The Origin of Our Convictions: 4. On Living with Original Intent

Vindicate the weak and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.

~ Psalm 82:3

If someone had told me I would have become a vegan within my lifetime, I would have laughed at them. The only knowledge I had of vegans was PETA, who appeared to be terroristic lunatics, and my husband’s boss, who was an elitist snob. Neither of whom I desired to associate myself with. It was at a time when PETA was in the news for targeting children with bloody Ronald McDonald butcher knife wielding dolls, and KFC buckets of fake blood and chicken bones; it was appalling and repulsive to me that children would be targeted in such a way. And the boss was a send back every bottle of wine and nazi interrogate the server kind of guy. My husband and I used to arrive at dinner early to warn the manager and slip our server some money for his soon to be nightmare table. It was embarrassing and a night I wished to avoid every year for 18 years.

But truth is a powerful force. Once it is possessed, it presents choices and those choices define my character. Ultimately, my actions are what people see, and remember, so at all costs they must match what I say I believe.

Ignorance is not bliss; it is spiritual laziness.

No matter the situation, I always desire the truth; what I do with that truth is my own responsibility. Truth leads to knowledge.  Knowledge is power and knowledge is freedom  Using that knowledge to make choices that fall within the bounds of Adonai’s character is wisdom.

When Adonai created me instilling all His attributes within, He gave me the free will to use them in ways I choose. And the ultimate choice I make: choose to conform to either my Creator or the standards of the world. Both have rules for living and the rules I choose to follow reflect who I love and to whom I am loyal.

So in the end, Adonai allows me to choose. What I choose must be grounded in truth and in love.

Choosing Love

Yeshua tells me the greatest commandment is to love Adonai with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind. He tells me to love my neighbor as myself. These verses are quoted often, but most are unaware Yeshua is quoting the Torah when He speaks them.

Hear O Israel: Adonai our Elohim, Adonai is one. You shall love Adonai your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your heart and they shall be as fontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Don’t be angry or try to take revenge. I am Adonai, and I command you to love others as much as you love yourself.  ~ Leviticus 19:18

The spiritual side of the command to be fruitful and multiply is to bear the fruit of Adonai’s spirit into the world. The first fruit I am to bear is love: love for Adonai and love for others. To fully comply with this commandment requires first a relationship with Yeshua and second it requires an understanding of Torah. Yeshua is the only way to a restored relationship with Adonai and the Torah contains all the instructions needed for bearing fruits of love and mercy and justice as well as all the other attributes of Adonai. Once I humbled myself and entered into a covenant relationship with Yeshua, the Torah was written on my heart. Only then did I have the ability to free myself from my own ideas of what it means to love Adonai and to love how He instructs me to love. The Torah teaches me love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And these are the fruits I am to bear. By bearing these fruits, I am acting within the bounds of Adonai’s character and fulfilling His commandments just as Yeshua instructed me. It is important to remember that Yeshua did not come to preach a new doctrine; He came to preach Adonai’s doctrine and Adonai’s doctrine is Torah. (John 7:16, Proverbs 4:2)

Choosing Loyalty

Being made in the image of my Creator does not mean I resemble Adonai in the same way I might resemble the physical attributes of my parents or a close relative. It means that knit into my being are His same attributes and my ability to act in a manner that is consistent with who Adonai is. It means I am His representative during my time here on earth. And this is where the third commandment becomes relevant.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of Adonai your Elohim, for Adonai will not acquit anyone who misuses His name. ~ Exodus 20:7

The above verse is not concerning blasphemy or foul language as is often perceived, although it goes without saying we should not do these things. A literal rendering is, “ You shall not lift the name of Adonai your God to falsehood.” “Lift the name” is an idiom that refers to oath taking. In the ancient world, your name was intimately woven into the essence of who you were believed to be. There were two types of oaths: promissory, where one agreed to a future action, and judicial, whereby one would swear by his or her god to the truthfulness of the events that took place. And in a judicial situation, if one were willing to swear upon the name of one’s god, they won the favor of the judge.

