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This is potently taking place in the world today. It is the tendency to at-one-ment which leads the human being, first of all, to the development of an integrated personality, and then to the submergence of that personality in the good of the greater whole. This constitutes the basic cause of evolution itself—individual, planetary and systemic. This instinct is the result of the development of manas, or mind, and the emergence of the intelligence.
It is the peculiar quality or instinctual nature through the means of which humanity empresses the first Ray of Willed Intent, fostered by desire, and transmuted into intelligent activity. The urge to creative life, through the divine faculty of imagination.
This urge is, as can easily be seen, closely connected with the fourth Ray of Harmony, producing unity and beauty, won through conflict. This, on the form side, leads to warfare, struggle and the building of forms which must later be destroyed. On the life side, it leads to quality, vibratory radiance and the revelation upon earth of the world of meaning. It is therefore the basic cause of that subtle essence or  revelation which is seeking expression through every form in each kingdom in nature.
There seems to be no better term by which to express this hidden wonder which must be revealed than the revelation of meaning. This is beginning to happen today. It is the result of the ability—sometimes adequate and sometimes inadequate—of the inner consciousness to reveal its measure of control by the Plan, and its response to the larger intent.
It is upon this response that the Members of the Hierarchy are today counting, as They endeavor to bring the hidden meaning to the fore in the consciousness of man. The factor of analysis. This factor may surprise those who suffer from the misuse of the power to discriminate, to analyse and to criticise.
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It is, however, a basic, divine quality, producing wise participation in the Plan and skill in action. On the form side, it manifests as the tendency to separate, divide and to place in contradictory positions. On the life side, it leads to that understanding which tends to identification, through the wider choice and comprehension. It is the basic cause and impulse which will lead to the eventual appearance of the kingdom in nature, higher than the human, which is strictly that of the soul, and will produce the manifestation upon earth of the fifth kingdom in nature, that of the kingdom of gods.
This phrase should be noted. It is the result of the active work of the sons of God, the sons of mind, and is the part which they are contributing to the total planetary contribution, as part of the great systemic Plan. The Hierarchy itself is  the outer and inner manifestation of the sacrifice of the divine Manasaputras as They are called in The Secret Doctrine , and its members respond to Their sensed vision of the Plan for the whole.
The Hierarchy is essentially the germ or nucleus of the fifth kingdom in nature. The quality, innate in man, to idealise. This is founded upon the success of the Plan itself. This Plan sought originally to awaken in man the following responses:—right desire, right vision and right creative activity, based upon right interpretation of ideals. This triplicity of purpose merits thoughtful consideration. On the form side, this has worked out as material desire, leading eventually to cruelty and frequently to an extreme sadistic expression.
On the life side, it has led to sacrifice, one pointed purpose, progress on the path, and devotion. It is the basic cause of all organisation and of cooperation. The ideal before the Hierarchy is the realised Plan. This is brought to humanity in the form of ideas, which become, in time, ideals—to be desired and fought for. In order to materialise these ideals, the trend to organise comes into being. It is the result—curiously enough—of the work of a peculiar group of world workers, who are recognised by humanity under the name of World Saviours.
These are the Founders of those forms through which the divine ideas become the ideals of the masses, in all realms of human thought. Every great world leader is necessarily a "suffering Saviour. The seventh rule or controlling force with which the  Hierarchy works is the interplay of the great dualities.
Through the activity engendered by this interplay, and through the results achieved producing always a third factor , the whole manifested world is swept into line with the divine Purpose. This does not become apparent to the man who is immersed in the detail of life, but could we see the planetary life as it can be seen by the Masters Themselves, we would note the pattern emerging in all its beauty, and the structure of God's thought for the universe appearing today in clearer outline and greater synthesis and beauty of detail than ever before.
On the form side, this produces the sense of being imprisoned by the time factor, the victim of speed, and the implacable forces of all life activity, as they play upon the imprisoned human being. On the life side, it results in rhythmic living and conscious adaptation of energy to the immediate purpose and goal.
It is necessarily the basic cause of the appearance and the disappearance of forms, human and humanly constructed. It is the result of at-one-ments wrought out on the physical plane, thus producing the lower unifications, just as the at-one-ments wrought out hitherto in the human consciousness, have produced unification with the soul.
The higher at-one-ments, hitherto effected on the plane of mind, have to be expressed eventually on the plane of physical life. In the preceding introductory outline, we have considered very briefly the rules which can induce on earth that soul control which is the immediate goal of the evolutionary process. We have seen that we are considering no simple exercises or discipline, nor are we dealing with the development  of those required characteristics which precede the stage of technical Initiation.
We are, in reality, concerned with those basic trends and those innate tendencies in the divine expression which will ultimately bring about the manifestation of the Oversoul upon our planet. We have seen also that these governing tendencies are already beginning to be expressed and realised, and that the fourth kingdom in nature, the human, occupies a unique position in this development. It is well to ponder on this attempt to simplify the divine potencies into words, and thus to indicate how they may express themselves in and through a human vehicle.
We can now enlarge somewhat upon the previous statements, so as to give a clearer idea upon two matters:—. The relationship of these divine qualities as they can be apprehended and developed in man. The future responsibility of an enlightened humanity, as it passes on into the New Age. We shall thus lay the foundation for the teaching to be given later in this treatise.
