In my latest Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5), I was struck by the notion of how difficult it is to live in the world and yet also be a citizen and adopted son in the Kingdom of Heaven. This dual citizenship causes anxiety sometimes and often a choice between what seems like conflicting goods.
What brings all this to mind is the controversy in the Catholic Universal Church between ideologies of freedom to adapt the Gospel to modern times versus the freedom that comes with following what the traditions and teachings of the Church have held since the beginning.
I follow the advice that Christ is giving me for my way, his truth, and the life I must lead to reach my destiny as an adopted son (daughter) of the Father. The three battles I speak of are my own battles to move from my false self to my true self. I only offer these as struggles that I face, not those you have.
Here are the three battles (struggles) I face each day as I seek God as I am and wherever I am. As I become more and more aware of what is happening in my struggles, I am aware that these three battles take place in my mind. Still, the context of my humanity inexorably pulls at my free will to choose what I should do as an adopted son (daughter) of the Father.
SOME ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT MY BATTLE
Sin and Death.*
13Did the good, then, become death for me? Of course not! Sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin, worked death in me through the good, so that sin might become sinful beyond measure through the commandment.i
14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin.j
15What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.
16Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good.
17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
18For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not.k
19For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.
20Now if [I] do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.
22For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self,
24Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?
25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with my mind, serve the law of God but, with my flesh, the law of sin.m
Being a human being and citizen of the world, I make good choices for myself. Some of these choices are not good for me and can actually cause damage to my promise to “Have in me the mind of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)
THE BATTLE TO BE FULLY HUMAN AS A MEMBER OF THE WORLD — (THE POWER TO GIVE MY POWER TO GOD AS A GIFT) I rarely think about my will and God’s will be in a tug of war, but it is true. I can feel the tension. My battle is to row against the current of life (die to self and the limitations of human love, power, trust, goodness) rather than just coasting down the stream. You know you are a member of the mystical body of Christ when you notice the struggle, and it is difficult (but not impossible). This is the struggle we have because we are of the human species (or any species with reasoning and free choice). In fact, using the rule of opposites, it is only when you give up your will to a higher power than yours that you become fully human. Using the assumptions of the world makes no sense. Using The Christ Principle as the source of power makes perfect sense, although I still do not comprehend how it works.
THE BATTLE TO BE FULL HUMAN AS A MEMBER OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN– (THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION IN MY MIND AND HEART) It all comes down to this: Can you die to self and all the assumptions that keep our humanity from reaching its intended potential, even if it goes against your human senses and reasoning? The Divine Equation contains the six questions each person must answer to get to heaven as an adopted son or daughter of the Father and become fully human as nature intended. This is a battle between the world and the spirit. Because of human choice, we have the free will to select whatever makes us fulfilled but simply lack the energy to move to the next level of our evolution, the incorruptibility of the spirit. The Divine Equation is God becoming human to show us not only the Equation (hence the Divine part of the title) but also the answers. They are answers of the heart and require us to give up what we think our humanity is to possess what it truly is, adoption by the Father. This is a struggle because we made the free choice to give away our free choice in favor of “Having in us the mind of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5). We began this struggle when the cross was made on our foreheads, and God accepted us as adopted sons and daughters.
THE BATTLE TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE (THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD OR EVIL) There is another battle we face and must face until we die. It is the same battle Adam and Eve faced. It is the battle of knowing what is good for us and what is bad for us. If the first battle was one to know what is good or evil, then the second battle I must win (and it takes a lifetime of struggle to win) is that of using that knowledge to love as one adopted by God as heir to the kingdom. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that knowledge precedes love. I believe that. I might add that this must be the knowledge from God as revealed through Jesus Christ.
What do we learn? The purpose of life is to KNOW, LOVE, and SERVE God in this world until death so that we can be happy with God as an adopted son or daughter, in the next life and fulfill what it means to be human.