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Don't Let Life HAPPEN!
Plain Truth Magazine
December 1964
Volume: Vol XXIX, No.12
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Don't Let Life HAPPEN!
Garner Ted Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: February 9, 1930
Died: September 15, 2003
Member Since: 1930
Ambassador College: 1956
Ordained: 1955
Office: Evangelist

Too many people stumble PURPOSELESSLY through life. Without realizing it, you may have been the victim of circumstances! Read, in this article, how to LIVE life, not just let it "happen."

   "WHAT a pity youth has to be wasted on children," say the middle-aged.
   "If I had only known at age twenty what I know at fifty," laments the portly businessman. Complains the humorous placard: "Ve ist too soon alt, and too late schmart."
   But why these nostalgic complaints? Why are so many dissatisfied with the way their lives have gone? WHY are so many filled with feelings of bitterness, hopelessness, frustration?

How Many Happy?

   How many HAPPY people do you know?
   Probably not very many. Take the bank president in Nebraska. He had what appeared to be a good job a fine living plenty of security. Yet he embezzled over one and one-half million dollars from his own bank. His life was not happy, in spite of his apparent "success."
   Today our people are sick! Our jokes are sick our "music" is sick; we're victimized by sick art, sick literature, and sick entertainment.
   And no wonder when you consider the millions of sick minds and sick bodies in our societies.
   Think about it. You can probably count the number of people you think are "happy" on the fingers of your hands but it would take a lot of hands and feet to count the number you know are not.
   Centuries ago, Paul told Timothy, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the POWER thereof. From such turn away" (II Tim. 3:1-5).
   What a prophecy!
   Read it again. It describes the precise conditions within our nations right now!
   Divorce continues to fill the courts countless homes being wrecked and smashed lives filled with hate, jealousy, fear, disappointment, restlessness, anxiety and frustration.
   Juvenile lawlessness stalks the land as never before and, as so clearly proved by so many authoritative sources, out of all proportion to the population increase.
   Are our frustrated youths happy? Are the millions of divorcees happy? Are our over-age, "successful" businessmen, executives, officials, HAPPY?
   Are YOU happy?

What IS Your Life?

   How is it that life becomes such a BURDEN, such an empty, hollow, useless, frustrating thing that literally THOUSANDS attempt to KILL THEMSELVES each year?
   What is your life?
   Let GOD answer. He is the one who CREATED life, who PUT mankind on this earth, and who reveals the REASON He gives you every breath of air you breathe.
   "For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14).
   God shows the TEMPORARY span of existence we have, in His word. He reveals of what materials we are made. What kind of a NATURE we have within us. What kind of LIVES we ought to live and WHY!
   The Bible is the handbook about life. It tells what man is. WHERE he is headed. WHY he is. It reveals God's great PURPOSE in the creation of human life, and tells us how to get in harmony with that purpose!
   The Bible reveals the laws that GOVERN and PRODUCE the real thrills, pleasures, satisfactions, successes, triumphs, joys and fulfillments we seek.
   You are exactly like Adam was. Made out of the same materials. You have the same nature and you have the same possibilities. Further, YOU HAVE THE SAME GOD WHO IS YOUR RULER! And that God places before you, right now, during your short span on this earth, the SAME SERIOUS CHOICE!

What Was Adam?

   Adam was no myth! He was a HUMAN BEING a MAN! His Maker was God.
   God said, "Let us (there was MORE than One Great Being involved in the creation] make man in OUR image, after OUR LIKENESS" (Gen. 1:26). But to Adam He said: "DUST thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. 3:19).
   God made man in the physical form and shape of God (Gen. 2:7), to look like God. But He made man out of totally different material!
   "God IS A SPIRIT," said Christ (John 4:24). But man IS FLESH! He has no eternal life abiding in him. God revealed to Adam, speaking to the conscious man, NOT just to his "body," "Dust THOU art, and unto dust shalt thou return." So Adam was made of RED MUD (original Hebrew) of the elements of this earth. He was EARTHY (I Cor. 15:47). God revealed to Adam what he was. He told Adam that he was a temporal, physical, fleshly, earth-bound, temporary, transitory, HUMAN being WITHOUT ETERNAL LIFE ABIDING IN him. He was not an immortal soul imprisoned in a body! If you have not yet seen the real PROOF about the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, then write for an article on the subject immediately.

