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 Post subject: Self-examination
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I'm confused. Jesus said his religion was not one of self-examination and self-denial but rather one of self-forgetfulness and self-control [143:2.2].

But in other places, a Melchizedek tells us that "Growth is also predicated on the discovery of selfhood accompanied by self-criticism..." [100:1.5]. And the Melchizedek schools begin with the college of self-evaluation [45:7.2].

We are also told that "...true faith is predicated on profound reflection, sincere self-criticism, and uncompromising moral consciousness." [132:3.5]

My question is: How does reflection, self-criticism, or self-evaluation differ from self-examination?


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Mark606 wrote:
I'm confused. Jesus said his religion was not one of self-examination and self-denial but rather one of self-forgetfulness and self-control [143:2.2].

But in other places, a Melchizedek tells us that "Growth is also predicated on the discovery of selfhood accompanied by self-criticism..." [100:1.5]. And the Melchizedek schools begin with the college of self-evaluation [45:7.2].

We are also told that "...true faith is predicated on profound reflection, sincere self-criticism, and uncompromising moral consciousness." [132:3.5]

My question is: How does reflection, self-criticism, or self-evaluation differ from self-examination?


I am not going to badger you with passages to look up. The topic is valid, and actually let me try to make a distinction without excusing any actual discrepencies from the text.

What is the difference between "Self-Examination and Self-Denial" from that of "Self-Forgetfulness and Self-Control". It is the very differences between the personalities of John and Jesus. This observation, is very pertinent to what we may know as "Fourth Age Values". What is the major contribution to the Supreme Being that allows this advancement, basically well you can look that up for yourself. It is that JESUS was AFFIRMED in the faith in the universal Father, to the EXTENT that Self-Control was actually let me say "sanctioned by Spirit". His actions were impelled through the unconsciousness of human receptivity, at all times, to the extent that if he, in fact, did forget about his human nature his subconscious intention, his body would become "directable" by the Holy Spirit, God, the Power Directors even (I do not know how to say this).

Now if you can see the honest ascent from the Abrahamic Traditions, into this Zecharais and Elizabeth John from City of David, you can see, possibly, that this description pertains to "Denial as in Remission", denial of human nature (i.e. "Take upon thyne cross and follow me" in the distorted) as the necessary step "to be entered into the kingdom of heaven." But no, of course, if you are truly affirmed in God's grace peace and righteousness, you can forget about your worries and do His Work.

_________________
to the Underlaying Unity of All Life so that the Voice of Intuition may guide Us closer to Our Common Keeper


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 Post subject: Re: Self-examination
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Mark,

I believe Jesus himself gives us the answer in the balance of his response to Andrew.
Quote:
2. Lesson on Self-Mastery

143:2.1 The Master was a perfected specimen of human self-control. When he was reviled, he reviled not; when he suffered, he uttered no threats against his tormentors; when he was denounced by his enemies, he simply committed himself to the righteous judgment of the Father in heaven.

143:2.2 At one of the evening conferences, Andrew asked Jesus: “Master, are we to practice self-denial as John taught us, or are we to strive for the self-control of your teaching? Wherein does your teaching differ from that of John?” Jesus answered: “John indeed taught you the way of righteousness in accordance with the light and laws of his fathers, and that was the religion of self-examination and self-denial. But I come with a new message of self-forgetfulness and self-control. I show to you the way of life as revealed to me by my Father in heaven.

143:2.3 “Verily, verily, I say to you, he who rules his own self is greater than he who captures a city. Self-mastery is the measure of man’s moral nature and the indicator of his spiritual development. In the old order you fasted and prayed; as the new creature of the rebirth of the spirit, you are taught to believe and rejoice. In the Father’s kingdom you are to become new creatures; old things are to pass away; behold I show you how all things are to become new. And by your love for one another you are to convince the world that you have passed from bondage to liberty, from death into life everlasting.

143:2.4 “By the old way you seek to suppress, obey, and conform to the rules of living; by the new way you are first transformed by the Spirit of Truth and thereby strengthened in your inner soul by the constant spiritual renewing of your mind, and so are you endowed with the power of the certain and joyous performance of the gracious, acceptable, and perfect will of God. Forget not — it is your personal faith in the exceedingly great and precious promises of God that ensures your becoming partakers of the divine nature. Thus by your faith and the spirit’s transformation, you become in reality the temples of God, and his spirit actually dwells within you. If, then, the spirit dwells within you, you are no longer bondslaves of the flesh but free and liberated sons of the spirit. The new law of the spirit endows you with the liberty of self-mastery in place of the old law of the fear of self-bondage and the slavery of self-denial.

143:2.5 “Many times, when you have done evil, you have thought to charge up your acts to the influence of the evil one when in reality you have but been led astray by your own natural tendencies. Did not the Prophet Jeremiah long ago tell you that the human heart is deceitful above all things and sometimes even desperately wicked? How easy for you to become self-deceived and thereby fall into foolish fears, divers lusts, enslaving pleasures, malice, envy, and even vengeful hatred!

143:2.6 “Salvation is by the regeneration of the spirit and not by the self-righteous deeds of the flesh. You are justified by faith and fellowshipped by grace, not by fear and the self-denial of the flesh, albeit the Father’s children who have been born of the spirit are ever and always masters of the self and all that pertains to the desires of the flesh. When you know that you are saved by faith, you have real peace with God. And all who follow in the way of this heavenly peace are destined to be sanctified to the eternal service of the ever-advancing sons of the eternal God. Henceforth, it is not a duty but rather your exalted privilege to cleanse yourselves from all evils of mind and body while you seek for perfection in the love of God.

