Heaven Down To Earth - Words of Spiritual Guidance
by Rev. Paul Werner
Chapter 18 - Attitude
Approach God with the attitude of anticipation, as a little child does when he goes to his parents. Jesus taught us that unless we become like children, we cannot enter the Kingdom. We must become open-child-like, but not naive. This will take training and self-discipline. To do this, we must adjust both our hearts and our attitudes. If we only approach God adult to adult and engage in discussing intellectual warfare and strategies in our prayer, we stunt our growth. God needs to teach us about the world of heart and love, but we will never be able to learn by allowing Him to only stimulate the intellect. We must offer Him the opportunity to replenish our hearts or else we forfeit certain growth. He wants us to fly along with Him and reach the heights of that territory known as love. But it does not depend upon Him; it is actually up to the attitude we generate and also depends on whether or not we can envision being His child.
While walking the path back to God, take one step at a time. One step is both a little thing and a big thing at the same time. Observe the little things in life-the tiny things that you do or don't do may seem insignificant, but actually they define your spiritual posture. Make sure that you show respect to others as well as yourself. Acknowledge people you walk past; no matter how they appear to you, most of them are lonely human beings full of pain and spiritually thirsty. A smile is a beautiful gift that costs nothing to give away but means a great deal to the recipient; a single kind word may bring another person to tears if it has been a long time since he heard one.
The human body is an amazing system. That muscle we call the heart keeps on pumping, sometimes for more than one hundred years, and hardly ever skips a beat. In looking around this world, we can recognize that God's imagination is certainly vivid and dynamic. We see that this gigantic universe reveals one miracle after another. But we do not always observe the wonders He created. We come to take so many things for granted and too often fail to appreciate that nature is a gift from God, as are other human beings.
The spiritual senses of our ancestors were dulled at the time of the fall of man and even today our spiritual senses are still not open. Yet this will change in the future through the process of restoration. We will once again begin to treasure the gifts from God and glorify Him for favoring us with His handiwork. Once humanity is restored to its original position, through true love and the process of give and take, human beings will no longer take each other for granted, nor anything in the universe.
Anything which God bestows upon us-a pleasant personality, a capable mind, a loving heart, a striking appearance-should not be kept for ourselves. Those blessings should be shared for the good of humanity.
If you have a beautiful voice, remember that God gave it to you so that many people could enjoy it through song or story. Exude heavenly inspiration when you sing. Through your singing, you may move peoples' hearts and even lead them to God. What you sing should be sung to ultimately praise God. If you are an actor, connect to God in order to portray His emotions through you. Do whatever you do for God and humanity. When you accomplish things, you will become successful.
Don't gather negative elements; neither give them out. It is better to be silent than to complain or speak negatively about people or situations. It is hard to retrieve your words once they spill from your mouth. Think first; feel first.
We each need positive elements from one another in order to exist, survive and multiply, and especially to come closer to God. There is an innate belief that our brothers and sisters should naturally be positive when they are around us-and we hungrily crave positive elements from the whole universe. Just as we expect them from all others and all things, we have a duty to transfer many positive elements to other people. Make every feeling you have a positive one. Doing so will bring you closer to perfection!
How can we discern whether we are suffering along with humanity, feeling the heart of God, or just being negative? Sometimes there is a fine line, but it is best not to become negative. If we keep a positive outlook but experience feelings of depression, then they are for God and humanity. But negativity basically stems from our own attitude about ourselves or our circumstances. When such emotions overtake us, the best thing to do is repent quickly and turn those feelings around.
It is inevitable for us to go through hell and walk the road of suffering, but what should our attitude be? Generally we are ineffective when we do things with a negative attitude, and whatever results we reap will not be accepted by God. Even a thought may make us feel miserable both spiritually and physically, but when this happens we should reexamine ourselves. When we develop a positive attitude, strength and optimism will naturally become part of our disposition.
It is normal to sometimes feel depressed. Nevertheless, you can be happy at the same time. You must learn to master every situation. If you have trust in God and the Principle, you will automatically feel confident that God will be the ultimate champion and Satan's power will be conquered. That assurance will allow you to laugh while you are in the midst of hell. If you can develop absolute trust in God, you will not be bothered by the troublesome situations of daily life and can still be happy and joyful. Then you will be able to resurrect your whole attitude.
