God let Adam and Eve know from the beginning that they each had been given great personal responsibility directly from Him to “dress and keep” everything that had been placed within their environment and control. The most important part of all that was that they were to “dress and keep” themselves. If they had done so then everything else in life would have fallen into its proper place, as they would have been striving to do everything in accordance to God’s ways, in complete unity and harmony with Him.
Although they were created in a kind of neutral state, it did not take long before their own motivations began to set in. As a result of being made physical, they were by nature drawn to selfishness. That is the actual “nature” of a physically created human mind in a physical body that is living within a physical environment. A way to begin seeing this more clearly is to understand how a baby quickly develops traits of selfishness. If they are hungry, they will let you know. If they are uncomfortable or unsatisfied, you will know it. The development of selfish nature only becomes stronger as one matures physically. That is the natural progression, from birth, from being created in such a manner. Yet all of this was by Divine design.
The natural created state of mankind would be to resist God’s ways and to instead embrace their own ways due to a natural selfish nature, yet it needs to be understood that this response to God (to naturally resist) would always be the result of “free choice,” as a matter of a person’s own free will.
So from the beginning, Adam and Eve began to base their choices and decisions in life upon their own selfish desires and did not make choices and decisions based upon their confidence in, and agreement with, God’s ways, nor of any desire to glorify, honor, and place God first.
A Continuing Creation
All that was created within the animal kingdom was created in a kind of robotic, preprogrammed manner, with no free will given to it that would enable the ability for thinking and reasoning. Instead, that creation responds automatically to conditions in life by a specifically unique nature that God gave (programmed within) each variety of species in His creation.
Geese and ducks do not reason and plan for the necessity to fly south for the winter. Neither does a squirrel reason and plan for the necessity to gather nuts for the winter in order to survive. Animals and birds do not follow precise patterns of migration because they have figured out how to do so. They do so because they have been preprogrammed by the Great God who created them with such nature, instinct, and abilities. Having such an understanding of God’s creation truly makes evolutionists and many scientists look like awesome fools who harbor great intellectual stupidity on one part, while having a good level of actual intelligence on the other.
Within His great power to create life, it needs to be understood that God cannot instantaneously create a free moral agent (a being with free will) to be in full unity, agreement, and oneness with Him. If any being were created instantaneously to be in full agreement and of the same thinking as Him, they would have to be created robotic by nature with no free will. Yet God desired to create a family that would be in unity and harmony with Him. God desired that each one in His family would live the way of peace and His kind of love as a result of each one’s own personal motivation and willing choice. To do this, they could not be instantaneously given holy righteous character that is only in God Himself. Such cannot be instantaneously created, but it can be created over an extended period of time.
Holy righteous character can only be created through God’s direct power actively working in the spirit of man – in one’s mind – to help transform one’s thinking that originates from motivation that stems from selfish human nature to motivation that originates from agreement and unity with God and all His ways, truth, and thinking. There is still much to be revealed and learned about this process, but God has granted us a clearer insight into this process than at any other time in human history.
This process of spiritual transformation of the spirit in mankind, which is a process of God’s “ongoing creation” to create Elohim – a God Family – is only possible once someone has been called by God and has received the impregnation of His holy spirit within their human spirit. From that point, holy righteous character can then be created through a means of one making consistent and continual “personal choices” in life that stem from the acceptance and desire they have of actively seeking to exercise “personal responsibility” in living God’s way. When such choices are genuine, honest, and true then God gives the means for the creation of holy righteous character through the working of His holy spirit with the spirit in them (the spirit in mankind) to bring about a transition in one’s very thinking.
Thus Adam and Eve, because of yielding to their own selfish nature, cut themselves off from being able to continue in the process of God’s creation that could have transformed their human mind and thinking to that of God’s. The choice to follow one’s own selfish nature is simply the way of mankind, and since such choices are opposed to God’s ways, they simply result in sin. All mankind has sinned, except for one – Jesus Christ. So in God’s timing and according to His purpose, He determines when He will call (invite) a person into a relationship with Him for the purpose of a “continuing creation” that has been ongoing from the beginning in order to bring about Elohim through the transformation of the mind in those who are called. This is an “ongoing creation” in the development of a new mind and not of one that is instantaneously created.
God clearly reveals that mankind’s own ways are not of Him, but are actually against His ways. Isaiah and Paul both speak of this.
