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To Love The Lord Above All And Above Everything
“In the Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 10, verses 37-39 it is said:
"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.
And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me."
"And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy
"He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake
will find it."
A similar statement, only in much stronger language, is also recorded in the Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 14, verses 26 and 27. There it is said:
"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also,
he cannot be My disciple."
"For whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot
be My disciple."
In the Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 12, verses 48, 49 and 50, it is said:
"But he answered and said to the one who told Him, "Who is My
mother and who are My brothers?"
"And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said,
"Here are My mother and My brothers!"
"For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother
and sister and mother."
This statement is repeated, with negligible modifications, in the Gospel According to Mark, Chapter 3, verses 31-35 and in the Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 8, verses 19-21.
What is the true meaning of these requirements? Why would Jesus Christ go so far as to state that one cannot be worthy of Him unless one hates one's mother, father, sister, brother, wife, children and even oneself personally?
The external, literal sense of the statement in Matthew, Chapter 10, verse 37 is very obvious: the Lord is to be loved more than anyone or anything else, even more than those people who are in the closest and most intimate physical relationship to that person.
The reason why one is to love the Lord Jesus Christ more than anyone else is because no one can be as close and as intimate to everyone as the Lord Who is ever present within everyone and Who, from that position, generates and sustains life in everyone. Moreover, this is also so because everyone is a carrier of a very unique and a very different manifestation of the Lord's presence within everyone. This manifestation is the most precious and the most valuable thing everyone possesses and has because it constitutes everyone's unique being and existence. If it were possible to withdraw that presence and its manifestation from that person, which constitutes his/her unique and unrepeatable mind and personality, that person would no longer be a self-aware, unrepeatable and unique "I am," but only an empty shell which would tall apart and turn into nothingness.
This is the external or literal meaning of verse 37 in Chapter 10 of the Gospel in Accordance with Matthew.
But, of course, for very important spiritual reasons, Jesus Christ never spoke in the external or literal sense only. In all situations of His life and teaching, Jesus Christ used carefully selected words and statements that would convey multiple meanings understandable to all levels, degrees, steps, regions, worlds and dimensions of His/Her entire Creation and the Zone of Displacement.
It is necessary to realize that, as Swedenborg already pointed out, when Jesus Christ spoke, He/She was listened to by all members of His/Her entire Creation and the Zone of Displacement. His life and all events of His life, as well as every word He ever spoke, were meticulously, in all minute details, followed, observed and recorded by every single individual in the entire Creation and not only by those who were physically walking and talking with Him on this planet.
This is the reason why Jesus Christ always spoke in the language of correspondences and parables, that is, in representative and symbolic meanings. This language is an all-universal language and able to convey the important spiritual ideas to all worlds and dimensions in the Most High's Creation in a simultaneous and synchronous manner.
Thus, all statements by the Lord Jesus Christ have very little or only marginal relevance to the very narrow, one-sided and rigid conceptualization of earthly relationships and events. So, when He speaks about mother, father, son, daughter, sister, brother, wife, husband, lover or whatever one has, it never means, or it indirectly means, the earthly, physical, or blood relationships among those relatives.
The words "father", "mother", "son", "daughter", "sister" "brother" "wife" "husband" "lover" etc., have manifold or multiple meanings and significance. By these words very important and significant spiritual ideas are being conveyed to the entire Creation at all its times, levels, degrees, steps, dimensions, conditions, states, places, paratimes, or whatever is in being and in existence.
Such is the meaning of every external language and its words used by people for communication with one another. Unfortunately, most people do not realize that their language and all its words has such an important meaning and significance and they limit the understanding of their language only to the external, literal conveyance of their everyday external living.
However, every single word that people use or utter contains much more than what people are trying to convey by it to each other. This is the reason why Jesus Christ stated:
"For by your words you will be justified, and by your
words you will be condemned."
(The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 12, verse 37).
The words used and their adopted manner of speech, through their correspondential meaning, reflect everyone's current spiritual condition. This condition determines one's true relationship with the most important factor of one's life - the Most High, the Lord Jesus Christ. This factor is decisive in the matter of one's justification or condemnation.
In view of the above revealed facts, what was it, then, that Jesus Christ was trying to convey to everyone?
This becomes obvious from the symbolical, representative, or correspondential meaning that the words, "father", "mother", "brother", "sister", "son", "daughter", "wife", etc., have.
These words in the positive sense reflect various aspects of love and wisdom, of good and truth, of charity and faith, and how they relate to people and to all their establishments and their various forms of manifestation. In the negative sense these words reflect various aspects of all evils and falsities and how they interrelate and what forms of manifestation they take.