Once I entered into a covenant relationship with Yeshua, everything I do is now a reflection of Him to the world around me. My words and my actions matter because they are inexplicably tied to Yeshua; He is now my  identity and as part of the covenant I have entered into, I am required to be true to Adonai’s instructions for living my  life. It requires a perpetual shifting of attitudes and seeking of wisdom to be a disciple of Yeshua. If I act in a manner inconsistent with who Yeshua is, I have marred His name.

Now I must consider the person who has no relationship with Yeshua. They observe how I speak and act. They attempt to discern the motives for my actions. They judge my intentions.

Choosing to live with original intent

And this is why I believe it is important to live with the original intention Adonai had for us all at the time of creation. Even Yeshua addresses this issue.

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”  They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?”  He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.  And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” ~ Matthew 19:3-9

Adonai allows certain actions because of the hardness of my  heart, because of my stubbornness, because of my sinful nature. In His infinite wisdom, He made exceptions too.

Adonai clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins. He gave Noah permission to eat animals after the flood. He instructed ravens to bring Elijah bread and meat in the wilderness.  Yeshua fed the hungry with bread and fish.

There may be instances where it would be necessary to eat animals in order to survive. But in my average daily existence, it is not necessary. And I must consider if my consumption of meat and dairy or using animal products for clothing is creating harm in this world. I believe it is.

One of the things I have to consider is this: do I want to stand before Yeshua at my judgement and say, “well I ate animals that were governed by inhumane practices on factory farms and purchased products that were produced by child and slave labor, products that created harm to your created and creation even though it was not necessary, because I was lazy or selfish or cheap?” How adequate is a defense of, “Well, I know all that grain being fed to livestock would have fed starving people, but a cheeseburger just tastes so stinking good”? I don’t want to have to explain that. I have enough to answer for already and I don’t want to add to the list. So if I have the knowledge to make a decision and the power and freedom to choose, I am going to choose the original intention Adonai had for me that reflects his love and mercy and justice instead of the allowance He made because of my stiffnecked, sinful human nature.

Although I believe I am to care for all Adonai entrusted to me which includes the earth and the animals, I am given the ultimate duty to love and care for the people He placed on this earth. Because of my covenant relationship with Yeshua, I am called to a higher standard of living; I am to walk a narrower path, one of sacrifice founded in love, modeled after Yeshua’s own life that emulates the Father’s love to this world. I live in a world of excess, a world filled with rabid consumers in lieu of the creators that were intended to exist. I have fully participated in this excessive living, but I regret it. What I now understand is proper stewardship of land and water resources could actually eliminate world hunger. Raising animals for the sole purpose of slaughter is not proper stewardship and it is not in line with Adonai’s character; my participation in such is not a proper reflection of being a disciple of Yeshua.

This is just one way to help the poor and the afflicted – to choose not to support or facilitate factory farming that literally takes food and clean water away from those who need it most. All over the world, the land parceled for growing grains for livestock feed could easily be transitioned to growing food for people. And as a by product of that action, the waste runoff would be eliminated and cease to pollute waterways.

For me, being  vegan has become a priority in my life and is one way I feel I can make an impact in the world for the good and benefit to all creation. I believe it was Adonai’s original intention before the fall of man, not just for us but for the animals as well. I believe, at its core, veganism aligns with Adonai’s attributes of love and justice and mercy for all His creation. I believe Daniel is the perfect example of what being loyal and living with Adonai’s original intention of a vegan diet can do to strengthen faith, mind, and body and the resulting blessings that flow from it are undeniable. I have seen the health benefits first hand. I believe that raising animals for slaughter is governed by inhumane practices which are in contrast to the character of Adonai. I believe the food industry is filled with deception which is a reflection of satan, not Yeshua. And I believe this same industry perpetuates world hunger and destruction to the home Adonai created for us. I believe cruelty to anyone or anything Adonai has created is a reprehensible act and should be rectified and accounted for. I believe knowledge of the truth gives me the power to create change in the world and help bring it in line with Adonai’s intentions for all of His creation.

And if I love Him, my choices will reflect that love with every thought, word, and deed. I understand I live in a fallen and sinful world, but I also understand I am His image in this world so let me always endeavor to live within the bounds of His character.

You shall be holy, for I, Adonai your Elohim, am holy. ~ Leviticus 19:2

If you wish to learn more and view my sources for the this series, you can download this pdf.

Origin of our convictions

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