Your ways are not My ways
(Isaiah 55: 8-9)
The tragedy of our time 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 the desire to seek Him in their ways and have begun to follow rules of their own – thinking they know what is best for themselves. 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 prophets, to find out how they should proceed in one situation or another. The Bible tells us about God Himself leading his people, guiding on all their paths, not just spiritually but also physically. For example, the Israili people were led by God Himself, who physically cleared their path to the promised land. What certainty and rigour of uplifting faith inspired the people of God, who were under His guidance and leadership. 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 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 unity with God. By losing this very precious and utmost necessary aspect of our life of faith, souls leave God and it becomes clear that when they do, God’s direction and guidance is lost in their life. 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; basic instructions for every human being. Everyone must discover and understand within themselves – in what way can each individual achieve the spiritual goal. Every soul has its own way to descovering God’s path; one must strive to find the path of life God has in plan 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 his evil will often refused to obey; – 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 have not only lost 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 massive floods to destroy all life on earth: all who had chosen the path of dissapearance instead of the path of rescue.
Through 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 to you. 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 could, spiritually. 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 very few souls 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 heaven and earth.
A man of this earth cannot internally separate himself from the earth: Adam returns to the earth; his goals, his interests, his whole life is forlorn.
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?”, one asks. “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 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 plan to submit to God. For the human being, 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. On the outside, everything seems genuine and many are convinced that they are dealing with a true Christian. But in front of God, a completely different point of view 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 a scale of his own earthy well-being; he knows how to settle well on this earth. The religious atheist does not believe in a Living unity with Christ, does not believe that in our days Christ’s words are fulfilled and that His sheep hear His voice and recognize Him; furthermore, he 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 earth when I come?” This question is very serious and tragic. Christ knew that in the final days real faith would disappear, lose its power. It will not be fundamental anymore, and having lost its’ life and source, in Living unity with God – will freeze, will die.
In raising this question, Christ meant to bring out the living faith of those souls who are in Living union with Him. Passive and dead faith – the faith of religious atheists. By this, Christ does not speak of the faith of religious atheists, because He does not consider it as faith. Believers without faith is a sign of the end of times. Therefore, we need to be especially careful and watchful, so that we also 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 tricky ways has taken them away from the ways of God – from heaven to earth. These stars that gave light to others as well, leaving God’s path and following personal, earthly, human ways – will be thrown from heaven to earth… In this text, the Lord reveals that His way is higher than ours, of the humankind, 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 spiritual life because their personal human ways cannot keep them in heaven, meaning spiritually. 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 can only evolve and be possible in a spiritual state where the soul does not live for its sensuous and fallen state. For believers without faith, this love is nonexistent. 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. Therefore, God must stop man in his madness and show that His thoughts are not human thoughts. We also need to be able to understand where the difference is:
- God’s thoughts and efforts are directed to eternal life. Man’s thoughts are occupied with this passing life
- God’s thoughts extend to full spiritual reality. Man’s thoughts move through the earth and all temporary things
- God’s intentions for humankind include the goal of saving souls and for true souls to attain perfection. Human thoughts seek prosperity, happiness on earth; they crawl on the ground… they lick the dust…
- God’s thoughts do not contain anything selfish or material. “God is Spirit” and His thoughts are entirely 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 further revealed his spiritual defeat, 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 bear sin, because they take us away from God’s thoughts and from God’s way, but we must focus on the mind of Christ and obtain 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 finds and reveals in him, his inner, hidden state – the danger of leaving God’s thoughts and turning to human thoughts and understanding. 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 compassionate, better than God. He thought like many believers of our time would think.
“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 go through all this suffering..” In other words, “have pity on yourself.” And the judgments of the mind of the human being lead to the fact that Peter makes a purely satanic conclusion: Do not let this happen to you, what God has planned! (“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? Follow the way of earthly prosperity, don’t abandon yourself – be good and merciful to yourself, etc.” How did Christ feel about such support? Christ finds nothing good in this friendly advice of Peter. In this compassion Christ envisions Satan himself. In this example of Peter, Christ reveals a great spiritual danger for believers – turning 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 defend their wealth, comfort, profit. In other words, this is a way they defend 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 care of the soul – Christ calls this a temptation of Satan. He reveals the truth with the sword of righteousness, not having mercy on the great apostle Peter, revealing in front of everyone that Peter has turned in the opposite direction of God’s thoughts and plan. Great ambitions of the human will are behind Peter’s gentle and friendly compassion. And Satan is behind it. Peter was not cautious, not on guard and he did not notice that Satan himself came to him disguised as “good” thoughts. Satan spoke through Peter, but that was not enough for him – 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 self-pity and revealed the presence of Satan with restraint. Christ was always determined to fulfill the will on His Father. He was always spiritually alert and conquered human carnality, over the weaknesses of the human soul. He took it all upon Himself, and through His victory – rediscovered the way of God and invited His true faithful disciples to the path of this suffering love. What a wonderful example our Lord has given us! We need to let God’s will lead us in life and leave our own ways. We must not cling to our paths, but choose to follow God’s way! Satan himself hid in Peter’s heart, in the thought and sin, the lies and delusions. Christ reveals, in the example of Peter, that it is a big mistake to think that humanly, limited thoughts are able to produce something divine – spiritual. The divinity is revealed in the spirit, and to be able to know the Divine, it is essential to leave worldly ways and stand firmly on the path of God through full and complete repentance and conversion. Only then will our inner self, our soul, will begin to shine like a star in the sky of our spiritual life. 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, which are carried away by the earthly path, who 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 path that leads to destruction. Narrow and thorny is the path of Christ, which leads to the heights of spiritual life.
God states that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Let us return to the Living Christ and pray together, so that He reveals His way to salvation and perfection to all true, thirsty souls. Let us pray that He may lead us to the ways of God and into His everlasting Kingdom.
s. Natalia Smirnova