"Father", in this connotation, as relevant to this topic only, signifies the various loves and their affections that one adopts during one's earthly life or during a certain phase of manifested life at various levels, regions, and dimensions of the Most High's Creation or in the Zone of Displacement. These loves and their affections become one's life style and one's mode of living with which one fully identifies oneself.
The reason why the word "loves" is used in plural instead of singularly (as the English language would require) is to reflect corresponding significance of the fact that one consists of many very specific and intimate loves and their very specific and intimate subjective and personal affections that constitute one's life. Each specific love of one's life corresponds to different spiritual states and processes either in a positive or a negative sense. The singular mode of the word "love" cannot convey the multiple specific meaning of each particular love. It can convey only a general summarized and all-inclusive condition which is not sufficient for dealing with the specificity and intimacy of the content of each love one has and experiences. This is the reason why it is very often necessary to use the plural mode of such words as "love", "evil", "good", "truth", "falsity", etc. (that is, "loves", "evils", "goods", "truths", "falsities", etc.).
In this respect the stifling rules of grammar must be broken since the law of spiritual correspondences supersedes any external grammatical rules that very often don't allow expression of the true meaning of correspondences contained in a used word.
Thus, the word "father" here means various specific, private, individualized, intimate and very often secret loves and their numerous affections that constitute or entirely influence one's current life style, one's personality, one's behavior, one's mentality and everything else in one's everyday living.
To love one's father more than the Lord signifies, in this connotation, to give preference to one's external attachments that one is affected by and that one learns to love, to follow and to abide by in one's life. When one starts to love one's various attachments on the account of loving the Lord above everything, one falls into a trap by being ruled and enslaved by one's attachments. In this respect, one loses one's freedom and independency.
However, if one continues to love the Lord above all one's attachments, one loves one's true essence and substance, one's internals where the Lord always is and one maintains one's freedom, independency and individuality. In this case, one rules and controls all one's loves and their affections. To rule and control all one's loves and their affections is possible only from the Lord within because only the Lord knows exactly, in an absolute sense, the full nature, content, meaning, outcome and consequence of any loves, affections and attachments. As long as these loves serve one's ruling love - love to the Lord Jesus Christ above all other loves, they serve their use and they support the positive state and one's freedom and independency.
On the other hand, in the Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 14, verse 26, the word "hate" is used. It says there:
"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father . . . "
In this connotation the word "father" signifies all one's loves and their affections, attractions, ideas, concepts, attachments, etc., which are of an evil and destructive nature. They close the way to the Lord Jesus Christ and make it impossible to establish any proper relationship with the most important factor in one's life - with the Most High, one's Creator.
In a deeper and more spiritual sense, the word "father" means to love external doctrines, ideas, concepts, religions, churches, philosophies, etc., more than the internal presence (in one's Inner Mind) of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself/Herself.
In the connotation of the Gospel According to Luke, the word "father" signifies to love all productions and fabrications of the hells that fabricate various pseudo-religions, doctrines and ideas which destroy the true meaning and understanding of any spirituality and, most importantly, of the Most High.
If one is ever to establish a proper, correct and loving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the true Most High, one must learn to despise and hate all evils (plural) and falsities produced by the negative state in the hells. One can never find any proper path to one's true self and the true Most High as long as one adopts, accepts or identifies oneself with any such hellish ideas, concepts, doctrines, religions or whatever they have there. One can never become a true follower and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ by such evil means.
Unless one is a disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, one can never find oneself and determine who one is and why one lives here or anywhere else. This can be found out only from within, from the Lord Jesus Christ's presence in that within, that is, in one's true Inner Mind. However, any acceptance, adoption of or identification with any form of hellish loves to evils closes the way to that within, that is, to the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the reason why the Lord Jesus Christ used such a seemingly harsh word as "hate". One must truly hate evils and their falsities because otherwise they destroy one.
The word "mother" in this particular connotation, as relevant to this topic only, signifies all churches in being and existence and their particular respective doctrines, dogmas, rituals, procedures, taboos, prescriptions and dictates and all truths or falsities respectively, that they contain. To love one's mother more than the Lord signifies an infatuation with giving preference to and considering the external institutions, organizations, customs, conventions, traditions, cultures, churches, religions, etc., adopted by various societies, more important than anything else, and deriving all knowledges, understandings, and truths from them instead of from one's internals, that is, from one's Inner Mind where the Most High can be found. Thus, instead of relying on and deriving everything from the Most High in one's true Inner Mind, one relies on and derives everything from those external establishments and organized churches that supposedly have a license on the real truth.
Therefore, one is to learn to love the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the true Most High, above all those mentioned external establishments and to consider them, if they contain any positive connotation at all, only a means to getting inward into the presence of the Most High for the purpose of loving Him/Her more and more everyday and for the purpose of deriving all knowledge and truth from the very source of that knowledge and truth - the Most High.
