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21 STEPS TO A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING

Step 8: Living New Lives

We resolved to live new lives, abandoning anger, anxiety, impatience, pride, and fear, refusing to cling to or nurture these relics of our pasts. We are promptly admitting our wrongs and refusing to harbor feelings of guilt.

In every heart there is a kingdom that the believer is called to enter. It is a kingdom of peace, joy, love, and unfathomable freedom. This kingdom has always been there, but few have trusted enough to enter, despite the still, small voice whispering from within, telling us of the Father’s love. To those who live for his purposes and rejoice in his love, God’s kingdom is a river that washes souls clean and makes hearts whole. This river, foretold by the prophets and confirmed by the saints, courses down through the ages and across the universes and is intended to flow through our hearts as well.

The kingdom is not just a state of mind; it is also a real place. What if a sick and homeless man, alone in a strange city on an icy day, the bitter wind ripping through his torn and greasy overcoat, found that he could be transported instantly to the tropical island of his dreams and sit barefoot on the sand beside someone he loved, listening to the surf gently ruffle the shell-strewn beach? In fact, our Father enables us to continually experience even a greater paradise within–the personal peace and happiness we all crave–as we go about our normal business of life.

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REFERENCES

You must surrender every wish of mind and every craving of soul to the transforming embrace of spiritual growth. 91:9.4

Of all the dangers which beset man's mortal nature and jeopardize his spiritual integrity, pride is the greatest. Courage is valorous, but egotism is vainglorious and suicidal. 

Pride is deceitful, intoxicating, and sin-breeding whether found in an individual, a group, a race, or a nation. It is literally true, "Pride goes before a fall." 111:6.9&10

"Be reminded that a wise tailor does not sew a piece of new and unshrunk cloth upon an old garment, lest, when it is wet, it shrink and produce a worse rent. Neither do men put new wine into old wine skins, lest the new wine burst the skins so that both the wine and the skins perish. The wise man puts the new wine into fresh wine skins. Therefore do my disciples show wisdom in that they do not bring too much of the old order over into the new teaching of the gospel of the kingdom." 147:7.2

Jesus fully understood how difficult it is for men to break with their past. He knew how human beings are swayed by the preacher's eloquence, and how the conscience responds to emotional appeal as the mind does to logic and reason, but he also knew how far more difficult it is to persuade men to disown the past. 154:6.8

The theme of Jesus' instructions during the sojourn at Sidon was spiritual progression. He told them they could not stand still; they must go forward in righteousness or retrogress into evil and sin. He admonished them to "forget those things which are in the past while you push forward to embrace the greater realities of the kingdom." . . . 

Said Jesus: "My disciples must not only cease to do evil but learn to do well; you must not only be cleansed from all conscious sin, but you must refuse to harbor even the feelings of guilt. If you confess your sins, they are forgiven; therefore must you maintain a conscience void of offense." 156:2.6&7

"But whosoever causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea. If the things you do with your hands, or the things you see with your eyes give offense in the progress of the kingdom, sacrifice these cherished idols, for it is better to enter the kingdom minus many of the beloved things of life rather than to cling to these idols and find yourself shut out of the kingdom." 158:8.1

I see in the teachings of Jesus, religion at its best. This gospel enables us to seek for the true God and to find him. But are we willing to pay the price of this entrance into the kingdom of heaven? Are we willing to be born again? to be remade? Are we willing to be subject to this terrible and testing process of self-destruction and soul reconstruction? Has not the Master said: "Whoso would save his life must lose it. Think not that I have come to bring peace but rather a soul struggle"? True, after we pay the price of dedication to the Father's will, we do experience great peace provided we continue to walk in these spiritual paths of consecrated living. 

Now are we truly forsaking the lures of the known order of existence while we unreservedly dedicate our quest to the lures of the unknown and unexplored order of the existence of a future life of adventure in the spirit worlds of the higher idealism of divine reality. 160:5.10&11



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