Your ways are not My ways
(Isaiah 55: 8-9)
The modern Christian tragedy is that Christians have lost the basic truth that God himself reveals through the Prophet Ezayah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
The tragedy is that humanity does not follow God’s ways, but chooses to go on its own pathways. Due to the lost connection with the Lord, believers have also lost His pathways and have begun to follow rules of their own – thinking they can figure out their own ways. When souls are in living unity with The Lord, He answers their prayers and every step of life is open to God’s will and leadership – the Bible is filled with examples. We know that the kings of Israel seeked guidance from the Lord, through the prophets, of how they should proceed in one situation or another. The Bible tells us about God Himself leading his people, showing all paths, not just spiritual and soulful, but also physical. For example, the Israili people were led by God Himself, who physically cleared their path to the promised land. What certainty and rigour, an uplifting faith inspired the people of God, who were guided by God’s own command and directions. They didn’t know the tragedy of our time: Christians are in a position where they are unable to get answers and instructions from God.
The word of God (Bible) tells us that He does not change – God is unchanging; only the people have lost that living bond with God which is, and must be, the goal of a christian life. Every christian must strive to and reach the unity with God. By losing this very precious and utmost necessary aspect in our life of faith, souls leave God and it becomes clear that when they do, the ways by which God Himself leads are lost. It is a tragedy in the Christian life that souls do not know God’s ways. By losing them, souls cannot achieve spiritual life. The Bible shows the pathway and gives all the necessary instructions for every individual to achieve spiritual life; basics instructions for every human being. Every single person needs to discover and understand within themselves – in what way can his individuality achieve the spiritual goal. Each soul has its own different living conditions; one must know exactly the path of life God has apointed and predicted for him. When He saw the inability of his people to receive direct instructions and answers from Above, He sent spiritual leaders – Moses and Aaron, in His grand forgiveness.
Finding God’s way was not easy in the old Testament – man was always inclined to seek his own ways and the evil will of man did not want to follow God’s way; – God has often revealed His will through the prophets, but people went against the Divine will that was declared to them. Beginning with Adam, who turned away from God to follow his own personal pathway.
People choose their own paths instead of God’s – dire paths, personal paths: they don’t reach spiritual goals but answer to their human will and feelings. As the Bible reveals to us, also people of faith, who will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables in their ways. In choosing their own ways, people lost not only their personal connection and unity with God, but also their spiritual path to the Kingdom of God – the only way to salvation. And when His entire creation twisted its ways, God sent the destroying floods to stop humanity, who had chosen the path of dissapearance instead of the path of rescue.
In all times of human existence, the same call from God is heard: return to Him and stand strong on the path that the Lord reveals. According to the Bible’s Chronicles, despite of all the authoritative leaders accepted by God, the human nature chose their earthly ways, not God’s.
Christ appeared and revealed to all humanity: “I am the Way..” Spiritually, it means that people have lost God’s way and are separated from God. The souls of our time cannot turn directly to God, as the holy men and holy women in the Old Testament spiritually could. The only way of salvation – the way to God – was revealed through the Calvary Sacrifice. At the price of Christ’s suffering, salvation was revealed – the way to Heaven – the eternal Kingdom of God. The way was revealed through Christ and in Christ alone. How few are the souls who choose Christ Himself as their way, truth and life! God, seeing all the chaos, all the delusions of people, all this confusion of the believer’s condition, offers us His Son.. and what happens? Do souls accept the living Christ, the designated path of God? We see that, although people speak of accepting Christ and preach about Him, the human heart, as Jesus himself testifies, is far from the Lord. Where is the root of this tragedy? Why do people leave God’s way and choose worldly ways? God reveals the reason: the path that God offers to mankind is superior to human paths and this difference is as great as the sky is higher than the earth…
A man of this earth cannot internally separate himself from the earth: Adam return to the earth; his goals, his interests, his whole life is mortal.
