Previous presentations have emphasised the opportunities of a fresh start which the new millennium symbolises. But continuity with the old is just as significant.
The Kingdom of Heaven is still within us; nothing has changed. The adjuster, the spirit of truth, the adjutant mind spirits, the holy spirit and so on are still active as usual.
It is important for us to remember that these influences, while being in all of us, are tailored specifically to each of us as individuals. The URANTIA Book offers the best advice we know about how to live our lives—and that advice is to each of us on how to live our OWN lives, and not so much how to concern ourselves with how other people live theirs.
It may be true that some people do things we find repulsive—from selling inferior hamburgers to chopping one another up with machetes to terrorising people about hellfire and damnation, but if we can’t do much about it, our preoccupation with it just makes us sour and disillusioned. As Vern said yesterday, we become neurotic if our area of concern is too far out of step with our area of influence. The URANTIA Book encourages us to “remove the beam from our own eye” before we worry too much about what may be in the eyes of others. We just have to accept that in setting up evolution, the celestial administrators expected progress to be uneven, that morality therefore would vary, but that it will all work out in the end. Strength of character results from “seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven” no matter what other people get up to.
An important lesson in this regard was contained in the Study Day reading on page 1118, where it says:- “If any man chooses to do the divine will, he shall know the way of truth.”
There is a whole philosophy of life wrapped up in that little statement. Once the desire to do God’s will exists, and the decision to try has been made, then knowledge of what that will actually is can be received. No attempt to discern God’s will is likely to succeed unless the desire to enact that will already exists. People cannot be forced to do God’s will—they must desire to do it.
Laws, social force and official coercion may be necessary to protect society, but such suppression will not correct the problem. Only the desire to change—to do God’s will—can reform troublemakers.
I find that I am often inspired by the good heartedness of my neighbours, and their preparedness to “go the second mile” in their desire to do right. The sheer goodwill of so many ordinary people sometimes amazes me. I can only surmise that such people are unknowingly doing God’s will.
There is another way of thinking about the statement “the Kingdom of Heaven is within you”. Whereas Jesus was trying to wean his apostles away from the notion of a worldly regime of the Messiah, we can think of it in addition as being an exhortation to take heart. With a different emphasis—the Kingdom of Heaven is within you—we can take it to mean that, in addition to that inescapable self incessantly clamouring for recognition and honour mentioned on page 51, we have in us also The Kingdom of Heaven. Our little selfish animal is only one of the influences in us. There is also the divine Kingdom of Heaven in us, making us capable of knowing God and trying to be like Him.
Robert Browning expressed this rather well in “Paracelsus” where he wrote:
Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate’er you may believe.
There is an inmost centre in us all,
Where truth abides in fulness; and around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,
This perfect, clear perception—which is truth.
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Binds it, and makes all error: and to know
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without.
The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. Let it out!
Mortal man cannot possibly know the infinitude of the heavenly Father. Finite mind cannot think through such an absolute truth or fact. But this same finite human being can actually feel—literally experience—the full and undiminished impact of such an infinite Father’s LOVE. Such a love can be truly experienced, albeit while quality of experience is unlimited, quantity of such an experience is strictly limited by the human capacity for spiritual receptivity and by the associated capacity to love the Father in return. [Paper 3:4.6, page 50.4]