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. In today’’s broadcast we share further insight into the relationship between us and the heavenly Father. To help us grasp these divine values and meanings, we shall resort to a material analogy.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
In His Likeness
"And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Genesis, Chapter 14, Verse 26
Brothers and sisters, a mother conceives a child. For nine months she carries this child and then gives birth. At the time of delivery, the father is present. In the waiting room are a host of well-wishers as well as the eldest son, the newborn’’s brother, who is fully matured. After delivery the child and the mother leave the hospital and return home. The child begins the relatively long process of development where he first recognizes his mother and then later on recognizes his Father. It is more difficult to recognize his father than it is to recognize his mother. But his older brother who lives with them tells the younger child that he is his father’’s child.
As the child grows and develops, he begins to recognize the character of his Father. His elder brother assures him that he, the Son, is just like his father, and that as he recognizes the traits in himself, he will find these same traits in the elder Son. In fact, so closely is this eldest son like his father that he looks just like him. And he constantly tells the younger brother that one day he will be able to recognize himself in his Father. But in the meantime, he should accept the truth that the elder Son is wholly like his Father and that when he looks at him, he is looking at his father in all personal effects.
As the growing child continues to develop, he eventually reaches a point of maturation, where he is able to recognize his father for himself and as himself, and true to his elder brother’’s words, his brother was just like his father in all personal respects. He fully realizes now that a part of the father is present in every child, even though it may take some time for the child to recognize this. And now he is completely satisfied because although he may be separated many times from his father’’s actual personality presence, his elder brother is always there with him, so that whenever he wants to see his father, all he has to do is to behold his elder brother.
The heavenly Father, who lives far away from the home of our origin, sends his spirit to conceive us. This conception grows and grows within our material minds until such time as it is delivered into the world of spiritual values and meanings. This new creation also has witnesses when it is born. There is the Father presence in the form of his spirit; his eldest Son is also present in the form of his Spirit of Truth, and the Holy Spirit is also present. There are a host of spiritual values and influences present who witness this birth, including wisdom, knowledge, faith, trust, and hope. All of these influences are to be incorporated into the relationship between us and the heavenly Father.
And although the heavenly Father is always and forevermore a Father to us, as he remains the creator of our souls, it is impossible for our immature souls to recognize him except as he is present in his Son. This is so because our Father is more than personal: he also is everything else, including force and energy, as well as spirit. Thus, the Son, who is wholly personal and nothing else becomes the revelation of the Father to all children in a personal way. The Father’’s spirit remains in our souls, nourishing and nurturing them to grow. As the soul continues to develop, it increasingly moves towards the likeness of the Father. It increasingly takes on the traits of the Father as revealed by His Son. Assuming the Father’’s traits allows the soul to recognize him. There must be some kind of moral affinity in order for the soul to recognize the Father. It is impossible for the unselfish Father to reveal himself to a totally selfish person. The soul, taking origin in the material mind, assumes the qualities of both the material mind, which is the mother of the soul, and the qualities of the divine spirit, which is the Father of the soul. By the technique of doing the Father’’s will, the soul moves towards the "image of the Father," taking on divine qualities.
Originating in the material mind, the soul also shares the mind’’s emotions. One of the most devastating emotions the soul must rid itself of is "animal fear." This fear is an inherent part of the material mind and is designed to protect the self from injury or premature death. And since the material mind is often deficient in wisdom and knowledge, fear arises in the material mind whenever it perceives a threat to its well-being. This fear causes the self to take flight or to stand and fight. Another quality of the material mind that must be deleted from the soul is doubt. This quality of doubt serves the material mind well, for it prevents it from being taken advantage of by material assertions that are not true. So in the absence of material knowledge, doubt serves us very well in the material arena while we are in the process of acquiring knowledge. But this same doubt that serves the material mind so admirably becomes like a millstone around the neck of the soul, pulling it down and keeping it on the bottom of the sea of material values and meanings. And there are many other material qualities that the soul must rid itself of, such as a lack of trust, despair, insincerity, procrastination, ease-seeking, and a host of other moral and spiritual infirmities.
Some 2,000 years ago, the Father in his ever present mercy sent his Son to our world in human likeness to show us how to live in the material world and still enjoy our sonship status. This Son started out as a helpless infant and grew to adulthood. He perfected his soul, ridding it of all the negative factors stemming from the material nature. He proclaimed to us that the Father was love and that, by embracing this love, we would follow him along the same path of divine perfection. He said that this divine love would cast out all fear. This is because the greatest fear we face as human beings is the fear of mortal death. All other fears fall below this great fear. In fact, when we embrace the emotion of fear, we do so because we are afraid that the thing we are afraid of will cause us harm and ultimately death.
But the Son revealed that by exercising faith in him and doing the Father’’s will, we become endowed with eternal life. If we have eternal life in our souls, then there is no justification for fear. We know that we are mortal, that we are destined to die materially. But because of our souls, we are designed to transcend mortal death and continue to live on forever. By doing the Father’’s will, by accepting salvation, we rid ourselves of this fear. Our desire for salvation is proof that we have been given it, while our faith acceptance of it is our acknowledgment that we have received it. Yes, we still have to live the material life even as we are endowed with the spiritual life within our souls, but now we are able to experience the divine values and meanings that are the result of accepting salvation. And this salvation contains all that is spiritually worthwhile in our material life. All the divine values and meanings that were discovered are forever preserved within our souls and spirits.
In summary, then, when we seek for the Father, seek for salvation, this is proof that the Father has found us. Our acceptance by faith of this salvation is our acknowledgment that we have indeed found him. Our divine spirit testifies that we are indeed his sons and daughters by the creation of our souls, while the Spirit testifies that we are his sons and daughters though our soul’’s response by yielding the fruits of the spirit. And we are aware of our souls although we may not be able to identify it. We recognize it because it is the part of us that responds to divine reality: truth, beauty, goodness (divine love). And our elder brother constantly surrounds our souls, showing us what the Father is like and unceasingly reveals his ““image." He constantly says to our souls: Follow me! I am the way, the truth, and the life.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of being in his image. 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