Returning to Innocence

baby feet

A child is born – a beautiful picture of complete innocence and harmlessness. A perfect soul has been born into a human nature that has, unfortunately, inherited tendencies which come with being entirely self-centred. Not only that but he or she has been born into an imperfect world surrounded by people who are also entirely self-centred and who naturally act in unregenerate ways. Every child deserves to have at least one person who is nuts about them, totally patient, loving and accepting, with their best interests at heart. But, let’s face it, not many of us adults can measure up to this ideal. We have all hurt and been hurt. And so the cycle continues. Until we resolve to turn ourselves around and allow the Lord to regenerate us, things will never change. Jesus said, “You must be born again.” Only by returning to the innocence and harmlessness of our origins will we change the legacy that has been passed down to us from generation to generation. This cannot happen in an instant but is a process by which the layers of negativity that have become attached to us are removed one by one. These are the things that are getting in the way of happy relationships with one another. We may have struggled with these for years to no avail. It is time to admit we are powerless and surrender them to our Higher Power.

We tend to identify with the thoughts that flow into our minds, but they are not our own. All life flows in from either heaven or hell. If we will consciously stop the negative thoughts that run riot through our mind and listen to the still, small voice; if we will hold our tongue from speaking harshly; hold back from destructive action; flee from whatever it is we are addicted to, we allow the Lord to become active and, little by little, to change our hearts, creating a new will within us. Or, to put it another way, we create the space for grace and love to flow in and take the place of negativity.

We are told in the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, that when we reach the end stage of our regeneration, represented by the Tree of Life in the centre of the Paradise of God, we will be like that tree, drawing its life from the pure water of life flowing from the throne of God, and “the leaves of the tree will be for the healing of theĀ  nations.” The leaves of the tree, we are told in the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, mean the rational truths that we have come to know through our life’s journey. Swedenborg’s steps of repentance and the twelve step programmes of AA and others are good examples. Another good example of a healing “leaf” is to say “God loves you” to someone who is hurting and feels that God has abandoned them. God is love and people need to hear that they are loved no matter what they have done or experienced in their lives. Here is a quote from the Writings of Swedenborg:

“God is pure Love, pure Mercy and pure Goodness, and such a Being cannot be angry, wrathful or vengeful.”

Taking a look at ourselves and seeing what needs to change is the first step to returning to innocence. Once we see something that needs changing we are on the right path. It is up to us then to make the changes on the physical level because it is the Lord who makes the changes within. As we surrender our lives to Him His love flows in to enable us to overcome our negative traits and little by little we are reborn in His image and likeness. The whole Bible is the story of our spiritual birth and rebirth and we begin in a state of innocence, pictured by the Tree of Life in the centre of the Garden of Eden. We are forced to leave this state as we start to rebel and go our own way but, as the story says, guards are posted at the gates of the garden to protect the Tree of Life and so the precious innocence of our birth is protected within us however much it becomes covered over by our hurts and negativities. There are many conflicts, disasters, ups and downs and wanderings in the wilderness before we reach our goal and that is the way it has to be. But the Lord never forsakes us – He is there, “always ready to help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 GNB). At the end of our spiritual life’s journey, we return to innocence, pictured by the Tree of Life once again at the centre of our lives. The difference is that we come into a state of innocence that is coupled with the wisdom of life. This is a heavenly state and worth aiming for.

No matter where you are on the path to your heavenly home, know this: God loves you and wants to heal you. He sees your true self and is preparing a place for you. Take the first steps towards returning to innocence by surrendering your troubles to Him today. For, as He says, “Come to Me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 Good News Bible).

Do not give yourself a hard time for the things that you have done and perhaps are still doing, because the Lord forgives and wants you to accept His forgiveness and move on. The Lord gives everyone the chance to become the person they were created to be and He is drawing each of us towards the heaven. But we have to do our part and that is to cooperate with Him in changing our lives for the better. Take heart, for the Lord is with you and loves you and will never give up on you. He works through His people and there are many people ready to help in this process if you need it. Pray for the Lord’s guidance and go online to find a church community near you. You may find a whole new family of friends and helpers who can point you in the right direction. May God bless you and bring you safely home to His arms.

Jenny

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Choose Life!

Choosing

Our lives are filled with choices. We choose who we will be friends with, what we will do for a living, and what kind of breakfast cereal we will have for tomorrow morning. And, even if our choices in these kinds of things are limited, we still have the ability to choose how we will approach life. We can all choose whether we will live each day with the goal of improving ourselves and fine-tuning our abilities, or whether we will sit back, wait for life to give us things, and succumb to pessimistic fatalism. Our freedom to choose is our most precious human gift, one which God protects for us above all else.

The choice between heaven and hell – between following our Maker or ourselves – is the reason we are born into the natural world. The purpose of our living in the material world is to prepare for eternal life in the world of the spirit. Our ultimate choice of heaven or hell is made up of thousands of smaller choices between what is true or false, good or evil – the kind of choices we make every minute of every day. Our choice of heaven or hell is made up from a lifetime of these kinds of choices and they are what enable us to make our own way to our eternal destiny. By our choices we determine our predominant love. We decide whether we will love others as ourselves or ourselves to the detriment of others. We decide whether we will be generous and kind to our fellowmen or devious and grasping. That is why we are never condemned to hell. It is our choice where we end up and, hopefully, we will choose to become the kind of person who finds their place in a community of angels in heaven.

Here is a passage from the Writings of Swedenborg:

All of us, so long as we live in the world, tread a path mid-way between heaven and hell … and we are in equilibrium, in other words, we have free will to look up to God or down to hell.

This ties in with what the Bible says in Deuteronomy 30:19:

I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God’s blessing and God’s curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life. Love the Lord your God, obey him and be faithful to him… (GNB)

Jenny