Love is the Purpose and the Reward

God’s will is infinite. There are no bounds to his volition. From our time-bound, temporal perspective this concept of God’s unlimited will can lead to a feeling of alienation and isolation. These feelings might stem from the fact that while we perceive ourselves as having free will, our volition extends no further than a limit that God in his wisdom imposes on his time-space creatures. Our free will is finite; less than but within God’s will. From God’s self-limitation there seems to spring the arena of choosing and growing from imperfection to perfection, as well as personality as we vaguely conceive of it in time and space.

I feel it’s a mistake to think that God doesn’t possess a personality even if we can’t fathom the magnitude of his eternal creative nature. It’s helpful to conceive that while God has infinite volition, as the creator of time and space he self-limits his will. As soon as I recognize God’s self-limitation I feel inspired and new love for him. 

So many of us recognize the importance of self-control. We often chastise ourselves for not having done better in a weak moment. But why is self-control such an important achievement in our experience? I’m not referring to the obvious benefits of self-control, but to the divine, universal law that decrees it so to be. I believe it’s because God’s personality is perfect, and his attractive presence works as gravity drawing us in to him. He is the original, perfectly self-controlled person, and he has sent out the proclamation to us to be as perfect in our sphere as he is in his.

We are not without an understanding God. He knows us and our struggles. We are made in his image. He is eternally perfect, and in eternity he makes perfect beings who never know imperfection. But in the realm of time he makes perfecting beings who choose perfection with him, and that choosing is the very essence of love. We are made perfect by our own volition to seek God and his will, and thereby we become increasingly like him. The whole experience of growing, knowing and sharing with God and each other is a profound demonstration of love and is the emergence of his supremacy in the realm of time and space.

A Discovery and a Transformation

A helpful discovery in my search for God was my realization that while he is so much more than a person, he is also not anything less. Another was the realization of the profound nearness of spiritual realities and the everywhere ever-presence of God.

It follows that as the Creator of all things—including perfect persons—God’s nature is more attractive than our own. The truth, beauty, and goodness of his character is so powerful that we are drawn to him. We want to know him and increasingly be like him, even if we’re not aware of God’s existence or know that it’s his perfection we are drawn to be like.

I liken the awakening to the presence of God and the nearness of spiritual realities as like the first realization of the existence of air. As a toddler and before our education begins, the presence of air is taken for granted. A very youthful mind doesn’t give thought to something that is seemingly everywhere and ever-present. The everywhereness of air coupled with inexperience makes it utterly invisible to budding consciousness. But soon a growing child realizes their reliance on air without knowing its attributes and what it does for them. It’s very much the same with the realization of God’s everywhere and ever-present spiritual reality.

We awaken to God. It isn’t that God hides himself away, or comes only when we call. He is already here, and no good parent keeps their children in suspense to wonder if they’re loved and cared for. The problem isn’t that God is aloof, uncaring, and not around, it’s that we fail to recognize him because he has always been so near and present, guiding and sustaining us all along.

Increasing awareness of God begins with a sincere prayer to know him and his will. Such a prayer is a signal of your love for God, and he will respond according to your sincere faith and spiritual capacity. Your persistence with him–your faith–along with time are needed for a fuller revelation of his divine character to unfold. And as you begin to more clearly see him you will not be the same. You will be transformed in grace and in peace by his truth, beauty, and goodness.

Religion and Faith

In the entire Universe there is no other you. You are a unique individual, therefore, your personal experience and relationship with God is supreme. In all eternity, who you were, are now, and are becoming is the only proof you will ever have to offer another person of the existence, nature, and personality of God.

A valuable lesson I’ve learned in desiring to share my thoughts with people from diverse backgrounds is the importance of knowing enough about who I’m speaking with to enable me to speak more effectively from my heart to theirs. I don’t know your background or your religious beliefs and experiences, so I’m at a great disadvantage. If we were to become close friends then I would know better how to share with you. So I’ll instead start by sharing some insight into my personal religion, beliefs, and faith in the hope that you will at least better understand me.

The personal experience of the unfolding of divine truth is generally not severe. It’s more an evolution that’s according to faith interspersed with moments of rapid growth. This is why I feel it’s wrong to impose my religion, or any religion, on other people. I’m not the bearer of all truth. I have in my experience only that truth which I’ve found so far.

I think of religion as primarily a personal experience, and secondarily as a social experience. Emotion plays a large part in religion, but an emotional experience, like a religious experience, merely surrounds the spiritual experience that inspires it. I see emotional experiences as an appreciation for something valued, intellectual experiences as an understanding of meanings, and spiritual experiences as an awakening to new meanings and greater values; a profound revelation of God to both your heart and mind for the benefit of your soul. In an epiphany all these reactions may coalesce as one, while in lesser moments one may be mistaken for the other. It’s been helpful for me to distinguish between them as I’ve learned it’s best to strive for balanced growth rather than focus on just one of the possibilites.

I view religion and belief systems as shadows cast by the light that inspires them, and this is why I regard both as sacred. These are joint creations people make with God, and just as we are unique individuals, no two religions or belief systems are identical. They are as varied as each individual is varied, and because we play a hand in their creation they too have the potential for growth. While organized religions may appear static and unchanging for generations, I see personal religion–that part of our lives that is our personal relationship with God–as more dynamic and responsive to revelations of new truth. I believe that if you are a sincere and courageous seeker of divine truth, God will be your faithful pilot while you captain the ship.

Faith, being an integral part of a spiritual experience, never happens without you directing your thoughts Godward. I see faith as the reason for religion, not religion as the reason for faith. Your desire to find God is your proof of having found him already, and you’ve done that with faith you already have, while your religion functions largely as a reflection of who you perceive God to be. It’s living faith that transcends religious boundaries to universally inspire and uplift people in ways that religion by itself can never do.

Despite our diverse backgrounds and viewpoints I’ve found that we have kinship, even unity. We may not be related by blood, or believe the same things, or have the same ideology, but we do have an inner divine spark that drives us forward toward perfection. There’s a fragment of God living in each of us, guiding us gently, patiently, and faithfully through our personal trials, our doubts, and even our transgressions toward a divine destiny. God leads us home to him from no matter where we come from, or from where we may have gone, even from where we are today. Who we were, are now, and are striving to be is proof of that.

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