In this post we will address this question: How do we make the principles and values of the kingdom of heaven living realities within our own souls?
We are told in the Urantia Book that the material mind can never fully understand the religious experience. And, “our greatest spiritual jeopardy consists in partial progress, the predicament of unfinished growth.” And herein lays spiritual peril. We are told “a stagnant soul is a dying soul.” Knowing this, how can we embrace the dynamic ideas and divine ideals of the kingdom to transform our busy, overburdened lives? This is a question that tantalizes us all.
No one has all the answers, of course. What follows is an attempt to open a dialogue with Urantians regarding the establishment of the kingdom of heaven in our own soul
1. The pre-eminence of the individual. “While overmuch self-respect may destroy proper humility and end in pride, conceit, and arrogance, the loss of self-respect often ends in paralysis of the will … Forget not that I will stop at nothing to restore self-respect to those who have lost it, and who really desire to regain it …” The condition of guilt and shame is usually due to things we have done or have failed to do. God has forgiven us before we ask, but we cannot receive the Father’s forgiveness to a greater degree than we forgive and love others. Once we forgive and love others without condition we can progress toward achieving the impregnable self-respect that is our birthright.
2. The will as the determining factor in man’s experience. “Since this inner life of man is truly creative, there rests upon each person the responsibility of choosing as to whether this creativity shall be spontaneous and wholly haphazard or controlled, directed, and constructive.” First we must accept responsibility for the quality of the inner life experience and abandon the common addiction of victimhood. Then we are able to choose growth decisions in favor of safety decisions. The first two principles of the kingdom can be summed up as Respect (for self and others) and Responsibility (for the inner life experience). We are now poised to share a more mature and constructive inner life with God the Father.
3. Spiritual Fellowship with God the Father. “Man can never wisely decide temporal issues or transcend the selfishness of personal interests unless he meditates in the presence of the sovereignty of God and reckons with the realities of divine meanings and spiritual values.” In partnership with God, nothing is impossible. By means of prayer, worship, and selfless service, the value-realities of truth, beauty, goodness, and love beckon us toward living at new levels. “The living experience in the religion of Jesus thus becomes the sure and certain technique whereby the spiritually isolated and cosmically lonely mortals of earth are enabled to escape personality isolation, with all its consequences of fear and associated feelings of helplessness.” We can now stand fearless before the sublime uncertainties of the immense universe.
4. The supreme satisfactions of loving service to man. “The contact of the mortal mind with its indwelling Adjuster, while often favored by devoted meditation, is more frequently facilitated by wholehearted and loving service in unselfish ministry to one’s fellow creatures.” By means of active, loving service we are fully delivered from the isolation of the self, both personality isolation and social isolation. “The God-knowing believer increasingly experiences the ecstasy and grandeur of spiritual socialization on a universe scale.” We enter the realm of full use of our powers along the lines of truth, beauty and goodness.
5. The transcendency of the spiritual over the material in human personality. “Few mortals ever dare to draw anything like the sum of personality credits established by the combined ministries of nature and grace. The majority of impoverished souls are truly rich, but they refuse to believe it.” However, a remarkable transformation is set into motion when we are faith-convicted that there is potentially a greater expression of personality within. We are driven to actualize that personality-potential, and to cooperate with the ministries of nature and grace in actualizing its full expression. “The kingdom of God is within you was probably the greatest pronouncement Jesus ever made, next to the declaration that his Father is a living and loving spirit.” The profound meaning of that sublime pronouncement begins to unfold.
In summary, we begin with self-respect, and an equal amount of respect for others. We receive God’s forgiveness to the degree we grant it to others.
Next, we accept responsibility for the inner life experience. We relinquish victimhood.
Having freed ourselves from resentments and victimhood, we are called to enter into partnership with God the Father and share this richer inner life experience with him.
We experience the satisfactions of loving service to others on a new level. We better understand the new commandment of Jesus, “Love others as I have loved you.” Our unique gift to God the Supreme begins to unfold.
A new, radiant self, our true self, emerges.
There is much more to say about the kingdom of heaven and what The Urantia Book refers to as the “psychology of religion.” In future blogs I will suggest other ideas, and I look forward to yours.
For the seeker who wants to consider a new theory of the psychology of religion and the science of values, please see www.metavalues.net .