GOOD MORNING! How do you get the most out of your life and make the most of your life? It all depends on setting priorities and goals, making decisions and following through. In essence, using your free will.
What does the Bible teach regarding free will? The Almighty says, "See, I have put before you, life and good, death and evil ... choose life so that you may live..." (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Why are we instructed to choose "life" so that you may live rather than choose "good"? To choose life is to
choose to live in reality and to accept the pain of living in reality rather than seeking comfort, indulgence, escape.
If a person wants to live in reality and to strengthen his free will, what can he do? Here is a 5 point mini-course in strengthening your free will!
1) Be aware. We are making decisions all of the time. Once you become sensitive to the fact that you are constantly making choices, then you can monitor your choices. At this point, you'll be using your free will actively and not passively. Don't let your decisions just happen. Take control. Ask yourself: Is this the decision that I want to be making? If it isn't, then change it.
2) Be your own person. Don't accept society's assumptions as your own unless you've thought them through and agree with them. Take responsibility for your decisions. It's amazing that during the Civil War in the United States virtually everyone
north of the Mason-Dixon line was against slavery and virtually everyone south of the Line was pro-slavery.
What happened? Did all of the "evil" people gravitate to the South like to a magnet (or like snowbirds to the sun)?
We are all products of our society.
Likewise, don't be a slave to a past decision; just because you once thought that you couldn't do something, doesn't mean that the decision still applies. Start each day anew. Constantly reevaluate where you are in life in order to be sure that
what you chose then is what you would still choose now. Make sure it's you who is guiding your decisions, not your decisions that are guiding you.
3) Understand that the battle is between the desires of the body and the aspirations of the soul. There are times when you
know objectively that something is good for you, but your physical desires get in the way and distort your outlook. The ultimate desire of the body is to take it easy - to escape and exist in perpetual comfort rather than make the effort to
confront life head-on. The ultimate desire of the soul is to live fully, vibrantly with every fiber of your being to do what's meaningful, what's right, what's productive.
4) Identify with your soul. Your soul is the real you! Therefore, if you can identify with the desires of the soul, it will satisfy the needs of the real you. Your task is to train the body and coax it to reflect the reality of the soul. Use the same strategy that the body uses on you! The body says "Just one bite of cake." You respond, "Sure! In just 10 minutes" and then you push it off another 10 minutes. Don't say, "I am hungry" - say "My body is hungry." Identify with your soul and make your body a reflection of your soul. If you do that, you'll have real inner peace.
5) Ask "What does G-d want?" You are using your power of choice to merge with the most meaningful and powerful Force in the universe: the transcendental!
The ultimate form of living is eternity, that is, life without any semblance of death. Therefore, attaching yourself to God is attaching to the highest and purest form of life itself: Eternity. That is the ultimate use of our free will. That's what God means when He says in our Torah, "Choose life." Choose to make His will your will. If you do, you'll be a little less than God Himself. Partners in perfecting the world!Love Yehuda
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