Sometimes we feel physically or spiritually ill. Yet if we don't stop working at those times, we will achieve a result which God can claim. If your attitude is correct, then whether or not you feel connected does not matter. It is your attitude-your wish to serve and meet God, to pray for others, to pray for the fulfillment of the purpose-that is important. Attitude decides everything.
Defining a positive attitude would be the first step toward accepting our responsibility- feeling, understanding, and sincerely wanting to do something about achieving our goal. Our outlook must be purified as we desire to unite with God and True Parents; once that is corrected, we will simply go forward, whatever our task, to assist in the restoration of all mankind.
Even though God is spirit, He is also tangible. Connect with God in any way possible. Get rid of your fear; this is your chance. We know so much about God-more than millions and millions of people. We know the Messiah and may even be blessed. What excuse do any of us have?
Some members work hard for years, but something inside gnaws at them, telling them that despite their external accomplishments, they have gone further away from Him rather than come closer.
It is crucial to make sure that whatever offering you bring to God is divided and can thus be accepted by Him. Doing things consciously and conscientiously helps to divide and purify any offering.
Learn to become internally quiet and calm and then shed the skin of' coarseness and superficiality. Know that you are in the presence of God at all times. If you could see Him with your physical eyes, you would be conscious of His proximity and perhaps that situation would remind you that no one ever lives alone. Perception of how He attends you is a matter of attitude. It is possible to look right past Him, but if somehow out of the corner of your eye you could notice He is there, you would surely want to see the entire face of God.
If we cling to individualism and do not change our attitude, we will never reach God.
This time in history is crucial, a time of life or death for humanity. Nuclear bombs, terrorism, and crime are constant threats. The news keeps churning out story after story, and each one seems to jar us out of complacency a bit more. Perhaps we have not personally been touched by death or destruction caused by such devastating means, but generally something stirs in our original mind when we hear about it. We could become totally focused on watching the waves of fear undulate throughout our lives and the world. However, we could also take a spiritual whip in hand and through our attitude, beat back our fear as we work to instill the feeling of hope back into humanity. We could ask God for courage which we then could share with others.
Considering the crucial time in which we live, there are many ways we could respond. Asking to be a hope-giving channel of God is much better than showing the world that our own knees are knocking in fear. Even if that is true, when we gain the confidence that God is with us, we can tie our knees together and move forward with a force inspired by Him.
We may often desire to be entertained and look for happiness in material things or external events. However I feel that at the same time, God wants us to become more serious. Of course He wants us to be happy, but we must remember our commission to bring joy to other people and lead them to salvation. It is a heavy responsibility as well as a pleasure. It all depends on how we look at it.
Optimism must prevail. Learn how to perceive what God and Father feel toward the worldwide situation, but remain as optimistic and fresh as spring. Learn how to be inwardly pensive and outwardly uplifting and happy. If you do not express some part of your solemnness, people may find it hard to take you seriously.
We have such a deep yearning for God, for salvation, and for love. We desire to be recognized by God and to do His will. After years of living a Unificationist lifestyle, we feel deeply for God and humanity. Yet when it comes to the point that God asks us to do certain things, we often fall short. We usually expect that we can deal with God directly, but it doesn't always work that way. God has set up a spiritual hierarchy; it is difficult to use, but we pay indemnity when we do. If and when we feel we are above it, He is unable to reach us. Again, reaching God does not happen solely because of conditions made by Him, but because of the kind of attitude we exhibit. He does not necessarily look at the number of hours we stay on bended knee; He researches our attitude even in the smallest moment we take to pray.
Sincerity of heart is most important. It is all tied up in the word and action of attitude. Ask for strength and courage to fulfill the purpose of creation and restore the world; don't ask for things for yourself. Ask that the True Parents receive help in their mission.
Many people may allow you to pass by without giving you either words of encouragement or words of constructive criticism. When someone you love is steered in a wrong direction, what should your attitude be? Are you really loving when you continue to let him make mistakes or spread negativity? Search the best method to share your heart and your perception of the Principle, and ask God to speak through you to help him.