On the other hand, in the connotation of the Gospel According to Luke's statement, in verse 26, Chapter 14, to hate one's mother signifies to despise and to reject all numerous falsities produced in the hells and adopted and manifested in the form of various religions, churches and their doctrines as well as by all external institutions, organizations, states, conditions, customs, traditions, conventions and cultures that either deny the being and existence of God or proclaim false gods to be the true God.
It is obvious that any identification with the above ("mother") leads to one's destruction and the total closure of the path to the true knowledge of the Most High, the Lord Jesus Christ, others and oneself. Without such knowledge and its application one will remain totally lost as long as one clings to one's "mother" and "father," etc.
The word "son," in this particular connotation, as relevant to this subject only, signifies all consequences, results and outcomes that one acquires from one's "father," that is, as a result of accepting, adopting and identifying with all one's loves and their various affections. As everyone knows, any love and its affection produces or bears fruits. Those fruits and the consequences of the manifestation of the adopted loves and their affections is what the word "son" means and signifies. "Son" means the result, consequence and outcome of one's love and its affection. If it is not love to the Lord above all and above everything, it will result in the consequences and outcomes that will lead one away from the Most High, and, thus, in an ultimate sense, from oneself. This is the reason why it is necessary, vital and crucial to love the Lord Jesus Christ more than all the fruits, results and consequences of one's affections and identities. If such affections and identities are of an evil source they should be despised and not permitted to enter one's life at all.
The word "daughter," in this particular connotation, signifies the fruits, results, consequences and outcomes of reliance on and derivation from all those establishments that are signified and symbolized by the word "mother" (as described above). These either have to be loved less than the Most High, if they have any positive connotation, or they are to be totally despised and rejected if they are of the hellish origin.
The text in Luke uses the word "children" which signifies, in this particular connotation, a summary of all consequences, outcomes and results of the state of all one's loves and their affections ("father") and the process of one's infatuation with and giving preference to the external factors as the only source of truth (` `mother" - as reflected in churches, institutions, traditions, customs, conventions, cultures, etc.) on account of one's own internal spirit. If these are solely of hellish origin they should be totally rejected and despised because they lead away from any good and from any truth and trap one into accepting evil as good, and falsity as truth.
The word "brother," in this particular connotation, signifies any other than one's own loves and their affections that can be found in other people, which are either of a very similar nature or they follow a similar life path. One should never give any preference, admiration and love to other people's way of life above the Lord, no matter how pleasant, how admirable, how successful and how effective they are, because one's life can neither be derived from nor be dependent upon anyone else's life and love. Should such love and life be of a hellish origin, one should reject and despise the evilness of that life and its love, and not that particular person, so that one is not hindered by one's inappropriate admiration of other forms of love from the true source and origin of one's life, that is, from the Lord Jesus Christ within. One cannot find the way to the Most High through others or by others or by their ways of living, loving and functioning. One can do so only through and by oneself from the presence of the Most High in one's Inner Mind.
The word "sister," in this particular connotation, signifies any other concepts, ideas, doctrines, churches, religions, institutions, establishments, traditions, etc., and their truths or falsities that are of a very similar nature or content as those with which one is infatuated or identified. The danger of loving one's "sister" more than the Most High in this respect is in using the similar ideas and concepts contained in those other sources to justify, to excuse and to prove one's own point, philosophies, views, life style and particularly the need and bad habit of deriving everything from the external establishments and factors. If everyone else derives everything from these external factors, then one tends to accept such a bad habit - deriving everything from the externals - as an irreversible necessity and the only reality, instead of considering it as a foolish choice that has no true reality and, therefore, can be changed or totally rejected. This is what the Lord Jesus Christ meant by the word "to hate" one's sister.
The word "wife," in this particular connotation, doesn't refer to one's physical spouse (in this respect the word "husband" would have a similar significance and meaning) but to a certain spiritual state into which every person enters regardless of whether that person is a male or a female. Thus, in this context the word "wife" is in no way related to a woman only. It relates equally to both men and women.
In this respect, "wife" signifies appropriation, accumulation and incorporation of a certain, specific life style and relevant to it certain specific spiritual and non-spiritual ideas that become one's professed life philosophy and religion. This philosophy and religion becomes one's possession and property that needs to be jealously guarded by all means, protected, preserved; adored, worshipped and never shared with anyone or with only a very few selected people.
The very negative connotation of this meaning is obvious because such a philosophy or religion ("wife") leads one to the attitude of self-righteousness, self-exclusivity, intolerance and all other similar atrocities and abominations of the hells. This is the reason why the Lord Jesus Christ stated that this "wife" must be hated, that is, totally rejected and despised if one is to become His true follower and disciple.
