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 reflect upon the command to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Reflections on the Command to Be Perfect Even as the Heavenly Father is Perfect
Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew Chapter 5, Verse 48
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we reflect on the command to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect. We hope that this will provide further insights for those of us who have become galvanized by the Father’’s eternal command to be perfect even as He is perfect. In the pursuit of obeying this command, there are certain qualities and understanding we must possess in order to proceed with confidence. Thus, we want to consider the role of faith, the Father’’s will, guidance, direction, the Spirit of Truth, trust, hope, prayer, worship, love, truth, and goodness, assurance, wisdom, effects, missteps, patience, and the relationship between our material lives and the spiritual life.
Let us start with the eternal command. This command to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect was brought to earth by the divine Son, Jesus, who was the Father incarnate. This is really the blessing of the ages, for it provides for completion and eternal life, two things that we all desire supremely. This is the blessing the prophets longed to see but had to see it by faith--when the Spirit of Truth was poured out upon all flesh. As we struggle in our lives, we realize fairly quickly that we are incomplete, not perfect, and as we enter middle age, we realize that our mortality, which was once only a worrisome consideration, has become a blatant fact. As we enter old age, it soon becomes an absolute fact.
The first time I consciously remember hearing the command to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect was around 1980, when I was in the process of listening to the New Testament on tape. As I went about my morning chores, the phrase "ye are to be perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect" caught my ears. And like so many before me, I did not pay any particular attention to this command until much later. But this command has continued to haunt me with ever-increasing intensity since then. And every day it grows stronger and stronger.
But the Father is far too wise to allow this command to be available only to those who may chance to hear it; therefore has he placed this command into the very fabric of our souls. What is it within us that causes us to struggle in the face of staggering challenges? What causes us to persist until we have mastered them, and causes us to keep working with it until we perfect it? We never stop until we have accomplished this. This is best seen in our material lives. Unbeknownst to most of us, this is the command of the Father to be perfect even as He is perfect, and it pertains to every living thing, every aspect of living things. This command applies also to the moral and spiritual aspects of our lives as well as the intellectual aspects.
Next we consider the incarnation of this command in our minds and souls: the Father’’s will. At some point, we become conscious of this great command, which is the spirit of the Heavenly Father actually living within our minds and souls. And when this occurs, we now have a standard of perfection by which we may compare ourselves. At this point, we really begin to see our moral and spiritual defects. But rather than being alarmed by these revelations, we should be exceedingly glad; being aware of our defects allows us to correct them. That which you are unaware of, you can’’t correct. And this self consciousness of perfection within us allows us to move into high gear with our efforts to attain perfection, for when we become self conscious of a thing, then we need not proceed with inconsistency, but can become consistent with our efforts and therefor our results.
Now having recognized the Father’’s will within us, the only sensible thing to do is to submit our wills to the Father’’s will. Now this is the crucial step, for this step is the sure pathway to obeying the eternal invitation command. Here is to be found the pattern, power, guidance, and direction for obeying the eternal command. We submit our will to His will by and through faith.
Faith is what allows us to realize that our desire to submit to the Father’’s will is in fact an absolute reality. Faith is the gift given to us by the Father, subject to our will. We can use it or we can ignore it. If we use it, all of these spiritual motions towards divine perfection become real to our minds. In fact, this faith is what makes spiritual transformation possible. It is the proof of our acceptance of the Father’’s invitation to be perfect even as he is perfect. This spiritual faith will continue to keep us afloat on the sea of truth as we learn to swim in it on our own volition. It will also sustain as we invariably stumble along the way. Faith combined with our desire is the assurance that we are doing the Father’’s will, becoming perfect even as He is perfect.
Having accepted the invitation-command to be perfect even as the Heavenly Father is perfect, we need guidance and direction. Who furnishes this and how do we follow it so that it will carry us to the portals of divine perfection? Let us first define guidance and direction. Direction is the path or way that we wish to proceed. Guidance is the council that we need in order to follow the path or way. Direction is the path to perfection. When we pursue being all that we can be, we pursue the pathway to divine perfection. This is true because our efforts to become all that we can be unfold the potentials of divine perfection into the actual state of divine perfection. The guidance is provided by the Spirit of Truth. This perfect guide knows every step of the way to divine perfection. Having made the journey himself, he is perfectly able to guide all who seek the divine perfection of the Father.
The guidance provided by the Spirit of Truth comes in the form of guiding our moral and spiritual footsteps away from evil and onto the pathway of truth. The Spirit of Truth points our souls away from selfish values and meanings towards the unselfish values and meanings of divine perfection. And as we choose these higher meanings and values in our minds and souls whenever there are two competing ways to act, we accept the guidance of the Spirit of Truth. This Spirit of Truth also furnishes the wisdom that we require, for in choosing his guidance, we are also choosing his wisdom. And as we choose, so do we become. The fruits of this choosing spring forth in our souls and are displayed in our relationship with our brothers and sisters.
We now come to the qualities of trust and hope. Trust in the goodness of the Father, trust that he will do the right thing by us, that the decisions we make on his behalf while causing us some temporal difficulty at times will work out for our everlasting good. We must trust the Father as we move through the trials and tribulations of this material life, for concealed within this very life are potentials that are being unfolded that make divine perfection possible. Though the quality themselves are not dependent on the trials and tribulations that we experience. They remain real whether or not we choose them, but our incorporation of these values into our souls comes about only because we are forced to choose them in the face of adversity. Without adversity, we would never choose the more difficult but necessary values for divine perfection. In fact without adversity, we would not even know of their existence. It is only in adversity when we realize the futility of temporal values and meanings, and where we recognize the superiority of eternal values and meanings. And as we struggle through these adverse experiences, our hope for spiritual perfection, pulls us through them. Hope allows us to be patience while the Father’’s divine plan for perfection of our lives unfolds.
Finally we come to prayer and worship. Prayer is the technique whereby we learn to do the Father’’s will. It is where we learn to be perfect even as the Father is perfect. Prayer is the process of communing with the Father, of constantly being under His influence. When we pray, we begin to see things more and more like the Father sees them. We begin to recognize the superiority of His way. We recognize the way of love and submit to it. We come to know and love the Father by thus engaging. His goodness fills our souls to overflowing. This overflow of divine goodness and marvelous love and affection prompts us spontaneously to burst forth in thanksgiving and on to the supreme delights of worship. Worship is the purest and most desirable pleasure known to the soul. It creates a happy and joyous soul. Worship allows the soul to recognize the Father’’s will, to recognize it so clearly that its pattern is stamped in ever-increasing clarity on the configuration of the soul, making it perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect.
This concludes today's message on reflecting on the command to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect. 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.