1. Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol fails. Heaven cannot be found where it is not, and there can be no peace excepting there. Each idol that you worship when God calls will never answer in His place. There is no other answer you can substitute and find the happiness His answer brings. Seek not outside yourself. For all your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found. What if it is not there? Do you prefer that you be right or happy? Be you glad that you are told where happiness abides and seek no longer elsewhere. You will fail. But it is given you to know the truth, and not to seek for it outside yourself.
2. No one who comes here but must still have hope, some lingering illusion, or some dream that there is something outside of himself that will bring happiness and peace to him. If everything is in him this cannot be so. And therefore by his coming, he denies the truth about himself, and seeks for something more than everything, as if a part of it were separated off and found where all the rest of it is not. This is the purpose he bestows upon the body; that it seek for what he lacks and give him what would make himself complete. And thus he wanders aimlessly about, in search of something that he cannot find, believing that he is what he is not.
3. The lingering illusion will impel him to seek out a thousand idols, and to seek beyond them for a thousand more. And each will fail him, all excepting one; for he will die, and does not understand the idol that he seeks is but his death. Its form appears to be outside himself. Yet does he seek to kill God’s Son within and prove that he is victor over him. This is the purpose every idol has, for this the role that is assigned to it, and this the role that cannot be fulfilled.
4. Whenever you attempt to reach a goal in which the body’s betterment is cast as major beneficiary, you try to bring about your death. For you believe that you can suffer lack and lack is death. To sacrifice is to give up, and thus to be without and to have suffered loss. And by this giving up is life renounced. Seek not outside yourself. The search implies you are not whole within and fear to look upon your devastation but prefer to seek outside yourself for what you are.
5. Idols must fall because they have no life, and what is lifeless is a sign of death. You came to die, and what would you expect but to perceive the signs of death you seek? No sadness and no suffering proclaim a message other than an idol found that represents a parody of life which, in its lifelessness, is really death, conceived as real and given living form. Yet each must fail and crumble and decay because a form of death cannot be life, and what is sacrificed cannot be whole.
6. All idols of this world were made to keep the truth within from being known to you, and to maintain allegiance to the dream that you must find what is outside yourself to be complete and happy. It is vain to worship idols in the hope of peace. God dwells within and your completion lies in Him. No idol takes His place. Look not to idols. Do not seek outside yourself.
7. Let us forget the purpose of the world the past has given it. For otherwise the future will be like the past, and but a series of depressing dreams in which all idols fail you, one by one, and you see death and disappointment everywhere.
8. To change all this and open up a road of hope and of release in what appeared to be an endless circle of despair, you need but to decide you do not know the purpose of the world. You give it goals it does not have, and thus do you decide what it is for. You try to see in it a place of idols found outside yourself, with power to make complete what is within by splitting what you are between the two. You choose your dreams, for they are what you wish, perceived as if it had been given you. Your idols do what you would have them do and have the power you ascribe to them. And you pursue them vainly in the dream because you want their power as your own.
9. Yet where are dreams but in a mind asleep? And can a dream succeed in making real the picture it projects outside itself? Save time, my brother; learn what time is for. And speed the end of idols in a world made sad and sick by seeing idols there. Your holy mind is altar unto God, and where He is no idols can abide. The fear of God is but the fear of loss of idols. It is not the fear of loss of your reality. But you have made of your reality an idol, which you must protect against the light of truth. And all the world becomes the means by which this idol can be saved. Salvation thus appears to threaten life and offer death.
10. It is not so. Salvation seeks to prove there is no death, and only life exists. The sacrifice of death is nothing lost. An idol cannot take the place of God. Let Him remind you of His Love for you, and do not seek to drown His Voice in chants of deep despair to idols of yourself. Seek not outside your Father for your hope. For hope of happiness is not despair. 
The Kingdom of God is within us. We do not have to look anywhere else for love, peace, and joy for that is what we are as God’s Son, as God’s Creation. In today’s text, Jesus reminds us that what is not of God is an idol. It is a substitute for God’s Voice, for God’s Call upon our minds and hearts. When I try to find love, peace, and joy in the things of this world, I will have stress, anxiety, disappointment, and a bitter end. Every pain comes from the futile search for lasting happiness, comfort, safety, and meaning in a world that is built upon opposition to God.
If we woke up this morning in this world, we are still looking outside of ourselves for what God has placed within us. We are looking for someone or something to latch onto that will make us more than God’s Son, which will distinguish us above our brother, which will give me more of something than what you have. When I deny the truth about the love, peace, and joy that is my Being, I seek to break apart from you, taking what I can from you to become more of me. This is the purpose I give my body – to tell me and you apart, to create a gap between us filled with time and space, to find whatever it is that I am seeking to complete me with little to no regard for your completion. And so I will wander about, lost and confused, in search of something that I cannot find, no matter how hard I work, no matter how much I apply myself, no matter what it is that I devote myself to – trying to complete myself in the illusional world of trinkets and tokens, myths and legends, ongoing sagas and twisted paths that lead nowhere.