Likewise, be thankful to anyone who shows you where you stand spiritually. No matter how harsh it may sound or how deeply it cuts into your soul, appreciate someone who tells you the truth and ultimately brings you closer to God.
What reason do you have to be negative? Negativity always tends to either inwardly or outwardly separate a person from the group. If you find yourself on the edge looking at the whole troupe marching forward, swallow your pride and the lump of negativity that wants to escape from your throat, and do your best to march in tempo with everyone else. The best thing you can do is refuse to compromise or become weak. Once you start to march, do not sit down. It takes too much energy to get up again.
Once I marched day and night for a whole week while carrying eighty pounds of weapons and ammunition on my back. On our way to another town, my fellow soldiers and I walked through ice and snow while we were still under gunfire. We were dead tired, but we were forced to keep on marching. If we did sleep for a short time, we slept standing against the trees. Anyone who sat down found it nearly impossible to get up again.
Unificationists are also marching toward a goal; individuals, whole families, neighborhoods, and congregations have all taken up the cross and are marching toward the new world. Yes, we are tired, but we must realize that we are still under Satan's gunfire. If we sit down, it will be much harder to get going again. From my experience, I would advise that we fix our eyes on the goal and keep on going.
Create no negative bases. Remove yourself from the trap of thinking negatively. Instead, think and feel love for your circumstances and for those around you. Lift people up with pleasant words. You will lift yourself up at the same time. Your willpower is responsible for how far you can go. If you desire to do something, be sure to do it. Build up your self-esteem and display the attitude of respecting others as well. Remember your position as a son or daughter of God no matter what it is you do.
What can Satan do if he sees that you humbly offer your day to God, and bow before Him. How will he react when you proclaim to the whole spirit world that you are on God's side. When you acknowledge God as your Father, you automatically push Satan away. But watch out-if Satan realizes that you are chasing him out of your life, he will pursue you relentlessly. However, if you reject him and always go to God, he will give up. Satan doesn't have the right attitude, being completely short on tolerance and often deficient in the area of perseverance.
What can happen to us when we are reluctant or inactive? The disciples who slept while they were supposed to be on watch over Jesus probably did not realize that simply by nodding and dozing they would participate in such a monumental tragedy. What about us? Nothing comes from nothing; we have to make an effort. And we have to want to make the effort. This is the kind of attitude we must demonstrate.
It is possible to break through in the spiritual realm and rise from depression to near elation and joy. Once you break through spiritually, you will also experience a physical breakthrough, result-wise. However, in order to do that, you must break your present pattern. You may limit your success if you continue with your present way of thinking and acting. A drastic change will start you on your way. Maybe you should jump out of bed in the morning. If you always take a hot shower, take a cold one instead. If you usually drink orange juice, why not try some other flavor. Do things differently; change everything. Your whole self has adjusted to a certain way of life and way of relating and dealing with people. From now on, do your best to think differently.
It is important to let go of the resentments you have toward people; throw away your critical nature. Realize that you criticize to protect yourself and your position. It is merely a defense mechanism, behind it are seeds of reluctance and fear. But those traits don't fit you and there is no reason to be that way.
Do everything just the opposite to what you did so far. Adopt a new attitude. The temperament that you have nurtured until now has not been able to lead you to perfection. If you abandon it, the new disposition you assume has to be better.
It is important how you start each day. Look up, don't look down. Whether you like getting up or not doesn't matter. Just push yourself to relate to God and True Parents even before you open your eyes; make "Heavenly Father" the first words on your lips. Greet the new day with the knowledge that God made it for you.
If you still feel down or your disposition is a bit sour, push yourself into positivity and optimism. See the sunlight through the clouds. If you can do this, you will have the right spirit to tackle the challenges of the day and you can be assured that God will accompany you.
Have you ever met a person who chose to live in a dark, dank basement? Do you think that God wants to live in your heart if it is spiritually dark and heavy with depression? Create a temple for God within your heart. Make sure you construct it with glass all around so that He can look within you from all sides. If you have that attitude, God will penetrate the walls; in fact, the energy of God's heart and love can heat and light your whole building.
