Letting Go, Part 7: Earthly Attachments

Posted on 08/05/2018 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

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HIS BANNER OVER ME

He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
He is the Shepherd and we are his beloved,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
He calls us to His Banqueting Table,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!


MIGHTY IS OUR GOD

Mighty is our God
Mighty is our King
Might is our Lord
Ruler of everything

His name is higher,
higher than any other name
His power is greater,
for he has created everything


TO HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE

To him who sits on the throne
and unto the Lamb
To him who sits on the throne
and unto the Lamb

Be blessing and glory
and honor and power forever
Be blessing and glory
and honor and power forever


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For the past few weeks, we've talked about Letting Go of:

Fear
Guilt and Blame
Shame
Grief
Lies and
Illusions

And today, let's conclude this series by talking about Letting Go, Part 7: Earthly Attachments


Let's start by reading from
1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (TLS)

29 But this I say, brethren, time is coming to an end. In the present, those who have wives should be as though they had none;
30 And those who weep, as though they wept not; and those who rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and those who buy, as though they did not possess;
31 And those who borrow this world, as though they did not own it; for the form of this world is passing away.


Personally, I can remember hearing this passage on many occasions, and feeling holy for just hearing it. But it's not just poetry. Rather, it is instructions. And rather strange ones at that.

Are you married? Be as though you aren't. Are you crying? Be as though you aren't. Are you rejoicing? Be as though you aren't. Kinda weird. But let's get a clearer understanding of what this means for us today.

Verse 31 ends with these words: "For the form of this world is passing away."

The word translated there as "form" means "circumstance," or "external condition." Take water as an example. Have you ever seen a geiser? It's water that is shooting up in the air. Some of them can be quite impressive, in terms of our human reactions to them. But when the pressure stops, and the water stills, where is the geiser?


"For the form of this world is passing away."


Consider a wave on the ocean. The wave rises, it can grow very great, it can sink ships, and churn oceans, and dash sailors upon the jagged rocks on the ocean floor. But the wave is not forever. And when the force that moves the water along in the form that we call a wave, where is the wave?


"For the form of this world is passing away."


We get so lost in the temporary form of this world, and the things in it, that we lose sight of that which is lasting and real. The geiser is real. The wave is real. and This world is real. But all of them are merely forms, TEMPORARY forms, which are not solid, are not forever, are all passing away. And this world is a temporary circumstance, an external condition, like a wave on the ocean.

And speaking of waves, consider with me for a moment the nature of a wave. As we watch a wave approaching, we are fooled by its appearance. It LOOKS like a single wave, like a separate entity. But it is not. The water simply ripples, and what we call a wave is just a really big ripple.

As it moves, the water rises and falls. When it reaches you, it's not the same water that you saw just a moment ago. It is constantly being created. The wave as a separate form is simply an illusion. It is a circumstance of the water. It is an external condition.

Just like the world. Just like something you buy, such as

a car.
a house.
a boat.
a television.
a household appliance.
a grave plot.
a tombstone.
an urn for your ashes.

They are all waves. Circumstances. External conditions. Temporary forms.

As Psalm 33:6 (TLS) says,

6 By the word of the I Am were the heavens made; and all their hosts by the breath of His mouth.

This is not something that happened once, long long ago, and then stopped, whose after-effects are the random events and unpredictable chance that we call reality. Rather, the word of God is alive.

Right now.

Just like the wave in the ocean is evidence that the water is moving right now, so the earth, the stars, our bodies, and what we call material reality, are evidence that the Word of God is in action right now, and the Breath of God is breathing right now, taking the temporary shape of what we call the world, and this life.

But those things are not the Breath, nor are they the Breather. But only a temporary form which constantly reminds us that He is here.


"For the form of this world is passing away."


So, what are the things of this world? What are the temporary forms? Whatever will pass away, that is temporary. Here are just a few examples:

The human body.

The human mind.

The self that is made up of past, and stories, and personalities, and time.

Material posessions.

All circumstances.

Belief systems and Religions.

