Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 71 Only God’s Plan for Salvation Will Work
- You may not realize that the ego has set up a plan for salvation in opposition to God’s. It is this plan in which you believe. Since it is the opposite of God’s, you also believe that to accept God’s plan in place of the ego’s is to be damned. This sounds preposterous, of course. Yet after we have considered just what the ego’s plan is, perhaps you will realize that, however preposterous it may be, you do believe in it.
- The ego’s plan for salvation centers around holding grievances. It maintains that, if someone else spoke or acted differently, if some external circumstance or event were changed, you would be saved. Thus, the source of salvation is constantly perceived as outside yourself. Each grievance you hold is a declaration, and an assertion in which you believe, that says, “If this were different, I would be saved.” The change of mind necessary for salvation is thus demanded of everyone and everything except yourself.
- The role assigned to your own mind in this plan, then, is simply to determine what, other than itself, must change if you are to be saved. According to this insane plan, any perceived source of salvation is acceptable provided that it will not work. This ensures that the fruitless search will continue, for the illusion persists that, although this hope has always failed, there is still grounds for hope in other places and in other things. Another person will yet serve better; another situation will yet offer success.
- Such is the ego’s plan for your salvation. Surely you can see how it is in strict accord with the ego’s basic doctrine. Seek but do not find. For what could more surely guarantee that you will not find salvation than to channelize all your efforts in searching for it where it is not?
- God’s plan for salvation works simply because, by following His direction, you seek for salvation where it is. But if you are to succeed, as God promises you will, you must be willing to seek there only. Otherwise, your purpose is divided, and you will attempt to follow two plans for salvation that are diametrically opposed in all ways. The result can only bring confusion, misery, and a deep sense of failure and despair.
- How can you escape all this? Very simply. The idea for today is the answer. Only God’s plan for Salvation will work. There can be no real conflict about this because there is no possible alternative to God’s plan that will save you. His is the only plan that is certain in its outcome. His is the only plan that must succeed.
- Let us practice recognizing this certainty today. And let us rejoice that there is an answer to what seems to be a conflict with no resolution possible. All things are possible to God. Salvation must be yours because of His plan, which cannot fail.
- Begin the two longer practice periods for today by thinking about today’s idea, and realizing that it contains two parts, each making equal contributions to the whole. God’s plan for your salvation will work, and other plans will not. Do not allow yourself to become depressed or angry at the second part; it is inherent in the first. And in the first is your full release from all your own insane attempts and mad proposals to free yourself. They have led to depression and anger, but God’s plan will succeed. It will lead to release and joy.
- Remembering this, let us devote the remainder of the extended practice periods to asking God to reveal His plan to us. Ask Him very specifically: What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom? Give Him full charge of the rest of the practice period and let Him tell you what needs to be done by you in His plan for your salvation. He will answer in proportion to your willingness to hear His Voice. Refuse not to hear. The very fact that you are doing the exercises proves that you have some willingness to listen. This is enough to establish your claim to God’s answer.
- In the shorter practice periods, tell yourself often that God’s plan for salvation, and only His will work. Be alert to all temptation to hold grievances today and respond to them with this form of today’s idea: Holding grievances is the opposite of God’s plan for salvation. And only His plan will work. Try to remember today’s idea some six or seven times an hour. There could be no better way to spend a half minute or less than to remember the Source of your salvation, and to see It where It is.
Notes and Personal Application (2019): Practice plan – For now and the following lessons, my two practice periods will be in the morning upon waking up and in the evening before going to bed. The practice periods will be at least 10-15 minutes long. I will stick as closely to the recommendations of the Course lessons as possible.
Meditating with a focus on today’s idea: Only God’s plan for Salvation will work. Only God’s plan will work; any other plan will not. Realizing this is my full release from the insane ego’s plan of salvation which is to keep seeking outside of myself for a person or a situation to save me. God’s plan for Salvation leads me to release and joy.
I ask God very specifically: Dear God, what would You have me to do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?
I give God full charge of the rest of this morning’s practice period and listen to Him inform me what needs to be done by me in His plan for my salvation.
God will tell me. God knows that I really want to know. God knows how difficult it is for me to obey His leadings and He will only tell me what I can do because He wants me to prove myself to my Self. I can trust in God to not make a fool of me! I can trust in God to only tell me the truth and things that are helpful and true and good. I can claim God’s answer because I am taking the time to study this Course, shut out the other voices which would bid me follow their dream for my life, and answer the call to know and teach God’s Love – to offer myself and others true salvation instead of fragmented “help” from the world.
Notes and Personal Application (2020): This morning Lover called me on his way to work. We had a nice little chat about how we slept, what we were going to eat tonight when he gets home, what he had for breakfast, what our day looked like. Then he said that he had done a lot of reading about the coronavirus last night and decided that we are going to quarantine ourselves. I said, “I’m not quarantining myself.” He said that I would change my mind once I read what he had read. I said, “Nope. I’m not doing it.”
