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 shared many revelations of spiritual truths with me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the meaning of being obedient to truth.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Obedience to Truth
““And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John, Chapter 6, verse 32
Brothers and sisters, sometimes we forget that we are here to do the Father’’s will and not the other way around. It is important to always end all of our petitions with the declaration of "not my will, but your will be done." Ending all petitions this way is being obedient to truth. The Father is the source and destiny of all truth. He is truth. There is only one divine reality, and we must conform to that reality if we wish to share in it. The unconscious disobedience to truth is evil; the conscious disobedience to truth is sin, while the continued rejection of truth is iniquity-- that state that signifies eternal damnation, the loss of the capacity and ability to discern truth.
Let us examine these states of disloyalty towards the Father’’s will. The unconscious disobedience to truth arises because of our immaturity, the measure of the ability to be led by the Father’’s spirit and the ability to recognize truth and respond to it. We can see this in our immature petitions. Being spiritual children and being mortal, we have great difficulty initially in discerning the province of prayer. Jesus makes reference to this when he says, " if you ask for a water serpent, will your father give it to you just because it happens to be in with the other fish? The spiritual child like the earthly child does not understand what is good for her. The child has a lot of immature desires that if literally complied with will due great harm to him.
What earthly parent would give his child unlimited candy to eat just because the child desires it? The parent knows that if it she complied with the child’’s wishes, she would harm her child. She knows from experience that such a course of action would be most unwise. And since she truly loves her child, she subordinates her emotional desire to please the child to the wisdom of experience and denies the request. She knows that even though the child is upset at having his desire denied him, as he matures he will see the wisdom of his parents’’ decision.
The heavenly Father likewise refrains from answering our petitions when the answer to such a request will harm or jeopardize our eternal welfare. He does this knowing that we will be upset, but also knowing that as we mature spiritually we will understand the wisdom of his decision. There are many things in our lives that are difficult and cause us quite a bit of material and emotional unease. We can think of a thousand and one problems that we would like to be delivered from, but the Father refrains from taking us out of them. There are countless souls whose so-called burden of life is the means whereby they can be saved. To remove these burdens from them would also remove the desire for God from them. These burdens of life soon exhaust our self-sufficiency and out of sheer desperation cause them to turn to God.
We think we know ourselves, but do we really? Do we know how we will react in certain situations? We think we do, but we won’’t really know until we are put in that situation. We have all seen what happens to a lot of people who suddenly are vaulted into the rare atmosphere of fame or who are suddenly submerged in the waters of wealth. On the one hand, they are unable to morally or spiritually breathe in this rare atmosphere of fame and--on the other hand--they lack the skill to swim in the waters of unearned wealth.
But the Father knows the end from the beginning, and therefore does his divine wisdom cause him to proceed as he does with his immature children. Only the Father knows what training we need for our eternal welfare. That training begins right here, right now, which is why we must we proceed through the trials and tribulations of this life. But his love and mercy, even his grace goes with us. Not having the insight nor wisdom to see the goodness of many of his decisions for our lives, in order for us to continue to make progress and to cooperate with the divine plan for our lives, and to keep our faith strong and viable, we must always end our petitions with "not my will but your will be done." This attitude recognizes the fact of our immaturity and acknowledges that as much as we would like to have our petition granted, it may not be wise for the Father to do so.
By accepting the Father’’s decision beforehand, we acknowledge his goodness towards us, knowing that he will withhold no eternally good thing from us. And since our relationship with the Father is one of faith, this attitude insures that we will not wreck our faith on the shoals of doubt, for we will conclude when the answer is not forthcoming that the thing we have requested is not his will and that his withholding of our request is done out his infinite, absolute, and eternal goodness. Now it may be hard for us to discern this goodness, but what is easier to bear: Thinking that we don’’t have enough faith to be granted our request or thinking that the Father is withholding our request for our own good? It is a terrible trap for our faith to fall in when we are exercising all the faith that we have to arrive at the conclusion that our prayer remains unanswered because we don’’t have enough faith.
And we must always remember that we are experiential creatures and that we are living in a time-space universe. We are involved in a growth process, which takes time. Because of our spiritual natures that are not bound by time, we can project ahead into the future and request values that we have not experientially earned as of yet. Such a petition is heard, but we cannot receive the answer at this time because we lack adequate capacity to receive it. This creates delays and can cause us to think that our petition has not been heard or that we don’’t have enough faith to receive the answer. We must trust the Father: he will answer prayers that our consistent with his will just as soon as we have gained capacity to recognize answers to them.
The Father answers our prayers immediately but we don’’t always recognize the answers because they may have to be modified so that they represent the true desires of our hearts rather than the fleeting emotional desires of the moment. We see immediately the value of subjecting our request to the Father’’s will since we don’’t know whether we have asked for something that is not wise for us to receive, or we have asked for something that we don’’t have present capacity for, or we have asked for something that takes time to unfold in our experience. By submitting our will to the Father’’s will, our faith remains intact, and we go on exercising trust in the Father’’s goodness, knowing that he always acts on behalf of our eternal good. And having made our petitions, we must exercise patience while the Father works within us, creating us and expanding our capacity for increased reception.
But a lot of faulty petitions can be avoided altogether if we seek to know the Father’’s will first before we set our heart and mind upon a request. When we do this we gain greater insight into what is acceptable to the Father, and therefore are more likely to recognize that what we are considering asking for is outside of his will. We can only receive that which is the Father’’s will, no matter how much or how intense we may desire something. If it is not the Father’’s will, we cannot receive it. It is not going to happen. As we mature, we come to recognize that the Father’’s will is to love others unselfishly, to love one another as Jesus loves us. If we pray to the Father to enable us to do this, we will find that all of our prayers are answered as he showers us with the values of love, mercy, patience, and forgiveness. This is what Jesus commanded us to do: to love one another as he loves us.
If, in our request, we refuse to subject our will to the Father’’s will, then we become disobedient to truth--to the Father’’s will. We become rebels against divine reality. We consciously oppose the Father’’s will. And though we may create a temporary reality with our act of rebellion, such a reality is only temporal and cannot last. The danger involved in rebellion against the Father’’s will is that we can by continuing to rebel lose our capacity to know his will. And when that happens we become iniquitous, forever lose our birthright, and become a willful casualty of the time-space adventure.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the obedience to truth. 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