The Three Levels of Mastery

 

June 6, 2017

The Three Levels of Mastery

Every once in a while we ought to go back to our religious roots and reach out to our friends there and extend a life saving branch for them to grab to give them a chance to move on to higher ground.

One of the big problems there holding them back is the idea of salvation, for seeking it takes them a step forward and then just leaves them there when they have many more steps to go.

Evangelicals have a particularly easy salvation. All they have to do is accept the right version of Jesus and believe. Then they feel their salvation is secure.

The Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah witnesses and others believe that faith without works is dead and that you need to show both faith and works to achieve salvation.

But even the religions that require works miss out on seeing the big picture and how much we really need to attain in order to secure liberation from this material world that holds us bound.

Among standard Christian religions, perhaps the Mormons have the most hoops to jump through to achieve their end desire of, not only salvation, but exaltation and onwards to the path of becoming gods.

But even here the injunction is the same as many other religions which merely boils down to “obey all the commandments of God.”

For a Mormon this means the member is to obey the Ten Commandments, love your neighbor, obey all the injunctions in the scriptures, pay tithing, secure a temple recommend, and finally whatever the prophet and General Authorities tell you to do.

They go a few steps beyond the “believe and be saved” crowd, but the end result is the same. After they meet all the requirements for the highest heaven they can then relax, thinking their salvation is secure.

The true seeker may at this point ask – what is the real truth here? After I do all I can do to become a good person and obedient follower – am I done? Or is it possible that more will be required?

Indeed there is more and the scriptures highlight an important end result that must be achieved before we are liberated from this lower world so we have the liberty of going “no more out” of the heavenly realms unless we want to.

The end result that must be accomplished is the overcoming of all things. Here are several scriptures from the Bible on this:

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Rev 2:7

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Rev 2:17

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.“ Rev 3:5

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: (does not have to reincarnate) and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” Rev 3:12

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Rev 3:21

That last one gives an interesting wording telling us that we must overcome the same way that Christ did and in the one life of which we have a record we see that he accomplished what he did after making a great effort.

Now, the LDS scriptures are in harmony with the Bible here:

“And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son. Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God– Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. And they shall overcome all things.” D&C 76:57-60

“And he who is faithful shall overcome all things” D&C 75:16

“He that is faithful and endureth shall overcome the world.” D&C 63:47

It is interesting that the scriptures place a great emphasis on overcoming, yet you never hear a sermon on the subject. Instead, we are just told to yield to Jesus who did all the overcoming for us.

BUT… that is not what the scriptures say. Instead of just taking the lazy man’s way and letting George or Jesus do it, we are told that we are to follow in the steps of Christ and overcome just as he did.

Now the LDS have a very enlighten scripture that points them in the right direction, yet largely ignored. It reads:

“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

“Verily, I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

“But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.” D&C 58:26-29

So here we are clearly told that just obeying commandments like a walking computer program is not enough. There is a power in us that must be accessed of our own free will to bring to pass much righteousness.

So what is it that we must overcome if we are to follow in the footsteps of the Master? To understand perhaps we should examine that which he overcame shortly before his Transfiguration on the Mount.

Let us take a look:

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Matt 4:1-11

These three temptations illustrate three levels of mastery, or overcoming, by Jesus to which each of us must also eventually attain. Few who think they have secured salvation for themselves are close to this necessary accomplishment.

 

The First Level

Let us take a look. The Devil, representing the lower nature of Jesus, first approached him during extreme hunger and suggested he turn stones into bread.

After 40 days without eating it seemed from one angle entirely appropriate to use his divine power to satisfy the physical appetite. Then he realized that more important than satisfying the physical appetite is to feast on the words of God, or the Spirit. The Spirit brings eternal satisfaction whereas that which feeds the physical appetite is temporary and must be fed regularly.

The overcoming represented in this first temptation is the mastery that we must obtain over the physical desires and appetites. Most of the commandments in the scriptures of all religions are centered around guiding the pilgrim toward this mastery.

