In the previous article, called Full Faith, I discuss the folly of setting our own agenda and trying to negotiate with God. I suggest that a higher happiness follows once we surrender our own will in favor of the will of God. Here’s the flip side. Oh yes, there always is one.
What does God want from us? In the history of religion there are as many theologies and mythologies to answer that question as there are faiths, and there are as many perspectives as there are believers.
Religions seek to codify and explain the nature of the “contract” between God and man, the perception that we’re in a tit-for-tat deal with the divine. God created the world, and thus the Creator expects our obedience. God gave us life, so we owe worship in return. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work?
Of the original 613 religious laws of Judaism, some 250 are still in play (closer to 270 if the believer lives in Israel). Moses’s encounter with the burning bush, which carried both the divine light and the voice of God, mercifully reduced the unmanageable count to a memorable few, leaving just 10 Commandments to be carried down from the mountain and out into the world for millennia to come.
Jesus further simplified the art of righteous living by raising one principle above the rest, love. When the Pharisees put Jesus to the test, asking which of the Ten Commandments was most important, he answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (1) In what is known as the Golden Rule Jesus also said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (2) To that he added, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (3)
Thus the law of God has been distilled down to its essence, to a simple principle that on a daily basis requires no interlocutor or translator, to a spirit that lives in our hearts and directs our thoughts and actions. Having arrived at love, we have found the highest and eternal truth of God’s nature and purpose. And so love—for God, ourselves, our neighbor, and all life—becomes who and what we are and also our modus operandi.
And with that, we carry the key to our holy scriptures within us, be that the Holy Bible, the Torah, the Koran, the Vedas and Upanishads, the Tao Te Ching, the Avesta, the Book of Mormon, or any other inspired book in which we find sustenance and succor.
Being now inspired—inspirited, imbued with Spirit, lit with the flame of divine love—we have the opportunity to put that inspiration into everything we do. It becomes our muse and teacher, our calling and guide. It leads our heart into action, and we therefore make choices that are of a higher order. We act in the name of God, even when we make the small decisions of our daily life.
By willingly setting our agenda aside to live in accordance with the will of God, we have opened the door to greater personal freedom. The result is that we are allowed, indeed expected, to have a hand in designing our own lives. We may now set goals and manifest our dreams. We thereby become active participants in a divine artwork in which our own life is but a pixel on a screen. The point is, it is now our pixel to do with as we wish. Because God sees that we have learned to tune in to the larger picture, and that we can be counted on to cooperate with the divine color scheme, we are free to express ourselves and follow our passion.
In other words, our love for God has turned us into a brush in the service of the divine artist, and our individuality, our vision and dream, our love, becomes a useful tool in God’s paint kit. So the Creator lets us create in His name.
This is how we discover that we were created to create. We were designed to envision and invent, to make something good out of good ideas, to develop things that serve others well, and to do all we can to help the next person take another step in life. And we serve best when we serve from the heart—when we live in accordance with our dreams, when our actions are fueled by our deepest passion.
Love brings out the best in people, and our love for God brings out the best in us. Whatever it is we love to do, however we love to give, will transmit that love and serve God’s purpose.
© 2012 Ilona Goin. All rights reserved.