When we successfully navigate a challenge to our faith, we must be careful not to rest on our laurels. Also we must not take personal credit for the success, it is only through Spirit that we are able to rise above our weaknesses. We can be assured that there will be a greater challenge ahead of us and we must always be prepared for that lesson.
God saves us not for ourselves but because it is God’s character to be merciful. God’s love cannot change; it is a law of nature. Instead of listening to Spiritual guidance (waiting on the Lord), we allow our lower nature (wanton cravings) to lead us. God’s love and guidance is available to us all but God cannot and will not override our personal will. Whatever we focus our attention on, we will receive whether it is constructive or destructive. This is why the process of gaining control over our thoughts is so important.
Worshipping idols means believing in things other than God. We can worship money, sex, intellect, and many other things, if we place too much of our time and attention on these things. We all go through cycles of great spiritual achievement only to slip along the way. It is critical that when we slip, we gratefully take the lessons we needed from the experience and keep moving forward. One of the more insidious idols is the tendency for us to become attached to our particular form of study, worship, or any spiritual practice.
The focus on the outer, ceremonies of faith and spiritual pride or arrogance need to be destroyed because the deeper, inner meaning is essential to spiritual understanding. One cannot reach God in outward pomp and circumstance. The path to Christ consciousness is an inner journey.
As with anything permanent change takes time and we must learn that when we reach any level understanding there still will be times that we will be tested. We must maintain faith that all is well and good and that God is in our midst. We can easily slip, falling into the wilderness (undisciplined and uncultivated thoughts). It is critical that we maintain spiritual discipline in our lives, because this is the means of disciplining our thoughts. The dispersion among the nations is that process by which when we start to get undisciplined our spiritual thoughts become weaker and weaker in our consciousness. Strength comes from congregation of divine thoughts together in our minds.
Not surprisingly we end up back at the altar of false gods (money, sex, intellect etc.). In the midst of the chaos and suffering (plague), a ray of light is offered to those of us who will listen.
Self-will (obstinacy) is the sin of God's people. When things are going well we tend to forget our discipline and daily spiritual practices, we get lazy and comfortable in our situation. We start to believe that the works we have done are of our own doing and not by the grace of Spirit. When we loose sight of Spirit at the core of our lives, we begin to fill our minds with erroneous thoughts and feelings. Sometimes the way to get focused on right thinking is to be delivered into the hand of the Gentiles. Misery brings us back to the Truth, because the only relief from the suffering is to understand and know our spiritual nature and inheritance.
And so it is! Amen!