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. In today’’s broadcast we explore the relationship between experience and the Father’’s will.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Experience and the Father’’s Will
"Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 48
Brothers and sisters, often we hear our brothers and sisters say that God led them to do thus and so and that God wanted me to have this experience. Does the heavenly Father really mandate such experiences?
We are incomplete creatures growing towards perfection in an imperfect environment. But we are also told that the circumstances of life constitute a divine dispensation working alongside us to perfect our souls. Within this imperfect environment, the Father has commanded us to be perfect even as he is perfect. Experience comes about as we interact in our environment and make decisions. The motion of time on the stage of space moves us forward: this is known as experience. Being free will creatures, we individually and collectively create our own experiences within an imperfect environment. We can initiate an experience by making a decision, or we can have an experience as the result of someone else’’s decisions that forces us to respond or react. Or we can have experiences that are the result of impersonal forces, such as material changes in our external environment.
Experiences can be good or evil, depending upon how we respond to them. If an experience causes us to choose good over evil, then the experience is a good one. As a reward, we accumulate divine values and meanings from the experience, which further helps us to obey the Father’’s command to be perfect even as he is perfect. If, on the other hand, we choose evil, the experience becomes error and is devoid of divine values and meanings. To choose good over evil, we must choose the Father’’s will so that the Father can reveal values of goodness to us. Let us look at an example of Jesus’’ life involving an experience and the Father’’s will.
During the end of Jesus’’ earth life, it became apparent that the experience he was about to go through involved a horrible death. He was crucified, and he lived his life dedicated and consecrated to doing the Father’’s will. But what does this mean? To do the Father’’s will is the decision to be Godlike. Since Jesus was the Father incarnate, he could not act ungodly. But Jesus was human as well as God, and thus he was faced with the choice to choose good over everything else. His human nature did not want to die, certainly not in the manner of crucifixion. Jesus could have turned and headed for the tall grass. But such a choice would have meant that he was repudiating the truth by which he purported to live, that he had come to reveal. To turn back would show that he valued his temporal life above his eternal life.
From time to time, we ourselves may turn our backs on the truth, not being dedicated nor consecrated to doing the Father’’s will, which is the wholehearted choice to be Godlike. The choice to be Godlike is available to all of us. When we choose to be Godlike, we are motivated by love and dominated by mercy. We simply love each other with a divine affection. We truly desire that all of us become all we can be. And all who are blessed to have climbed the ladder to the vantage point of being dedicated and consecrated to doing the Father’’s will have a solemn responsibility and privilege to represent the Father through his Son, Jesus, to not only those who are God-knowing but especially those who see the light dimly or who see it not at all. And where are those brothers and sisters who are God-knowing and those who are not? Why, they are everywhere we go and every person with whom we interact. They may be our husbands or wives, children or other relatives. They may be our boyfriends or girlfriends, friends or neighbors, or a clerk at a store we frequent.
When we recognize a brother or sister who is slightly off center of the mark or who has missed the mark altogether, we should consider it a privilege to pray for them. And when we pray for them, not only should we ask the Father to "take care of them," but we should ask the Father to empower us to reveal an aspect of his character through his Son, Jesus, that we discern the other person is in need of. Thus to someone who is skeptical and distrustful, we should reveal the faith and trust of the Father’’s character. For someone who lacks confidence or faith in their abilities, we should reveal the faith and ability of the Father, and so it is with patience, tolerance, forbearance, hope, tranquility of spirit, divine stability, mercy, and grace.
And if we don’’t know what spiritual quality to reveal to another, we should ask the Father for discernment. In this way not only will others hear words of encouragement, faith, trust, hope, and divine assurance, they will actually see it displayed in our characters, thus demonstrating to the heavenly hosts that we are dedicated and consecrated to doing the Father’’s will. They will see plainly that we are just like Jesus, that we love one another as he loves us.
But how and when do all these interactions take place? Let us consider an analogy. An enzyme is a protein in the human body that facilitates a reaction that may not take place at all or else be so slow that it is ineffective. In our moral and spiritual affairs, if we did not have some sort of moral and spiritual enzyme, the moral and spiritual arena would suffer the same fate as our analogy of chemical reactions in the body that are speeded up by protein enzymes. And, indeed, we have such moral and spiritual enzymes in our guardian angels, who by virtue of their unique powers to manipulate physical, moral, and spiritual environments speed up the whole process of our moral and spiritual interactions.
Now back to the original question. Was Jesus’’ death on the cross the Father’’s will? Did the Father mandate that Jesus die on a cross between two thieves? No! The Father did not mandate that he should die in this manner. We are mortal and Jesus was mortal; therefore, it is the Father’’s will that we die. But the manner in which we die is not of the Father’’s way. So we see that death by natural disasters, horrific diseases, senseless killings, and inhumane cruelty is not the Father’’s will. We live in an imperfect environment that is being used to perfect us. Our demise is determined simply by how we interact with these personal and impersonal forces.
Whether we die young or old is not germane to the Father’’s will. Jesus’’ ignominious death was the result of his interacting with evil men who were determined to destroy him. But since Jesus was dedicated and consecrated to doing the Father’’s will, he would not turn his back on the truth he had been born as a human being to proclaim. As Jesus said, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father save me from this hour: But for this cause came I unto this hour." So if it was not the Father’’s will that Jesus die as he did, what was it that Jesus dedicated himself to doing? Jesus death on the cross was not the Father’s will, but the consequence of being dedicated and consecrated to do that will. It is true that it was the Father’’s will that at some point he should die, being mortal. Jesus was human like us. The manner of his death was determined by the circumstances of the time he was living in. Crucifixion was the mode of death for certain kinds of criminals when Jesus lived on earth. The timing of his death was due to the climax of the collision of his will with the will of the authorities.
So we see that--aside from mandating humans to be mortal--the Father does not mandate evil experiences so that we can live and suffer as victims. His will concerns how we respond to such experiences. When we choose good, then we choose the Father’’s will and choose to be Godlike, like Jesus. When we choose the (error) and sin, we choose our will.
This concludes today's message on understanding the relationship between experience and 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