143:2.7 “Your sonship is grounded in faith, and you are to remain unmoved by fear. Your joy is born of trust in the divine word, and you shall not therefore be led to doubt the reality of the Father’s love and mercy. It is the very goodness of God that leads men into true and genuine repentance. Your secret of the mastery of self is bound up with your faith in the indwelling spirit, which ever works by love. Even this saving faith you have not of yourselves; it also is the gift of God. And if you are the children of this living faith, you are no longer the bondslaves of self but rather the triumphant masters of yourselves, the liberated sons of God.

143:2.8 “If, then, my children, you are born of the spirit, you are forever delivered from the self-conscious bondage of a life of self-denial and watchcare over the desires of the flesh, and you are translated into the joyous kingdom of the spirit, whence you spontaneously show forth the fruits of the spirit in your daily lives; and the fruits of the spirit are the essence of the highest type of enjoyable and ennobling self-control, even the heights of terrestrial mortal attainment — true self-mastery.”



What he is saying, and which is consistent throughout the entire revelation, is the concept of perfecting ourselves is fruitless. We must cease our attempts to repair ourselves, to perfect ourselves, to overcome our animal legacy by deliberate acts of will (ego). We must learn to become spirit realized, to achieve actualization through identification with the reality of our inner spirit guidance. This spirit guidance illuminates our human failings and provides both the vision and the alternative for these as we embrace through faith the reality of this new and exciting process. This process, then, reveals to each of us personally our spiritual value, strength and accomplishments which is the fullness of self mastery.

The measure of our success is revealed in us as we practice our ability to share this personal experience with others, to love them into their own discoveries of this incredible reality.

Jesus talked much about the effort required to overcome our self interest and transfer our hope from being successful to being spiritual, to knowing God.

". . . and I have miles to go before I sleep."

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Self-examination
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i think it's a case of some degree of self-awareness being a necessary and unavoidable step to attaining the self-forgetfulness of perfected self-control. "predicated" being the keyword in the quotes posted.

to my way of thinking it's somewhat akin to the bit about primitive men danced out their religion, modern men think it out and future religionists will live it out. you can't achieve the living without going thru the thinking, collectively or individually and jesus was living it out to the max.

or perhaps more akin to this:
Quote:
Religion must continually labor under a paradoxical necessity: the necessity of making effective use of thought while at the same time discounting the spiritual serviceableness of all thinking.


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 Post subject: Re: Self-examination
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Good topic...and all good responses, especially the self-mastery parts.

The subject does remind me of this passage, too:

Quote:
140:8.27 The three apostles were shocked this afternoon when they realized that their Master's religion made no provision for spiritual self-examination. All religions before and after the times of Jesus, even Christianity, carefully provide for conscientious self-examination. But not so with the religion of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus' philosophy of life is without religious introspection. The carpenter's son never taught character building; he taught character growth, declaring that the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. But Jesus said nothing which would proscribe self-analysis as a prevention of conceited egotism.


And I like this - to me, it says that self-analysis can be a valuable tool, when one is trying to figure oneself out...and I say that because I have personal experience with such "spiritual self-examination." I think sometimes, our behaviors can be hard to understand - even to ourselves! Sometimes, factors in our upbringing can lead us to develop behaviors that are automatic or unconscious, but ultimately destructive...those who develop dependency issues, for example, and who get lost in addictive behaviors.

It was a real revelation to me to discover that in my own case, an overdeveloped ego - formed as a result of long-ago emotional trauma - seemed to be the cause of much of my own miseries. A "conceited ego" born of the belief that no one can be trusted in life except one's own self is a hard way to go through life. The development of such an overweening ego can be a protective mechanism when one is a young child, but as an adult, such a situation can be harmful to one's spiritual progression.

Getting to the bottom of that through self-analysis (hopefully Spirit-directed self-analysis) and self-evaluation, can really help a person uncover the origins of, and then change, harmful behaviors - master them - by seeing the higher and better truth of the situation. Understanding one's past and its effect on the present can really light the way to new ways of acting. When we know better, we do better.

Quote:
140:8.32 The Master came to create in man a new spirit, a new will—to impart a new capacity for knowing the truth, experiencing compassion, and choosing goodness—the will to be in harmony with God's will, coupled with the eternal urge to become perfect, even as the Father in heaven is perfect.


And sometimes, learning true compassion - even for one's misdirected self - can be a valuable experience. Because when we understand the process of receiving forgiveness (including self-forgiveness), it becomes much easier to have forgiveness and compassion for others.

Just my two-cents...


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 Post subject: Re: Self-examination
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Thanks everyone for your kind responses. They really did help me to get a handle on this apparent contradiction.

First of all, I get the impression that it is good to self-criticize for the intent of coming to know oneself, a process perhaps related to that of self-realization, or more likely to self-analysis, as you pointed out MaryJo. This could be what the narrators mean when they say, "Spiritual growth is first an awakening to needs, next a discernment of meanings, and then a discovery of values."

Secondly, it seems that the term "self-evaluation" pertains more to our personal efforts to change those ungodly things about ourselves which we have discovered through self-criticism or self-analysis. As Jim says, any personal effort to make forceful changes by means of self-denial or an act of will is fruitless. Rather than judging ourselves and working through guilt, we must forget ourselves and give the job of spiritual growth to the indwelling spirit, which appears to be the only meaningful and effective act of will. This reminds me of some Christians I know who, when encountering problems, "give it up to Jesus."

For me, the most telling line from the lesson on self-mastery is this, "Your secret of the mastery of self is bound up with your faith in the indwelling spirit, which ever works by love." It implies that self-mastery is a problem (secret) for each of us to solve for ourselves - they're not going to give us all the answers. But it also implies that we must have an overwhelming faith that the spirit within can do the job.

"Forget not—it is your personal faith in the exceedingly great and precious promises of God that ensures your becoming partakers of the divine nature."

Peace & love


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