One of the points which I have sought to bring out in all the previous writings already published, is that the Laws of the Universe, the Laws of Nature and those basic controlling  factors which determine all life and circumstance, remaining for us fixed and unalterable, are the expression—as far as man can understand them—of the Will of God.
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The rules or living factors which we are now considering and which when understood and obeyed will induce soul control in the individual and in the universe, are the expression of the Quality or Nature of God. They will ultimately lead to the full expression of the divine Psyche.
They will bring into evidence the instinctual, emotional nature of Deity, if such human words can in any way express the divine qualitative potencies.
The Laws of the Universe express the divine Will, and lead to the manifestation of divine Purpose. This is wisdom. They ordain and nurture the Plan. The Rules for Inducing Soul Control express the divine quality and lead to the revelation of God's Nature, which is love. The Laws of Nature , or the so-called physical laws, express the stage of manifestation or the point reached in the divine expression. They concern multiplicity, or the quality aspect.
They govern or express that which the divine Spirit which is will, functioning in love has been able to effect in conjunction with matter for the production of form. This emerging revelation will produce the recognition of beauty. The first category, the Laws of the Universe, are touched upon in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire and occasionally mentioned in the other writings.
Modern science has done much to bring about an understanding of the Laws of Nature, and can be trusted to do so, for the soul drives all things on to knowledge. In what is here presented I seek to lay the basis for the new science of psychology which must be founded upon a broad and general understanding of the divine Psyche as it seeks expression through the manifested Whole, the  solar system, and, for our purposes, the planet and all that is upon it.
When the potency of the divine psychology and its major trends and characteristics are recognised, and when modern psychology shifts its attention away from the minute study of the psyche of the individual man and usually an abnormal individual to a concentrated consideration of the psychological attributes of the greater Whole of which we are but a part, we shall arrive at a new comprehension of Deity and of the relation of the microcosm to the Macrocosm. This has been left too much to the department of philosophy in the past, but must now engross the attention of the psychologist.
This desirable event will be brought about when the true meaning of history is grasped, when the wide sweep of human unfoldment down the ages is understood, and when the soul is seen to be functioning through all parts of all forms. At present, man alone is really credited with a soul, and the soul of all things is overlooked.
Yet man is but the macrocosm of the other kingdoms in nature. The seven rules which we are now studying are, therefore, of supreme importance, for they embody the key ideas which will reveal Deity in operation as the Soul of all things; They will reveal the nature and method of activity of the Cosmic Christ, and will indicate the governing qualitative tendencies which determine the psychical life of all forms—from a universe to an atom—in the body of any so-called material revelation of life. Let us bear these thoughts in mind as we read and study.
These rules express themselves with equal potency on all the seven rays, and they produce the manifestation of consciousness on earth in any and every form. We shall first deal mainly with the greater Whole, without emphasising the differentiation into rays. The seven rays, as has often been stated,  colour or qualify the divine instincts and potencies, but that is not all. They are themselves determined and controlled by these potencies. It must never be forgotten that the rays are the seven major expressions of the divine quality as it limits and it does so limit the purposes of Deity.
God Himself hews to a pattern, set for Him in a still more distant vision. This purpose or defined will is conditioned by His instinctual quality or psyche, in just the same way as the life purpose of a human being is both limited and conditioned by the psychological equipment with which he enters into manifestation. I have earlier stated that we were dealing with abstruse and difficult matters, and that much presented might lie beyond our immediate concrete understanding. The above statement is, however, relatively simple, if interpreted in terms of one's own life purpose, and quality.
One point might here be touched upon before we proceed with our study of the seven psychological tendencies of Deity. We have spoken here of God in terms of Person , and we have used therefore the pronouns, He and His. Must it therefore be inferred that we are dealing with a stupendous Personality which we call God, and do we therefore belong to that school of thought which we call the anthropomorphic? The Buddhist teaching recognises no God or Person. Is it, therefore, wrong from our point of view and approach, or is it right?
Only an understanding of man as a divine expression in time and space can reveal this mystery. Both schools of thought are right and in no way contradict each other. In their synthesis and in their blending the truth as it really is can begin—aye, dimly—to appear. There is a God Transcendent Who "having pervaded the whole universe with a fragment of Himself" can still say: "I remain. Behind the manifested universe, however, stands the formless One, That which is not an individual, being free from the limitations of individualised existence.
Therefore the Buddhist is right when he emphasises the non-individualised nature of Deity and refuses to personalise Divinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit of the Christian theology, embodying as they do the triplicities of all theologies, disappear also into the One when the period of manifestation is over. They remain as One, with quality and life untouched and undifferentiated, as they are when in manifestation. An analogy to this appears when a man dies. Then his three aspects—mind or will, emotion or love, and physical appearance—vanish. There is then no person. Yet, if one accepts the fact of immortality, the conscious being remains; his quality and purpose and life are united with his undying soul.
The outer form with its differentiations into a manifested trinity, has gone—never again to return in exactly the same form or expression in time and space. The interplay of soul and mind produces the manifested universe, with all that is therein. Thus, it was perfectly legitimate in the eyes of Hegel for a conqueror such as Napoleon to come along and destroy that which was not fully realized.
