins, we acquire the strength to resist future tendencies thereto. Restraint is born of repentance. It is like an addict who wants to quit. As long as the drug is in his system, he will crave it. But when he is clean and sober, he has the desire as well as the strength to turn away from the drug. So with sin. When we have repented from our sinful acts, we gain a clean conscience and that standing gives us the desire to do the divine will as well as the strength to pursue it. Accordingly, we should examine ourselves, make peace with our brothers, and leave no fault unconfessed to the Father.
We should also keep in mind that our actions, whether good or evil, will affect those around us. The human race is a family, though we are a dysfunctional one. We cannot escape the reality of our share in the suffering of others. But by making better choices for ourselves, we enhance the lives of those close to us. In this way, we can do much to minimize the suffering of our friends, family and our fellow man.
The most powerful thing we can do to uplift ourselves and our world is for us individually to accept the offer of sonship for ourselves from the Father and pursue the heavenly calling. In this way, we become examples to others of the joy of turning away from sin and doing the Father’ will. And it will inspire them to likewise take up the free gift. As Jesus said:
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
– Matthew 5:14-16
And as more and more people accept sonship with the Father, the spiritual brotherhood of Christ will grow and expand, and by this means, the earth can be ‘subdued’ (Genesis 1:28) until such time as the Father sees fit to further intervene.
No, God’s creation is not, and was not, defective. Man was created ‘good’ and capable of doing all that he was commissioned to do. But the gift of freewill requires the potential to do evil, and the Father allows us to exercise our divinely given right of freewill.
Though Adam and Eve chose the course of evil and sin, the original purpose for mankind has not changed. Faithful mankind will be adopted into the heavens as sons of the Father. (Ephesians 1:3-5) Though we had lost our way, Christ Jesus came and provided clear direction to the Father.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
– John 14:6
All those who follow “the way” that Jesus provided will eventually attain to perfection and completion, but in the heavenly, not in the earthly, realm. Jesus is called “the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2) not of our bodies.
By exercising faith in Jesus, we are reborn of the spirit. (John 3:3-8) The new birth – the baptism of the spirit – is essential to deliverance from evil and necessary for entrance into the kingdom of heaven where suffering and evil will meet its end. We have to elevate our thoughts beyond this fleshly world:
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.”
– Romans 8:5-8
Understanding that the potential for evil is necessary for us to have free will, we can see why we must endure suffering for a time. But this life is not the real life. It is only where mankind begins, but not where we end. Perfection is our goal, not our origin.
One beautiful effect of knowing that we are imperfect, but not inherently sinners is that it raises our level of self respect. We know that our earthly plight is not a punishment meted out for the errors of our original parents. But rather it is the natural outcome of the earthly existence and a manageable consequence of free will and personality experience. Therefore, we can face our trials and tribulations from a position of strength over which we have control by keeping our eyes on the “prize for which God has called” (Philippians 3:14) and “competing according to the rules.” (2 Timothy 2:5) When we do so, we place ourselves in the position to attain that which the Father always purposed through the administration of Jesus Christ:
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:22-28
By means of this heavenly administration, we will be raised ‘with ever-increasing glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18) in the Kingdom of the Heavens until we attain complete perfection and be able to see our Father face to face.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
– Matthew 5:8
This is the Father’s purpose, not suffering. And it has been His purpose since the founding of the world.