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 the relationship between character and the Father’’s Will.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Character and the Father’’s Will
"Jesus saith unto them, my meat is do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." John, Chapter 4, Verse 34
Brothers and sisters, Jesus set the example for us to follow. Like him, our meat must be to do the will of the Father as revealed in the life of Jesus, who climbed from no God consciousness to the height of God consciousness: the perfection of the doing of the Father’’s will in the flesh. As we progress in this life, moral and spiritual decisions become increasingly difficult, and we are not always consciously certain as to the best way to proceed. This is especially true when there are many complex factors involved that seem to defy harmonization. And yet we are presented with the problem, and we must make some kind of decision. We retreat into prayer and worship, seeking the solution, seeking to know the Father’’s will. And therein we run into the barrier of doubt. Here we must exercise faith and trust in our ability to discern the Father’’s will.
There are many sleepless nights and lots of disagreeable emotional reactions as we try to sort it out, trying to gain assurance that we have indeed chosen the Father’’s will rather than our own. This problem is complicated because of error and evil, the unconscious violation of the Father’’s will. We see every day brothers and sisters claiming to be acting according to the Father’’s will, and some of the results of these decisions are not true, beautiful, nor good, and certainly not loving and merciful. How do we get past this seemingly insurmountable barrier of understanding? We want to know the Father’’s will, but what is the assurance that our knowing that will is devoid of error and evil? Sometimes we are so stressed emotionally and physically, our minds in such turmoil over the emotional response to the problem, and our bodies in such pain that we can’’t think clearly about the problem or can not think at all about it. It’’s sort of like a dog chasing his tail, round and round it goes but never getting anywhere.
Jesus tells us that we ought to always pray and not faint. Praying does not change the attitude of the Father but does change our attitude towards the problem at hand, despite the emotional turmoil and physical suffering. Our experiences clearly show that our emotions will subside. That we will eventually adjust to our physical difficulties. Now here is a thread of insight that we can follow: When we pray to the Father about a problem, we enlarge our capacity to receive an answer. The Father answers our prayers with increased revelations of truth, beauty, and goodness. These values are received in our souls and the meanings appear in our minds. The net effect is that we arrive at an ideal solution. We can see how everything should work out; but as we try to translate these ideals into ideas and into decisions, we run into great difficulty. We must then call on our previous experiences and glean wisdom from similar problems. We are breaking new ground here, and it is not amiss that we should have some trepidation as to how we should proceed, but the Father is there with us, guiding and directing us every step of the way although it may not appear so. It is true that when we finally get through the experience, we shall look back and see his hand in it.
When we seek to do the Father’’s will, we increase our hunger and thirst for righteousness, which ““leads to the discovery of truth, and truth augments ideals, and this creates new problems for the individual religionists, for our ideals tend to grow by geometrical progression, while our ability to live up to them is enhanced only by arithmetical progression." The reason is that we are in time and space, and we must proceed moment by moment. The outworking of our decisions is delayed by time and handicapped by space. The revelations of divine values are eternal and are not delayed by time or handicapped by space, and thus we have this paradox of knowing how things should be but unable to make them that way without the passing of time and the overcoming of the handicaps of space that may be associated with them.
We can best see this in our inner experience. As we seek to do the Father’’s will, we soon see ourselves as being perfect. This is the ideal, but the actual incorporation of these perfect divine values into our character is delayed by time and handicapped by space. But even so, we will never get to eternity if we don’’t seek these divine ideals and their subsequent meanings. But just what is the Father’’s will?
We usually associate will with making a material or moral decision; that is, we decide to do something that effects change in our outer environment. But we must remember when we choose the Father’’s will, we are still making a decision, but it is a spiritual decision. This decision effects change in our inner lives and consequently in our outer lives.
"The will of God is the way of God, partnership with the choice of God in the face of any potential alternative. To do the will of God, therefore, is the progressive experience of becoming more and more like God, and God is the source and destiny of all that is good and beautiful and true. The will of man is the way of man, the sum and substance of that which the mortal chooses to be and do. Will is the deliberate choice of a self-conscious being which leads to decision-conduct based on intelligent reflection."
Now we are in a position to get a better grasp of what it means to do the Father’’s will. When we seek to do the Father’’s will, we seek to choose what he is rather than what we are. We know that the Father has given us the ability to make free will choices when it comes to choosing him. This is a spiritual decision. When we choose the Father’’s will, we are in effect choosing to become like him, and since this process takes place in time and space, it takes time and suitable stimuli.
In choosing the divine nature, we must be presented with moral and spiritual stimuli in order to choose them, in order to choose his will, his nature. And when we are presented with moral and spiritual stimuli, we have a choice to make: to choose our will, which is our nature, or choose the Father’’s will, which is the divine nature.
When seeking the Father’’s will in a given moral or spiritual situation, the Father never says to us to do thus and so. The Father responds by making us more and more like him--that is, he changes our character, our value system into the maximum capacity possible at a given time and space. And having undergone this transformation, which may be ever so slight when viewed from the time-space perspective, his Son says, "this is the way, walk in it." And having undergone this character modification, we make our decisions based on the degree of Godlikeness that we have obtained. And as we reflect and consider all of the factors involved in the problem presenting itself for solution, we make the decision with the greatest value. And always is this the Father’’s will, the decision that is reflective of the highest level of understanding and wisdom that we possess.
This decision is the Father’’s will, for it reflects the greatest possible decision made from the degree of Father-likeness. It is the decision that the Father himself would make if he were living in the flesh at this particular level of spiritual growth, as was so magnificently demonstrated by Jesus when he traversed the mortal life from birth to death.
What is the assurance that these spiritual transformations are actually occurring? While this is an internal, subjective process, there are several indicators that this process is taking place. First is our sincere desire to do the Father’’s will, the sincere desire to obtain the divine nature, to become like the Father as revealed in his Son, Jesus. We truly desire to obtain a character like Jesus. Then we have our faith, faith in the power of the desire to transform our human character into the divine character. What the true son desires and Father wills, is.
Next we have our experience of growth in the divine character. And like all growth, it is best seen when viewing whence we have come and best appreciated by the actual performance of spiritual tasks now that were impossible in the past. Never can we appreciate our growth from moment to moment. It is only by looking back that we can actually see the growth.
In the human process of moving from a helpless infant to a mature adult, we cannot take any isolated moment and point out growth. The growth can only be appreciated when placed in the context of whence we have come and whence we have to go. In short, we know that we are growing because we have moved from where we were, and we can see where we need to go. The assurance of spiritual transformation is spiritual transformation. And finally we know when we have completed this spiritual growth because we show forth the evidence. We display a character like Jesus, one that is motivated by love and dominated by mercy, and the light of fruits of the spirit shines brightly and continuously without interruption.
This concludes today's message on understanding the relationship between character and doing the Father’’s will. 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.