Hegel's State is the final culmination of the embodiment of freedom or right Rechte in the Elements of the Philosophy of Right. The State subsumes family and civil society and fulfills them. All three together are called "ethical life" Sittlichkeit. The State involves three " moments ". In a Hegelian State, citizens both know their place and choose their place. They both know their obligations and choose to fulfill their obligations.
An individual's "supreme duty is to be a member of the state" Elements of the Philosophy of Right , section The individual has "substantial freedom in the state". The State is "objective spirit" so "it is only through being a member of the state that the individual himself has objectivity, truth, and ethical life" section Furthermore, every member both loves the State with genuine patriotism, but has transcended mere "team spirit" by reflectively endorsing their citizenship. Members of a Hegelian State are happy even to sacrifice their lives for the State.
According to Hegel, " Heraclitus is the one who first declared the nature of the infinite and first grasped nature as in itself infinite, that is, its essence as process. The origin of philosophy is to be dated from Heraclitus. His is the persistent Idea that is the same in all philosophers up to the present day, as it was the Idea of Plato and Aristotle". According to Hegel, Heraclitus's "obscurity" comes from his being a true in Hegel's terms "speculative" philosopher who grasped the ultimate philosophical truth and therefore expressed himself in a way that goes beyond the abstract and limited nature of common sense and is difficult to grasp by those who operate within common sense.
Hegel asserted that in Heraclitus he had an antecedent for his logic: "[ Hegel cites a number of fragments of Heraclitus in his Lectures on the History of Philosophy. Heraclitus does not form any abstract nouns from his ordinary use of "to be" and "to become" and in that fragment seems to be opposing any identity A to any other identity B, C and so on, which is not-A. However, Hegel interprets not-A as not existing at all, not nothing at all, which cannot be conceived, but indeterminate or "pure" being without particularity or specificity.
This interpretation of Heraclitus cannot be ruled out, but even if present is not the main gist of his thought. For Hegel, the inner movement of reality is the process of God thinking as manifested in the evolution of the universe of nature and thought; that is, Hegel argued that when fully and properly understood, reality is being thought by God as manifested in a person's comprehension of this process in and through philosophy.
Since human thought is the image and fulfillment of God's thought, God is not ineffable so incomprehensible as to be unutterable , but can be understood by an analysis of thought and reality. Just as humans continually correct their concepts of reality through a dialectical process , so God himself becomes more fully manifested through the dialectical process of becoming. For his god, Hegel does not take the logos of Heraclitus but refers rather to the nous of Anaxagoras , although he may well have regarded them the same as he continues to refer to god's plan, which is identical to God.
Whatever the nous thinks at any time is actual substance and is identical to limited being, but more remains to be thought in the substrate of non-being, which is identical to pure or unlimited thought. The universe as becoming is therefore a combination of being and non-being. The particular is never complete in itself, but to find completion is continually transformed into more comprehensive, complex, self-relating particulars. The essential nature of being-for-itself is that it is free "in itself;" that is, it does not depend on anything else such as matter for its being.
The limitations represent fetters, which it must constantly be casting off as it becomes freer and more self-determining. Although Hegel began his philosophizing with commentary on the Christian religion and often expresses the view that he is a Christian, his ideas of God are not acceptable to some Christians even though he has had a major influence on 19th- and 20th-century theology.
As a graduate of a Protestant seminary, Hegel's theological concerns were reflected in many of his writings and lectures. In his posthumously published Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion , Part 3 , Hegel is shown as being particularly interested with the demonstrations of God's existence and the ontological proof.
This means that Jesus as the Son of God is posited by God over against himself as other. Hegel sees both a relational unity and a metaphysical unity between Jesus and God the Father. To Hegel, Jesus is both divine and human. Hegel further attests that God as Jesus not only died, but "[ God rises again to life, and thus things are reversed". The philosopher Walter Kaufmann has argued that there was great stress on the sharp criticisms of traditional Christianity appearing in Hegel's so-called early theological writings.
Kaufmann admits that Hegel treated many distinctively Christian themes and "sometimes could not resist equating" his conception of spirit Geist "with God, instead of saying clearly: in God I do not believe; spirit suffices me". Kaufmann goes on:. So he, too, sometimes spoke of God and, more often, of the divine; and because he occasionally took pleasure in insisting that he was really closer to this or that Christian tradition than some of the theologians of his time, he has sometimes been understood to have been a Christian. According to Hegel himself, his philosophy was consistent with Christianity.
Hegel seemed to have an ambivalent relationship with magic , myth and Paganism. He formulates an early philosophical example of a disenchantment narrative, arguing that Judaism was responsible both for realizing the existence of Geist and, by extension, for separating nature from ideas of spiritual and magical forces and challenging polytheism.
Hegel continued to develop his thoughts on religion both in terms of how it was to be given a 'wissenschaftlich', or "theoretically rigorous," account in the context of his own "system," and, most importantly, with how a fully modern religion could be understood.
Hegel published four works during his lifetime: 1 The Phenomenology of Spirit or The Phenomenology of Mind , his account of the evolution of consciousness from sense-perception to absolute knowledge, published in During the last ten years of his life, Hegel did not publish another book, but thoroughly revised the Encyclopedia second edition, ; third, He also published some articles early in his career and during his Berlin period. A number of other works on the philosophy of history , religion , aesthetics and the history of philosophy  were compiled from the lecture notes of his students and published posthumously.
