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. This morning we seek to understand the phases of doing the Father’’s will.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Phases of Doing the Father’’s Will
"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise, God shall reveal this unto you.”” Philippians, Chapter 3, Verses 14 and 15
Brothers and sisters, today we want to elucidate the phases of doing the Father’’s will and then show how these phases are integrated. These phases regardless of their degree of perfection include the imperfection of doing that will to doing that will in perfection. This is a progressive experience and therefore the phases occur simultaneously, notwithstanding that we break them down for the purpose of analysis.
There are several factors we want to stress before moving on. First we want to distinguish between knowledge about the Father’’s will and knowledge of the Father’’s will. Knowledge about the Father’’s will is an intellectual experience and may have various amounts of error in it depending on the intellectual source of the material; knowledge of the Father’’s will is a spiritual experience of the soul and is always accurate since it is a living spiritual reality (though the interpretation of this experience by the mind may be erroneous). Knowledge about the Father’’s will, while enlightening the intellect, does not result in character transformation, while knowledge of the Father’’s will does.
We can see right away that knowledge about the Father’’s will avails us not unless we move to acquire it. Knowledge about the Father’’s will helps us realize that the Father’’s will exists, that it is a glorious thing and that we ought to pursue it. But never can knowledge about the Father’’s will equal the Father’’s will. Knowledge about the Father’’s will is not the Father’’s will; therefore choosing knowledge about the Father’’s will for knowledge of the Father’’s will is error and cannot be actualized.
Since the Father’’s will is spiritual and exists prior to mind and the emotions, the decision to choose the Father’’s will is a faith decision. Faith is the assurance that we are doing the Father’’s will when we decide. Having chosen the Father’’s will, we cannot rely upon the reasoning and logic of the material mind to demonstrate that we are in fact doing the Father’’s will. The material mind cannot offer such proof and neither can the emotional response. The only thing that we are conscious of in the material mind is that we are actors in the choice of the Father’’s will. It is natural for doubt to raise its head in the face of making a choice that the material mind cannot comprehend. This doubt is like an anchor dragging faith. But faith is alive and it grows. As it grows, it becomes stronger and stronger, and doubt increasingly loses its influence until it reaches supreme levels, where it escapes doubt altogether.
As we begin the process of doing the Father’’s will, we will need to exercise trust. Doing the Father’’s will is so unlike anything we are familiar with in our material lives that it requires trust to maintain a tranquility of spirit. We have embarked on a spiritual journey, and in the material mind there is quite a bit of uncertainty about this journey. Without trust we are unlikely to continue on the journey. Trust leads our souls to knowing the Father’’s will. Always will we know him because we trust him.
As this process proceeds, our souls become filled with hope. This hope persists in the face of all material upheavals. Nothing can dislodge this hope from the soul that is involved in the process of doing the Father’’s will. Hope is the quality that the Father gives us to compensate for the uncertainty and to bridge the gap between the forecasts of the souls and the doubting skepticism of the material mind.
And now that we have established our foundation of understanding, let us move to the actual phases of doing the Father’’s will. Once the decision is made to do the Father’’s will, faith does not question the reality of the decision. Such a decision is mostly objective and is the highest and most real decision that can be made for it is a decision to do the will of the infinite, eternal, and absolute God. Either such a decision is valid or the whole reality of God is a delusion. We know that God is the source of all realities, the most real of all realities. Therefore, though the process--when viewed from our internal state--appears to be subjective, it is the most objective process that exists.
The decision to do the Father’’s will initiates spiritual instructions designed to teach us how to in effect do that will. Prayer is the process where we learn to do the Father’’s will. Though we make petitions to the Father, the constant influence of this relationship teaches us how to do the Father’’s will. In short, prayer takes us into the first phase of doing the Father’’s will. This is process where we come to know him and become like him in the process. Now this is a gradual but effective process. The influence of being in the Father’’s presence gradually changes the character of the individual. We gradually take on the image of his Son. Therefore, the first phase of doing the Father’’s will is the process of becoming like him.
The second phase is in reality a consequence of the first phase. Since the Father reveals himself by nature, in order to understand the kind of decisions the Father makes, we must become like him. And having become like him, the quality of our decisions reflects our godlikeness. Now this phase of doing the Father’’s will is not so much what decision we make as it is the quality of the decision we make. Quality is evidenced by love and mercy. This phase can cause some confusion as we seek the Father’’s will in some difficult situation we are facing. But we must remember that doing the Father’’s will is a spiritual exchange of values. We present our values to the Father and he adjusts them until they mirror his. And this elevation of values is what determines how we will respond qualitatively in a given situation (not quantitatively). The quantitative phase or the third phase of doing the Father’’s will occurs externally.
The third phase of doing the Father’’s will concerns our interactions with our brothers and sisters. It is still the qualitative values that we project on the outside. In this phase, we come into contact with the spiritual helpers whose task it is to provide various progressive moral and spiritual stimuli that allows us to make increasingly difficult moral and spiritual choices. It is the making of the ever increasing difficult moral and spiritual choice that provide the stimulus to unfold the potentials of the soul. This is the practical phase of doing the Father’’s will. This is the phase where the consequences of doing the Father’’s begin to transform the world. Because these spiritual helpers are able to manipulate moral, social, spiritual and even material environments, the whole process becomes organized (rather than being random) and accelerated, and is very effective in actualizing the plan of our becoming perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect.
As we become more effective in cooperating with our spiritual helpers, we gain wisdom and skill in executing the Father’’s will in our outward life. We learn how to select the proper divine quality in our interactions with each other. And as we practice combining the right combination of love and mercy in our interactions, we become skilled in detecting the subtle spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters.
And now just two final comments on the phases of doing the Father’’s will: We often wonder what is the Father’’s will for our lives, rather, what does the Father wants us to do with our lives? The actual plan for our lives is based on our inherited talents and our intellectual abilities. As we combine our talents along with our intellectual abilities, we naturally choose those areas where we can make the greatest contribution. At least this is the way it works when our motives are pure. Last, these phases can also be grouped into the categories of God-seeking, the decision to do the Father’’s will; God-finding, the process of becoming like the Father; and finally God-revealing, the process of revealing the Father’’s character to our brothers and sisters.
This concludes today's message on understanding the phases of doing 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.