PREPARE FOR THE KINGDOM

In this life there are many things to prepare for, but the most important is for our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. I will take you with me, should you want to come along, on my personal journey to the door which will lead to eternity, through which every soul must pass. Where the angel of death waits to ask the all important question, "Are you prepared for the Kingdom?"

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Location: Anacortes, Washington, United States

Two years ago I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was one of the fortunate ones who survived surgery along with chemo/radiation treatments. Recently, it was discovered that the cancer had returned and although I am again on chemotherapy, in all probability I have perhaps one more year to live. During these last months I would like to share what I have learned about the most important thing we'll ever do in this life and that is, prepare for the kingdom of God.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Will of God

There are a lot of questions these days about what exactly the Will of God is. You will get different answers from different people, especially people from different churches. Some will say that the Will of God is for all to be saved. I agree. Others will say that the Will of God is for us to live a good life. I agree, but what exactly does that mean?

Again, different people have different opinions. Some will say God wants all of us to live a life of prosperity having all that we need all of the time. I agree, but not in a materialistic way. I agree that God wants us to prosper spiritually, but spiritual prosperity is a product of self-denial and if we do this, we will have all that we need all of the time.

Having all the material things in life is not necessarily the Will of God. Jesus makes it quite clear how dangerous this is when He says, "You cannot serve God and money." It is dangerous in the sense that as human beings we become easily attached to things, creating a detachment from God. When we come to the hour of death, what will we be able to take with us? The more we are attached to in this life, the harder it will be to let go and trust our souls to God.

I would like to share something about a life that teaches one to slowly detach from the things in this life which we have been taught are so important. A life that brings true inner peace, not just a desire for external peace. This takes inner work on the soul, which will be all that we have at the end of this external life.

Think about all the external comforts that your body would like to have, then realize that you are not going to have a body after you die. How does that make you feel? If this makes you uncomfortable, and it should, then it would be wise to start thinking about living differently.

One of the early Church Fathers says that as the eye is to the body, so is the mind to the soul.

Whatever we put into our minds will stay with our souls. So we need to become very aware of what we are feeding our souls. For when the body dies, and it will, the soul will take with it all that we have fed it. And if through our eyes we feed our minds what is only gratifying to the body, then we will be left with our cravings but nothing to satisfy them with, for the body will be gone.

Let me give you some examples of what I perceive Hell to be. In light of what I've just described, let's say you're a gambler. I worked in the casino business for several years, so I know this first hand. I personally am not a gambler, but in watching people I could see how their entire being was focused on nothing but the next bet. The hard core gambler is not really there to win, they are there to fill the craving, to get the fix. So now the hour of death comes, the body is dead and the soul continues to God, but God can't offer the dice table or the blackjack game. So what do you think is going to happen now? We have now a soul with cravings and no place to satisfy them. Ask any gambler if this wouldn't be Hell! There is no big casino in the sky!

If God is saying don't get attached to things, then we need to start listening. Attachment to anything is the first step toward addiction.

Another example, emotional attachment. I am personally very familiar with this one. I was always of the opinion that if two people just loved each other enough life would be paradise. I think most women think this way. So we attach ourselves to a man, marry him and discover that things are not going as we had hoped. So we become emotionally unhappy and truly believe if this person would just love me, I would be happy again.

Well, here's the problem with that way of thinking. We become attached to an idea which we have now projected onto another person, so now we've become attached to that person. But that person is just as imperfect as we are so the craving for emotional fulfillment cannot be met. The truth is, no person is capable of filling this role. It's not possible because we're not perfect. When I finally came to understand this, I was able to find peace within myself.

I was able to live alone without craving another person to be there to fulfill my emotional needs because my emotional needs were no longer addictions. Through a different way of life I was able to find the way of detachment. If I hadn't made the decision to take this path, I would still be a slave to that passion and would now be terrified at the thought of death. I would be grasping for that emotional comfort and be trapped in its web, unable to hear the voice of God trying to penetrate through the torment of my emotional thoughts that would be filling my mind. And after death, this would be emotional Hell.

I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that our lives need to take a turn away from things that would create attachment. The Will of God is for all to live lives free from attachment to the things of this world. Why? Because even the world itself will pass away someday, but more importantly because we will pass from it first. Through Christ He has shown us the way to do this.

God is interested in our personal welfare in that He provides what we need. But what He is most interested in is our soul, because that is what will come back to Him.

1 Comments:

Blogger Abbot Joseph said...

Just to underscore your point: see what the Lord said to the man who gathered about himself all the material goods he desired in order to enjoy himself for years to come. "God said to him, 'Fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God" (Lk.12:20-21). This life isn't given us to settle into our pleasures or possessions; it is to help us become aware of our true destiny and spend our days working toward it. The one who loses that loses all.

2:09 PM  

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