There are views of Hegel's thought as a representation of the summit of early 19th-century Germany's movement of philosophical idealism. It would come to have a profound impact on many future philosophical schools, including schools that opposed Hegel's specific dialectical idealism , such as existentialism , the historical materialism of Marx, historism and British Idealism.
Hegel's influence was immense both within philosophy and in the other sciences. The more recent movement of communitarianism has a strong Hegelian influence. Some of Hegel's writing was intended for those with advanced knowledge of philosophy, although his Encyclopedia was intended as a textbook in a university course. Nevertheless, Hegel assumes that his readers are well-versed in Western philosophy.
Those without this background would be well-advised to begin with one of the many general introductions to his thought. As is always the case, difficulties are magnified for those reading him in translation. In fact, Hegel himself argues in his Science of Logic that the German language was particularly conducive to philosophical thought. According to Walter Kaufmann, the basic idea of Hegel's works, especially the Phenomenology of Spirit , is that a philosopher should not "confine him or herself to views that have been held but penetrate these to the human reality they reflect".
In other words, it is not enough to consider propositions, or even the content of consciousness; "it is worthwhile to ask in every instance what kind of spirit would entertain such propositions, hold such views, and have such a consciousness. Every outlook in other words, is to be studied not merely as an academic possibility but as an existential reality". Some historians have spoken of Hegel's influence as represented by two opposing camps. Today this faction continues among conservative Protestants, such as the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod , which was founded by missionaries from Germany when the Hegelian Right was active.
The Left Hegelians , also known as the Young Hegelians, interpreted Hegel in a revolutionary sense, leading to an advocation of atheism in religion and liberal democracy in politics. In more recent studies, this paradigm has been questioned. Critiques of Hegel offered from the Left Hegelians radically diverted Hegel's thinking into new directions and eventually came to form a disproportionately large part of the literature on and about Hegel. The Left Hegelians also influenced Marxism, which has in turn inspired global movements, from the Russian Revolution , the Chinese Revolution and myriad of practices up until the present moment.
According to Benedetto Croce , the Italian Fascist Giovanni Gentile "holds the honor of having been the most rigorous neo-Hegelian in the entire history of Western philosophy and the dishonor of having been the official philosopher of Fascism in Italy". In previous modern accounts of Hegelianism to undergraduate classes, for example , especially those formed prior to the Hegel renaissance, Hegel's dialectic was most often characterized as a three-step process, " thesis, antithesis, synthesis "; namely, that a "thesis" e. However, Hegel used this classification only once and he attributed the terminology to Kant.
The terminology was largely developed earlier by Fichte. The "thesis—antithesis—synthesis" approach gives the sense that things or ideas are contradicted or opposed by things that come from outside them. To the contrary, the fundamental notion of Hegel's dialectic is that things or ideas have internal contradictions. From Hegel's point of view, analysis or comprehension of a thing or idea reveals that underneath its apparently simple identity or unity is an underlying inner contradiction.
This contradiction leads to the dissolution of the thing or idea in the simple form in which it presented itself and to a higher-level, more complex thing or idea that more adequately incorporates the contradiction. The triadic form that appears in many places in Hegel e. For Hegel, reason is but "speculative", not "dialectical". According to their argument, although Hegel refers to "the two elemental considerations: first, the idea of freedom as the absolute and final aim; secondly, the means for realising it, i.
Furthermore, in Hegel's language the "dialectical" aspect or "moment" of thought and reality, by which things or thoughts turn into their opposites or have their inner contradictions brought to the surface, what he called Aufhebung , is only preliminary to the "speculative" and not "synthesizing" aspect or "moment", which grasps the unity of these opposites or contradiction. It is widely admitted today that the old-fashioned description of Hegel's philosophy in terms of thesis—antithesis—synthesis is inaccurate.
Nevertheless, such is the persistence of this misnomer that the model and terminology survive in a number of scholarly works. In the last half of the 20th century, Hegel's philosophy underwent a major renaissance. This was due to a the rediscovery and re-evaluation of Hegel as a possible philosophical progenitor of Marxism by philosophically oriented Marxists; b a resurgence of the historical perspective that Hegel brought to everything; and c an increasing recognition of the importance of his dialectical method.
In Reason and Revolution , Herbert Marcuse made the case for Hegel as a revolutionary and criticized Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse 's thesis that Hegel was a totalitarian. Beginning in the s, Anglo-American Hegel scholarship has attempted to challenge the traditional interpretation of Hegel as offering a metaphysical system: this has also been the approach of Z.
Pelczynski and Shlomo Avineri. This view, sometimes referred to as the "non-metaphysical option", has had a decided influence on many major English language studies of Hegel in the past forty years. Late 20th-century literature in Western Theology that is friendly to Hegel includes works by such writers as Walter Kaufmann , Dale M.
Schlitt , Theodore Geraets , Philip M. Two prominent American philosophers, John McDowell and Robert Brandom sometimes referred to as the " Pittsburgh Hegelians" , have produced philosophical works exhibiting a marked Hegelian influence. In a separate Canadian context, James Doull 's philosophy is deeply Hegelian. Beginning in the s after the fall of the Soviet Union, a fresh reading of Hegel took place in the West.
