I was taught that belief attains to a level of faith “when it motivates life and shapes the mode of living.” My faith in a loving God, the source of all creation, all truth, beauty and goodness inspires me to love him in return through service.
A credo a friend shared with me goes like this: I am a divinely created, infinitely loved, spiritually indwelt, evolutionary, free will child of God. And I believe – have faith – that every part of that is true.
I also believe that God wants me to be like him – to be perfect as he is. So I strive to live my life to reflect my best understanding of him as can be lived as a person in this world. I endeavor to show forth the fruits of the spirit in my life – love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
I was also taught that true faith is “predicated on profound reflection, sincere self-criticism and uncompromising moral consciousness.” I take this to mean that reflection on life – on my interactions with family, friends and strangers, followed by an honest evaluation of what I see allows me to decide if my actions are consonant with my beliefs, my faith – am I ‘walking my talk’. I endeavor to be moral, ethical, to always be truthful, and to always take the high road.
I believe there is a fragment of God within me that forever ‘shows me the way.’ And my experience has shown me this is true. So, in moments of reflection or worshipful problem solving I ‘listen with the ear of the spirit’ for that voice of that spirit.
Sometimes situations in my life arise – usually a conflict with another – that may take me months to come to know how to best deal with the individual in a way that I feel God would approve.
My faith has taught me the value of self-control, to be master of my own tongue and my own emotions. I have learned that while as a mammal I have feelings of anger, my faith gives me the strength to keep them from finding expression, and after years of knowing when to keep my mouth shut, the need to remind myself of that has greatly lessened, as has the need for reminding.
My faith has taught me to learn to strive to be gracious in my interactions with others – to simply be nice, kind, respectful, thoughtful and caring - to be generous in expressing my appreciation of the efforts and strivings of others.
I was raised in a Christian family, one more of words than deeds, and when of an age of some self-determination, I began to look elsewhere for answers to the big questions of life – why am I here, why is anything here, what happens to me when my body dies, is there a God? Questions we are all familiar with.
I spent my late teens reading arcane books, throwing the I Ching (“perseverance furthers”), reading the Tarot, the Ouija Board, going to meetings with mediums and such. And then, when I was visiting my neighbor who was getting ready to go to a spiritual meeting, he had a big blue book under one arm; he let me look at it. About a month later I bought one. It was the Urantia Book. That was over 50 years ago. Its teachings and truths, as I’ve shared them in this article, continue to form the foundation for my life.
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