Doing the Will of God
By Bob Ghen Sr.
The Urantia Book unequivocally declares: "The doing of the will of God is nothing more or less than an exhibition of creature willingness to share the inner life with God . . ." (1221.2) 111:5.1
What? Seriously? That's it?
When I began The Urantia Book journey so many years ago, that was my initial reaction. At that time, my search for spiritual meaning among various groups of well-intentioned seekers often presented a particular “spiritual path” through a more or less convoluted series of spiritual hoops and progressive “states of consciousness.” Each with an inviting promise of future mystical rewards, yet each a necessary prerequisite before one could experience God directly. Doing God’s will for me personally would require a level of divinity recognition only available to those who had at last arrived at the very pinnacle, the greatly coveted, “Enlightenment.” And from which vantage one finally became faultless, pure, holy, and perfected, a literal saint. Not to mention of course, becoming so much more “highly evolved” than mere unEnlightened mortals. Yes, if I could somehow get to that ultimate state, my search would be fulfilled. For the moment, alas, such enlightenment remained an elusive, spiritual carrot.
Ah yes, those early years . . . (sigh)
As a Urantia Book novice I believed in God (in His existence), yet I was still seeking to intellectually discern His will for me in terms of each individual decision, but without actually knowing Him. What did He want me to do about this, or about that? What should I do next? Should I take this job? Should I rent this house? Should I end my troubled marriage? Should I . . . should I . . . the list never ended. However absurdly impossible, my fanciful spiritual wish was to wake each morning with an explicit to-do list directly from God at my bedside. How else would I ever know for certain what His will was on every occasion? Truth be told, it was frustrating and stressful. Yet for a time, I continued to falsely believe that doing the will of God was somehow about figuring it out at each and every turn, every fork in the road. After all, aren’t we also taught that we advance spiritually, decision by decision? But uh-oh, what if I make the wrong one? Sheesh!
Gradually of course, I did come to recognize that doing God’s will did not mean foisting a quandary of psycho-spiritual struggle on myself over every choice that life presented. With that simple, authoritative declaration in The Urantia Book, I progressively realized that doing God’s will was not at all what I thought. Increasingly I found my personal experience aligning with this profoundly elegant quote. I was realizing that “doing God’s will” is more of a place to come from, than it is a place to get to.
To be clear, none of this should be taken as an “official” representation of Urantia Book teachings; there are no such official representations. I merely represent here my best effort to share the essence of my own experience that it might provide a little clarity to some from a purely personal perspective.
Let’s Take a Closer Look:
“The doing of the will of God is nothing more or less than an exhibition of creature willingness to share the inner life with God . . .”
What then does this actually mean? Let’s dissect it a bit:
“The doing of the will of God” This clearly states that what we are talking about is performing action with respect to the will of God; that’s what “doing” means. The will of God is something we do.
“is nothing more or less” This phrase is specifically definitive, narrowly and purposely defining the scope of its intent. It unambiguously means: It is this, and only this, and nothing but this.
“than an exhibition of creature willingness” An exhibition is not simply a wish or a desire on the part of the creature. It is a showing, a demonstration of willingness by way of action. Again, it means doing something.
“to share the inner life with God” This refers to the highly intimate, subjective, and progressive spiritual experience of one’s intentionally active personal relationship with the indwelling spiritual presence of God, i.e., by actually communicating and communing, personally, with what The Urantia Book calls our divine Thought Adjuster.
The Solitary Messenger presenting this sublime truth makes it crystal clear that, sharing the inner life with God involves explicit action on the part of the individual. He thereby also implies that a purely passive attitude is flatly ineffective.
But Do What Exactly, and How?
The Urantia Book specifically teaches that, spiritual growth depends first upon maintaining a living spiritual connection with the ever present, inner spirit nucleus, our divine God fragment. THAT is the action we must DO! We must actively engage, personally, with our Adjuster who, so near to us, patiently awaits our personal attention. And we must keep on engaging. Personal relationships only mature and ripen with the ongoing sincerity of mutual commitment to the trust of intimacy.
When we are thus actively sharing this inner life with God, we are in truth doing His will. Maintaining this active relationship is the “exhibition” of our willingness to share the inner life, and that exhibition, that inner spiritual sharing is, “The doing of the will of God.” Nothing more, nothing less.
As the growing value of this inner personal relationship extrapolates into the outer social arena, our naturally self-centered decision making is incrementally imbued and superseded with increasingly higher motives, with God’s motives. Thus, doing the will of God in each particular life situation naturally becomes less perplexing, progressively self-evident, and makes it easier to habitually “do the right thing.”
Doing the Will of God as a Living Spiritual Experience
Now that we have intellectually analyzed our Urantia Book quote as a statement, and mentally grasped something of its meaning, let us shift our attention to its equally intended value level, i.e., its active application as a living spiritual experience.