Marx plays little-to-no role in these new readings. Criticism of Hegel has been widespread in the 19th and the 20th centuries. Ayer have challenged Hegelian philosophy from a variety of perspectives. Among the first to take a critical view of Hegel's system was the 19th-century German group known as the Young Hegelians , which included Feuerbach, Marx, Engels and their followers.
In particular, Russell considered "almost all" of Hegel's doctrines to be false. Hegel's contemporary Schopenhauer was particularly critical and wrote of Hegel's philosophy as "a pseudo-philosophy paralyzing all mental powers, stifling all real thinking". Kierkegaard criticized Hegel's "absolute knowledge" unity.
A guardian fearing that his ward might become too intelligent for his schemes might prevent this misfortune by innocently suggesting the reading of Hegel. Karl Popper wrote that "there is so much philosophical writing especially in the Hegelian school which may justly be criticised as meaningless verbiage". Popper further proposed that Hegel's philosophy served not only as an inspiration for communist and fascist totalitarian governments of the 20th century, whose dialectics allow for any belief to be construed as rational simply if it could be said to exist.
Kaufmann and Shlomo Avineri have criticized Popper's theories about Hegel. Voegelin argued that Hegel should be understood not as a philosopher, but as a "sorcerer", i. The secondary literature on Hegel is vast. The following references provide only a small selection of introductory English-language texts. For a more complete listing, see the external links section or the library resources box to the right.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Hegel disambiguation. German philosopher who influenced German idealism. Portrait by Jakob Schlesinger , Berlin , Kingdom of Prussia. Continental philosophy German idealism Objective idealism Absolute idealism Hegelianism Historicism  Naturphilosophie Epistemic coherentism  Conceptualism  Empirical realism  Coherence theory of truth .
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. See also: Civil society. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. See also: Hegelianism. Main article: Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Main article: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel bibliography. Philosophy portal. Sarlemijn, Hegel's Dialectic , Springer, , p. In short, he adopts a view very similar to Kant's empirical realism. II, Meiner, , pp. SUNY Press.
Hegel and Marx: After the Fall of Communism. University of Wales Press. Up to this point Esther has kept silent about her Jewish background. But now Mordecai turns to her for help. He implores her to intervene and try to influence the king in order to avoid impending disaster. Initially she is reluctant, fearing for her life, but Mordecai is emphatic. He sends her a message…. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? The story ends well. Esther takes the risk and gains an audience with the king, where the evil intentions of Haman are exposed.
He orders Haman hanged on the very gallows he has erected for Mordecai. The Jews are saved. And Esther, once a poor Jewish child, having saved her people, continues to live as Queen of the super-power of her day. Esther is not alone in her experience of divine destiny. Down through the ages countless men and women have risen to the challenge of particular tasks that seemed to be part of their destiny.
That towering figure of the twentieth century, Winston Churchill, is another example. His morale-boosting strength of character and his magnificent oratory impassioned and inspired a nation to stand against the evil of the Nazi empire. Churchill was 66 when he became Prime Minister. Inspiring as these true stories may be, they often have the opposite effect for many of us. Frustratingly we end up thinking that this level of meaning and significance is simply the preserve of a fortunate few.
As we have talked with hundreds of Christians through the years we have found, sadly, that plenty feel that way. However, God does also call us to join him as partners in his work. In fact, his intention is for every part of life to be meaningful — not just employment, but all the work we do, as well as our relationships, our rest, our enjoyment, our learning It all counts.
Sometimes we develop romantic notions of finding the one thing we were created for. But it would be foolishly simplistic to think we could ever reduce our lives to a single function. That there needs to be a rich diversity in our lives. These days even careers are no longer for life. Easy to say! Of course, to make it happen the first step is to understand what God is doing. Now to be sure none of us knows the mind of God, but what we do have is a Bible chock-full of examples of God at work … and Jesus as our prime model!
And when you have consciously seen how you can work alongside God you will come to appreciate how you are participating in something of far-reaching significance. Whatever you are doing and wherever you are, as you begin to understand and put into practice your SoulPurpose, your faith and your life will gain a real sense of direction. This can even happen if the situation you live or work in falls woefully short of your dreams. A SoulPurpose will stimulate you to make your life increasingly creative and satisfying.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. In making you the way you are, God has taken exceptional care. He wants you to reach your potential by using and developing the mix of temperament, gifts, talents, skills, motivations and yearnings that go to make up the person that is you. As you work your way through this book you will identify the building blocks of that DNA. So part of your journey calls for self-discovery. How am I made? How has God put me together? What situations has he placed me in?
The process of getting to know yourself is therefore incredibly important. It is also who you are — the values you hold, the dreams you nurture, the kindness and compassion you offer, the energy and enthusiasm you harness. Service is a given. Finding our SoulPurpose means learning to be of service to others. It has come to reinforce the false idea that sacred and secular are two different parts of our lives. It refers to any kind of service which is motivated by the love of God. But do remember that God often pushes us out beyond our comfort zone.
But then, often those nervous ventures produce new levels in our growth.
- Soul, Suffering, Trust, Transcendence: Three soul books in one volume?
- Miss Brown To You?
- before the eyes of heaven;
- Du Dandysme et de George Brummell (French Edition).
- Gifts of Love: A Christmas Message?
