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 revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand how we access the divine image in which we are spiritually made.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Accessing the Divine Image
"And God said, ‘‘let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’’" Genesis, Chapter 1, Verse 26
Brothers and sisters, we know that we are created in the Father’’s image, for revelation reveals that the Father said, "Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness." With a bit of discernment, we can see that there are two factors to note: First is the material creation of mortal man and second is the spiritual re-creation of mortal man into the image of the Father. Now we know that this recreation of us does not refer to the physical creation in the image of God because God is spirit, and mortal man is material. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostril the breath of life; and man became a living soul." "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." "He is a universal spiritual presence. The Universal Father is an infinite spiritual reality; he is the sovereign, eternal, immortal, invisible, and only true God."
The (re)creation of our spiritual selves occurs in our minds. Thus, the (re) creation is the soul. Having created this soul, the Father commands us to be perfect even as he is perfect. We want to shed further light on the technique for obeying this command. Let us consider this material analogy to help us in this process.
A person has several banking accounts. These accounts range from a checking account for everyday purposes, a short term saving account for acute emergencies, and a long-term investment account to be drawn on at some future date. Each of these accounts require an account number and a pin number to be accessed. When the person desires to withdraw money from these accounts, he provides his account and pin number and withdraws the amount of money needed for his purposes. With the passing of time, he will eventually access all of these accounts, the last account being used for his retirement.
We have been told that we have the divine image within us. Consider this quote: "What is man that thou are mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" The divine image lives within our minds and souls. It is the Father’’s spirit. We want to access this divine image the same way we want to access funds from our banking accounts. The Father has given each of us an account number in the form of his divine spirit and a pin number in the form of the Spirit of Truth. By utilizing the pin number of the Spirit of Truth, we are enabled to access the account of the divine spirit. This account holds the divine image and all the values and meanings that we will ever need.
We will never be able to exhaust this account of the divine image, for it is limitless. The account is established in a certain way: resources are only paid out as we need them. Never are we given resources beyond our present needs. And there are two reasons for this. To provide resources that are not needed is a waste of resources. Why order two steak dinners when you can only eat one? The other reason is the nature of the distributions of this account are such that they can only be given out at the instance they are needed. This is an eternal account: it knows no past or future, only the present, the everlasting now.
In accessing this account, we need a guide to direct us so that we withdraw from these spiritual accounts without making errors. In our present state of development, being immature spiritual children, we don’’t know how much we need or how to access this spiritual account, not to mention there are those who don’’t even know they have such an account. So we need a spiritual guide who will sort out these problems for us concerning the wisdom of access. Some days we may not need to withdraw as much spiritual money, while other days we may need more. Sometimes we need an even larger amount to make ends meet. There are always spiritual emergencies in addition to our routine spiritual needs.
Now that we are created in the Father’’s image, how do we become that image? We know that an image is a reflection of the image caster; in this case, the Father’’s spirit is the image of the Father. And we know that the quality of this image is different for each stage of our development. So what is the image that we needs to be reflected at this level of our development? We know that the Father’’s command to be perfect even as he is perfect occurs in stages. The first stage of becoming the perfect reflection of this image occurs right here on earth. By the technique of doing the Father’’s will and under the guidance of the Spirit of Truth, we access this image of spiritual perfection, even while we tread the lowly paths of material existence. Since this Spirit of Truth, which is the spirit of Jesus, actually took on our form and demonstrated how to live the spiritual life while still living the material life, it can perfectly guide us through all the stages of spiritual perfection as it is obtained while we live in the flesh. There are three stages of spiritual development while we live in the flesh.
The first stage occurs when we conceive a soul. This is the first step in our (re)creation from the material to the spiritual. We conceive this soul when we make our first moral decision. As we continue to make moral decisions, our souls continue to develop from its embryonic form until its birth. The second stage occurs under the mass of moral decisions when the soul wakes up, becomes "born again" and begins to consciously respond to spiritual reality. This is the response to divine love, the response to the values of truth, beauty, and goodness. This signifies the soul and the now spiritualized material mind crossing spirit boundaries. From hence forth, the soul still makes moral decisions, but in addition to moral decisions, spiritual decisions make their appearance.
And just as in the embryonic stages, where the soul was presented with different moral stimuli, with ever-increasing complexity and difficulty, so the born-again soul is now presented with increasing complex and difficult spiritual stimuli in addition to the ever-increasing moral stimuli. This process continues with a variety of situations where it learns to love its brothers and sisters in various combinations of moral and spiritual development. As the soul continues to successfully respond, it finally reaches the supreme level where it exhausts all of the different combinations of moral and spiritual stimuli. This was demonstrated by Jesus in the Jordan, when the Father’’s spirit spoke, saying, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased."
And just as the material experiences were varied and complex, requiring different amounts of money to be withdrawn from the account, so have the moral and spiritual experiences been varied and complex. Moral and spiritual stimuli are still presented, but no new moral and spiritual stimuli requiring further growth will be encountered. In short, there will not be any spiritual and moral stimuli presented with which the soul has not had a counterpart experience. The image of the soul has become indistinguishable from the image of the Father. They have become one.
It is similar to a material analogy: For example, if the expenses for a given day are $500, the amount of money withdrawn from the account is $500. And we can see right away that no matter what the combinations of expenses that equal the $500, the $500 will be adequate to cover the expenses.
The final stage of this perfection process while in the flesh begins with the completion of the period of learning how to respond to various moral and spiritual stimuli. This is the stage of spiritual perfection while in the flesh. In this stage, the soul makes a perfect response to the Father’’ urges and leading under the Spirit of Truth. The soul is able to respond to any and every moral and spiritual stimuli with divine goodness--love, patience, mercy, and forgiveness. The soul, having achieved this spiritual perfection while living in the flesh, only now awaits the transfer to the next level, where he will be presented with a new image on that level to master. "In my Father’’s house are many mansions.”” Throughout all of these stages, the access to the image of the Father is made by doing the Father’’s will and accepting the guidance of the Spirit of Truth.
This concludes today's message on understanding how we access the divine image in which we spiritually
made. 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.