Religions have a lot of commandments and regulations centered on the sex nature. The basic one is to be faithful to your companion and many seekers face great temptation here when placed in the right circumstances with a very attractive or exciting person.

On top of this many religions have additional restrictions that must be imposed on the sex urge that requires significant self control from the member.

Numerous religions impose additional restrictions on food and drink which are related to the most basic physical desire of all, hunger and thirst.

Mormons command their members to not drink alcohol, tea, coffee or smoke. Others require a vegetarian diet or Islam and the Jews require a restricted diet. Many have some type of fasting or partial fasting days.

These various commandments all guide the seeker towards mastery of the physical appetites, his first great overcoming. This mastery though is not achieved in full by merely obeying outward commandments, but the final overcoming of the appetites occur when the aspiring disciple takes control, through his own initiative, and tests himself until he knows where he is, related to this path.

 

The Second Level

The second level of overcoming is represented in the second temptation:

“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

So, when the disciple overcomes the appetites and all that appeals to the senses what is next? In most religions that about covers it and the person is ready for salvation, but we see here that this is only the first step. In this account we see that Satan moved on to another category of temptation that places a barrier between the seeker and the real world of Spirit.

To what did the temptation appeal to in Jesus when he considered throwing himself off the pinnacle of the temple for all to see?

Right. His ego. If he jumped from the tallest part of the temple and landed safely for all to see then the people would recognize his greatness and immediately listen to him. Such a demonstration would make his work much easier and it would be uncomplicated to convince people he was the Messiah.

Also his ego would immediately get the praise and recognition that it seemed to deserve.

Note that in this temptation Satan tempted him with the scriptures and a literal interpretation thereof. He need not worry about falling from the temple for angels would protect the Messiah.

Jesus was thus tempted to feed and glorify the ego, the false part of himself rather than focusing on the glory of God. He overcame this deceptive use of scripture with pure reason and a counter scripture:

It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

How would such an act tempt God?

Jesus was promised protection until his mission was completed, but it is contrary to the will of heaven to use spiritual powers to glorify the ego. Therefore this act of self-glorification would put God in an awkward situation. If Jesus jumped from the temple and died it would seem that God could not have fulfilled his promise of protection. On the other hand, if Jesus was saved by the power God, then we have God glorifying the ego which runs contrary to his will.

Jesus jumping from the temple would have placed God in a situation where he would have been tempted to break his own promise. This was indeed a cunning temptation created by the Adversary.

Fortunately, Jesus saw through this deception and refused to place the promises of God in a no win situation.

In doing this he demonstrated mastery of the ego.

Many there are who have mastered the pull of the appetites and give of their money but still have not conquered the ego.

The ego tells us how important we are and that we must take steps to let friends, associates and the world know of our specialness.

Just as Jesus was tempted to let everyone know how special he was through a great miracle the ego of the typical spiritually minded person loves to glorify itself by letting others know how wonderful he is.

Making such an attempt is called a glamour.

These glamours are often very subtle. The seeker may even project a false humility so his ego can receive praise for humility from his peers.

Many glamours clamor for attention among the religious and spiritually minded people . Here are a few out of many:

  • He lets others know that he has been saved.
  • He broadcasts to all who will listen of a special relationship he has with God or Jesus.
  • He lets others know how righteous he is or how much he contributes to the church.
  • He projects the image of having the perfect marriage or family.
  • He broadcasts his spiritual experiences
  • He broadcasts his talents, seeking praise for them.

If you are a good or talented person people will find out about it naturally, but the one who is deceived by glamour will broadcast his virtues and abilities in such a way that the ego is fed which puts a cloud between the seeker and the Spirit of truth.

The true disciple must carefully examine his life and motives and one by one eliminate all the subtle ways that he has been feeding the ego,

His glamours may even be associated with a literal, but wrong interpretation of the scriptures as Jesus was tempted to accept.

It is a very natural thing to want to feel important. The key here is to make important contributions and let them speak for themselves. That will produce the greatest satisfaction. All attempts at self-glorification backfire in the end and the ego’s attempts to broadcast them must be put in its correct place.

