Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has shared many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. In today’’s broadcast we explore the higher calling. We want to understand what the higher calling is, its value, and how to obtain it.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
A Higher Calling
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take us his cross and follow me." ““For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew, Chapter 16, Verse 24; Matthew, Chapter 22, Verse 14
Brothers and sisters, we live in somewhat of a paradox. Because we are material creatures, we are endowed with a strong desire for self-preservation. Being material creatures we are often blind to the superior quality of spiritual reality, which the higher calling is founded on through the exercise of our faith. Nevertheless, it is the Father’’s will that we start out as material creatures and progress towards our spiritual natures. Too often we settle for slight spiritual attainments --just enough to stabilize us.
There is much more to life than just the material drives of self-maintenance, self-perpetuation, and self-gratification. While these are important, there are higher things. When we examine the goals that most of us set for this life, we find that they are material and intellectual. Most of us want to get married, raise a family, have a meaningful job that pays a good salary, and provide for retirement, where we can live out the so-called golden years of our lives. At the end of this life, most of us believe that Jesus will resurrect us and give us eternal life. And he will, but there is a higher truth involved in accepting salvation, one more glorious than our being resurrected in heaven. Salvation is only part of a higher meaning. Salvation is the consequence of having embraced a higher calling. The Father is merciful, giving us additional time to embrace the higher calling. "In my Father’’s house are many mansions," we’’re told. In these mansions we can make up for the deficits associated with not accepting the higher calling while living in the flesh. Still it would be so much better if we would embrace the higher calling while still living in the flesh.
We know that there is a higher calling than the ones that most of us pursue. Material achievements are not to be despised, but there still remains an unsatisfied hunger and thirst in our souls after we have made these achievements. Even for those who have embraced religion, there still remains a hunger for truth and thirst for righteousness that constantly beckons us. Very seldom do we hear people profess that they want to be a better person; most seem to accept their imperfections with amazing comfort. The idea of increasing their moral and spiritual status remains in the shadow of undiscovered values.
Over 2,000 years ago, the divine Son, Jesus, incarnated in human form and perfectly demonstrated what it looks like to respond to the highest calling. Although the fragmented records left by his disciples contain a lot of obscure information, an accurate record of this spiritual call was left in our hearts. This is the Spirit of Truth, Jesus’’ spirit, the same spirit that guided him when he lived the human life. The spiritual call is the command to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect. The higher calling does not diminish life, but rather amplifies it, glorifies it, making all life rich and vibrant with divine meanings and values.
We all recognize this call in the form of continuous striving in the material and intellectual phases of our lives, but sad to say, some of us may have ignored the call morally and ethically; we may have stagnated in the spiritual aspects of life. We know that we want more than just material and intellectual success. Our souls cry out for it, but instead of responding to the cries of a starving and emaciated soul, we attempt to drown out its cries with more and more material and intellectual successes. How else can we explain our constant accumulations of things material? These things bring moments of fleeting satisfaction, and then discontent reappears, try as we might to get rid of it.
There is a better way, and this way is the way of the heavenly Father as demonstrated by his Son, Jesus. Jesus said that he was not satisfied for us to love our neighbors as ourselves but wanted us to love one another as he loves us. This solves the problem of personal insufficiency because we may not love ourselves very much and are therefore not able to love our neighbors very much. Loving each other as Jesus loves us insures that we will love one another as the heavenly Father loves us. If we do this, all who observe this divine affection will know that we are his disciples and will be willing to accept the truth that the Father sent Jesus into the world to demonstrate his loving mercy for the children of men, his mortal sons and daughters.
As we live this life, we are aware of the problems associated with being human. We know that diseases and accidents are all part of this life, and we accept this. The things that cause us lasting sorrow are broken relationships. Relationships that have become so distorted that it is often difficult for the thin bonds of affection to hold them together. This peculiar kind of sorrow gives us no reprieve. We sit by the phone of loneliness, awaiting the call that rarely comes, and when it does come, it just adds to our sorrow as we realize that this is a call of duty and not true affection. The thing that makes this life worth living is true and loving relationships. The acceptance of the higher calling solves this difficulty.
Every parent should teach their child very early to love others as Jesus loves us. We teach not by verbal instruction but by actually loving our children as Jesus loves us. While the child may eventually discover the truth of the admonition to love each other as Jesus loves us--after much trials and tribulations in the schools of evil--it would be so very, very sweet and gratifying if the child did not have to learn the hard way. What a magnificent blessing it would be if we could forever disconnect the telephone of loneliness and duty and answer with joy and satisfaction a phone call of true affection that rings constantly.
We have defined what the highest call is--to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect. We have seen its demonstration as portrayed by Jesus. Now, how do we answer the call to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect? We must move from the selfish pursuit of salvation toward the matchless striving of doing the Father’’s will. Jesus instructed that to do the Father’’s will means to love one another as Jesus loves us. If we do this, we will find a new satisfaction in life, a new awareness of Jesus, a living awareness of Jesus as he guides us into the truth of the Father’’s love. We will find that our activities of self-maintenance, self-perpetuation, and self-gratification all take on newer and higher meanings as divine values are infiltrated into these activities.
By deciding to dedicate and consecrate our will to doing the Father’’s will, we respond to this higher calling by faith. Accepting that we have responded to the call and redirecting our energies to loving and mercifully serving others, we will forthwith experience the fruit of the spirit in our lives. By this decision our spiritual lives become real to us as we ascend to the heights of divine perfection. Not only will we be called--we will be chosen.
This concludes today's message on understanding what it means to respond to the higher calling. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.