I spend enough time alone already! When the Voice of God began calling to me, I was told to steep myself in A Course in Miracles for the entire year of 2019. I was to learn solitude. If I was to conquer the deep sense of loneliness and despair that has haunted all my days, I was to go within and be loyal and devoted only to the call which I had been running from my whole life.
And so I did it and oh, the joy that fills my soul. But quarantining myself against a virus seems to be asking too much. “I am not going to quarantine myself any more than I already do.” I seem adamant about it simply because in obeying the Voice for God I have virtually dropped any association with others during this time of training and focusing on my writing. It is something that seekers and writers find necessary, but it also drives me a little batty at times because I like engaging with others.
Our words did not become heated, but I thought I heard James say, after I had suggested that he quarantine his own self, and leave me out of it, “Okay, Goodbye.” And so I hung up. But then I thought about the last time I hung up on someone without saying goodbye. Nearly ten years ago, I hung up on my sister without saying goodbye because I thought she had hung up on me. It never did come out who hung up on whom first – I still say it was her; she still says it was me. And we never really talked through the real issue that caused the disagreement in the first place because it makes her uncomfortable.
I am not going to let that happen again. Uncomfortable or not, when we have a disagreement we always put our love and devotion first. So I called James and we thankfully we did not dwell on what we thought was said and who was in the right and who hung up first. Why should we waste our precious time bothering with such stupidity anyway? It is meaningless. I asked, “Do you want to have devotions? And he said, “Yes.” And so we said our prayers and read our lesson and discussed how revealing it is to know the ego’s ploys in keeping grievances at the forefront of our minds.
In our closing prayer, together and individually, we ask of God: “What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?” We also include a request that we would do our best to give our best to what God tells us.
That said, to the best of my ability, I will share what God has told me to do: Devote yourself to those whom I send to you or to whom I send you. Do not allow grievances, irritations, and impatience to hinder your devotion. Practice love in kindness, generosity of spirit, and patience. Never speak an unkind word about anybody or anything. Give others the respect and consideration in which you thrive.
Steep yourself in A Course in Miracles. Do not worry and fret about how much time it is taking up in your life. Practice and teach the lessons as closely per instructions in each lesson. Each lesson was designed for your maximal benefit. This is your prescription for mind-training; take it as such. If it says two times a day or several times an hour, follow it as closely as you can. Make instruction aids and use your creativity to come up with ideas in which to work with me to train your mind to resist the ego’s hold.
After this Holy Spirit gave me a very detailed message on why my concern over the ongoing estrangement with my sister (and other family members) is not a burning issue with Him and should not be a burning issue with me. For the sake of consideration and respect I did not wish to share the details of the message.
The comprehensiveness of the message rather astounded me – it went all the way back to my childhood when my sister was in bible college. It took me through the death of our father, and through our teenage years, young adulthood, motherhood, marriages, divorces, and so on. The Voice for God explained the ways in which my mother began to listen to the voice of ego rather than the Voice for God, and why all those things were allowed to happen that had so angered, baffled, and confused her children and loved ones. Through it all Holy Spirit reminded me to not use any of the information for grievances, but only a deeper understanding of the lesson idea. The way in which I was informed only deepened my love and appreciation and gratitude for me and my family, because I was listening in love rather than fear and judgment. I began to see how every single thing that had played out on the stage of my life had been teaching me had I cared to pay attention and learn the lesson.
In our lesson today, we learn that the ego’s plan of salvation hinges upon other people or other circumstances. Ego’s plan for salvation always starts with “if only.” If only my mother had not listened to the wrong voice. If only my brother had been different. If only my father had not died. If only she had not invited the wrong people to stay at our house. If only I had finished high school. If only my sister had been different. If only we had loved one another and supported one another instead of always mocking, making fun, and promoting insincerity. This kind of thinking only leads us on a wild goose chase based on the ego’s basic doctrine of “seek but do not find.” All of the “if only’s” in the world would not have changed a thing as long as we were looking for salvation where it was not.
Only God’s plan of salvation works because it is the opposite of holding grievances. Only God’s plan of salvation works because it is based upon forgiveness which reflects the love of God. The only thing that can set us free and loose the chains of the ego in our lives is forgiveness.
Today I encourage you to ask God to reveal His plan to you. Let God answer your heart’s cry for direction, guidance, and purpose. When we ask God for an answer, He knows we are willing to listen and to hear. He will tell us what we need to know in words and illustrations that we understand because we experienced them.
Throughout the day remind yourself several times an hour that holding grievances is the opposite of God’s plan for salvation. And only His plan will work! This will motivate us to loosen the hold that the ego has on all of those we love – for when we forgive them, we are forgiven, for God forgives us.
Go in peace and joy and love.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 71 Only God’s plan…Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992) pp. 121-123.