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 shared many revelations of spiritual truth with me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we examine the process where we become aware of the Father’’s presence at all times and under all conditions.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
"Jesus saith unto him, ‘‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: No man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also; and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.’’”” John, Chapter 10, Verses 6-7
Brothers and sisters, the Father is present in the form of his divine spirit at all times and under all circumstances. There are many times in our experience where we are faced with adverse situations. At such times we desire to be aware of the Father’’s presence as we move through the difficulties. This being the case, really we desire to be aware of this divine spirit at all times. We want to be like Jesus.
"Jesus never prayed as a religious duty. To him prayer was a sincere expression of spiritual attitude, a declaration of soul loyalty, a recital of personal devotion, an expression of thanksgiving, an avoidance of emotional tension, a prevention of conflict, an exaltation of intellection, an ennoblement of desire, a vindication of moral decision, an enrichment of thought, an invigoration of higher inclinations, a consecration of impulse, a clarification of viewpoint, a declaration of faith, a transcendental surrender of will, a sublime assertion of confidence, a revelation of courage, the proclamation of discovery, a confession of supreme devotion, the validation of consecration, a technique for the adjustment of difficulties, and the mighty mobilization of the combined soul powers to withstand all human tendencies toward selfishness, evil, and sin."
"He lived just such a life of prayerful consecration to the doing of his Father's will and ended his life triumphantly with just such a prayer. The secret of his unparalleled religious life was this consciousness of the presence of God; and he attained it by intelligent prayer and sincere worship--unbroken communion with God--and not by leadings, voices, visions, or extraordinary religious practices." By following Jesus, that is, by living a life of prayerfully consecrating our will to doing the Father’’s will, we become conscious of God. In Jesus’’ prayer life, we witness his moral and spiritual striving. Notably absent are materialistic prayers. If we are in constant communion with the heavenly Father, then we are consciously constant in his presence; if we are constant in his presence, then we are aware of his presence. We cannot commune with God without being aware of his presence.
Just what are we conscious of when we say we’’re conscious of God? We should remember consciousness of the divine spirit is not a material consciousness but a spiritual consciousness. So first in our analysis we must distinguish between material consciousness and spiritual consciousness. Material consciousness allows us to be aware of and focused on material things. For example, if we want to become aware of our little toe, all we have to do is shift our focus there. We are not self-conscious of our little toe unless we focus on it or something has happened to it to bring it to our attention. Material consciousness is aware of material meanings. We are also conscious of other material beings. We can interact with them, can see them, hear them, and so on.
Spiritual consciousness is the consciousness of value; the greatest spiritual value of all is the heavenly Father, who is revealed in his Son, Jesus. The heavenly Father is spirit--to become conscious of him is to be conscious of spirit. "There is a characteristic light, a spirit luminosity, which accompanies this divine presence." This is the "true light which lights every man who comes into the world." This light has a certain manifestation. We can know this light and become aware of it through our faith. This light manifests itself as the presence of love and by the outward urge to love others unselfishly. This light is the source of all that is true, beautiful, and good. This light is the divine presence. In seeking to recognize the divine presence, we use our spiritual imagination to visualize this light. This light is the Father’’s will, and we can dedicate our will to doing this divine will. And the very fact that we can dedicate and consecrate our will to doing this will is proof that this will exists. Otherwise, we are deceiving ourselves. It remains forever true that whosoever seeks to know the divine will, will know it. When we dedicates our wills to doing the divine will, thus choosing the Father’’s will rather than our own in the moral and spiritual arena, subtle changes began to occur in our lives. These changes accumulate.
Our character becomes transformed, becoming more like the Father’’s character, the character that Jesus revealed when he was here. As we continue in this walk, we grow more and more into the image of his Son, ever approaching moral and spiritual perfection. "As the days pass, every true believer becomes more skillful in alluring his fellows into the love of eternal truth." This growth is manifested by interactions with our brothers and sisters, and we are able to answer these questions in the positive: "Are you more resourceful in revealing goodness to humanity today than you were yesterday? Are you a better righteousness recommender this year than you were last year? Are you becoming increasingly artistic in your technique of leading hungry souls into the spiritual kingdom?" "As you grow older in years and more experienced in the affairs of the kingdom, are you becoming more tactful in dealing with troublesome mortals and more tolerant in living with stubborn associates?" Are we growing in the meanings of divine values? Are we penetrating deeper into the meanings of truth?
As we can know our material status simply by focusing our attention on what we choose, we can also focus our spiritual attention on the inside and know the status of our souls. We can know whether our souls are at peace with the heavenly Father. Do we allow this great light of peace to shine through us even while in the jaws of adversity? Do we acknowledge this light in others? Or do we just ignore it? Are we dutiful sons and daughters basking in his continuous love and constantly communing with him, or are we at odds with him, like spoiled and rebellious children, creating disharmony in our relationships with him and refusing to commune with him?
Are we glad that we are his sons and daughters and rejoice in this great truth, or are we sad and sorrowful spiritually because we don’’t live up to the responsibilities inherent in this great gift? Do we allow this great truth to give us hope in the face of material adversity? Do we allow our souls to say, "It won’’t be this way always." And since we know that it won’’t be this way always, do we exhibit long suffering, which bespeaks of our absolute confidence in the Father’’s plan for our lives? Or are we restive under the divine yoke?
Do we acknowledge the Father’’s faithfulness to our souls? Do we thank him for always being with us, and going through each and every moral and spiritual experience with us and as us? Do we appreciate his trustworthiness or do we remain skeptical and doubtful of his trustworthiness? Do we acknowledge his greatness and his goodness? Or is our attitude of one who can’’t or won’’t say whether he is good or not? Are we always asking to be shown or do we allow our faith to stand for the unseen?
When we behold the image of his Son, are we filled with reactions of meekness, temperance and gentleness or do we: "Lay our religion down while we show the evildoer "what for"? Have we claimed our divine oneness with the Father through his Son, Jesus, or are we afraid to commit ourselves because of doubt or lack of a whole-hearted commitment? Do we boldly acknowledge that we are his perfect representatives to our brothers and sisters through his Son, Jesus? Do we show forth his love and mercy to our brothers and sisters? Do we see forgiveness as something that we delight in or another burden to be borne? Do we think that there should be a limit on how much or how often we forgive? Is our attitude one who already considers himself one with the Father’’s spirit through his Son, Jesus? Is our commitment to doing the Father’’s will final, or are we still trying to muster the faith to "get saved?" Do we recognize the divine light as love? Or are we still looking for some material manifestation of this divine light? Do we realize that if we have made the final commitment to doing his will, even though we may not understand how that will is being manifested in our lives, that will is assuredly being done?
Brothers and sisters, the internal focus of our spiritual consciousness on all of these divine qualities is the divine awareness of the Father’’s will.
This concludes today's message on understanding divine awareness of 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.