With this shift we move into a whole new realm, not so easy of explanation. Here we must continue to use the language of words to portray what is essentially an ineffable, subjective, spiritual experience; a living, fluid, multi-faceted, profoundly intimate, personal relationship. One that ebbs and flows with the resilience of our courage, and the ever fluctuating depth and sincerity of our commitment. We can understand the meaning of the words, but the Truth of it must be lived to be comprehended. Thus, any attempts to intellectually elucidate such a living experience will necessarily be reductive on its face. Still, words are what we have, so we press ahead trusting our inner Partner to reinforce our intention to grasp, as well as convey, such an intellectually illusive, experiential, spiritual value level.
Establishing a Habitual Spiritual Pulse
Experientially then, by what means do we establish and maintain such an active spiritual relationship with the inner spirit of God?
Consistently sharingthe inner life with our divine Partner is both a subjective, highly personal, private experience, as well as an objective, socially expressed experience. These are complementary aspects of the same living experience, wherein the private, spiritual sharing in the subjective inner life is “lived out” in the objective social arena, most effectively through unselfish service to others. Such an established practice effects a living spiritual pulse that nourishes the progress of our highest motives, decisions and goals, and thereby contributes directly to the growth of our souls.
With few exceptions, all life pulsates between these periods of rest (energy intake), and activity (energy output). Natural sleep we know for example, replenishes the natural energies we exhaust during the day and reinvigorates us for tomorrow’s activities. The cycle is foreordained; it is programmed into our mammalian DNA.
But spiritual renewal is neither automatic, nor biological. Restoring spiritual energy must be chosen. It must be a deliberate, personal choice, a free will decision -- each and every time! And those frequent decisions, made sincerely and persistently as the months and years unfold become a spiritual habit. And it is this purposive habit that establishes the living spiritual pulse that freely replenishes our depleted spiritual energies as we come and go about our busy days in the outer social arena.
Consciously attending to this habit of input and output, to our personal spiritual pulse, nourishes and sustains a life of increasing spiritual intimacy. Such a persistent practice is the very essence of an active and progressive, “exhibition of creature willingness to share the inner life with God.”
Sincere daily practice yields lifelong results -- eternal results!
Intelligent Prayer and Sincere Worship
These are the personal practices most closely associated in The Urantia Book with the maintenance of this living spiritual connection of increasing personal intimacy with true and genuine Deity, with our Thought Adjusters.
To be clear, I am not referring here to any mystical experience of “oneness” or “nothingness” or “the Absolute” nor any other experience in which there is no sense of Other. All external and internal input has been silenced and I am alone with myself in the inner sanctum of my own awareness. A discussion of the pluses and/or minuses of this experience is beyond the scope of this discourse. Suffice to say that such mystical experiences, in and of themselves, are neither spiritual nor religious.
Contrasting sharply, both Intelligent Prayer and Sincere Worship are specifically spiritual-religious practices. They are predicated on an intentional personal relationship with the inner spirit of God, i.e., on the actual spiritual content of genuine religion. And The Urantia Book presents much to enhance our comprehension of these two highly subjective, spiritual-religious experiences.
Intelligent Prayer (Spiritual Communication)
Intelligent Prayer is distinguished from all other forms in that Intelligent Prayer is that prayer which is consistent with the divine principles that govern such spiritual communications. Prayer inconsistent with these principles will be unavailing. It will not rise with the spiritual currents, and will simply fall flat. Selfish, materialistic praying is neither intelligent, nor spiritual. The Urantia Book revelators offer some pretty strong language on the subject:
“That prayer which is inconsistent with the known and established laws of God is an abomination to the Paradise Deities. . .” (1638.3) 146:2.3
Intelligent Prayer is both an intellectual and a spiritual-religious communication. It seeks to intelligently communicate one’s finite self with infinite deity, with God. It is the sincere expression of all that we would communicate to Him were He sitting directly in front of us, at the kitchen table so to speak. There is no formula for such a private conference. Intelligent Prayer is the spontaneous and wholehearted effort to reach out to the universal Parent as He spiritually resides in the superconscious (consciousness of consciousness) region of our own personal minds. Here, in mutual regard, sincere expressions of gratitude, and all spiritual supplications for ourselves and others are offered in trust and faith. Increasingly as our souls mature, an intellectually inexplicable experience of spiritual assurance begins to permeate such sincere and heartfelt efforts.
I experience it this way:
With Intelligent Prayer, my purposeful intent is to communicate with God, my inner spirit Partner; to talk things over in all sincerity, to bare my soul and share my innermost self with nothing held back, to express gratitude for His many blessings (most of which I am surely unaware), to petition only for those worthy spiritual needs and desires for myself and others, to increase our intimacy, to seek counsel, and wisdom, and courage, and a fuller measure of faith. I also pray that I might be led into life circumstances that will temper my immature will into the level of consecration that He intends for me. I do all I can to muster my whole self to the present purpose, ever returning my wandering attention gently to being together with Him.