One cannot very well be a spiritual human being, a follower of the Lord, if one is in love with one's spouse (symbolically speaking), that is, with one's own appropriations, identifications, accumulations, possessions and properties. This kind of love takes away one's ability to love the Lord Jesus Christ above all and above everything. It closes all paths to the positive state while, at the same time, it opens all the doors into the hells, that is, to the negative state. It also repudiates one's ability to truly love oneself and others and, therefore, it closes any path to within and to acquirement of the proper knowledge of the Most High, others and oneself.
"To hate his own life also," in this particular connotation, as relevant to this topic only, signifies to reject and to despise everything that one considers to be one's life from the standpoint of one's external mind. "One's own life" means everything related to earthly, worldly, corporeal, material and sensual matters or to what Swedenborg called "proprium," that is, one's own, as produced from the sensory inputs and outputs of the physical senses and all consequent derivatives which are assumed to constitute one's life beyond which no other life exists or even is possible. Whatever is one's own, in this particular sense, does not come from the Lord, and, therefore, the Lord cannot be present in it. If it doesn't come from the Lord, then the only place or state it can come from is from the negative state of the hells.
Thus, whatever is one's own, in this connotation, is always evil, unless it is surrendered to the Lord for some specific use. If one doesn't reject this kind of personal or proprial life, one has no true life at all because the true life can come only from the Absolute Source of Life - the Most High.
This is the reason why in verse 39 of Chapter 10 of the Gospel in Accordance with Matthew, Jesus Christ said:
"He who finds his life will lose it, and he who
loses his life for My sake will find it."
"To find one's life" means to lose it because what one finds is the temporary, transient, material and external factors of life that are fallaciously considered to be one's own life. The moment one begins to consider this to be one's true life, one really loses life because there is no true life possible in worldly and earthly things by themselves and in themselves. Thus, one turns one's back on the true Source of Life - the Lord Jesus Christ, and considers what is not life to be true life. This is the loss of one's true life.
On the other hand, "he who loses his life for My sake will find it," signifies that once one realizes that what he/she considered to be life is not a true life but that there is a true Source of Life - the Lord Jesus Christ, he/she will stop considering something to be life which is not true life, and therefore will lose that kind of life. At the moment of this kind of realization, the door to the true Source of Life is open and one will find one's true life in the Lord Jesus Christ Who is ever present in one's Inner Mind.
From this it obviously follows that there is no true, genuine life in the externals, in anything worldly, material, earthly, or sensorial. The true life can be found only in the states of the internals, in the Inner Mind, because it is there where the true Lord Jesus Christ, Life in Himself/Herself and by Himself/Herself, abides and can be found. The true reality is there, the kingdom of God. After all, the kingdom of God is within everyone (Luke, Chapter 17, verse 21).
The realization and actualization of this fact in one's life brings about the loss of the found life (earthly, external life) and that loss, in return, gives one the opportunity to find the true life in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In verse 13 of Chapter 10 in Matthew and verse 27 of Chapter 14 of Luke, Jesus Christ states:
"And he who doesn't take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me."
Luke's version is as follows:
"And whoever doesn't bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple."
"To take or to bear one's cross" signifies, in this particular connotation, to recognize an important fact that whoever volunteered to participate in the negative state, no matter where or when, he/she volunteered for certain important spiritual reasons, with a certain specific assignment, purpose, and mission to illustrate, demonstrate and exemplify by one's life certain aspects of the positive or negative state, or both. Mostly, it is both. The consequences and outcomes of such a mission, because it is, after all, a mission into the negative state, is not always a pleasant one and contains a lot of problems and sufferings.
The recognition of the necessity to bear the consequences of one's voluntarily chosen assignment in the negative state and accept this in modesty, humbleness, and humility means to bear one's cross and, of course, it means to do the will of God. Whoever doesn't want to accept this fact in modesty, humbleness and humility, and constantly complains about his/her fate, deal, or condition, and desires to recede or to give up his/her assignment and mission is the one who does not bear his/her cross and, therefore, doesn't do the will of God. Such a person is not worthy of Jesus Christ or to be His disciple. The reason is that such a person breaks his/her promise and vow to do the will of God in the negative state, which he/she volunteered to do in the first place.
When one hears the Lord and does His/Her will from one's own free will and by one's own free choice, one becomes the Lord's "mother " "brother " "sister " etc. meaning that one adopts the true spiritual doctrine of Jesus Christ from within and with all its consequences, results, outcomes and fruits. In those kinds of fruits, Jesus Christ is always present as in His/Her own and from them one can properly relate to the Lord in the most loving and wise manner and way.
To do the Lord's will, with deep love and appreciation, with patience, devotion, faithfulness, loyalty, without any complaints and bitterness but in modesty, humbleness and humility and to consider doing the Lord's will to be the most important thing that has the highest and the foremost priority of all, this is what is meant by loving the Lord Jesus Christ above all and above everything.”
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