What Are You?

   You are, unless you have repented and received of the Spirit of God, just EXACTLY like Adam was. You're composed of the same elements you're just as earthy, just as temporary and just as CARNAL.
   But there was a PURPOSE God had in mind for making man carnal. The whole story of the Bible tells you WHAT YOU ARE WHY YOU EXIST and WHERE YOU OUGHT TO BE HEADED!
   God COMMANDED Adam to live happily! Adam wouldn't do it. He wanted to conduct the first "scientific" experiment.
   When Eve, right in Adam's presence, began to postulate or speculate concerning the lies of the Devil she wanted more and more to experiment. She wanted to learn from EXPERIENCE, rather than from the revealed knowledge that came from God. The Devil had appealed to her vanity.
   He had said, "Yea, hath God said, 'Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?'
   He knew better. He was lying (John 8:44) and he knew it. But naive Eve, like most housewives of today, felt she ought to explain. "Oh, it's not as bad as all that," she might have reasoned "God hasn't told us not to eat ANY of the fruit it's just that one tree He won't let us have." About this time, she probably began to reason, "Well, after all, He did give the garden to us and it as ours, isn't it? Then WHY should God be so UNFAIR," she reasoned, "to withhold the very BEST one, and the MOST desired one for HIMSELF!"
   Whatever her thoughts, her actions are clear. "And when the woman saw (lust of the eyes!) that the tree was good for food (lust of the appetite!) and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desired to make one wise (lust of the intellect intellectual vanity and conceit!) she took (stole!) of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband WITH her (Adam was standing docily by, while his wife made the single most important decision of their entire lives and a most disastrous one. But like a "clod" who allowed his wife to wee:, the trousers, to RULE OVER HIM, he meekly followed her in her rebellion); and he did eat" (Gen. 3:6).
   What were her motives?
   They reveal a lot about you!
   Her motives were lust, covetousness, vanity, greed, selfishness. Further, she evidenced a hard core of rebellion in her human heart. And the man? Why, he shared all these emotions but, unlike the woman, HE KNEW BETTER! (I Tim. 2:14)
   Eve was deceived. Satan appeared to her basic NATURE, which perfectly embodies all these motives. Adam's mind was not deceived but HIS BODILY DRIVES were just as strong as Eve's and so he allowed his lusts to rule over his mind.
   It was an impulsive, emotional decision they made that day. And it set the pattern for all of humanity!