There is a category of people who cannot even accept the existence of the spiritual world, the existence of the spiritual reality, the existence of the spiritual future – why? Because man is of the earth – he is mortal in his entire soul structure and constantly returns to the earth, he does not want to and therefore cannot rise from the ground – the soul does not want to leave the earth; from its narrow earthly horizon. Man has become egocentric, materialistic; he adores himself, he cares only for himself. But the way of God, revealed by Christ, invites to renounce yourself, take up the cross and follow Christ. “How so?” asks the man. “Leave your thoughts, your desires, give up your will and accept God’s thoughts, God’s orders, God’s will. This means – to leave your favorite lifestyle, completely trust God, and choose God’s way. No! I don’t want it”, says the human nature. “I don’t want to, I don’t want to fulfill God’s will. I have my own will, I want to take care of myself, I want to manage my own life. I want to live the way I want, but not the way God wants.” In other words, – the human being decisively and openly rejects the way of God, because it is not part of his plans to submit to God. For a person, there is nothing left but to come up with empty theories for his own justification – and he becomes an atheist, not by faith, but by personal necessity, or, hiding under the mask of christianity, becomes a religious atheist. This is the most common type of people in our time among believers.
A religious atheist is outwardly a Christian. Moreover, he sacrifices a lot in life and participates in good deeds; even more, he attends spiritual gatherings not only as a listener, but as a preacher. He studies the Word of God – the Bible, he prays, he teaches others to live a Christian life, he expresses himself and speaks wisely, deeply, beautifully. From the outside, everything is fine and many are convinced that they are dealing with a true Christian. But from God’s point of view, a completely different scene unfolds. A religious atheist does not believe in the Living God, has no living union with Him, prayers are left unanswered; one trusts his own earthly mind; he speaks according to his own will, not God’s will. The religious atheist measures everything on his own scale ; he knows how to settle well on this earth. The religious atheist does not believe in a living union with Christ, does not believe that even in our days Christ’s words are fulfilled and that His sheep hear His voice and recognize Him directly; does not believe that Christ appears to His disciples in spirit, as stated in the Gospel of John and the Revelation of John. In other words, religious atheists have no living faith and they themselves do not believe in the Living Resurrected Christ. Christ says, “Shall I find faith on the earth when I come?” This question is very serious and tragic. Christ knew that real faith in the last days would disappear, lose its power, it won’t be real anymore, and losing his life and his source – in a living unity with God – will freeze – will die.
In raising this question, Christ meant the living faith of those souls who are in living union with Him. Humanly, passive and dead faith – the faith of religious atheists – Christ did not mean here the faith of religious atheists, because He does not count it as faith. Believers without faith is a sign of the end times. Therefore, we need to be especially careful and watchful, so that we too do not become religious atheists, because this disease will sweep down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth, as revealed in the Book of Revelation. It is the true believers who shine like the stars, those who brought other souls to living faith in Christ, but satan with his cunning has taken them away from the ways of God – from Heaven to earth. These stars that gave light to others as well, leaving from God’s way to personal, earthly, human ways – will turn out to be thrown from Heaven to earth… In this text, the Lord reveals that His way is higher than human, that heaven is higher than earth. As soon as believers leave God’s way, they fall spiritually to the ground; they lose the height of the spiritual life: because their personal human ways cannot keep them in heaven – it means, in a spiritual state. The stars are held to the sky by the spiritual power of Christ. Their spiritual unity with each other is the light of true, holy brotherly love. Spiritual love flows into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), this love is only possible in a spiritual state where the soul does not live for its carnal and fallen state. For believers without faith, this love is unavailable. God assures us that His thoughts are not human thoughts. Here is the second tragedy in the lives of believers: souls “add” their thoughts, their understanding, their judgments to God. God stops man in his madness and shows that His thoughts are not human thoughts. We also need to understand: where is this difference.
1) God’s thoughts and efforts are directed to eternal life. Man’s thoughts are occupied with passing life
2) God’s thoughts extend to full spiritual reality. Man’s thoughts move through the earth and all temporal things
3) God’s thoughts include the goal of saving souls and for true souls to attain perfection. Human thoughts seek earthly prosperity, earthly happiness; they crawl on the ground… they lick the dust…
4) God’s thoughts do not contain anything selfish or material. “God is Spirit” and His thoughts are completely spiritual. Human thoughts revolve around themselves in constant material concerns and personal interests. Human thoughts are carnal and soulful and contain nothing spiritual.