- A Mulher de Atenas e Outras Helenas (Portuguese Edition).
We are not one-sided beings. We are complex creatures. As we said above, God made us for far more than just a single task. In short … every aspect of your life. Balance is needed to get all those parts into a healthy harmony. And it will never be final, either. It will always need fine-tuning. In fact, at certain definable stages in life it will need to be renegotiated. Finally we also need to understand that living out our calling was never meant to be a solitary task.
For discipleship is not a solitary word. It was designed to be lived out in solidarity with a supportive community. This is our dream for the church — a group of committed companions who want to see each other equipped and supported as they live out their faith in the world. In fact, we have designed those chapters so that groups of people can read and discuss them together — as it were, fellow pilgrims on the road, helping each other discover their SoulPurpose.
Sell My Soul (Sixty Days, #1) by Jade West
Your own, unique SoulPurpose? A life plan that you can identify, and then use to transform your living? Is that just a fantasy? Is it wild optimism? It is not elitist — only for those with extraordinary talents and opportunities. Neither is it limited to the few who have the freedom to spend their time doing whatever they want. Most of us do not have that luxury and life is not like that.
If you yearn for more than you are presently experiencing, you can be sure that this is a sign that you were created for more. The hunger for significance is not a sadistic attempt by our Creator to push us to the brink of despair and frustration. If the level of meaning and significance in life was a scale of , with Warren Schmidt being 1 almost no sense of significance and Esther and Winston Churchill 10 an extraordinary sense of significance , where would you place yourself?
What are some of the hopes and dreams you have for your life? Who were some of your early role models and heroes? What was it about them that caused you to admire and try to emulate them? Do you regard yourself as a person with a destiny? In what ways? What specific hopes do you have that reading this book will help you discover more of your SoulPurpose? We listed five important components to growing a sense of SoulPurpose. Encouragement both receiving and giving. Which of these components do you most need to learn and grow in?
For each of us our SoulPurpose is worked out through five overlapping spheres of involvement — the marketplace, community, church, family-and-friendships, and leisure. See the diagram below. The time and energy each of these spheres demand of us, will vary greatly from person to person — and from season to season. Some of us invest most of our effort in the marketplace: in the worlds of business, law, education and industry. Others are able to give a majority of their energy and time in the family, in the community, or in the church.
The boundaries between these spheres of involvement are not very distinct. They blend and overlap. Many of us are involved in all five of them — but to varying degrees. Discovering the right balance or mix is something that will differ from one person to another, and likely change throughout our lives. Step 1: Using the diagram below, create segments in the circle proportional to the amount of time and energy you give to each sphere of involvement. For example, if you operate a retailing business, the marketplace segment on your diagram will probably take up more than half of the circle.
If you are employed in a shop it may take up a quarter or third of your circle. Questions to reflect on:. Which spheres of involvement dominate your time and energy? Are you able to see ways in which these activities and relationships are connected to what God is doing? Do you see these tasks as having significance and value? Look again at where most of your energy and time is spent; has this always been in the spheres that currently dominate?
Are you content with how your energy is being spent? Different exercises, activities and questions will suit different groups. Throughout this book use those that are appropriate to your group. Share the results of the Self-Discovery exercises with the members of your group. How much is the Christian journey an individual responsibility, and how much should a group a church, a family, your group?
In what ways do you feel supported and encouraged by others in your journey to discovering your SoulPurpose? What forms of encouragement could this group of yours offer its members? Discovering your SoulPurpose is an expedition into unchartered territory. Through the following pages you will explore a wide range of issues.
But always the focus will be on how you will discover and pursue your SoulPurpose. That is the goal. So are you ready to embark on this journey of discovery? This odyssey is much more intriguing. It will take you deep into the most fascinating person in your life — YOU! Be ready for a riveting journey. Section A — Stage 1 What on earth was I made for? These two chapters are critical preparation for your trek. Will God give you explicit instructions, laying out precisely what you must do at each point as you follow the route?
Chapter two may excite you with the discovery of just how much responsibility God is willing to hand over to you, the choices he puts in your hands. Remember, the subject matter in these parts is YOU. The exercises and reflections are where the real discoveries will be made. And you might have cause to return to these parts from time to time, to fill in some missing sections of your map. Section C — Stage 3 Holding it all together A key to the journey of discovering our SoulPurpose is gaining some sense of how each part of who we are fits together in a co-ordinated and intelligible way. The view from the top is not only inspiring, but also helpful.
It should teach you some useful skills — like juggling all those jobs and demands you have to cope with chapter eight ; and reducing the frantic busyness of your life chapter nine. So slow down a little on these slopes. It would be a shame to go for a tumble here. Take time to rest and look around along the way. How do they affect our SoulPurpose chapter ten? And what about the changes and transitions we all have to go through — adolescence and midlife and the golden years?
They will have a big impact on your growth and development chapters eleven and twelve. How long you stick around these parts will depend on their relevance to your life right now. You can come back to it later. At least for now. When it comes to your life, there will always new lands to explore. But by this stage you may feel a little overwhelmed. As if this epic journey is mainly for your own enjoyment and gratification. Right through the book we the writers will be telling you about our own travels through these parts. Each of us frequently returns to parts of the trek to learn more and reflect.