You have to re-evaluate your position every morning and evening.
Analyze your attitude, your sincerity, and your total disposition. If you don't, you may find yourself in a rut -- working day in and day out without ever realizing that you are in hell.
Make sure that during the day you refrain from criticizing everything and everyone you encounter. Every morning ask yourself where you stand and how you feel; be sure that you are honest with God and yourself. Check whether you still feel you are a child of True Parents and a loving brother or sister to your peers. Make sure that you are still a full-fledged member of your family or church community. If you find that you are shaky in any of these checkpoints, adjust immediately!
Make sure that you know God is with you. Once you tear away the curtain of disbelief, you will find that God is on the other side. If you are confident in your position, whether you have to walk on your feet or your knees, or crawl on your belly, do whatever is necessary to go to that other side. The mode of travel is symbolic and only the end result matters.
You alone determine whether you reside in heaven or hell. You are the only one who can make that decision. Sometimes you may feel depressed, but actually this feeling stems from some form of selfishness. If you loved everyone and accepted the challenges that come to you rather than try to control the situation to go your own way, you would not have a problem with depression. But you often become introverted and center on yourself; such thinking may cause you to feel hurt or angry. There is a vacuum sucking you into depression and because you don't have the power to pull yourself out, you just let yourself go in deeper.
Depression causes you to face a stone wall, in a symbolic sense. Intellectually, you know that all you have to do is climb over it, but spiritually you simply don't have the strength to go over it. The way to combat this problem is to start running and blast through the wall. It is just a matter of making a decision. Decide, develop the will, and go. For example, if everyone around you is sad and you feel yourself being drawn into that emotion, stop. Say something optimistic and everyone will be uplifted.
The first thing is to change the atmosphere within yourself. That includes transforming your thoughts, feelings, and environment. Get away from yourself and go to someone else at that moment; if you do not draw that person into your negativity, you have the chance to inherit something from him.
You have never allowed yourself to become a greater person; you have never allowed yourself to see your potential the way God does. You got used to and are comfortable in your depression and subdued behavior, but they only make you stagnate. The only thing to do is to change. Change your attitude. Even change your spiritual environment. All of us should modify our environment from time to time. Never be content to stay where you are; always desire to advance. Remember that you have tremendous potential and you will display it once you yourself start to believe it!
Don't feel that there is something you cannot do. Instead always feel that you can do it. In any organization or company, it seems that one or two people outshine all others in what they are able to accomplish. The reason is clear: the people who achieve only small results do not trust in God. They do not trust in themselves or their own abilities, but manufacture all kinds of excuses why they do not bring results.
Sometimes you just have to force yourself to be happy. That takes the determination and courage to overcome things inwardly. Talk to yourself; push the shadow of disbelief aside and invite the sunshine back into your life. When clouds loom on your horizon, spiritually push them away. It is possible to go beyond the clouds; an airplane is able to fly above them and wind its way back into good weather. There, the sun is brilliant and the sky is still blue.
God lives above those dark clouds and invites you to live there with Him. It is a matter of envisioning yourself going there.
We are concerned with developing a forgiving heart and attitude. Our attitude will change when we assume a parental position and forgive even our enemies. Yet doing that will not necessarily change those people instantly. They could still take advantage of us. But that is how Satan may dominate us; the moment when Satan confronts us, we must make sure we feel we are God's child.
Call on heaven and you will be protected. Never forget that God is with you.
If God gives us much, He also expects a great deal in return. As we live our lives, we become more and more elevated in our spiritual strength, and in our capability in general. After a certain time, we become able to do things that we did not think were possible before. Our inner strengths will increase, but the best solution is to do things with the right attitude. Those are the conditions under which God will accept whatever we offer. What matters to Him is the attitude with which we worked. That will determine whether or not our offering is accepted.
Sometimes you program yourself to achieve much less than you could. This actually stems from a selfish attitude. If and when you do this, analyze your motivation. Can you really be satisfied with a lower result than what you are actually capable of achieving? Do something about changing the tape recording your mind constantly plays.
