A Master Beyond Ourselves
by Michael Dinkins
Throughout history, humans have been seeking profound answers to some simple questions. Who am I? Why am I here? How can I master life so that my pursuit of peace and happiness can be fulfilled?
Many believe the path to becoming our own masters in life is found by developing our consciousness – learning to dwell in the moment by letting go of painful thoughts and memories that hinder self-actualization, satisfaction and contentment.
When I hear or read about these techniques and their various applications, it prompts new questions for me. Do we truly have the power within ourselves to become who and what we want to be? Does God fit into it at all? Do we not need God as our master, to abide by what He says we can or cannot do? After all, some of the things we desire are part of our basic human nature, yet the Bible says we should not pursue or engage in them. Can we single-handedly navigate right and wrong in every circumstance?
The Bible is a complex yet very simple book. It tells us we were created and that without the creator, we cannot survive on our own. It gives us clear guidance for living our lives in ways that please our creator, and by virtue of pleasing our creator, we find the peace and direction we seek. It puts before us a choice – believe God and be subject to His Word or do as we choose.
Someone has to be the master with the authority to decide for us. Who will it be?
The choice is simple – God or self
Those who choose self as master carry heavy burdens. They often consider what others have learned before adopting a frame of mind or making a decision. While information and guidance from others may influence their thinking, ultimately, they alone decide what is best for their life journeys. They alone must also accept and live with the outcomes, whatever they turn out to be.
While that progression of thought is natural to so many, it does not make sense to me. Let me say it this way. The personal conviction that “this is my journey and I will decide what is best for me” conflicts with my belief that we are not in this alone. If we were created, the creator is most certainly a part of our journeys, whether or not we acknowledge and embrace His presence.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe learning from others, meditation, healthy lifestyles and positive thinking contribute to better outlooks and happier lives. But I also believe these are choices, and that these choices are contributions the creator enables us to find, explore and share.
Please hear me out. I would like to express why I believe in God, that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and that while I cannot live a sinless life, I am saved and will have eternal life with God in a place best described as paradise!
Here is what I believe.
We are not here by chance
I do not believe you and I are here by accident, or because males and females are able to mate, or due to a series of random mutations or evolution. It is simply impossible for me to see you, myself and the human race as an unintended outcome of arbitrary events!
What are the odds that unplanned phenomena would give humans the ability to procreate in an environment conducive to life – and have these mutations happen at the same time? The chances are as minuscule as if I were to take a grain of sand, hide it on one of the thousands of beaches somewhere on earth, and you managed to go out and find that single grain of sand on the very first try!
Some say there are billions of galaxies and that somewhere in the universe, the convergence of human procreation in a habitable environment had to be possible. Considering each galaxy is unique, this further diminishes the odds that evolution could simply materialize on earth – one planet in an infinite expanse of galaxies – and sustain life until we somehow evolved into a male and female species with the ability to think and communicate our thoughts.
I believe we are here because God put us here, not as an afterthought or on a whim, but by a deliberate act of creation. God intended for us to have life.
Life is a journey, and it is not ours by choice
We had no say in how our journeys began – who our parents would be, the color of our eyes, our gender, ethnicity, or whether we would be born in America, Africa, the Middle East or elsewhere. How do we master an existence we did not start?
Our journeys will also end. We have no say in this, either. There is an appointed time when our physical bodies will no longer be, even if by suicide. There is an appointed time. How do we master an eventuality in which we can never be in control?
These realities give us a whole new perspective for thinking about who we are and why we’re here. I submit that we are here for a purpose much higher and greater than ourselves. God is a spirit. We are also spirits living inside bodies that will return to dust. God made us the way we are, knowing the flesh has desires that are difficult to resist. Some ask why we should resist our yearnings, since human desire is as natural as the sunlight.
St. Augustine was talking about a spirit-to-spirit relationship when he wrote, “You have made us for Yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.”
This restlessness is part of our human struggle with who we allow to be master, God or self? For me, the answer is clear. God is our creator, so He gets to decide what is right – even when we do not understand or agree with His Word. Choosing to live our lives with any other master allows the inferior to take precedence over the superior, which in any context is not logical.
It is our purpose to have a friendship with God
When we choose God as our way, when we submit to his Word, we allow Him to become the master beyond ourselves. He loves each of us. The question is, do we love Him? Loving God is an action and fervent commitment to seek Him out in our daily lives – it is a way of life.
Michael Dinkins is an elder and Sunday school teacher at Rockbridge Church in Allen, Texas.