Greetings, 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 spiritual truths with me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we ponder our lives as seek to understand how to resolve conflict within the soul.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Conflict Resolution within the Soul
"And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, ‘‘O my Father, if it be possible, let his cup pass from me: Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou will.’’" Matthew, Chapter 26, Verse 39
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we share insight into resolving conflicts within the soul. Conflicts are made of two opposing values that appear to have the same value. We know we cannot choose values that are diametrically opposed. We cannot go to the left and the right at the same time. We cannot choose two opposite decisions at the same time. Inability or failure to choose the superior value results in conflict, where the will is paralyzed and banished to no-man’’s land. But no one can remain there for very long. A decision must be made in favor of one or the other.
We know that "... All forms of soul conflict consist in the lack of harmony between the moral, or spiritual, self-
consciousness and the purely intellectual self-consciousness." And in our search, we wish to recognize, understand, realize and resolve this conflict, this war within the self. Let us consider the example of a supreme conflict that Jesus went through in the Garden of Gethsemane. His was a perfect example of how to resolve conflicts. And this was so because he was God incarnate. But he was also fully human, and because he was, he inspires us to resolve our conflict as he resolved his, subject to the Father’’s will.
It is important to remember that even though Jesus was God and man, and even though his mission was to reveal the Father to mankind, he was to do this in the natural outworking of his life. Thus, he was subject to the ups and downs of mortal life just as we are. The fact that he lived his life just like you and I is a great inspiration for us because we know that the heavenly Father in the form of his son has taken on the form of a human being, and having done so he became subject to the mortal life. All of this helps us to understand how Jesus resolved this supreme conflict as a human being.
The crisis of Jesus had been germinating for quite some time, ever gaining steam. The religious authorities were determined to put an end to his teaching, and had decreed that he should be killed. This mandate finally bore fruit when Judas agreed to betray Jesus into the hands of the religious authorities.
The conflict burst into full force while he was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He had said farewell to his apostles at the last supper. He knew that his enemies were coming for him that very night. Thus, he recognized the conflict. He also understood what this conflict meant, and he realized the consequences of this conflict and its resolution. Jesus recognized there were two choices that lay before him. He could stop his work and flee the authorities or he could continue with his mission to reveal the Father to mankind and die. He understood that if he fled, he would save his material life but would lose his spiritual life; if he stayed, he would most certainly lose his material life but would save his spiritual life. Here he demonstrated the great truth. He who would seek to save his life shall lose it but whoever loses his life shall save it. He realized the magnitude of the situation. Life is precious to any human being But he was divine as well as human. Here is where the great test began. A decision had to be made, and it was a great struggle for the human Jesus.
Jesus began to pray, seeking an acceptable way out the conflict between the desire to survive and the desire to be true to his mission of revealing the Father to mankind, the conflict between his will and the Father’’s will. It is said that he was very sorrowful and that sweat fell from him like great drops of blood. He sought three times prayerfully to find a way out of this agonizing dilemma, but each time he sought a way out, he ended his prayer with the desire to do the Father’’s will rather than his own. Each time he sought the Father’’s will, the divine nature was able to grasp a greater hold over the human nature until finally the two became one. He realized that the Father wanted him to go through this experience. It was not the Father’’s will that he should be tortured and killed in such a cruel manner, any more than it is his will for us to suffer. But it was the Father’’s will for him to continue his life in the manner that it unfolded, just like you and I. Jesus finally chose the Father’’s will, and the conflict was resolved. He had chosen the decision with the highest value and set an example for all of us. We are to seek the decision with the highest value. We are not to run away from difficult experiences, either physically or emotionally.
We have multiple conflicts to resolve in our lives, and how we resolve them depends on our growth and development. Our first conflict presents as a choice between selfishness and unselfishness, between our moral free will and the will of the Father. When we choose the Father’’s will by making an unselfish decision, we choose good, which creates the soul. Therefore, each time we are confronted with a moral choice, and we choose good over evil, our souls grow more. This choosing can never come to an end, for where it to the soul would die.
But we can resolve these conflicts after the pattern of Jesus. We can discern the highest value through seeking the Father’’s will. And after we have discerned it, we can choose it. Moral decisions always involving reflection, thought. Only when we reflect can discern the choice between good and evil (potential evil). Since discerning potential evil can serve as a stimulus for discerning good, actual evil, the actual choosing of it does not have to occur. The unthinking choice, the selfish choice is evil, and it always results when we fail to seek the Father’’s will in a given situation, when we fail to seek the good, the decision with the highest value.
When we choose the decision with the highest value, the conflict dissolves. The conflict also dissolves if we choose a decision of lesser value, but what a difference in outcome between the two. If the choice is for the highest value, then we move forward with growth and development; if the decision is for the lesser value, then we stagnate and move backwards. Jesus said, "To every one who has, more shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him who has not, even that which he has shall be taken away. You cannot stand still in the affairs of the eternal kingdom. My Father requires all his children to grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. You who know these truths must yield the increase of the fruits of the spirit and manifest a growing devotion to the unselfish service of your fellow servants. And remember that, inasmuch as you minister to one of the least of my brethren, you have done this service to me."
We must live our lives as it unfolds for that is the Father’’s will; within this it is the Father’’s will that we choose the decision of highest value. Yes, we have to live this mortal life with its ups and downs, with its sometimes painful physical and emotional afflictions. But even while we live this material life, with our feet stuck in the mud sometimes, our arms can reach for the stars. We don’’t have to allow material values to define our state. We can live spiritual values that will transcend the material values of our present material status. The pursuit of spiritual values should be our supreme goal of living. And while the pursuit of spiritual values does not change the material status of our lives, it does fill us with a different motive for living, and this in and of itself gives us hope, an indispensable quality that keeps despair at bay. As long as we have hope, we can successfully run this material race no matter how difficult, for with hope there is always tomorrow, even the tomorrow of the next life, where we will be delivered from all of these material afflictions.
This concludes today's message on resolving conflict within the soul. 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.