If we had faith and knew with surety that God is with us at all times, we would allow Him to program us to be powerful enough to conquer the problem of achieving low results. If we were aligned with God and spirit world, many things would be prepared, and great outcomes would result. Since this is not the case, our attitude could be considered one of faithlessness. We don't believe enough in ourselves; we don't have great enough faith in God and True Parents.
Father encourages us to be thrifty. He encourages us to be good examples. He asks us to think of the world in whatever we do. If we eat well and sleep in a comfortable bed, we should think first of the world that is suffering. For example, when we sit and pray before meals, we should think of those who don't have any food to eat. Father is most concerned with our inner attitude; he is allergic to injustice and feels sorrowful that the general attitude of Americans is one of wastefulness, and especially that at least one-third of all their food goes into the garbage.
A situation looks dismal when you look at it without love in your heart.
You will have a much deeper and richer life when you become more concerned about other people. If you are just worrying about what you overcame today and yesterday, you will miss a great deal of what is going on around you. Become intimately involved in how others are struggling to come to God. Get in touch with the heartbeat of the world. Develop the attitude that you are part of a whole, not merely a tiny segment.
Don't talk yourself into weakness. Don't tell yourself, "I cannot do it. I am too weak and stupid. I am too little a person." These are words from Satan, not God. Satan hates people who are absolutely confident in what they are doing. He dislikes people who are sure about Father's position and convinced that God lives within them. Changeability is Satan's principle and therefore, he relishes people who are wishy-washy. Bolster yourself up. Don't consider yourself inferior. In fact, look at it in the complete opposite way: you are a child of God.
There are millions of people who would be ecstatic to occupy our position today. Spiritual beings would be especially keen to be in our shoes because they can clearly see the significance of our involvement in restoration. Unfortunately, we too often go through life with blinders on insensitive, self-centered, and full of complaint. We feel the future is a long way off and that being stuck where we are is just too much to take. Yet if we were to think for a moment about what God has gone through and feel for His suffering and agony, our perspective would have to change. God still has a burning hope and His attitude of perseverance reflects this. If we are to follow Him and walk in the footsteps of True Parents, we should emulate their conduct. God has done great things throughout history; the record shows that mankind has achieved amazing things, and we must realize that the inspiration and force behind them is from God.
Don't simply be concerned with what you did in the past, and day after day recall all the beautiful things you did for God and others. You must give credit where credit is due. When you opened yourself up to Him, God could enter your life and work; it is He who deserves the merit you may feel is rightly yours. The laurels upon which you would like to rest are actually God's. Act as though the past did not take place. Act as though you are newly born and this is the day you want to do something for God. With that attitude you will be tireless to act as God's instrument to win back this world!
God finds it impossible to live in your heart if you constantly dwell on the fact that you are a sinner, or if you feel so inferior you believe you cannot accomplish much. How can God enter the life of a person who emphatically decides for himself that he is not ready to meet God? if you do that, you are essentially rejecting Him. The only way to coax God to live within you is by developing a pure and humble attitude before Him. When your heart flows over with love, He is there, waiting to refill it. With the attitude of love, you will win His heart.
The quality of life becomes different when you are optimistic, happy, and joyful. If you are miserable and depressed, you will end up even hating the sun. It is much better to be positive, optimistic, and divine.
One of the greatest dangers the Unification movement faces is that its members are no longer satisfied with living the life of a gypsy and will only be content with a stable lifestyle. The time for a mass settling down is not here yet. We are still trying to create the fatherland. Even if we do have a more stable situation, it is most critical that we do not settle down inwardly. True Parents are still on the march and have laid forth many plans for the future. If we are complacent with our lives, will we continue to win for God? We must resolve to go on; our movement has not yet touched all the nations that have to be restored.
If we are really dedicated to work for God, at least our immediate future will be spiritually, if not physically, nomadic. Women had children even in the desert. The whole generation that walked into Canaan was comprised of the children who had been born in and walked through the desert. Although life during many of those years may not have been pleasant or normal according to the standards of secular society, the Israelites had family life while walking through the desert. It was only after they reached Canaan that they settled down. That is our present situation; we are crossing the desert. Our caravans may not resemble those of the Israelites; neither should our attitude. The first generation complained throughout their course and perished.
