VI. The Rewards of God
- The ego does not recognize the real source of “threat,” and if you associate yourself with the ego, you do not understand the situation as it is. Only your allegiance to it gives the ego any power over you. I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed. We cannot safely let it go at that, however, or you will regard yourself as necessarily conflicted as long as you are here, or as long as you believe that you are here. The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself. Your other life has continued without interruption and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate it.
- In learning to escape from illusions, your debt to your brother is something you must never forget. It is the same debt that you owe to me. Whenever you act egotistically toward another, you are throwing away the graciousness of your indebtedness and the holy perception it would produce. The term “holy” can be used here because, as you learn how much you are indebted to the whole Sonship, which includes me, you come as close to knowledge as perception can. The gap is then so small that knowledge can easily flow across it and obliterate it forever.
- You have very little trust in me as yet, but it will increase as you turn more and more often to me instead of to your ego for guidance. The results will convince you increasingly that this choice is the only sane one you can make. No one who learns from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs additional convincing. Learning through rewards is more effective than learning through pain, because pain is an ego illusion, and can never induce more than a temporary effect. The rewards of God, however, are immediately recognized as eternal. Since this recognition is made by you and not the ego, the recognition itself establishes that you and your ego cannot be identical. You may believe that you have already accepted this difference, but you are by no means convinced as yet. The fact that you believe you must escape from the ego shows this; but you cannot escape from the ego by humbling it or controlling it or punishing it.
- The ego and the spirit do not know each other. The separated mind cannot maintain the separation except by dissociating. Having done this, it denies all truly natural impulses, not because the ego is a separate thing, but because you want to believe that you are. The ego is a device for maintaining this belief, but it is still only your decision to use the device that enables it to endure.
- How can you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away? He must have thrown it away because he did not value it. You can only show him how miserable he is without it, and slowly bring it nearer so he can learn how his misery lessens as he approaches it. This teaches him to associate his misery with its absence, and the opposite of misery with its presence. It gradually becomes desirable as he changes his mind about its worth. I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit. You have taught yourself the opposite. You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?
- My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way. Your mission is very simple. You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego, and I do not choose God’s channels wrongly. The Holy One shares my trust and accepts my Atonement decisions because my will is never out of accord with His. I have said before that I am in charge of the Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man and can now complete it through others. My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting.
- I will go with you to the Holy One, and through my perception He can bridge the little gap. Your gratitude to your brother is the only gift I want. I will bring it to God for you, knowing that to know your brother is to know God. If you are grateful to your brother, you are grateful to God for what He created. Through your gratitude you come to know your brother, and one moment of real recognition makes everyone your brother because each of them is of your Father. Loves does not conquer all things, but it does set all things right. Because you are the Kingdom of God, I can lead you back to your own creations. You do not recognize them now, but what has been dissociated is still there.
- As you come closer to a brother you approach me, and as you withdraw from him, I become distant to you. Salvation is a collaborative venture. It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me. God will come to you only as you will give Him to your brothers. Learn first of them and you will be ready to hear God. That is because the function of Love is one.
As we come to today’s devotional text, ask the Lord to reveal the message within “The Rewards of God,” to your mind and heart so that you may live in the world as one with Christ. In the first paragraph Jesus tells us quite plainly that the ego is only a belief that we have about ourselves. While it has no real substance, it is a lie that has seemed to gain a life of its own, it is a device that we choose to maintain our separateness from God. The device is fueled on fear and all that is not of Love. When we see ourselves as anything but Love, we have chosen the ego as a device to keep us apart from who and what we really are.
Jesus tells us throughout today’s reading that we are under no obligation to this delusion. The one sure way to escape the ego is to remember our debt to our brothers. When we are willing to align ourselves with our true identities in Christ and extend the graciousness, mercy, and holiness of God to our brothers, our perceptions become so holy that to know God can only follow!
There is no other way in which to obliterate the lie of ego in our minds than to turn to Christ for guidance rather than to turn to ego. In every human interaction, circumstance, and event that we ask Jesus to be in charge, we will have the immediate reward of peace and joy. Contrarily, when we follow the ego’s response we will experience calamity, conflicts, and corruption. As we experience the peace and joy of doing things God’s Way, we will learn to trust in the Lord to be our guide and eventually the ego will have no more role in our life at all. Because we are the Sons of God we naturally align ourselves with the eternal rewards of peace and joy and recognize them as our own, whereas shame and sorrow, the certain end to all ego endeavors, has no lasting worth. As Sons of God, we naturally move away from pain, affliction, and suffering for we have no real affinity with these expedients.
The ego and the Spirit do not know each other. The ego is a device made to perceive separation. The ego focuses our attention on the spaces and the outlines between ourselves and others. It is a device that maintains our specialness, a world of fear and limitations, a world of opposition and opposites. The ego keeps us in a state of dissociation from our eternal Spirits, at war with our natural God-given impulses for love and wholeness and unity. We do not escape the ego by humbling it, abusing it, or punishing it. We simply put it down and do not pick it back up again once we ascertain that it serves us no good purpose.
The purpose of time is to learn the difference between the rewards of the ego and the rewards of God. When we threw away our knowledge of God for the world of perception, we thought we were going to get a better deal. We thought that there was something more special than love, peace, and joy. We believed that there was an opposite to Everything. We thought there was value in fear and limitations. We have taught ourselves to fear the Spirit and to love the artifice of ego.
Jesus undoes the deceit with quiet certainty. He teaches us through trial and error. We learn what makes us truly happy; we learn what makes us miserable and lonely. We learn what lifts our spirits, we learn what stomps our hopes and kills our joy. Whether it takes one lifetime or several, we will all learn eventually to associate all that is fearful and unholy with ego and all that is loving, peaceful, and joyful with God.
Jesus entrusts to us His vision, His mission, His sure knowledge. He calls to us because He has put His complete trust in us as we will, sooner or later, put our complete trust in Him. He asks us to put aside the ego, to live as He lived upon the face of the earth, to see with His Vision and to demonstrate the right mind to each other. He chooses us because He knows and believes in us. He will never give up on us. He will never appear in the sky and take some and leave the others behind. His love does not conquer all things because Love is not a warrior, it is not a soldier, it is not a weapon. His love sets all things right. He puts us in our right mind so that we perceive rightly and are saved from the illusion.
We are called to our brothers. We cannot love God unless we love our brothers. We cannot know God without knowing our brothers. There are no exceptions to this. We cannot preach a gospel of exclusion and know God. We cannot preach a gospel of some people go to heaven and some people go to hell and know the heart of God. We cannot keep traditions that have driven us farther from God’s Love instead of closer. We cannot despise any part of God’s Creation and hope to advance ourselves in His Kingdom! It is very clear what Jesus wants from us: Our gratitude to our brothers. Jesus tells us that salvation is a collaborative venture. We draw to God as we are drawn to our brothers; we withdraw from God as we withdraw from our brothers. Just as Jesus says: God comes to us, only as we give Him to our brothers; we can say: Love comes to us, only as we give Love to our brothers, because God is Love, and this is how we become One.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 4 The illusions of the ego. VI The Rewards of God. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com