"I choose the second place to gain the first."
The lesson is saying that when we consider choosing to join our will to God's Will (1:5), it seems like some kind of loss, a submission to something outside of ourselves. It seems like taking "second place." It seems subserviant, or submissive. And in our mistaken identity as egos, we feel that the only way to have autonomy is to make ourselves independent from God and from the rest of His creation.
We are seeing things upside down (1:1). All that we find by asserting our independence is "sickness, suffering and loss and death" (1:3). We are like a branch trying to become independent of the vine. If we are cut off from the vine, we die. Our identity is not lost by joining with the vine; it is found, because we are not something separate. We are part of God and part of His creation, and only in joining with that willingly can we discover our true identity. "Our will is His."
We choose to "submit" to God's Will (which seems like taking second place) because, in joining with Him, we arrive in first place: one with the Will of the Creator of all things.
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