If you have somehow lost the original connection you felt to God and True Parents after learning the truth, fight to regain it. There must have been a time when you were burning with desire to do anything. What about today? Inside your heart, quietly resolve that you are ready to move if Father calls you.
If you are filled with joy, you will be much more effective in serving God than if you only wallow in suffering. Do you think that God wants to be sad all the time? Do you feel He wants you to be unhappy? You will have the greatest result when witnessing if you impart joy into the heart of a person who opens his to you. When you can do that, you become God's ambassador and He is free to work through you.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling the grieving heart of God during your prayer, or feeling His suffering during your quiet moments with Him. But my advice is to be happy and cheerful; then you will be both spiritually and physically healthy.
Even when I was alone at the beginning of my pioneering mission, I always tried to live very close to the ideal of the Principle; it was so real - My God was real to me. In fact, at a time of despair or suffering, He was my link to true reality. At those times, the millions of people around me didn't matter. I knew what I knew. I knew what they didn't-about God, about His Principle, about the Messiah, about real life, and real love. This was my reality and my strength.
Once we understand that spiritually we have power over life and death, we can do many good things. At the same time, we can also do many wrong things. It is a very critical position we occupy. We cannot toy with the lives of others, neither can we be selfish with our own. We must develop the posture to follow the Principle absolutely.
Father is never blinded by superficialities; he looks beyond the surface and into the soul. He does this with situations as well as people. It is almost a fearful thing for Father to look at you; he can tell whether or not your attitude is correct.
Our standard of morals and ethics must also be upright because we will find that it is not possible to cheat God. If we look at True Parents' example, the most outstanding quality is the pure attitude with which they live their lives. They are concerned with the quality of love and service they display; they are our parents and they love us with unconditional love. They have gone the lowest road; through their actions they teach us all. They encourage us to be serious and honest. They hope that we will understand the importance of personal integrity and the significance of showing reverence to others. We can see that they are honest with themselves and us. They are never superficial and they never attempt to fool anyone. Their footprints are big ones and hard to rill, but if we make the initial leap of faith, once we land inside, we will find that slowly the divinity of our character will augment.
It is human and normal to take the easy road, but don't do it. You belong to a new breed of people. When those around you are dead tired and just cannot go on, try to pitch in where you can. That is the best attitude. You are the best judge of where you stand; let your conscience be that proverbial "guide."
We must view life as an educational process. Each year the material we need to study becomes more sophisticated. This challenges our hearts to become more attuned and sensitive. Our senses too must develop in order to best cope with the volume of material to study. By cultivating both a positive attitude and a higher quality of love, Father assures us that we will become perfected in heart.
Develop depth in your character and research things with the correct viewpoint. Break old habits and develop new ones. Make it a tradition to relate all things to God and True Parents. Report your failures as well as your successes; share every emotion with God. Converse with Him in prayer as if He was your best friend and walking alongside you.
Even a king can be humble. God is humble. So is Father. Yet their brand of humility differs from the concept of subservience manifested in self-flagellation. They are humble but at the same time maintain their personal dignity. If we take their example, we will be humble no matter what our position.
Basic attitude is important. It should reflect that our personal life is not so significant, but that God is everything.
Sometimes you will find that you have to push yourself and confront certain situations. If you jump into the water, you have to swim or you'll sink. If you dread crossing the three hundred meters of water in front of you and feel that you can't swim that far, you have already decided that you won't even bother going in the water. If you are thrown into the water, you may drown because you have already determined that you are not going to make it to the other side. You have to develop the attitude that you can do anything.
It is crucial not to allow yourself to become buried by the worries of life. Why do you let yourself become plagued by worries? Challenges will confront you, but coping with them armed with faith in God is quite a mighty thing. When you can do that, you will discover the amazing amount of strength you suddenly feel.
If your attitude is wrong, you will not be eligible to receive true blessings from God.
I would say that after these twenty-two years I can more easily see things from Father's viewpoint, and I try to do my mission looking through his eyes.
Do not be defeated in your lifetime mission because of one day's failure. If you have a bad day, simply forget it. There will always be another day in which to accomplish things. If you fall flat on your face, just get up and start running again. There is no point in becoming spiritually squashed and disfigured. You are God's child. And He will never leave you alone. He will commission the angelic and spiritual worlds to work through your conscience, through the environment, and through other people to get you to stand up and regain your confidence as His son or daughter.