“‘For my thoughts [ways of thinking and reasoning] are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ says the Eternal” (Is. 55:8). Simply put, both ways are opposite to each other in motive and intent. God’s thinking and ways are outgoing to the benefit of others, but mankind’s thinking is inward (selfish) to the benefit of self above others.
As it has been recently pointed out, this is why God makes it clear that man’s ways must be changed. The mind of mankind is to become healed of selfishness. That is what is being spoken of when God says, “I have seen his [mankind’s] ways [that are selfish by nature], and will heal him” (Is. 57:18).
Paul addresses it even more directly by stating, “Because the carnal mind [the ways, mind, and thinking within human nature] is enmity [hostile, opposed] against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, and neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7). By nature, the human mind and thinking is opposite of God’s. This is true to the degree that the human mind is actually hostile and naturally opposed to God’s ways, so that God’s ways can only be seen as a threat, an obstacle, and a great interference to how one wants to live life their own way.
One’s Greatest Responsibility
Throughout this series, we have focused on many aspects of God’s instruction concerning what it means to “dress it and keep.” Adam and Eve did not grasp what this meant, and they could not see that the primary focus of its application should have been upon their own self. Now, we are going to focus more fully upon what this means as a “personal responsibility” toward themselves that God has given to each of us individually.
True change in the conversion of human nature can only be accomplished by a person’s free choice and practice of yielding to God’s ongoing creation that comes through the spiritual transformation of the mind. Upon making the decision to repent (Gk. – to think differently), and to actively work on one’s own conversion and change in spirit, then one has accepted the greatest responsibility that is given in human life. When called (invited) by God to begin the process of a spiritual transformation within one’s mind, then God is at that time offering a person the choice to participate in a “continuing creation” to become part of His spiritual family – Elohim.
Once such a calling is offered to anyone then they must choose to accept the greatest responsibility offered to any human. It is a matter of willingly choosing to yield to obey, honor, and strive to glorify God and His ways of life, while fighting against one’s own selfishly motivated human nature, which resists doing so. This begins the process of learning to fight against being motivated by selfish human nature. It also begins a process of learning how to judge according to God’s way and then of practicing (applying) that judgment to one’s actions (way of living). As one then grows in greater spiritual insight and wisdom, through many different experiences, a person can begin to change from a selfish motivation, to a motivation that responds in agreement and unity with God – with His ways, thinking, truth, and mind. Yet “personal choice” is always a factor.
The spiritual growth that comes with accepting ever greater personal responsibility to “dress and keep” one’s self leads to greater acceptance and desire to honor and glorify God in one’s life – in one’s actions, example, and way of living. This involves (includes) a deeper understanding and appreciation of what it means for us to be included as part of the Temple of God. This in turn gives much greater importance to scriptures that reference such reality and fellowship in life that God offers.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy them, for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] you are” (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
It is not possible that the human mind of itself can grasp what is stated in these verses. Such understanding and deepening appreciation of this is something that one will grow in spiritually throughout their lifetime. Even with God’s spirit it is difficult to fathom the awesomeness of what it means that we are part of God’s Temple that is to be kept holy, as God dwells in it.
“And what agreement does the temple of God have with idols [that which is raised up above or before God]? For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from among them [become removed from the ways of the world], and become separate, and do not touch the unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:16-18).
We are responsible for working to remove ourselves from the ways and practices of this world. It is up to us that we not blend into this world as though we are part of its ways, that we not conform to it, but that we be transformed away from it. We desire that God will dwell in us and walk with (in) us in all that we live.
This not only applies to how we live differently as a matter of not sinning as the world does around us as we seek to obey the laws of God, but it also includes many other aspects of life. There are many choices made in life that can be a matter of sin and there are some sins that are not as obvious as breaking one of the Ten Commandments, which clearly state specific sins. One can sin by simply dishonoring God, and often such matters are not as clearly revealed as with the physical application of the Commandments.
Much comes down to one’s basic desire and intent (motivation) for the choices one makes. It comes down to where one’s level of desire is to honor God and to glorify Him in how one lives.
“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the holy spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own [to do as you please, as you will, apart from God’s ways and will]? For you are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Building On A Framework
This series has been focusing upon the need for each member of the Body of Christ to accept greater personal responsibility in “dressing and keeping” what God has given to them, within their environment, that falls within their own control. A vision concerning greater change that can take place in our lives – in our thinking – is being given to us in this Year of Dedication. Now is the time to respond more fully to God and Christ with a “heightened dedication” by actively building upon a framework that is being shown to us in this series.
