The Rat Race is Not God's Intention

by Ernest O'Neill

"Led By The Nose!"

We get onto our rat race and we keep on going and going and going. Most of us can actually see no end to it because we are being led by the nose. If you step back loved ones, it's like being led by the nose. It's like some fellow has you by the nose and says, "Come on, just a little further and you'll have absolute security. Just a little further and people will really think you're great." We're on a treadmill that just keeps turning and turning and turning. That's what we've said is the situation with most of us.

Does God guide our lives and our jobs and our relationships? Forget it!  He's not in the picture at all except when we're in real trouble. Then we call Him in an emergency for some consultation. But on the whole, we tip our foreheads to Him and we get going, trying to make ourselves secure and of some importance in this world. Most of us live our life like that. Do you see how far it is from Him being king?

A Common Sense Life

Most of life is lived by your common sense. But that's just an excuse we have. We really mean it's lived by our own wills. We do what we want to do and what we think we should do. If I ask you, "Does God want you to do that?" you'll look at me blankly and say, "I don't know. He hasn't said anything to me about it." And I say to you, "Have you asked Him?" You say, "Well, now and again I ask Him." On the whole, we live an unguided life that is driven by our needs and desires.

So the king is not king in our life. In fact, if I ask you what's king in your life, you'll probably say, "Necessity is king in my life. I haven't got the luxury of sitting around, letting somebody else be my king. Necessity -- my needs, and the things I have to do, that's what dominates me. That's the king in my life."

  A Life Lived Together

That wasn't the way it was meant to be. It wasn't meant to be like that. That wasn't God's plan at all. His plan was that you and He would live it together. That you and He would do it together. You are different. You're different, it doesn't matter how close you feel to your loved one beside you. You're different. It doesn't matter how alike you might look to somebody else. You are very different. There's a life that the Creator wants you to live that is different from all the rest of us. He wants you to live it with Him and He wants you to talk it over with Him and He wants you to receive His guidance.

Don't get all funny about it and ask, "Oh, how do you get guidance from God, is it in a vision?" It's through your thoughts. God feeds His thoughts through your mind and through your spirit when you have an attitude to Him that treats Him as king. Now how do you do that?

If you really love and respect someone every time you come to an important (or even an unimportant) decision you'll immediately think "Now what would they do in this situation?

That's part of the way God meant us to live. You and I would size things up, and we'd say, "I didn't come here by chance. There's more to this world than meets the eye. There is a God. He put me here. He put me here for a purpose. I'd better start being interested in what He's thinking." You start treating Him with respect. Then every time you are involved in something, you wonder, "What does He want me to do here? What does He want me to do in this job situation? I think I should change jobs but I wonder what He thinks? What does He think?"

  We "Can't Change Our Spots!"

Now here's the problem. We start to try and live with God as our king but our whole being has gone the other way for so many years that it seems impossible. We find that our whole personality has been moving the opposite way for so long that like a leopard we  "can't change our spots". We're all in the same boat. "The good that I would, I cannot do and the evil I hate is the very thing I do."

There are three parts of our being or our human nature. There's an inside part called the spirit. That's the bit of us that is the real us. That's the part of us that is meant to get to know God. Then around that is our soul. Our soul is the psychological part of us. Around the soul is our body. The plan that God had was that we would get all we needed from Him. With His love, we would get all the things that we needed -- just from His love.

We'd get our security from Him. We would say, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" I don't know how many of you are in that situation. Some of you were good at a certain job, a certain piece of work. You knew you were good at it and God had actually given that to you as a gift. What you should have done was go ahead with that and trust Him to provide the security you needed. But the vocational guidance counselors and all the rest of the people said, "Well, you're not going to make much money at that so you'd better do something that you'll make money at." So you started to decide what you'd make money out of, when actually God's plan was that if you listened to Him and did what He wanted you to do, He would provide for you.

  The Battle For Security, Significance and Importance

Now, I sympathize with every one of you, who say, "That's impractical!" But the fact is you've never tried it. We've all tried the other way and that's why so often we don't know who we are. We were meant to get our security from God.

It was the same with significance and importance. He didn't want us to buy nice cars to make ourselves important in the eyes of our neighbors. He didn't want us even to succeed at our job in order to receive the applause of men. He actually wanted us to do what He wanted us to do. Then we'd have such a sense of approval that we wouldn't need approval from anybody else.

In fact what we did was to decide we wouldn't do that. We decided no, we would get it from the world itself and not from God's love. We'll get our security, from trying to gather our things around us. We'll get our sense of importance from what people think of us. We'll get our happiness from arranging the circumstances right. We have become little puppets governed by sunny days.

We're all ground into that kind of slavery. That's why loved ones, when we start trying to operate the other way, there comes a tremendous collision point. That's what it means when the Bible says, "The desires of the spirit are against those of the flesh." The flesh is actually living from the outside in. That's the flesh. We can be moral in every way. We can be pictures of respectability but we still live by the flesh. That is, we live governed by our things, our circumstances and by other people. The battle comes there. Now, what did God do?

  The Solution

He put our old self into His Son and crucified it with Him. That's what He did. That's the meaning of Jesus' death. That whole nature of yours, it's called the sinful nature at times in the Bible. Or it's the nature of the flesh. That whole sinful nature that operates from the outside in was destroyed in Jesus. That's a fact.

If you say, "Why is it still operating in me?" Because God cannot act against your free will, He can't. God has the whole thing set up. He has actually destroyed all the old way that your nature worked. He has destroyed it. It actually does not exist in eternity at all. But He has allowed the shadow of it to remain in this life so that you can choose what you want to do.

Your old self has been absolutely changed. It no longer has reality in eternity. At the moment of death, you'll be standing, as you were when you came into the world. You'll be like a little baby with nothing on. You'll be standing before your Creator and you'll be looking at Him. Then loved ones, you'll see reality plainly that there is only one person that really matters in this whole universe. There is only one whose opinion counts. There is only one who can look after you. There is only one whose friendship is essential to your happiness and that's our dear Maker, your Father and mine. He wants you to live this life with Him.

The worst thing about this "seen world" is that we allow ourselves to be dominated by it instead of being ruled by the unseen king who still insists on riding a donkey so that you will really crown Him king because you love Him, not because of any big show.