Often I see someone posting something to the effect of enjoy the journey, take time to smell the roses, or whatever other saying that indicates we should not just go from A to B, but check out all that we pass along the way.
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And you know what? I don’t necessarily disagree.
However, when it comes to a spiritual journey, specifically one going from worldly desires to a godlier lifestyle, you might find that when you stop to smell the roses you end up getting pricked by its thorns.
Life in the world is one which we must travel. Shaul, that nice Jewish tent maker from Tarsus, once wrote to the people in his kehillah in Corinth, telling them that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize, so they should run in such a way that they may obtain it (1 Corinthians 9:24).
In other words, know where you are going and make sure that is the goal you seek. Do not be turned away by worldly desires and attractions.
The rose is a beautiful flower, with a lovely aroma, but grabbing it will result in pain if you aren’t very careful.
Seeking God takes discipline- not just to reject worldly and hedonistic temptations, but to study God’s word, to reject sin and seek righteousness, and to follow what God says and not what some human being tells you God says, which is what religions do.
Remember: God has no religion!
God gave instructions telling us how to worship him and how to treat each other: he gave them to the Israelites through Moses, and told Moses that the Jewish people are to be God’s own nation of priests (Exodus 19:5-6), meaning they must learn God’s instructions and then teach them to the world.
That’s what priests do- they teach the people how to live in accordance with the way God wants us to live.
Way before God gave us the Torah, he told Abraham that his descendants would be a blessing to the world (Genesis 22:18) and in Deuteronomy 28, God promises that when we do as he says, we will receive blessings.
Nu? Can you now see how it all fits together?
The descendants of Abraham (the Jewish people) are God’s priests who received the Torah to teach everyone how to worship and live so that God can bless them.
So smell the roses, since we can’t help but live in a world that has roses, but always remember that the roses are not the destination, and grabbing hold of them will result in pain.
When it comes down to it, the destination, which is eternal joy in God’s presence, is so much better than any old rose.
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That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!