Sunday, July 25, 2021
On the first day of his class, a college professor announced they would be tested that very day. The subject of the test would be all the material they were going to learn.
Not only would the test cover material from the upcoming semester, said the professor, but these freshmen students would be tested on senior-level material - four years of information, none which they had been taught.
Now, clearly, such a test would be unfair, and the results of such a test would be predictable - most students would be unable to answer most of the question. Why should a student without knowledge of a subject be able to know it enough to pass such an advanced test?
One might also ask why babies are not able to read or write, or why no eight-year-olds are experts in constitutional law.
The answer to all of these, as well, is that they lack the knowledge and experience to do so.
And yet, people have no problem asking why there is so much evil and even simple badness in the world. The answer, of course, is the same as in the previous examples: People act badly in many cases because they are simply unaware of what is Good. (And yes, there are many who do know, and choose to do evil.)
The question of Good and Evil is often a religious one. And that is appropriate. God, our creator, has standards of behavior that, if we adhere to them, will make us far better and even more spiritually perfect beings.
If one follows Jesus, and believes that God chose this man to be the example of how all of us should be living, then knowledge of what he taught and preached is essential to knowing what is Good.
When we believe that this Chosen One of God is the very best example of the Good that God wishes us to pursue, we have been saved from the ignorance of what is Good. That is the first step towards the Goodness God wishes for us, bt it is not the final step.
Our spiritual journey is a lifelong one. Jesus calls us to follow him, not to merely recognize him as our morally perfect example, and certainly not to simply admire his perfection.
Knowledge of the teachings of Jesus is the first step in our journey toward spiritual perfection. Committing to following those teachings is what brings us closer to the goal he sets for us.
That we cannot instantly achieve spiritual maturity does not say anything about human nature. As in the examples above, it's unreasonable to demand that we will learn any skill or even any Behavior instantly.
That is not a flaw. It is built into our Nature. The brother of Jesus, James, wrote that when we are tested with trials, we become stronger. This is because we learn from them, and they teach us.
So too, with the lessons Jesus teaches us. As a follower of Jesus, we learn not only from trials, but from the perfect example of the one God chose for us.
Having such a perfect example always before us is an amazing and beautiful gift from our creator. That we have this example, and that Jesus himself said we may do as he did, means that our nature is perfectible, and that we may indeed do good in a way that pleases God.
These teachings, therefore, should be our guidepost, our template, our goal in life.
To love God with all that we have and all that we are, and to love our neighbor exactly as we love ourselves, is the epitome of what it means to be a human being. This we learn from the teachings of Jesus, the one whom God anointed to be our Master.
To seek after this spiritual completeness, this maturity, this perfection, is therefore our goal in life.
That we know what is Good and what is evil means that we have an obligation to seek the Good and avoid the evil and, by our actions alone, not by our condemnation, to demonstrate this and share it with the world.
Sunday, July 18, 2021
Instead, it makes them imperfect, because they are, our of ignorance, not following God's perfect path of righteousness. This ignorance is because wicked ministers have not taught them this Truth.
Sunday, July 11, 2021
Sunday, July 4, 2021
The message that Jesus taught during his ministry is an active and revolutionary call to action for the human race.
It's not a mystical or mysterious process of transformation that he calls us to, but a practical and real one.
Jesus calls us to do good, to become more holy people, to act in righteousness, and to serve others first.
Jesus calls us to achieve, to do, to act, to work, to become better people, to seek out the truth, to be humble, to worship and praise our God, and to love others.
Doing good on behalf of others stands at the very core of the Gospel Jesus preached.
Jesus is our model and example. God chose and sent Jesus out into the world to show us by word and deed how we should live Godly lives: To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, comfort those in distress - these things are to be our mission in life, according to Jesus.
To be transformed by Jesus to be called to action by him, and to heed that call. His example, his message, his Gospel, is what transforms our lives and the lives of those around us. We rely on the example of Jesus and the ongoing inspiration and assistance of God's Spirit to transform us and make our lives spiritually complete.
We are transformed by Jesus only when we go from inactive self-assurance to active service of others.
We are transformed by Jesus when we actively love God and demonstrate that love by actively serving and loving our neighbors just as we love ourselves, as God's anointed one taught us to do.
If we call ourselves by his name, we ought to walk as he himself walked, becoming in our daily lives the very model of his righteousness in all that we do. Let us allow our acts shine like a light in a world desperate for our example.