We are, after all, incredibly complex creatures. Make sure you do it at your own pace and in a way that suits you. Best if you can make up a party of fellow travellers — perhaps four or five friends who know you well and who can help you along some of the trickier stretches. A good cup of coffee around the campfire will probably help. Oh, and a final word — sometimes you may feel the need for help from a professional guide.
Again, there are some suggestions scattered through our notes as to where and to whom you can turn. So … are you ready? Frederick Buechner. God has plans for us. God has made us for a purpose. We have a calling. We have a SoulPurpose.
What does God want us to do? This one great problem for Christians has generated endless seminars, books and sermons. Of course, the drive for purpose and significance is a basic instinct amongst humans. So as Christians we have no trouble believing that God wants to use us for his purposes. We are special. We are unique. We are deeply loved by God. We are called. Therefore he has a purpose for our lives.
So we are right to look for direction and purpose. The question is — are we asking the right questions and are we looking in the right place? All of life is planned. We simply need to discover what church God wants us to attend, who he wants us to marry, which job he wants us to take, where he wants us to live, etc. Yes, I know who God wants me to marry or at least I fondly imagine that I do … but what happens if that person chooses someone else? And what about my failures? Whenever I make a mistake or a bad choice, does that wreck the whole plan?
Is my life for God doomed to mediocrity because I missed out somewhere along the line? Does God have an infinite number of backup plans? This is simply not biblical. The blueprint approach suggests that God has every last detail of our lives mapped out, and expects us to play complicated guessing games to find out where our next move is. There is a much healthier way of approaching this question of leading.
A plan ties us down to precise demands; a purpose provides us with direction and a goal. A plan is unforgiving. Make an error at the beginning — while you are laying the foundations perhaps — and all the following work and effort could be wasted; the whole building might collapse because of that one error. In contrast, as Paul Stevens points out, a purpose is like a stream that flows to a distant sea.
The stream may be diverted from time to time. It may even wander aimlessly in swamps for a period. But it can also recover its way further down the valley and still has the potential one day to become a great river. He wants you to draw close to Him and be changed. This concept of growing close to God so that you can live out His will, or live to please Him, is consistent throughout the New Testament. But what about the many decisions in life large and small which are choices between two or more good options.
Does God have a fixed agenda in these matters? Does he have anything to say at all about each point of decision? Yes he does … but so should we. Smith uses the analogy of a figure-skating pair on ice to describe how God leads with us. The person who follows the lead still has a choice and still contributes to the shape and form of the dance. Standing behind him was Jesus flowing robes and all. Jesus had one hand on the shoulder of the boy as if to steady him.
His other arm was outstretched, fingers pointing into the distance. All very dramatic! But it strikes us that the picture got it pretty right. We need to take hold of the wheel of life … we are active participants in the course we follow … but God is right beside us, providing encouragement and strength for the voyage, and helping us keep our eyes on the goal.
Clearly, God does want to provide direction in our life choices. God treats us with astonishing respect. We are not just pawns in some great cosmic game of chess. We are junior partners with the Master of the Universe. For when it comes to our decision-making, God too has a purpose. And that purpose is not just utilitarian, getting us to find the right answers. God certainly desires that we make good choices, but he has a much bigger scheme. He uses these times of choice to grow relationship, trust, character and maturity into our lives.
See Gordon T. First and foremost, decision-making for the Christian is a relationship issue. Gordon Smith comments:. We discern the voice of God within the context of relationship. If that relationship suffers, so will our ability to discern what is best. The more we walk with Jesus, the more we understand his intentions for us and the world.
We pick up his heartbeat. Our hopes and aspirations become more closely aligned to his. For that reason we suggest that decisions are really an issue of trust. We need to trust God, that he will not trash us when our human inadequacies mean we miss the mark. The Psalm-writer had no doubts on this issue:.
As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion to those who fear him. He knows how we were made; He remembers that we are dust. Psalm , NRSV. Why do we construct this ugly picture of God as being intent on smacking us into line? Perhaps some of our pre-occupation with decision-making shows that we want to control our future and make things comfortable, safe and predictable.
But the reality of life is that what lies ahead is unknown. For example, have you ever thought what it might be like if you knew the future? Suddenly your decision-making would be a simple matter. You could always get it right. Very comfortable, of course … but a bit like playing every game of tennis knowing that you would always win. Where would be the satisfaction? Where would be the tingle of excitement? The whole challenge of sport would trickle away. Each game would become predictable … and boring.
If you were always destined to win, why strive any more? Why subject yourself to all the training and discipline? Why strain to outdo all competitors? In short, why go to any trouble to develop your talents and skills? You would have no incentive to make yourself better. The same applies to our living for God.
If we knew what lay ahead each time we faced a decision, why strain to understand the issues? If we were always bound to get it right, what growth would we achieve? James comments that planning for certainty about tomorrow is nothing less than presumptuous s ee James 4: Jesus also promotes a trust approach in his Sermon on the Mount , where he says:. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time arrives. So perhaps our longing to know the right solution in advance is misleading us. Much better to step out in faith with God, knowing that he will be with us whatever the results of our choice.
But God is also concerned about who we are called to be. And this is a question of character and integrity. The people of God are called to be like God as well as to join in his work. God uses the process of decision-making to grow character in our lives.