I recognize and acknowledge with sincere gratitude that, despite how harshly I may judge myself, and I do, the very person who I actually am is precisely the personality who my inner spirit is laboring 24/7 to become. This is profoundly humbling to me.
Daily Intelligent Prayer keeps me sane. It keeps me from straying too far afield from my overarching spiritual beacon, the Jesusonian ideal of unbroken communion.
Sincere Worship (Spiritual Communion)
The Urantia Book> teaches that Sincere Worship is entirely distinct from all formal, ritual, ceremonial, and every other material form of worship. Neither is the urge to worship an intellectual construct. It is an action of the soul. The call to Sincere Worship is a call from the soul as the urge to be personally immersed in divinity; to give one’s whole self completely, without reservation, to the plan and will and presence of God. It is a spiritual invitation to cease resisting and allow Deity to fully embrace us.
When we recognize and submit to this craving of the soul, when we mentally choose to allow it, only then does the soul initiate the worship experience. And now, with the divine inner Adjuster thus engaged, it is He who actually conducts the worship on our behalf, directly relaying our personal devotion to the Universal Father at the center of all things. The Urantia Book> teaches that >this is the >natural, subjective, experiential sequence that leads the personally praying mind up through Intelligent Prayer into the Sincere Worship experience.
“Such a creature choice is not a surrender of will. It is a consecration of will, an expansion of will, a glorification of will, a perfecting of will; and such choosing raises the creature will from the level of temporal significance to that higher estate wherein the personality of the creature son communes with the personality of the spirit Father.” 111:5.5 (1221.6)
I experience it this way:
While deep in prayer, I usually become conscious of my option to engage in Sincere Worship as the culmination of my devotions. Absorbed in the prayerful depth of my supplications, I begin to sense an increasing urge to “let go”, to relinquish ALL self interest and allow myself to simply be with my inner Partner. And I recognize that this urge is the feeling soul part of me as distinct from the thinking mind part of me. My higher morontia self, my soul, is craving to be fully immersed in the divine presence, and it’s making me conscious of that. I now realize that I have an option: Shall I resist this urge and redirect my attention -- or shall I cease all resistance and allow my soul-self to initiate a true worship experience? With the growth of my soul over decades, my own stubborn resistance has thankfully waned, and I am increasingly eager to say “yes” to such a generously offered, soul-felt invitation.
True worship validates my faith and ameliorates my natural human tendency to be self-centered and self-important. I am gradually becoming fit to be -- forever, i.e., to fuse with my divine Adjuster. God is having His way with me, and together we are co-creating our singular, new, eternal self. Together, we are becoming one.
Faith as a Mode of Living
Doing the will of God produces profound, creative changes in life perspective as the intimacy of relationship grows. While the unifying propensity of mind increasingly coordinates the inner and outer aspects of progressive spiritual experience, such a living faith matures into the predominate motivation, and one’s principal mode of living. We begin to recognize and appreciate the spiritual content and counterpart behind ALL of our worldly experience, including all of the really hard stuff.
Your anxieties and sorrows, your trials and disappointments, are just as much a part of the divine plan on your sphere as are the exquisite perfection and infinite adaptation of all things to their supreme purpose on the worlds of the central and perfect universe. (258.11)23:2.12
Our whole life, and everything in it becomes a testament to our genuine religious experience, to our sincere effort to know God and to live according to His will. Even when our personal world collapses around us, in our darkest hours, we can know for sure that there are better days ahead. If not possible in the time left on this world, then most certainly on the next.
Such an intimate, living faith catalyzes all other available Spirit influences to function fully in our lives, e.g., the Spirit of Truth, the Holy spirit, and even the Seraphim and Cherubim. When we open the spirit channel from our side, we allow the vast store of spirit blessings to begin flowing freely into our lives. Best of all, an increased opportunity for soul-satisfying service.
There is nothing in life more satisfying, more gratifying, more profoundly rewarding for me, than when I become aware that I am being allowed to personally play a role in the larger plan to uplift, better, or further the true well-being of other fellow humans. I like lots of other stuff, but that tops the list for me. This is how doing the will of God increasingly manifests itself in my experience.
Unbroken Communion: The Overarching Spiritual Ideal
Doing the will of God has led me to my overarching spiritual beacon, the Jesusonian ideal of “Unbroken Communion.” My spiritual North Star is ever an inspiring guide as I sort my way through the earthly travail of current planetary conditions. I am repeatedly uplifted when I pause to reflect on this someday attainable goal. With our personal spiritual progress evaluated on high by our persistent spiritual strivings, and (thankfully) not by our actual, current status, I am tremendously grateful for such a divine ideal upon which to set the course of my strivings.
When all is said and done, Truereligion is the personal, conscientious maintenance of a living spiritual connection with the ever present, inner spirit of God.
Or stated otherwise, true religion is “Doing the will of God.”