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 seek to understand more about spiritual testing.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
More on Spiritual Testing
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall in to divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." James, Chapter 1, Verses 2, 3, and 4
the heavenly Father has commanded us to be perfect even as he is perfect. To be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect, means that we have acquired all of the divinity aspects of his character and nature as revealed in his Son, Jesus. The acquirement of these divinity traits of his character and nature qualifies us to recognize and represent him. Therefore, spiritual testing is designed to evaluate our progress in acquiring the divinity aspects of his character. Spiritual testing also contains the basis for remedial action. It is able to function this way because not only does it reveal the degree of mastery of a given task, but it also reveals the degree of deficiency. Deficiencies are corrected by spiritual growth.
There are various stages of achieving this perfection, and the completion of each stage is certified by a test. There are many ways of looking at these stages, but we elect to present them from the faith perspective: The Will to Believe Jesus; The Will That Believes Jesus; and The Will That is a Perfect Revelation of Jesus. This morning we explore the salient aspects of these stages, as well as the nature of the testing. To gain a further feel for spiritual testing, let us review a material analogy.
Let us take the subject of mathematics. We begin this subject very early in our educational process. We begin by recognizing numbers and then we go on to learn how to manipulate these numbers in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. After we become proficient in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, we cut our teeth on algebra. After we master algebra, we learn geometry and then calculus.
Each subject is divided into subdivisions. And each subdivision is mastered before proceeding to the next. After all the subdivisions of the course have been mastered, the whole subject is tested. It takes about 12 years of study before we complete this process. Being successful in each course requires that we master the previous course. How well we master the material in each preceding course determines how well we are likely to do in the course that follows. Thus, testing becomes mandatory in order to know if we are ready for the next course.
Just as there are prerequisites for entering the material educational process, there are prerequisites prior to entering the spiritual educational process. In the material educational process the child must have reached a certain level of intellectual and social development before he can begin. This usually occurs around 5 years of age. In the spiritual educational process, the child must reach certain moral developments. He must have developed a moral nature that is capable of distinguishing right from wrong. This is important because knowing right from wrong and being able to choose them is the foundation for acquiring a spiritual character and nature as well as the basis for going into partnership with the heavenly Father. After the child makes his first moral decision, he enters the educational spiritual process. He enters the first phase of perfecting his moral and spiritual character: The Will to Believe Jesus.
In this first stage, the child’’s concepts of right and wrong continue to change. Under the guidance of the Spirit of Truth and in response to the leading of the Father’’s spirit, the child develops the will to believe Jesus. That is, he becomes convinced that the best way to achieve happiness is to relate to others unselfishly. The child is presented with a continuous stream of moral choices. Each time he makes the correct moral decision, he advances during this phase. During this phase, the divine spirit works as a thought changer in his mind, constantly changing his concepts of right and wrong. He also begins to pray during this period. Though his prayers are more of a selfish nature, still he displays an attitude of wanting to believe Jesus by establishing contact with him. He begins the process of worship during this phase also. When he has developed a mass of moral concepts and has demonstrated that he can choose this group of choices he has come recognize, then has he completed this stage and enters the next: The Will That Believes Jesus.
During this stage, the soul progresses to the point where it recognizes the law of love and begins that protracted process of learning how to love his brothers and sisters as Jesus loves him. There are still moral choices to be made, but they are overshadowed by the spiritual choice, that is, choosing to love his brothers and sisters. During this stage he is presented with a variety of different brothers and sisters whom he has to learn to love. And as he learns to love them, he advances in this stage.
During this stage, his prayers moves from the selfish to the unselfish phase and takes on more and more spiritual aspects as he prays for the wisdom and insight to understand his brothers and sisters so that he can learn to love them. He also prays for moral and spiritual power. During this stage, his concepts of love undergo further development.
During this period, the divine spirit functions as a thought adjuster, adjusting his concepts of love to more and more divine levels. He engages in more and more prayers of thanksgiving as he begins to realize that in the process of loving his brothers and sisters, he is becoming more and more like Jesus. He is thankful and grateful to be delivered from the prison of selfishness and to be increasingly transformed into the image of Jesus. The worship practice now becomes more prominent in his spiritual life. When he has demonstrated that he can divinely love all the brothers and sisters that he has come into contact with, he has passed the spiritual test of this phase and is now ready to enter the last stage of spiritual testing: The Will That is a Perfect Revelation of Jesus.
During this stage, the soul perfectly follows the Father’’s leadings of love and the guidance of the Spirit of Truth. Here the divine spirit seals his soul so that he is enabled to maintain this divine attitude during all times and under all circumstances. The divine spirit during this phase is known as a thought controller. His thoughts having been finally elevated to the divine level, and the divine spirit empowers him to keep them there. During the previous stages, there may have been some degree of slippage in grasping and maintaining the divine values and meanings, but during this stage, no slippage occurs. The faith grasp of the divine values and meanings is complete.
His prayers have ascended through thanksgiving up to true worship. He perfectly reflects the image of Jesus to his brothers and sisters. He has become one with Jesus--and through Jesus one with the Father. There are no strangers in his interactions, only brothers and sisters whom he has not met yet. And he looks forward to the opportunities to reveal Jesus to them. He has passed his final test and now only awaits the graduation exercises, where he will receive his diploma signed by Jesus: "This a beloved son in whom I am well pleased."
This concludes today's message on understanding more about spiritual testing. 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.