There are thousands of idols available in which to pursue our meaning and when we get through with the first few thousand, there are thousands more to take their place. Every idol we chase fail, for they all end in death. The purpose of the body is to crucify God’s Son and prove that death can kill the eternal Being within. This is the purpose of idols – and while it can seem to defy and defile the form without, all that is created by God lives on and cannot die.
When we live for our bodies, we enslave and sacrifice ourselves to idols. We spend our lives chasing after all the otherwise lifeless body lacks and seems to demand. Our wits dimmed by lies and delusions, we cling to the devastation of flesh, organs, blood, and bones rather than to look within at our beautiful, everlasting Sonship, to own our knowledge, intelligence, innocence, purity, and love.
Born in the world to die, we live in fear of life, not death. We will hug our sadness and our sorrow close and sing ballads, write sagas, act out dramas and make jokes about all the ways in which our idols fail us. We will complain to our friends and family about how this idol stole our money, ran off with the next-door neighbor, blabbed our secrets, or turned out to be a druggie. We will look out from our jail cells and blame our parents, our friends, the cops, and the school system for our current state of woe. At the core of every single instance of our unhappiness, our depression, our anger, and sorrow, we find an idol that failed us. And while we can blame the idol and put all the blame on that which is outside ourselves, what we are called to do is look past the idolatry to the truth within.
Stop pledging our allegiance to the perceptual world, stop chasing anyone or anything that the perceptual world would offer us in place of our completion in Sonship, we find the goodness of God within. We find our wholeness in Him. There is nothing that can take His place! This does not mean that we stop taking care of our bodies, that we leave our homes and families, our jobs and our other responsibilities. It simply means we stop idolizing them, we stop holding them accountable for our happiness, we take our mind off of them and put it where it belongs.
God is not in in the perceptual world. God is not in the lands or the cities that the world proclaims as holy – God is within us, at the core of our very Being. There are no saints, priests, or ministers that could ever be more holy than the God within you and the God within me. No matter how beautiful and ornate the cathedral, temple, or mosque – God is within us. It is within us where we seek to know Him and to find our Being in Him.
Jesus calls to us to forget the traditions of the world that would keep the mistakes of the past and project them into the future, thus prolonging the depressing dreams in which our idols fail us, where we bicker at best and terrorize and torture each other at worst over our chosen idols that would tear us and keep us apart. To change all this heartbreak, to hear the sounds of life, laughter, and love ringing throughout the Sonship, to break free from an ongoing cycle of sorrow and sadness, stop thinking about the world, stop trying to figure it out, stop giving it goals it can never accomplish, and stop trying to draw joy from joyless forms and fiction. When we fall for the perceptual world, we encounter legions of enticements that are designed to keep our minds engaged in nothingness. We live lives of fear and distrust, we keep secrets, we shut down our lines of communication, we tell lies, and play mean, discourteous games rather than heed the Voice for God within. This is the way to death, not life!
When we fail to look within, our minds remain in the dark sleep; we fail to understand what time is for. Instead of using time as a means to heal, to correct, to restore sanity to the Sonship, we engage with our trite and meaningless dreams; we make them real to us; we hold tight to the mistakes of the past and project them into the future because we have come to like the lies we made, we have accustomed ourselves to death and dying; we have embraced the lives of flesh and blood and forgotten Who and What we are.
When we fear God, we fear the loss of idols. Our reality is always with us. We are not afraid of losing that – but we are very afraid of losing our idols. My loathing of you is something that my dim mind has come to enjoy ruminating upon, plotting up fresh reasons to loathe you more! And as my mind fixates on how much I despise you, I die for I cannot hate you without hating myself. My holy mind is an altar to God and where God is no idols can abide. I cannot bring my flesh and blood to God. I cannot bring my hatred for you to the goodness within me. I cannot bring all my dirty thoughts and wicked deeds to the Kingdom which is at my core. And so the world becomes the means which protect me from the God within. I will engage with what is outside of me, so I do not have to look within and give up all I have come to like about the opposition and the opposites to God I worship in His place.
Only life exists. Idols can never take the place of God and as long as I engage with them, I am engaging with death, not life. Whether I love an idol or I hate it, the end is always the same. There is no life outside of God.
Today in your devotional habit, ask Holy Spirit to show you the idols that come between you and the Love of God. Hope in idols is to despair. God is in us and of us and part of us as we are part of God. Go to your inner altar as often as you are able. Turn off the many voices that would call to you from the world and go within to find God. He is our Father, and He created us to share in His beauty and bliss. Hoping for happiness in Him is the first step in accepting that our happiness is His delight, His Will, the reason for our Being. When we come to know the happiness of God, the idols of the world grow dim and disappear. And this is cause for celebration, not despair!
A Course in Miracles. Chapter 29 The awakening vii seek not outside yourself. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
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