We are being given an opportunity to draw closer to God Almighty and His Son, Jesus Christ. As we apply ourselves to a heightened dedication, we will experience a heightened spiritual transformation in God’s continuing creation in us. Before proceeding with the final part of this series, there is one paragraph that needs to be repeated about this transformation process:
“We are now being given deeper insight into how this process can be more fully captured, enhanced, and lived as we learn more clearly about taking control of life, rather than letting life control us. In reality, when a person allows a motivation of selfishness to continue to exist on any level, then they are not in true control of their life. They are not free from that bondage as long as that specific portion of selfishness is controlling them.”
It also needs to be repeated again, as it has already been stated in different ways, that in the instruction to “dress and keep” what God has placed within our environment and personal control, our focus should first be upon ourselves, of “dressing and keeping” ourselves in God’s way. Certainly, the most obvious in all this concerns what we first focus upon when God calls us, which is physical and spiritual obedience to the Ten Commandments, as we also live in faith and obedience, while seeking to be in greater unity with truth He reveals to us. Some of this has already been mentioned in this series, and it is also something we have focused upon and grown in since we were first called, but there is more we can focus upon.
That which we are going to now cover is spiritual in nature, as it has to do with the way we think, and why we make some of the kinds of choices and decisions in life that we do. Although much of this is not a clear matter of right and wrong, as is more easily seen in the application of the Ten Commandments, it is still spiritual just as so many of the attributes and characteristics of God are spiritual, originating from the holy spirit in nature.
In all that will be addressed in the remainder of this post, we will only be scratching the surface, but what is covered will give us a basic framework that can be applied to many other areas of life, so that we can continue to build upon them in a more refined manner.
Judgment Motivated To Honor God
As we proceed through a few examples that will be given of how to better “dress and keep” ourselves in greater unity and oneness with God, there is one basic factor that will aid in all decision-making. This factor concerns learning how to distinguish righteous judgment from self-righteousness. One is simply based upon and motivated by one’s own selfishness and one’s “own” opinion. The other is based upon making decisions and judgments that are the result of seeking to keep God’s truth, judgments, character, qualities, and ways as the primary focus for such reasoning. This is the kind of mind that seeks to honor and glorify God by how one is living. One way seeks (or yields) to put self first and the other seeks to put God first.
The best way to begin understanding these differences more deeply is to begin seeing how this is to be applied to the smaller or simpler things in life. If one does not grasp this and know how to apply this in the easier matters of life, then one will not know how to apply right decision-making to the more difficult and complicated matters of life.
One example that we are going to examine first would indeed seem to be of small importance in life. This example was at one time mentioned in a past post concerning matters of government during the history of the era of Philadelphia. It was about the use of makeup. For those who did not experience this history in the Church, it might seem a little unimaginable that such a seemingly small thing could have become such a large issue within the membership of the Church.
This issue of whether or not the use of makeup would be allowed resulted in the manifestation of attitudes and spirit that were not at all in unity and agreement with God and His Church. This small matter revealed far deeper spiritual problems that needed to be revealed within the environs of the Church. This controversy escalated in such a divisive manner that it mushroomed into far more serious issues and it eventually resulted in the removal of thousands from fellowship in the Church. So never underestimate the importance to your overall spiritual life and well-being concerning what one would generally consider the small things in life. This one example alone reveals how little things can and do reflect one’s true overall spirit.
Through this experience regarding the wearing of makeup, the Church has come to appreciate and better understand that such decisions made in the Church result in our refinement that produces truer unity and agreement with God. It also results in understanding moderation, balance, and soundness in thinking and judgment that only God can fully reveal and give to us. This example of makeup should teach and emphasize the importance of striving to govern our lives in all things in life, for even the small things must be under our control, or else they will control us. Having such control and being able to govern our lives in greater unity with God requires God to continually live and dwell in us because of ourselves we cannot “think” as we should.
It is good to notice that there are many decisions that we must make in life in which there is no written law that specifically tells us what to do, as with the decision to not wear makeup. We are to learn how to judge and make right, sound, and spiritually healthy decisions in our life, which requires that we learn to judge the motivation for such decisions.
In the matter of makeup, there is no law written that covers its use; therefore, there are several things to be learned from such an example as this. The obvious one for the Church became a matter of whether or not an individual was in unity with God’s Church and God’s government in decisions that are made by the Church, even in administrative issues as well.
Sharpening One’s Judgment
In the matter of makeup, there are principles that one can learn which may also apply to other areas of life. There is no need to go into an extensive examination of the subject, but rather to “get to the point” of the important issues that one needs to address. And by applying these things, one who seeks to honor God can improve upon how they judge and make decisions concerning whether God is being placed first in different aspects of their life.
