The Third Law is Purpose.
Without purpose, we are no different than animals: instinctively roaming about, completely at the whim of the Dark World.
Purpose is something we can change. Purpose is something we can decide for ourselves. We are not bound to mere survival, as are the beasts of the Earth. We have possibilities. Without Purpose, there is no point to accomplishing anything.
What is your life's purpose? Do you even know?
Don't be surprised if you can't explicitly answer this. I couldn't either, for a very long time.
At some point you're probably going to stop and think, "What am I doing with my life?" which is code for "I don't know what my life's purpose is." And if you're a Christian, the answer isn't necessarily simplified. As a young believer in the faith, my thoughts went something like this:
"What is my purpose? To do whatever God wants me to do. My purpose is to… to what? Provide for my family? Glorify God? Those are all pat answers. I want to know what my singular, most powerful purpose really is."
But what does that mean, exactly? What does it mean to "fulfill God's purpose in your life?" Can you give specifics? Can you quantify "Love thy neighbor as yourself?" Do these look the same for every person? Of course they don't. Over the years, God has given people purpose in many ways, for many different reasons. And He's even changed people's purposes over time. So again, what does that mean for you and me?
The Second Law is Concealment.
This immediately throws up red flags. "Concealment? Are you being sneaky? Are you trying to hide something, or be dishonest?"
Let's try a thought experiment. You go into a job interview, for which you're barely qualified. You're riddled with doubt, but you really want this job. Are you going to go into the interview with doubt and fear written all over your face? No, of course not.
You conceal your real feelings. You smile, you act confident, and you do what it takes to accomplish your goal.
The opposite of concealing is revealing. Do you really want to reveal everything about yourself to everyone? No, of course you don't. The problem is, we do it all the time without even realizing it. And so, the Second Law urges us to pay attention to what we reveal about ourselves- and conceal what is necessary to ensure our survival in the Dark World. This doesn't necessarily mean deception, lying, or things of that nature. It is a simple evaluation of how we unwittingly make ourselves vulnerable by revealing too much.
I recently reviewed Ivan Throne's The Nine Laws, and while I tried to encompass as much about the book as I could, there's just no way I could cram everything I wanted to say about it into a single blog post. I promised my followers on Gab that I would delve into each of the Nine Laws individually, and so, we've come to Week One: The First Law.
The First Law is Survival
Simply put: if you're dead, you can't do much of anything. Therefore the First Rule of the Dark World is "you have to survive."
Is this in opposition to the Christian faith? Hardly. At the very core of Godly beliefs is the sanctity of life. We are created in the image of God, and so our very existence is a proclamation to the veracity and tenaciousness of life as we know it.
"But Sensei," I can hear you saying, "doesn't it also say in the Holy Word that those who lose their lives will gain it? And those who are first shall be last? Wasn't Jesus a pacifist?"
The Scripture says:
"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." - Matthew 16:25 (also in Luke 9:24 and Mark 8:35, emphasis mine)
Jesus very clearly says that anyone giving up their life for His sake will find it. And by "find it" Jesus didn't mean suddenly not being dead anymore. No, He means giving up your physical life for Jesus' sake means securing eternal reward. But the inverse isn't so clear: does Jesus mean if we try to save our own physical lives, we'll lose our eternal ones?
Once in a while, you run across something that's so magnificently and bluntly honest that you just have to stop and look at it again, as if to say "what?"
Reading Ivan Throne's The Nine Laws is like that. It's not something you can skim in an afternoon while delicately sipping on a latte. It's both eloquently written, and brutally realistic. But at the core, is it something worth reading, or is it just poetic drivel and fluff?
Each section begins with a story directly from Throne's life, and embodies some facet of the Nine Laws. They are powerfully moving stories in their own right, but as examples of the way the Dark World works, they're more than that. The Laws are defined, and then the last section explains each one. The reader is given thought exercises to get them to understand where they are in relation to the Dark World, and then take action based on that realization.
I decided, in light of wanting to be honest, to dig into the philosophy of the book itself and see if it held water when juxtaposed with a Christian's worldview. I will warn you: this wasn't easy, or simple. It is a complex philosophy, and even a single misstep could transform the entire thing into a conflagration of failure. If all the Nine Laws rely on each other, and even one of them is false, then the whole tower comes toppling down. I am still working through it, but needless to say, there's a lot of truth there.
I can't even begin to delve into the meaning of the whole book in a mere thousand words, so there's a good possibility this will take more than one post. But I would rather do the book justice than stamp a gold seal on it and lead someone astray. My readers deserve it, and I'm sure Mr. Throne wouldn't have it any other way.
So, without further ado, here are the Nine Laws:
Over the last few days, I've been thinking.
Specifically, I've been thinking about what my life's purpose is. There's plenty of things tied into this, but the majority of it boils down to this:
If you had to define your existence with one driving statement of purpose, what would it be?
If you don't know, what are you waiting for?
And this is where I found myself after years of floating, like a leaf in the wind. I realized I had no real, solid purpose. I mean, sure, I had "purpose" but I couldn't tell you exactly what it was. "Following God" only gets you so far, as that could look like any number of things. "Loving your neighbor" could be me, sitting on my couch, invisibly loving people from afar. What does "helping people" look like? Specifically, for me? What does "Love the Lord your God with all your heart" look like, for me?