God Says Choose

   You have the same human NATURE Adam and Eve did. It's a nature that IS NATURALLY and AUTOMATICALLY against God, and His perfect laws! "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick (margin); and who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9) "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7).
   God is the RULER. He is the boss. He gives you ORDERS you are to obey! But He does not force you to obey! He merely points out the terrible penalties for disobedience, and allows you to make your own choice!
   Too many people have confused ideas about free moral agency! To a person I know very well, the very fact God COMMANDS us through His laws meant, to her, that God was trying to take away her FREE CHOICE!
   She labored under the delusion that God had left mankind free to choose WHAT is the right way to live (when nearly 6,000 years of human history have proved irrevocably man is unable to do so), instead of WHETHER one will live the only right way.
   God allows you a CHOICE! But few are making any choices few think problems through weighing all the facts. Instead, like Adam and Eve, most leap into situations IMPULSIVELY, emotionally allowing circumstances to RULE OVER them!
   "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil... I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore CHOOSE LIFE, that both you and your seed may LIVE" (Deut. 30:15-19).
   God is our Heavenly FATHER. He loves His frail children on this earth with a full, swelling, boundless, all-encompassing, limitless love that transcends any human comprehension!
   Let's understand. Suppose you have a little, sweet, precious young son. He is only two years of age, and you love him with all your heart!
   Suppose you see him perched precariously on a window ledge, high above a street. He sees you enter the room, and stands up grinning at you with a mischievous look on his little face. You are horrified. You know a slight misstep could mean his instant death. You try your best to GET HIS ATTENTION. To keep his eyes FOCUSED ON YOU and to plead, to urge, to gently lead, to somehow convince your precious little son that he should come forward, back into the room.
   How would you feel? Wouldn't your very BEING be crying out for him to OBEY what you know is the sudden difference between HORRIBLE DEATH and continued life? Wouldn't your very heart be in your eyes, in your voice in your deepest emotional concern for the precious young life hanging between life and death?
   But what if, just before you reached out to save your son he rebelled?
   What if, in his infantile mind, he decided to find out what one step BACKWARD would be like? What if he decided to make up his OWN mind about which way he would go and, being naturally rebellious (as the HUMAN HEART IS), and since you had already so urgently told him what you EARNESTLY, LOVINGLY, PLEADINGLY wanted him to do, what if he decided to step backwards?
   Can we get the point?
   God knows WHAT IS BEST FOR US!
   But headstrong, self-willed man just CAN'T BELIEVE it! We have refused God's LOVING concern for us and decided to go the way of our carnal, vanity-filled, lustful human nature.
   Some decide to choose evil. That is, choose the way of society, the way of their friends, neighbors, their relatives, their own environment. Others simply decide NOT to choose God's WAY not realizing they have made a choice and the wrong one.
   God says, "Because I have called, and ye refused,' I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof..." (Prov. 1:24-31).
   Are YOU one of the mixed-up, miserable, frustrated, empty people that make up the majority?
   NATURALLY, you are! But it's UNNATURAL to be happy. IT'S UNUSUAL to be joyful. It's RARE to have real peace of mind, security, a sense of purpose and direction.
   Let's understand why.
   We've seen what human nature is. It is vanity, lust and greed. It is SELF. It is total, ingrown, introverted, inward, self-centered, egoistic SELF!
   And that's the very REASON human nature is unhappy!
   What are the "fruits" produced in the lives of all the people you know who are living in the way that just comes "naturally" to them? "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [lawlessness], idolatry [covetousness, lust], witchcraft, hatred, variance [instability], emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and such like..." (Gal. 5:19-21). Sound like anyone you know?
   These are the natural outcome of a way of living that is MOST appealing to carnal human nature. They're the things that will just seem to automatically "HAPPEN" to you. You may not always INTEND it that way but somehow, all those horrible "works of the flesh" just seem to HAPPEN to most people.
   You are NOT "all there"! You're NOT COMPLETE unless you have received of the MISSING INGREDIENT that changes your very nature.
   God MADE man and He made man to need, and need desperately, God's Holy Spirit!
   Without it, it is utterly IMPOSSIBLE for any human to live a happy life! With it, life can become full of meaning, bountiful, beautiful, harmonious, joyful, happy, successful, and purposeful! But this is not all!
   God says, "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Rom. 8:9).
   You were BORN to be BEGOTTEN!
   That may sound a little strange to some of you who are new subscribers to The PLAIN TRUTH! But it's true! You are only PART THERE until you have REPENTED, been baptized, and, by the laying on of hands by God's chosen servants, received the Spirit of God. In the book written from man's point of view, Ecclesiastes, Solomon views life. He surveys all aspects of life every gamut of human emotion, each experiment, every pleasure, every lust and vanity.
   Finally, disgusted with the sum total of it all, he says, "Therefore I hated life, because the work (the way of life) that is wrought under the sun is grievous to me, for all is vanity and striving after wind" (margin) (Eccl. 2:17).
   Yes, even Solomon became a potential suicide!
   But at the conclusion of this important book, he was inspired to write, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: FEAR GOD, and KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, for this is the whole man" (Eccl. 12:13). Translators added the word, "duty," which appears in italics, indicating it was not in the original.
   But the intended meaning is clear. It is the knowledge of God, the Fear of God, the obedience to HIS COMMANDS (which is only possible by the receiving of His Holy Spirit) that makes you COMPLETE!
   It changes your whole perspective. It changes your outlook, your point of view, your opinions, your very thought processes, your reasoning. It changes your attitude, it lifts your spirit, it enlivens, energizes, vivifies. It's the most precious, priceless, bountiful blessing a loving Father could EVER give you a part of His own LIFE!
   You need to thoroughly understand WHY YOU WERE BORN, and what you ought to be doing about it. Read the booklets, Why Were You Born?, What Do You Mean... Salvation? and All About Water Baptism!
   YOU NEED God's Holy Spirit. Without it, life will just "happen" to you.
   With it, you will happen to life!

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Plain Truth MagazineDecember 1964Vol XXIX, No.12
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