I have reason to feel good about my life, but it is just that kind of thinking that always gets me into spiritual trouble. Just when I succeed at some spiritual challenge, the Lord God gives me new evidence of how rotten and selfish I still really am.
Thankfully, scientist/theologian has helped me to understand what is really going on here so that my self-worth is not dependent on fantasy. Simply put, the Lord God is cleaning out my spiritual house, where all my inner flaws have their abode (and fortress).
Swedenborg insisted that we finite, mortal humans are nothing but evil from our own personal essence. That means God has endless material to work with during our process of eternal salvation. Angels of the highest heaven are continually being purged of these imperfections.
I find my ego interfering with everything I do—even in my spiritual writings. For instance, as an author of spiritual books, I am always tempted to puff out my chest when readers give me flattering feedback. But God has empowered me to observe my own foolishness. In fact, God has empowered me to boldly uncover increasingly unflattering traits within my heart and mind. Ouch.
I know this process is for my own eternal good, but it is amazingly unrelenting. So far, I am able to endure and learn from the unflattering things that the Lord is allowing to bubble up from within the depths of my inner realty. But I always feel like I am on shaky ground. The reason for this is that I am finding that dealing with these inner temptations (vastations) is quite different from what one might think when simply reading about these transforming processes or attending church. They seem to be dug in and ready for the fight.
When the Lord God is truly “lowering you into your evils” (for the sake of salvation) they have the intensity of an addiction that brings temporary pleasure with it. This makes the spiritual combat quite intense, because you’re challenging yourself and what you love. We each must learn (often the hard way) that these pleasurable evils and compulsions can only be removed with the Lord’s help.
Unfortunately, most people prefer not to submit themselves to this kind of personal inventory, and instead, bypass this process by hiding their flaws from the world (and themselves) while engaging in the more personally “rewarding” outward acts of kindness (Swedenborg calls this imitation).
If I am of any real spiritual value to my readers it is because I am allowing the Lord God to put me through the mill. There is no other way to procure sincere humility and innocence into my life. Otherwise, I would be lying and leading you astray.