God created us to exchange a loving relationship with Him. Love, however, requires the freedom of choice, because a person cannot be forced to love someone.
So the Supreme Being gave us the choice to love Him or not. This also means we have the freedom to serve God or not. You see, God does not have slaves. He has loving servants - those who choose to love and serve Him.
Most of us who live in the physical dimension have chosen not to love and serve God. We have chosen not to do His will. This decision each of us made is symbolized by the story of Adam and Eve. Adam chose not to do God’s will after being asked by God not to eat the forbidden fruit.
This primary act, of deciding to go against the will of God, created our entry into the material world, away from God’s presence. This is explained in symbolic language in Genesis:
“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After He drove the man out, He placed on (in front of) the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubin and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:21)
The “garments of skin” are our temporary physical bodies. Because we decided not to do God’s will, we were given our virtual independence from Him, as we wished.
This is what we have here in the physical world: virtual independence from the Supreme Being. Here we can forget about God. We can even claim He doesn't exist. In fact, it is God who gives the atheist the rationale to claim His non-existence.
This is the expression of freedom. In order to have true freedom to love God or not, the Supreme Being set up this plane of existence where our physical eyes do not see Him. Though He is dwells among us, we cannot see Him with these physical eyes. This gives us a chance to ignore Him, just as we wanted.
Yet we continue to look for true love throughout our physical lives, demanding it from our parents, friends and even our pets. These forms of so-called love, however, do not satisfy us because we need our original loving relationship with God.
Any loving relationship is accompanied by loving service. Loving service means doing the will of the one we love. Jesus is saying, "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." What does this mean?
This illustrates that one can do God’s will here in the physical dimension just as well as we can do His will in the spiritual dimension. We can exchange this loving relationship anywhere. We don't have to 'go to heaven' in order to be in the spiritual realm.
Because we can do the Supreme Being's will regardless of whether we are in the physical body or not, we can virtually be in the spiritual realm where ever we may be.
Practically speaking, the entire creation - both spiritual and physical - was created by the Supreme Being. This means it is all His kingdom. Therefore if we are in the consciousness that we want to do His will, we will be in the spiritual realm right here and right now.
Jesus showed by example how to be pleasing and loving to God even while living in this temporary physical body. Even when he was being ridiculed, mistreated, misunderstood and even tortured, he was thinking of God's pleasure. He wanted to do what God wanted him to do. This was expressed in his prayer right before he was arrested:
“Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)
What does this mean? It means that Jesus is enjoying a loving relationship with the Supreme Being.
Spiritual life is about having a relationship with God. It is not about joining one sect or another. It is not about doing a bunch of rituals. It is not about being saved or being cleansed of sins. It is about exchanging a loving relationship with the Supreme Being.
And this is what Jesus was teaching his students:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)
(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus - translated from the original Greek texts.)