You are not a total failure because you failed in one responsibility or action. There is a huge difference and it is important to recognize it.
Do you remember your parents' and grandparents' warnings and pleadings that you realize certain things? You may have pushed them aside and angrily wondered if they could remember what it was like to be young. No doubt they did remember, possibly also recalling that their youth was a time of confusion, and a time when they did not know even a tenth of what they had to learn the hard way. You probably really hurt them when you rejected their counsel. But most likely they did not reveal their pain to you. Instead, they just smiled and went on loving you anyway. Parenthood is already a reality for many of you, and not far away for the great majority. What kind of response will you receive from your children? Will you remember your own?
The True Parents' position is to warn us when we head away from God. They plead with us to realize our responsibility and position. Perhaps because we are adults ourselves, we do not push away their advice quite as quickly as we did with our elders. Yet do we really take the attitude to follow it? Most often they do not reveal the pain they feel when we do not follow their direction. They usually smile and go on loving us anyway. But doesn't looking at this situation with such a perspective make you more aware of the unconditional nature of their love?
Don't always expect self-satisfaction. Of course you can be delighted with a beautiful meal or elated by lilting music. But you will feel greatest joy when you see that God has done something wonderful for someone else. The jubilance you can feel at that moment will be something both unforgettable and unexcelled. When you see someone else come closer to God, the joy you feel is real because it is unselfish.
People who are self-centered have a hard time expressing gratitude. They appreciate little more than themselves. They judge not according to God's standard, but their own. Yet gratitude is an important quality to develop. If you always have bread and butter, you can't appreciate them. But if you experience times when you are denied access to food, shelter, water, or other necessities of life, you can appreciate them much more deeply once you have them again. You can even develop respect for a mouthful of water or a piece of bread.
The Principle explains that the purpose of creation is to experience joy. But how much does mankind really experience joy today? Have you experienced joy today? My heart feels heavy twenty-four hours a day, but beneath that load is a joy that just won't quit. Even if you don't always feel happy, realize that it is buried temporarily. God instilled you with joy and sooner or later, it will escape from its hiding place and show itself again. If you don't know the reality of living with a joyful heart, you are spiritually impoverished.
Resentment is like a big stone wall; sometimes it becomes like a steel wall unable to be penetrated by normal means. Resentment is a part of attitude but just like an unnecessary wall, must be broken down.
The word resentment comes up throughout history. And there are many kinds -- historic resentment, personal resentment, even God's resentment. Resentment can only be overcome through true and divine love. But we are the ones who have to crack open our hearts. That is not something God can do. He may heat them up from the outside so that they become easier to open, but we are the only ones with the power to finish the job. That is our responsibility.
Resentment which develops because you resent advice or have been disobedient or compromising, will only make you stagnate. Harboring bitterness in your heart will prohibit you from growing. And you will never advance by holding on to your resentment.
It is a privilege to sit with others and talk about God; it should never be taken for granted. We should respond to God in such a manner that He feels our appreciation for this benefit. If we do, much more grace will be bestowed upon us in the future. But any privilege which we do not respect may be taken away from us, at least temporarily and perhaps for good.
Many people have always lived in plenty; a number of them have even thrown away half their food. At sometime though they may come into a situation where they will have very little. It is important to develop gratitude and appreciation. In order to acknowledge what God is doing for us, we naturally have to develop our spiritual standard. As we climb higher and higher, appreciation comes to be more obvious and more defined. And it only grows.
We have to find the value in whatever we experience. The greater the value, the more privileged we feel receiving such things for nothing. We are not doing anything extraordinary. We are just doing our duty. Certainly, there are other people who if given the same blessings would act with much more confidence, strength, and might. They would wield more influence and accomplish something much more profitable for God. This can teach us how humble we must become and that we must ask forgiveness because we do not do more than we do, and we do not feel the blessings this privilege brings. We must come before God with penitent hearts because as yet we have not developed our ability to discern and evaluate correctly what God is giving us.
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