Q: Now that we are truth seekers, how do we now pick up our cross and follow Jesus after walking a life of error in religion? How do we experience heaven right here on earth?
Thanks so much for submitting this interesting question to us here at TruthBook.
From reading your brief question, I cannot tell whether you are a Urantia Book reader or not – but I do hope you are! Your phrase about how we “pick up our cross and follow Jesus after walking a life of error in religion” is intriguing.
Picking up our cross is a phrase that I have heard many times, and to me, it means that each of us has some kind of a burden that we carry through this life, whether it’s ill health, or poverty, or pride, or unforgiveness, or lack of self-esteem; in your case you seem to be carrying a burden of worry about your past “errors” in your religious search. Everyone seems to have some kind of baggage that we acquire at some point in life. The way you phrased your question makes me wonder whether you feel that somehow you have to make up for having lived a long time in an error-filled belief; and now that you have found the truth as you understand it, you have to do some sort of penance for it.
I could be very wide of the mark here, but I am just trying to understand, so please forgive me if am wrong. I just want to tell you that all of that “error” that you may feel was so wrong is really not wrong at all. It is all scaffolding that has led you to this place of desiring to follow Jesus. And so, it is valuable in that regard. I hope you won’t feel that you have to suffer because of it; I doubt that God wants that from you.
My immediate thought is that we need no special preparation for following after Jesus; that came before, in your spiritual search. Once we have made the decision in our minds to do so, the journey has begun. You are already IN the Kingdom of Heaven because it lives within you, and you have entered it by your faith-decision to follow Jesus. There may be a time-lag between that inner decision and actually seeing results in our outward life, but you are on your way! With your inner Spirit guide (the Thought Adjuster), you are now equipped to meet every challenge along the path
The Urantia Book teaches us about the “fringe of conflict” that we have to traverse between the our time in the Kingdom and our time that we still spend in “the world.”
159:3.7 Forewarn all believers regarding the fringe of conflict which must be traversed by all who pass from the life as it is lived in the flesh to the higher life as it is lived in the spirit. To those who live quite wholly within either realm, there is little conflict or confusion, but all are doomed to experience more or less uncertainty during the times of transition between the two levels of living. In entering the kingdom, you cannot escape its responsibilities or avoid its obligations, but remember: The gospel yoke is easy and the burden of truth is light.
I love to read that “the burden of truth is light.” It is very comforting…in my experience, it is having to still deal with “the world” that is the difficult part – having to be IN the world but not OF it. Jesus puts it this way:
“You are in this world, but your lives are not to be worldlike.”
As you get more and more comfortable with living in the Kingdom, this journey should become easier and easier, as the decisions that you make day-to-day will further cement your place in the Kingdom-through your experience-and the lures of the world will become less attractive to you. Those who make the sincere decision to follow Jesus experience a new kind of joy, a new kind of purpose and a new kind of peace. And gradually, you will experience that peaceful place of dwelling in the kingdom, even while in the midst of the world. It’s a great place to live!!!
The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to carefully read The Life and Teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book. Read, and re-read…on nearly every page you will find clues for living a God-centered and God-conscious life by examining just HOW Jesus lived his life. As well as being a Divine Son of God, he was a mortal, as we are we, and he demonstrated for us the best way to grow into our rightful identity as a son of God, too. The Urantia Book teaches (bolding is mine):
196:1.3 To “follow Jesus” means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master’s life of unselfish service for man. One of the most important things in human living is to find out what Jesus believed, to discover his ideals, and to strive for the achievement of his exalted life purpose. Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.
2:0.2 The nature of God can be studied in a revelation of supreme ideas, the divine character can be envisaged as a portrayal of supernal ideals, but the most enlightening and spiritually edifying of all revelations of the divine nature is to be found in the comprehension of the religious life of Jesus of Nazareth, both before and after his attainment of full consciousness of divinity.
What we are really aiming in life at is a consciousness of GOD – an understanding of GOD – and Jesus is the way we achieve this. He told us that “He who has seen me has seen the Father.”:
169:4.13 Jesus is the spiritual lens in human likeness which makes visible to the material creature Him who is invisible. He is your elder brother who, in the flesh, makes known to you a Being of infinite attributes whom not even the celestial hosts can presume fully to understand. But all of this must consist in the personal experience of the individual believer. God who is spirit can be known only as a spiritual experience. God can be revealed to the finite sons of the material worlds, by the divine Son of the spiritual realms, only as a Father. You can know the Eternal as a Father; you can worship him as the God of universes, the infinite Creator of all existences.
Again, I do hope you are a Urantia Book reader/student. It is filled with life-saving, soul-enriching information that helps all of us to orient ourselves to our new lives of cosmic citizenship in a friendly universe. Be of good cheer, TruthSeeker!
And thanks again for submitting this wonderful question; I hope my reply has been helpful…