VIRTUES & VICES
"Ladies and Gentlemen, young and old, sit back, buckle up, and prepare yourself for the ride of your life.
"You will have thrills, you will have spills, you will have chills, you will on occasion feel like giving up.
"And there will be times you will wish to get off this roller coaster, but please don't, it's a long drop.
"But be not dismayed, you will not be alone on your journey. You will be carefully observed and supported throughout the ride, even through the times you feel abandoned and on your own.
"Conversely, ignoring the brake produces confidence, joy, a sense of empowerment, and ever-expanding faith.
"The Management and Creator of this rollercoaster highly recommends that you do not touch the brake which is at your disposal.
"You will find many occasions on this ride in which you will be tempted to use this steering wheel, especially in the beginning of your journey. Like the brake at your feet, the more times you utilize the steering controls, the more often you will be tempted to use it in the future.
"On the track before you are numerous junctions where the track creates a choice for you to make. And at these junctions you will be tempted to steer your vehicle onto what appears to be the most interesting, or the easiest of the choices. It is strongly advised that you consult your Book of instructions at these junctures.
"Should you choose the wrong track, you will have difficulty finding your way back to the main track. But it is important that you use diligence in doing so, as the farther you venture from the main track, the less will be your resolve to return, until your desire disappears altogether.
"But don't be discouraged. Side tracks are adventures unto themselves, and the lessons learned at each are for your benefit. Side tracks are a part of the Mastercreation of this rollercoaster. They are not built for your detriment, but for your achievement. The dangers are only present if you allow yourself to get trapped or comfortable in the side tracks.
"On those occasions when a decision has to be made, it is highly recommended that you ask his guidance. And like the Book of instructions, it is also highly recommended that you get to know him well, and follow his guidance.
"You will also find that the more control you take of your vehicle, the less you consult your Book of instructions, and the less you consult your Helper - the farther your Helper will withdraw from your side. Should you become aware of this withdrawal, and that you are not consulting him as often as you had been, and that you have not been referring to your Book of instructions - then immediately stop what you are doing, study your Book of instructions, and have a long discourse with your Helper.
"The above is especially important if you find yourself feeling comfortable in that abandoned state.
It is like Sweet and Sour Pork. Both are there, both come together; but whether it is sweet, or whether it is sour, depends on that which you choose to taste from it.
A child who sits on his father's shoulders is "high." A mountain climber who ascends Mount Everest is "High." An astronaut circling the earth is "high."
A man or woman who never allows themself to ascend higher than their father's shoulders will believe that they have reached "high enough," and will be afraid of going any higher. Meanwhile, the mountain climber sees fear as a challenge, and seeks higher mountains to climb.
The familiar feels safe, like "family" where all fairly well know what to expect from one another. The convict in prison feels "safe." The employee on the assembly line feels "safe." The child or wife in an abusive home feels "safe."
The feeling of safety comes with familiarity. Change produces fear, and the fear of change compounds that fear. A person may hate the situation they are in, and even fear it greatly - but the fear of change into the unfamiliar is even more frightening.
And fear is the opposite of faith. Faith demands change. Faith is achieved, and is cultivated by moving into the unknown, the untried, and the fearful.
Faith is a muscle. If it is exercised, it grows in strength. If it is pushed to its limits, it grows even stronger and faster.
A muscle not exercised will atrophy, that is, it will weaken and wither, like a flower without rain.
God will provide what we ask for, if we truly want it. He provides the stairs for us to reach it, but we have to climb.
And the more we climb, the easier it becomes to climb, and the more and faster we desire to climb.
And whatever he directs that drive toward, he wants more of it. And the more he gets, the more he wants. That direction may be money, fame, love....
Or it may be Faith.
Or it may be God.
Like the dieter, who when he is dieting, loses weight rapidly, and when he is no longer dieting, puts it on rapidly.
But how about lazy people, how can they be called obsessive-compulsive? Lazy is the direction in which they have directed their efforts. And the longer they are on this earth, the lazier they become.
Have you ever heard the expression, "if you want something done, go to a busy person"?
If you want strong muscles, expect to receive a very heavy box of weights, a job lifting bales of hay, or a shovel stuck in a very large pile of manure that must be moved.
If you desire Faith, watch for a very rickety old stairs which leads to dilapidated bridges over treacherous ravines. And when you are able to run the course blindfolded, and joyously do so, you will know that you have been "given" that which you have prayed for.
Life is a test for those who challenge it and strive to meet its challenge.
[For the conclusion, see Hidden Truth]