Are the teachings of Jesus difficult? This article: Be all in for Jesus by Pastor Stewart Holloway explores the reasons that many seem to think so, and in our blog below, we will, too. Even though most of us find the Master's mandate that requires us to love everyone, turn the other cheek, and be humble is correct in theory, but when push comes to shove, many of us find it hard to do in practice. Here are a few snips from the article:
"...every day, people choke on Jesus. They cannot swallow His teaching. They cannot swallow His demands. They cannot swallow the commitment He requires.
"We want to be devoted, but a lot of people desert and deteriorate. In other words, they choke on Jesus. How do you know if you might choke on Jesus? Well, one way you choke on food is when it is too much or not what you expect, and that's usually what happens when people desert Jesus or deteriorate in their faith – He's too much for them or not what they expect. Typically, it's not the big issues of the faith that people choke on, it's the basics."
Click to read the article
We know it's the right thing to do, but...
The paster's solution to this problem is simple - commitment and dedication. And we would agree. This blog will be pretty short and hopefully, inspiring. The article above is good, and yet it does not go far enough into just why people "choke" on the teachings of Jesus - why it is that many may WANT to follow him, but decide he's just too much - too demanding, when push comes to shove.
The Urantia Book clearly and forcefully explains why this happens. In the papers on religion, we discover that our ideals are primarily derived from the fact that are indwelt by God's spirit and it is that spirit that helps us to identify and embrace higher ideals. They don't just come from nowhere:
103:5.1 The early evolutionary mind gives origin to a feeling of social duty and moral obligation derived chiefly from emotional fear. The more positive urge of social service and the idealism of altruism are derived from the direct impulse of the divine spirit indwelling the human mind.
103:5.2 This idea-ideal of doing good to others—the impulse to deny the ego something for the benefit of one's neighbor—is very circumscribed at first. Primitive man regards as neighbor only those very close to him, those who treat him neighborly; as religious civilization advances, one's neighbor expands in concept to embrace the clan, the tribe, the nation. And then Jesus enlarged the neighbor scope to embrace the whole of humanity, even that we should love our enemies. And there is something inside of every normal human being that tells him this teaching is moral—right. Even those who practice this ideal least, admit that it is right in theory.
The power of Jesus' example
And then we have the shining example of Jesus and his unselfish life of devotion and duty - his unfailing kindness and tolerance towards even unlovely humanity ... his teachings that encourage us to go and do likewise. We recognize the rightness of his example and we want to do the right thing ... follow Jesus. But, oftentimes, when we are faced with a choice of being kind or not...generous or not...forgiving or not...tolerant or not...what often happens? In the moment, it's easy to lose our ideals. What's missing?
From The Urantia Book:
195:9.5 The modern age will refuse to accept a religion which is inconsistent with facts and out of harmony with its highest conceptions of truth, beauty, and goodness. The hour is striking for a rediscovery of the true and original foundations of present-day distorted and compromised Christianity—the real life and teachings of Jesus.
195:9.6 Primitive man lived a life of superstitious bondage to religious fear. Modern, civilized men dread the thought of falling under the dominance of strong religious convictions. Thinking man has always feared to be held by a religion. When a strong and moving religion threatens to dominate him, he invariably tries to rationalize, traditionalize, and institutionalize it, thereby hoping to gain control of it. By such procedure, even a revealed religion becomes man-made and man-dominated. Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them—and with them. And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man.
195:9.7 Selfish men and women simply will not pay such a price for even the greatest spiritual treasure ever offered mortal man. Only when man has become sufficiently disillusioned by the sorrowful disappointments attendant upon the foolish and deceptive pursuits of selfishness, and subsequent to the discovery of the barrenness of formalized religion, will he be disposed to turn wholeheartedly to the gospel of the kingdom, the religion of Jesus of Nazareth.
What we fear
This passage bears repeating:
Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them—and with them. And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man.
It's easy to see that what is missing is that fearless dedication and commitment that the Pastor talks of in his article. And here, The teachings of The Urantia Book are in complete harmony with that ideal. To give ourselves over to the ideals of the kingdom may seem difficult on the face of it, but making the commitment provides valuable personal experience of the beauty and rightness of this new and productive way of living.
Commitment to adopting a new way of relating to God is what the religion of Jesus is all about. Far from a slavish belief in tradition and dogma, the religion of Jesus puts man and God in direct communication and if one has committed to it, provides that mortal with ever-increasing evidence of the power of God and the safety of God, and the love of God for his children. From there, seeking and doing the will of God becomes far more desireable and doable - loving God and serving our brothers and sisters becomes an ideal that becomes more attainable.
The teachings of The Urantia Book present the reader with an amazing panorama of creation, of God, of our place in it all, and finally, the culmination of the ideal life that emdodies all of truths in the book. That life is of course, the lfe of Jesus.
See this intro to The Urantia Book, and read the Life and Teachings of Jesus to find out more.