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 cooperate with the divine plan for our lives.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Cooperation with the Divine Plan for our Life
"Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." Jeremiah, Chapter 1, Verse 5.
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast, we share some further insights into the process of cooperating with the divine plan for our lives. We know that there is such a plan, and this plan is not arbitrary but is based on each of our unique potentials. Before we are even conceived, the Father has a plan for our lives. These plans are based on our hereditary antecedents and our probable intellectual endowment and spiritual capacity. The Spirit gives gifts, "dividing to every man severally as he will."
But we must remember, the Father has given us free will, and even though he has the perfect plan for our intellectual and spiritual development, we are not forced to accept this plan as it is. We can reject any part of it (and many of us do), or we can reject all of it. But we should remember, the "way of the transgressor is hard, and the wages of sin is death." But given that we desire to cooperate with the divine plan for our lives, how do we cooperate with it? How do we become aware that this is the plan that we ought to be following?
Remember the Father’’s plan for our lives is based on our talents and gifts that we are born with. So then it must be that if we pursue those talents or gifts, then we are following the divine plan for our lives from the mortal perspective, but there is a spiritual perspective that parallels intellectual development. How do we become aware of our talents or our gifts? With so many paths to choose from and so many circumstances, how do we gain knowledge of our talents and gifts? Well there are several ways of discerning these talents and gifts. With some of us, these talents appear very early in our lives. For example, some of the more outstanding gifts such as musical ability, language ability, athletic ability appear very early in the child’’s experience.
Some of them may not appear until later in life, but these gifts appear with a certain ease of acquirement, and those of us who observe these gifts in others are awed by their exhibitions. And as we compare their abilities with our ability to do the same things, we wonder how they are able to do the thing so naturally and without so much struggle. So we see that one of the trademarks of a gift or a talent is that it manifests itself naturally and without a lot of resistance. When we pursue areas that are outside the range of our talent, while we may perform adequately, our performance is lukewarm compared to the area in which we are talented. There are also certain emotional satisfactions that we experience as we pursue that for which we are truly suited.
Some talents may not be recognized in their rudimentary forms as these talents will not find fulfillment until later in life, and thus there may not be any immediate recognition of what the talent is, but whether the talent is recognized or not, the precursors of the talent appear early.
Sometimes we may reject our talents or gifts. And we do this because the particular talent or gift may not be recognized by society as having any outstanding value. In the society we live in, we reward the higher intellectual functions and the higher athletic functions with monetary and social recognition, while we tend to downgrade the importance of other talents and gifts. We are often tempted to go off on some other pursuit, away from our gifts, in order to pursue some other highly recognized function in society. And this has caused quite a bit of confusion and unhappiness in the lives of those who do this, not to mention those persons who function in areas for which they are unsuited due to lack of ability or temperament. Truly the love of money is the root of all evil.
When considering abandoning the natural gifts and talents that we have been given, we should remember the parables of the talents and the pound that speaks to taking advantage of the abilities and opportunities we have been given.
We must remember that the Father does not bestow unequal favor upon his children because of their particular functions. We are all equal in the Father’’s eyes. He loves each and everyone or us. If your pursue your talent or gift that you have been given to the best of your ability, the actualization of that talent or gift will be just as meaningful and valuable as a talent or gift that functions at a so-called higher level of society. All of these talents and gifts are pregnant with divine values and meanings just waiting to be delivered.
These gifts and talents have to be developed because they do not appear fully realized in the life of the individual. Much work and effort is required to actualized these gifts and talents, and it is in the actualization of these talents and gifts that we realize the divine plan for our life. As you might imagine and may have experienced, the actualization of these talents do not follow a straight path. The path takes many twists and turns, but even if the road is curved, the road is still brightly lit so that the true of heart have no trouble following the path. The path of self actualization is lit with the values and meanings of truth, beauty, goodness; while the arena in which potentials are transformed into actuals is the arena of divine love.
The path of self-actualization has certain stimuli built into it in the form of uncertainty, disappointment, apparent detours, certain obstacles, and doubt-provoking circumstances. And we never know what is coming next to confront us as we make our way down the path of self actualization, the realization of our talents and gifts. And there is a reason for this, though often we don’’t fully appreciate the reason. The successful undertaking of the divine plan for our lives requires ignorance as to how it will unfold. Ignorance is essential to prevent premature action or retarded action. We tend to act prematurely if we feel what is coming is good, and retard our actions if we feel what is coming is bad. Suffice it to say that good and evil cannot be determined by how we feel. Oftentimes the things that feel good to us are bad for us, and that which feels bad is good for us. Action at the precise moment is needed, and this can best be guaranteed by our not knowing what is coming next.
It requires faith to traverse the path of self actualization. Only the persistent exercise of faith, and continually conforming our will to the Father’’s will can vanquish the shadow of doubt that robs us of our sense of security, our trust, and hope, our peace and joy, our patience--vital spiritual forces. We must do our very best in whatever situation we find ourselves; we must be true to ourselves; that is, our motive must be pure. And as we tackle the walls of potentials, scaling them one by one, we arrive at that vantage point, where we actualize our talents and gifts and recognize the divine plan for our lives. The willingness to follow the light of truth and our steadfastness constitute cooperation.
This concludes today's message on understanding how we cooperate with the divine plan for our lives. 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.