The roles you play, such as mother, father, son, daughter, husband, wife, pastor, missionary, evangelist, supervisor, employee, entrepreneur, student, teacher, healer, prayer warrior, Christian, male, female, widow, master, slave, victim, seeker, guru, animal, human.


Ecclesiastes 3:19 (TLS) says this:

19 For that which happens to the sons of men also happens to the beasts; the same thing happens to them both. As the one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, so that man is not superior to beasts, for everything is passing away.


They all have the same breath, and everything is passing away.


"For the form of this world is passing away."


When the leaves russtle, and the branches sway, we know the wind is there. And when a baby laughs or an animal cries, we know God is there.

What is not passing away? The Eternal One: the Word, or the Creative Power, that is God.


For the past several weeks, we've talked about Letting Go of six more specific things. All of those things are things of this earth. Things that are passing away, or things that are the results of our attachments to things that are passing away.


FEAR.

When we take the temporary forms too seriously, our bodies, the thoughts in our heads, the self the mind thinks is us, the things we think we own, the future we think is real, the mind that thinks WE are the ones thinking these things, the circumstances in the world, the thought-based finances we think we do or don't own, and so-on, when we take these things so seriously, getting lost in them and forgetting they are just vapors, just temporary expressions, THEN we experience fear.

But the form of this world is passing away.


GUILT AND BLAME.

When we take the past for something that is real right now, rather than just a memory trace in the head, we assign blame either to the self the mind thinks is us, or the self the mind thinks is another.

When we get lost in the temporary circumstances, in the temporary forms that come and go, we feel guilt, or assign blame. But the form of this world is passing away.


SHAME.

When we forget that the past no longer exists except as a memory, and we relive that memory as though it is real right now, and we get lost in the illusion that God has NOT, indeed, wiped away the past like He SAID He has, then we experience shame.

But the form of this world is passing away.


GRIEF.

When a temporary form of the Word and Breath of God dissolves, we experience grief. And when we hold on to the illusion that we are now incomplete, or we have been robbed, because a temporary form has returned to God, like a temporary wave returns to the deep, then we start dwelling in grief.

If the truth be told, grief would quickly dissolve if we were not attached to the temporary forms of this world.

For the form of this world is passing away.


LIES.

When we lie, whether to ourselves or to another, and whether consciously or without even know it, it is because we are lost in the temporary form of this world. What others think of us, what might happen to us, whether someone's feelings might get hurt (or rather, whether someone's mind might hurt its self in response to something you said)... these are all illusions, temporary forms, external circumstances.

And we lie to ourselves, or rather we believe the lies our mind tells itself, to protect the self that it thinks we are. These are all temporary forms. Waves on the ocean. Clouds in the sky. They come, and they go, and their form is just a temporary illusion.


ILLUSIONS.

We label things with nice-sounding words to cover up what their true nature, when the reality of something's form challenges our choices or our sense of self.

"Abortion" instead of "The Murder of an Unborn Baby."

"Filet Mignon," instead of "The corpse of a slaughtered animal."

And we also cover up the truth of the temporary nature of the person we think we are, the mind-made self composed of likes and dislikes, things that happened in the past, and things that the mind in us and in others says about this temporary body, this temporary person, this temporary self; we believe that it is eternal; and because, deep down, we know that it is passing away, we fear death, and we hold on to salvation, not as a means to deny the self, but as a means to preserve it from its inevidable passing away.

But the form of this world is passing away.


Out of deep inner fear, we feel the compulsion to cling, to be attached.

"But if I let go of all these things, what do I hold onto? I CAN'T just float around in mental space!" That is the earth-bound mind, thinking that IT has to wake up; IT has to be YOU.

The earthly mind is passing away.

That mind that you trust to make your decision, to tell you right from wrong, to lead you to salvation. It thinks it got saved. It thinks it has a relationship with God. It thinks it will live forever.

And it becomes offended at the idea that it is not the real you, but is, instead, a temporary form, a temporary tool, a temporary expression, of the Life you are, and its time will come to an end.

For the form of this world is passing away.