Christ reproaches Peter for thinking humanly and not divinely and further revealed his spiritual fall, saying: “Get behind me, satan! You are an offense to me, because you are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts!” (Matthew 16:23) Christ reveals that human thoughts are inspired by satan and brings sin, because it takes away from God’s thoughts and from God’s way, but we must be in the mind of Christ and attain the way of Christ. Peter is not only a believer, but he is also a disciple of Christ, an apostle – the rock on which Christ builds His church. Nevertheless, Christ also reveals in him, his inner, hidden state – the danger of leaving God’s thoughts to human ones, it means going away from God’s way to man’s way. Where was the secret sin? Peter, as soon as he found out that Christ will have to suffer various losses, sufferings, will have to endure persecution and finally be crucified, took pity on Christ – sympathized in a purely human way. Peter wanted to be softer, gentler, better than God. He thought like many believers of our time.
“God is love; how then can He give you such a cross? What is the need for such suffering, persecution, why? God can save souls Himself – why should you suffer? God is merciful – He will give you everything. You don’t have to suffer all this..” In other words, “be kind to yourself.” And the judgments of the mind of the human body lead to the fact that Peter makes a purely satanic conclusion: Do not let this happen to you, which God has planned for you! (“This shall never happen to you!” Matthew 16:22) Leave the path of God’s suffering love. Leave sorrow, leave Calvary – why should You – the Son of God – die for people? Go your way of earthly prosperity, don’t forget yourself – be good and mercy to yourself, etc.” How did Christ feel about such participation? Christ finds nothing good in this friendly advice of Peter. Christ sees with His spiritual gaze in this compassion – satan himself. In this example of Peter, Christ reveals a great spiritual danger for believers – going from the way of God to the earthly way for fear of the sufferings, loses and the cross. In our day, believers live constantly in self-pity; they justify their life, which is full of comforts, satisfactions, they justify their wealth, comfort, profit. In other words, justify their thoughts, their personal earthly ways – why? Because they are afraid of difficulties, tension, suffering. That kind of self-pity, such pity for carnality, such tenderness for the soul – Christ calls such a thing a temptation of satan. Christ reveals the truth with the sword of righteousness, and not having mercy on the great apostle Peter and showing in front of everyone that Peter has turned aside from God’s thoughts. Behind this gentle and friendly compassion of Peter are human thoughts. And satan is behind it. Peter was not alert, he was not on guard and he did not notice that satan himself came to him disguised behind “good” thoughts. Peter accepted him, but that was not enough for satan – he wanted to destroy God’s salvation plan – he decided to take Christ away from His Way of the Cross – away from Gethsemane and Calvary. How skillfully and subtly Satan had laid out his net – he approaches Christ, as His friend, as His disciple… Christ did not accept human weakness – did not accept human feelings in his heart and revealed the presence of satan with firmness. Christ was always firm. He was always in the right Spirit and conquered human carnality, over the weaknesses of the human soul. He took it all upon Himself, and with His victory – to rediscover the way of God and invite His true faithful disciples to the path of this suffering love. What a wonderful lesson our Lord has given us! Not according to our human thoughts, we need to be guided in life, but according to God’s thoughts. We don’t have to go our own way, but God’s way! Even behind a human thought, sin, lies, delusions and satan himself hid in Peter’s heart. Christ reveals with Peter’s example that it is a big mistake to think that human, limited, earthly, carnal thoughts can reveal something divine – spiritual. The divine is revealed in the spirit, and to be able to know the Divine, it is first necessary to leave worldly ways and stand in God’s way through full and complete repentance and conversion. Only then will our condition begin to shine like a star in the sky of spiritual state. Do not forget the warning of God’s Word: a third of the stars will be thrown from heaven to the earth. These stars that fell from the sky are the faithful souls, who are carried away by the earthly path, leave the way of the cross, and the dragon throws them from the sky with his cunning teaching. (..from the heights of spiritual life to earth) Wide is the earthly path that leads to destruction. Narrow and thorny is the path of Christ, which leads to the heights of spiritual life.
God revealed that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Let’s return to the Living Christ and pray to Him together, so that He reveals to all true, thirsty souls – God’s way to salvation and perfection. Let us pray to Christ, that He may lead us in the ways of God to His eternal Kingdom.
s. Natalia Smirnova