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 revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning in today’’s broadcast we share some further insight in to discerning the Father’’s will in an experience..
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Discerning the Father’’s Will in an Experience
"And he went a little farther and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, ‘‘O my Father if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou will.’’" Matthew, Chapter 26, Verse 39
Brothers and sisters, when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane contemplating what he should do about his impending death, he sought to know the Father’’s will, in particular, if there was a way for him to avoid death on the cross. He prayed to his heavenly Father three times trying to find a way out of this terrible dilemma, but it soon became apparent to him that the Father wanted him to go through this experience. How did he discern the Father’’s will in this situation? Jesus was the perfect revelation of the heavenly Father. He had perfected his human nature and perfectly acquired the divine nature. Having acquired the divine nature, it became possible for him to view the situation as the Father did. He had come to reveal the Father to the world and that revelation had to be done throughout all phases of his mortal nature.
The divine nature does not shrink from its own nature because it has run into a disagreeable experience, even when the experience spells mortal doom. Jesus came to bear witness to the truth: God is our Father and we are his sons and daughters. He knew that he was demonstrating to the world how the Father lived a mortal life. In submitting to the experience, he was setting an example for all of his mortal children. They were not to run away from the truth when confronted with some evil experience. They were to bear witness to the truth even as Jesus did. Jesus was given two choices in the Garden. He could choose his will or he could choose the Father’’s will. He could save his life by running away, by abandoning his claims to being the personal revelation of the heavenly Father or he could maintain the truth of who he was and face execution on a Roman cross. Given the choices, there was only once choice that he could make, given his dedication to doing the Father’’s will: die rather than disown who he was.
We know that there are two factors involved in discerning the Father’’s will: Discerning the divine nature to be applied in a given situation and discerning the correct decision to be applied to a given situation. We know that when we execute a decision subject to the Father’’s will, we do out of the divine value system that is a reflection of the divine nature. Thus we see the degree of accuracy in discerning the divine decision to be made in a given moral or spiritual situation is directly related to the degree of the acquirement of the divine nature. As we view Jesus’’s experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see that is exactly what he revealed when he made the decision to accept death rather than be disloyal to truth.
During our mortal lives, we are not likely to be called upon face death on a Roman cross, but we all have crosses of trials and tribulations. Many of us are crucified upon the cross of affliction and suffer grievously; at such times we wonder about the Father’’s will. We wonder if we have come to the end of the line. We wonder if there are any more bright, sunny days ahead or only the lingering clouds of doubt where we are held so tightly at times it is even hard to take a deep breath of trust.
How do we discern the Father’’s will when we are languishing upon the bed of affliction. In this situation, discerning the Father’’s will is a matter of discerning the divine nature. Each time Jesus sought to know the Father’’s will in the Garden, his humanity moved closer and closer to his divinity, becoming one with it. As we seek to know the Father will when we are languishing upon the bed of affliction, we come to know that divine nature more and more. We really come to know the meaning of long suffering, one of the heavenly Father’’s character traits. But even as we suffer we are comforted in the knowledge that even though the events of the mortal life may sideline us, no such handicaps exist with the eternal life.
We can rest assured that the Father has not forgotten us but is right there beside us, even in us and going through the same experience with us and as us. We can be comforted in the truth that the Father loves us; we can receive that moral and spiritual power even as Jesus did in the Garden to gracefully go through the experience dedicated to doing the Father’’s will, dedicated to revealing the Father’’s nature despite being on the bed of affliction. We can be comforted in the knowledge that like so many other experiences both pleasurable and painful, they too shall eventually pass away. It is a strain on the emotions to undergo such character testing, but the emotions can be calmed when the situation is accepted--when we stop straining against the temporal reality of what is and accept the soothing balm of hope.
And there are other times, when we may not be languishing on the bed of affliction, but time seems to stand still and opportunities for growth appear to have stalled. There are many periods of waiting during the mortal life. How do we discern the Father’’s will when we are waiting on him? We live in a universe where delays of time must be reckoned and the handicaps of space must be allowed. Whatever our philosophy of life, it must embrace these twin truths: "In the mortal life, paths of differential conduct are continually opening and closing, and during the times when choice is possible the human personality is constantly deciding between these many courses of action. Temporal volition is linked to time, and it must await the passing of time to find opportunity for expression. Spiritual volition has begun to taste liberation from the fetters of time, having achieved partial escape from time sequence, and that is because spiritual volition is self-identifying with the will of God."
But when the human vehicle becomes an expression of spiritual volition for the execution of some task with spiritual significance, then must we await the opportunity to present itself, and this is a function of time. In our temporal ministry on earth, our actions are often delayed by time and handicapped by space. We must often wait for circumstances to occur where we can act. It takes time to align all the actors at the correct time and the correct place. There is no way around this time-space governor. Everything must simply await its time. But while we wait upon the Father, we must exercise faith, trust, and hope, and realize that we will not be too ready when the time comes to exercise the Father’’s will in some act of mercy or love. When the time comes we will discern which aspect of the Father’’s character to display. Thus we see the need for patience while awaiting an opportunity to act.
Although we have to reckon with the delays of time and the handicaps of space, we can still discern the Father’’s will in a given experience. While we are waiting for the doors of opportunity to open, we can discern the Father’’s will. In this case, we can discern his character, his divine presence. Discerning his divine character restrains us when we should be restrained. The quality of long suffering is revealed in the face of the need for it. And while we are waiting, we continue to pray and worship, continue to seek to know his divine nature. While worship displays the divine nature in absolute perfection, prayer increasingly instructs us how to obtain this divine nature, how to execute the Father’’s will. While all of this waiting, especially when there is an element of suffering, is hard emotionally and trying physically, the practice of seeking the Father’’s will, will sustain us through the trial and will allow us to bear the tribulation with tranquility of spirit and mind.
This concludes today's message on understanding the discernment of the Father’’s will in an experience. 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