One of the difficult things about character is that mostly it is forged in the midst of challenge and struggle. Moral integrity grows as our character is tested. And this is a process that takes time. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if any of you do not have them, you are short-sighted and blind. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah has no doubts about our priority. The following chapters will help you deal with these issues.
If we get these priorities right, then the small choices we make each day to follow God and to become like him will make it much easier to decide on the bigger issues. Everyone knows that adolescence is a critical period. Here is where young people begin making decisions that have serious consequences for their lives. Less well-known is that parents too have tough learning to do at this time.
For years they have been responsible for the behaviour of their children. Now, during the teenage years, those parents will steadily lose control of their children. Teenagers are moving from childhood to adulthood, from dependence to independent maturity. Two things are important: 1 the teenager must learn to make wise decisions; 2 the parent must learn to hand over responsibility for those decisions.
If the teenager fails, maturity will never be reached. If the parent fails, the teenager will be shackled in a childlike dependency. Those of us who are parents know that the key is progressively allowing our adolescents to make their own choices — even if that means we must sometimes watch them make mistakes. Of course, one of the keys is laying the foundations for young people to make judgement calls for themselves, and this starts much earlier than adolescence.
Good parents use all of childhood as a preparation for the time when their children will leave and become independent, mature adults. The question is: what stage of development does this image bring to mind for you? Totally dependent on the father or mother, in every way. Yet the New Testament consistently calls us to mature. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature…. With this in mind, we need to see the imagery of childhood as a process of growth and change. God does not want us to remain babies. He wants mature disciples, able to make wise choices, in dependent obedience to Him. Making choices is a wonderful opportunity to grow some of this maturity.
So when we puzzle over what God wants us to do, could it be that God is working on a different plan altogether? Rather than deliberately making life difficult for us by veiling the answer, it may be that he is grooming us to take responsibility for our own decisions. He may be willing us to exercise our freedom and choose our own path — confident that whatever we do, we will serve him and he will bring about his purposes in and through us.
Will God love or use us less if we get it wrong occasionally? We firmly believe, no. We are convinced that what God wants from us is not mindless obedience, but mature co-operation. A common myth in Christian circles is that the paths we ought to choose are usually the ones we least want, the ones we long to avoid. A sort of punishment for our unwillingness. What a grim picture of life with our Father in Heaven!
Whatever happened to the loving Father that Jesus constantly talked of? No question about it — for all of us there are times when we need to take the harder, more difficult road. Seldom is the future God has prepared for us completely divorced from our past, and alien to how we are wired. Throughout this book you will be given the opportunity to reflect on the journey you have already travelled. Although there may be changes ahead for us, it is still essentially the same person we take into the future.
And although there may be some things God is inviting us to leave behind, it is the essence of who he has made us to be that we need to understand. With that knowledge we are in the best position to achieve the God-given potential he has placed within us. The Apostle Paul puts it this way :. We have been shaped by God, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God has prepared for us. Ephesians God has taken great care in shaping us. We are his workmanship. Imagine that.
According to Paul, if we want to find out the type of work God has prepared us for, we need look no further than how he has put us together. But what is his dream for us? I believe he has given us clues to what that dream is. And the longings and yearnings buried in each of us often provide those clues. It is like being on a cosmic treasure hunt. Follow one clue and it will lead you to another…and then another…until you find the treasure himself.
For to find God and his ultimate will for us, is to find ourselves. Decision-making is a challenging matter for nearly every Christian we know. The world we live in is very different from that of the early Christians. Over half of the people in the Roman Empire were slaves or servants of some description, and had little control over much of their destiny. In fact, in one case he recommended to a runaway slave that he return back to his master!
That is, they were to work diligently for their masters, obeying them, working as if they were serving God. We decide that by how we respond to God in our circumstances. We are blessed with a wonderful gift of freedom and choice — but it brings with it unexpected complications. We simply have too many choices!
We are like small children let loose in a toy shop, told by our parents that we can have any one of the thousands of toys on the shelves … but only one! No wonder we often find it so difficult making decisions. We are swamped with options and it can easily leave us unable to make a choice. Add to this our incessant busyness … and we have a powerful mix capable of overwhelming and immobilising us when decisions need to be made.
Is over-choice any harder to live with than lack of choice? What is important is that this is the situation many of us find ourselves in. The second difference between us and those first Christians is even more subtle. We moderns suffer from a lack of community. Our lives of faith should be inextricably linked with those of our fellow believers. The parts are only useful when working in combination with the rest of the body. But in our intensely individualistic culture it is easy to become disconnected and separated from others — from people whom we need, and who also need us.
Answering all these questions will be greatly assisted by strong relationships with other Christians. In fact, it is our belief that without intentional community we will struggle to find our place. For we need others who know us well and hear our heart. Our gifts may only make sense and be maximised for good in the context of community. Of course, ultimately each of us needs to take responsibility for our own choices but the support and involvement of others can make a big difference.
There are times, even now, when I try to work out how I ended up as a car dealer. It happened so fast and seemed such a radical departure from what I had been doing. Why was it that I took the initiative to buy a couple of vehicles from the local auction and then sell them on? What caused me to investigate importing direct from Japan … and to go there a couple of months later with a guy I hardly knew and buy 30 vehicles?
What gall! After all, I knew so little about cars. Thinking about it, I recognise two forces at work.