The problem with these glamours is that those who are deceived the most by them see them the least and will generally feel they have the ego under control. It often takes a personal revelation before they are all seen and mastered.

 

The Third Level

Those disciples who have mastered the appetites as well as the ego still have a great hurdle to overcome as illustrated by the third temptation:

“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Matt 4:1-11

Students do not understand what it was that supplied the real temptation to Jesus in this situation. Most figure that the obtaining of the kingdoms of the world appealed to his ego – that he was tempted to bask in the glory and praise of the world.

But, he mastered the ego in the second temptation. He who has mastered the ego would not be tempted to be a ruler like Caesar to merely satisfy a feeling of importance.

Once a disciple has mastered the appetites, the pull of matter and the ego his main goal will then be to concentrate on a labor that will be helpful for humanity to progress. What is the most frustrating thing for disciples who feel they have an important message or work to share?

The frustration is that many consider it a huge handicap that they do not have more power in the world to draw attention to their labor. Thoughts go through their minds, such as:

  • Wouldn’t it be great if I won the lottery? Then I would have the time and money to really accomplish something.
  • If I were president or an important leader then I could have the influence to cause people to see truth the way I do.
  • If I knew the right people or had friends in high places then I could really accomplish something.

The seeker who has advanced to this third level could be considered a very fine individual by regular moral standards. He has self-control, is faithful to his companions and beliefs, has overcome the ego and always has good intentions. He doesn’t want power for himself or his ego, but wants it so he can be a more powerful servant to others.

Even so, Jesus did not want to be a Caesar for the glory of the world, but as he contemplated his mission he also gave much thought as to how to go about convincing people he was the true Messiah. After all, there had been many before him who had made such claims. How was he going to succeed in convincing people when others had failed?

Just like many good seekers today want power so they can do good, this direction crossed through the mind of Jesus to the extent that he was tempted by it. And a real temptation it was because he knew he had the power of God with him and the ability to to obtain great power in the kingdoms of the world. He realized he could tread a path that would give him more power than Caesar. Then, of course, he imagined all the good things he could do with that power. With his abilities it would seem that he could manifest the kingdom of God on the earth.

The situation would be like you and me wishing we could be president and make some constructive changes, except in the case of Jesus he really had the ability to obtain great power in the world. This made his temptation much more vivid than the disciple with good intentions daydreaming about desirable circumstances.

What was the flaw that was at the root of this temptation? It was not immorality, the ego or glamour. It was something more subtle. It was caused by a trick that captivates the minds of all people now and then, called illusion.

The temptation came because the mind of Jesus considered that the most logical use of his abilities was to gain power in the world and then use that power for good.

Fortunately, after contemplating the options Jesus saw the truth behind this illusion.

He realized that a Caesar would not attract the true spiritually minded people that he would need. Secondly, he would establish a base of power that would eventually be taken over by others and corrupted. Thirdly Jesus would loose some of his focus on the power of the Spirit by pursuing earthly power.

He rejected the illusion and decided to place all his focus on the realm of Spirit and that if he did this his mission would be successful.

We as seekers of a higher way are also beset with many illusions. They are like blind spots to disciples and very difficult to see until the ego is mastered. When the ego is mastered the person will draw in additional light that is thrown upon all his thinking. Through contemplation he will unravel illusion after illusion until he can finally see truth as it is.

Two people who have overcome these three temptations will see eye to eye on all basic principles.

Is this the end of the journey then?

No. It is just the beginning of a greater one where the disciple finds there is still much more to overcome on many different levels. Remember that overcoming these three temptations was the beginning, not the end of the mission of Christ.

For more on this subject go HERE.

Copyright by J J Dewey

Index for Older Archives in the Process of Updating

Index for Recent Posts

Easy Access to All the Writings

Register at Freeread Here

Log on to Freeread Here

For Free Book go HERE and other books HERE

JJ’s Amazon page HERE

Gather with JJ on Facebook HERE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

code