It is good to ask, “Why was there a question about makeup in the first place?” It is because its use over the centuries was highly associated with a wrong use as an alluring enhancement for sexual attraction. However, that wrong use and purpose does not mean that it couldn’t have an acceptable and right use as well. This distinction was difficult for most to understand during that period of Philadelphia.
This brings to mind another example in which people have had such opposing views, and that is about the use of alcoholic beverages. Some religious groups totally forbid it, claiming it is against God’s will. Even this nation (the United States) went through a period of time known as Prohibition, where it was illegal to make alcoholic beverages of any kind. Rather than going into all the stir over the issue that has existed through time, it is simply better to look at what kind of use can dishonor God and what it means that a right use can honor Him. Simply the fact that one seeks to not dishonor God in any way in the use of anything is a matter of honoring God.
There are plenty of examples in scripture that reveal that alcoholic beverages are not forbidden by God. This has led the Church to better understand the principle of moderation in its use. Lack of moderation, acting irresponsible in its use, and drunkenness reveal dishonor toward God in that God is not in the consideration and judgment of such actions.
Whether one chooses to have a glass of wine, a mixed drink, or a beer is simply a matter of free choice. This is just as it is with what one chooses to eat for a meal (with the understanding that no unclean food is a matter of free choice). It is in the “process” of making the decision whether it’s right or wrong that determines whether the intent and motive is to honor God (whether God is in the forefront of such thinking and choices). Certainly, the misuse of alcohol dishonors God. However, alcohol can be used in right balance when done so in a responsible manner. Its misuse has caused incredible grief and suffering through time. This misuse often leads to addiction and total lack of control over its consumption. The misuse of alcohol and drugs are associated with nearly half of all traffic deaths in the United States, where each year traffic fatalities are numbered into the tens of thousands.
Over the course of a meal, if someone chooses to consume an alcoholic beverage, most people will have no symptoms of drunkenness. If a drink or two are consumed over a period of an hour to two, most of the affects of any alcohol will have fully dissipated. Choosing to drink or not to drink alcohol is a free choice. But it is not a free choice to have a quick meal with a couple of drinks and then quickly place one’s self behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle. In some instances of eating a meal and consuming an alcoholic drink, a person may still be in good form while visiting with others, but they may not be as sharp in skills which are necessary to maintain when it comes to driving. Proper time for the dissipation of alcohol should exist before someone places themselves into the kind of responsible position that is required when driving. If such freedom is abused, this can potentially have a very wrong impact and consequence upon one’s own life and that of others.
As alcohol has had such a history of misuse, this does not take away from the fact that when used responsibly it is perfectly fine to enjoy such beverages if one so chooses. Simply because far too many people choose to misuse it does not mean it should be prohibited. This misuse in general is just a sad commentary on today’s society. This now brings us back to the subject of makeup. Just because many people have misused it through time, as an enhancement for sexual attraction, does not mean it should be prohibited.
Makeup can be used to enhance natural features, but it can also very easily be used beyond moderation to something that tends to enhance sexual attraction. To address this correctly in one’s life, a person must go before God, in spirit and in truth, and seek His help to properly discern the difference. A sound way to measure such a thing is to seek that which reflects something between light use and that which draws closer to moderate use. In doing so, one would then be acting in a responsible fashion before God. One should guard against going beyond the point of moderate use to that of heavier use, just as in the consumption of alcohol.
The use of makeup does not dishonor God unless one goes beyond a balance in moderation. Rather than judging one another, each person must go before God to seek that balance. Just as the Church teaches it is fine to wear makeup in moderation, it is also fine not to wear it. One is not more righteous or better than the other.
It is also wise, when striving to determine matters of moderation, spiritual soundness of mind, and that which honors or dishonors God, that one pays extra close attention to any related statements on a specific subject that has been made by the Church. If the Church has given direction in any matter, then one should recognize that importance, especially if one truly grasps how God works in and through the leadership of His Church.
Once again, it is necessary at this point to end here in “Part 5” of this series. This is to give time for this material to more completely become mentally (in knowledge and understanding) and spiritually (in reasoning and soundness of thinking) digested and absorbed. It was originally thought that this series would be much shorter, but God has continued to give more. This is so His Church can be better equipped to make this Year of Dedication greater in what can be produced in one’s life if one so chooses to more fully apply to their lives what is being given.