And so, those who are married, are as they are not married. That doesn't mean you don't play the role of a husband or a wife to the best of your ability. It simply means that you KNOW it is only a temporary role, and NOT who you are.

Are you weeping or rejoicing? Today's passage does not mean that you pretend those feelings are not there. But you do not identify with them. They are just forms. And just as surely as they came, they will also pass away. They are just forms on the stage of life.

"And those who buy, as though they did not possess."

You think you own something? Ownership is an illusion. It's just a temporary form. Can you own a cloud? It is just a vapor that is here for an instant, and then vanishes away. Can you own a possession? It is just a vapor that is here for an instant, and then vanishes away. It cannot add to who you really are; it can only build up your false sense of self.

God owns everything. We merely borrow it for awhile; like borrowing a cloud.

"And those who borrow this world, as though they did not own it."

We act as though we own the world. If land is unclaimed, at least on paper, we claim it as our own. We buy it. We sell it. We poison it. We own other living beings, because their skin is another color, their gender seems weaker, their minds are not as clever, or they moo or cluck instead of speaking the human tongue.

But this is an illusion. We own nothing. We are only borrowing this world. We are only borrowing the clouds. We can handle it with care and compassion, or pollute it with flippancy and greed. But it is only a temporary form. And the CAUSE of that form is always underneath.

If the veil were to be suddenly taken away, and we saw the I Am underneath, underneath this planet as we poison its air and pollute its waters, underneath other people as we put them down and think evil thoughts about them, underneath the animals, as we treat them like commodities and abuse and kill them to entertain our eyes and tongues? Underneath what is right now all around us in this present moment, as we reject it for some other time and some other story?

If all those forms, of the earth, of other people, of the animals, of the present moment, if their forms were taken away and the Word of God and the Breath of God that animated them was revealed, would our actions toward those forms seem appropriate?


For the form of this world is passing away.


When you learn to look past the forms, not with the mind and conceptual thoughts, but with the Life that You Are, and with that Presence, you look beyond form and see the timeless, formless, Eternal underneath, you will see God everywhere.

You will experience Love at all times in all things. You will feel His Presence as You are Present, just as a fish is in the water that fills the sea.

Isaiah 11:9 (KMV)

9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

How can you pollute for convenience or kill for appetite or belittle for ego, when you are so fully Present and so unattached to temporary forms, including the mind's thoughts about those forms, that you become fully aware of the Timeless Life of the Life Breather as the cause and animator of these crashing waves and vaporous clouds that we call our posessions and our stories and our life?

And in that place, you are fully immersed in the knowledge of God, or the awareness of God, as a palpable Presence, a tangible Flood of the Love and the Life that gives all things movement and form.

And you can do no harm, for the knowledge of God covers you -- you move in it, you breathe it -- as the waters cover the sea.

A fish lost in a thinking mind could argue there is no water. Just like a man lost in a thinking mind could argue there is no God. But when these temporary forms we think are real all dissolve, The I AM will be all that remains; and whatever forms with which His Life adorns itself next.

The sunshine and the rain, the flowers and the trees, the song of the birds, the breeze through the rushes, all these things are beautiful because He is there.

The streets in the city, the busy city sidewalks, the sound of footsteps and honking of car horns, these things are beautiful too, because He is there.

Whatever form He takes right now where you are, that form is beautiful, because it is His. So choose the Life that causes the form. Let go of the dillusion that forms are what matter, and thus let go of your attachments to them.

For the form of this world is passing away.

You can fight that fact, and try to preserve them, hold on to them, make them last forever, and make yourself suffer as a result; or you can FULLY SURRENDER! Right Here, and Right Now! Not fighting the Present Moment by dwelling in the past or dwelling in the future, not fighting the gift of Now, which is the only time that Life ever happens, by comparing it with yesterday or with some ideal.

But instead, dwelling in gratitude, dwelling in Presence, dwelling in Life, beyond concepts, beyond beliefs, beyond things, beyond thoughts, beyond stories, beyond time.

And when you LET GO of everything that is passing away, all that's left is This.