We have been looking at the influences in our lives, whose values and teachers we follow in hopes of having, however we have defined it, a good and abundant life.
It’s evaluation time. I will start.
As I have said previously my biggest influence and teacher before understanding there is truly only one Teacher for life was B. F. Skinner. From the late seventies to the late eighties I read everything he wrote, attempted to apply everything he wrote, went to conferences and listened to his disciples and eventually met him and spent some time with him. Operant conditioning and its application consumed me. I achieved a high standing in the behavioral science community even to the point of publication in the Operant conditioning journal, the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis. So in the long run how did following my teacher Dr. Skinner effect my reservoir of love, my soul.
Prior to beginning to write this book I had never given this much thought. In the past months though I have asked myself was trying to really help others eliminate inappropriate and destructive behavior really that bad on me. The answer is unequivocally yes.
In processing the effect it had on my soul I came to see it fed into my control and manipulation over another person. It denied his freedom and dignity. How ironic one of Skinner’s best selling books was entitled Beyond Freedom and Dignity. It drove the idea that I was my own master and I could get whatever I wanted from others over time by aversive or positive control of their behavior.
So in further analysis I saw that thoughts and feelings that drove my behavior were of the need to constantly change anything annoying or grievous to me in my family and friends through behavior control. Everybody had a program design for behavior change in my world. So my social relationship were not authentic but based on you allowing me to HELP you. I had a program for everything and everyone.
Seeing how strong this world view was in my mind I must confess even though Jesus is my sole Master and Teacher traces of applying positive reinforcement to increase a specific behavior does pop up from time to time in my default behavior. I do believe though it is not a controlling factor in how I relate to others today. I put no conditions for my love on another human being in my life.
So as I began to be an apprentice of the Master Jesus for living life I slowly began to move away from conditional love for others to a love that upheld their dignity and my freedom in Christ.
How about you? Let me throw out some teachers of our culture maybe they are one of yours. The TV reality people Oprah, OZ, Phil. The finance gurus who tell you its all about money, the self-help folks who say reach in, suck up, YOU posses all you need for life. Self-Help is an oxymoron. The high profile pastors on TV and in our very large congregations that serve as a distraction to our relationship with THE MASTER. Controlling family members whom we allow to control and manipulate us to the point that they become masters. Friends and peers who are equally controlling to the point of becoming masters. NBA, NFL, NHL, MBL stars,etc.
So are you pretty bought in to anyone on this list? If so ask yourself how have they made me more of an unconditional lover, more of a person with abiding joy inside regardless of circumstance and a person who knows peace inside that defies understanding. Not possible because everyone one of these masters is in it for personal gain. If you so happen to get a crumb of abundance for a fleeting moment from their vibe well good for you. But The Master gives more than crumbs of abundance, He gives us streams and buckets full of living water that NEVER runs out.
So what are streams of living water? First of all it is is His constant PRESENCE in our lives. If it stopped there that would be sufficient, but it does not it goes on to love unconditional, joy eternal, and peace abiding through all the ups and downs of life. The MASTER always finds a way to keep those streams flowing in our lives if we so desire Him to do so. Ahhh…. we must desire, there is the catch. Not really, our desire translates to our knowing and abiding in Him and our intention to be in His will and obey. Now hear this. If we NEVER stepped in a church,NEVER gave a dime to a church, NEVER served on a church ministry but we desired and was intentional about Jesus being our MASTER and TEACHER all the streams of living water would flow in your life.
Desiring and being intentional about Jesus being our sole MASTER and TEACHER involves us being still and communicating with Him so we may receive daily guidance and direction from Him through prayer and study of His Word THE BIBLE.
Again for those of you far away from Religion first and foremost STAY THERE! Second every word written here has NOTHING to do with a church or religion, it is all about LIVING ABUNDANTLY with Jesus as your MASTER and TEACHER. If Jesus is not your MASTER today you cannot continue to allow religion to continue to push you away from Him and His Word the Bible. There is a GOD the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit They desire EVERYONE to have a life abundant in love, joy and peace. They alone are the source of living water that enables your soul to be a reservoir of love.
It is time to drop the cop out about the church and religion, look at your life and how circumstances and poser people control how you think, feel, act and relate. Get to a quiet place, open a Bible, cry out to Jesus and LIVE!!
You can comment here or reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org