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 revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we ponder our lives as we seek to understand the meaning of show me the spiritual Father.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Show Me the Spiritual Father
" Phillip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." John, Chapter 14, Verse 8
Brothers and sisters, when Jesus was close to ending his bestowal on earth and was telling the apostles that he would leave his Spirit of Truth behind, Phillip requested that Jesus show him the Father and then they would understand everything that he had been telling them.
"Jesus saith unto him, ‘‘have I been so long time with you and yet hast thou not known me, Phillip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe for the very work’’s sake.’’"
One day we will actually stand in the presence of the Father and behold him with our spiritual eyes. But because of our material status and where we are now, it is impossible to see the spiritual Father. The Father and His Son are one. Whosoever has seen the Son has also seen the Father. No one comes to the Father except by the Son. It is literally, figuratively, spiritually and personally true, the Father and the Son are one.
Now this is a difficult concept for our material minds to grasp. It naturally tends to think in terms of discrete entities. But the Father and the Son absolutely transcend time and space, therefore, there can be no separation. They are one.
When Phillip asked to be shown the Father, he expected to see another person; his mind could not wrap itself around the concept of how the Father could be in the Son. Phillip did not comprehend that in beholding the loving and merciful character of Jesus, he was in fact beholding the character of the Father since their characters are one and the same. There is simply no way that the spiritual Father can manifest himself to the eyes of a material being except as he was manifested in Jesus, who took on the form of the flesh and revealed the Father’’s loving and merciful character to us.
If our faith were perfect, we would assuredly know that when we had seen Jesus, we would have seen the heavenly Father. In seeking for the Father, we would not ask nor expect to see other than the Jesus. The Son is the personal revelation of the Father. It is a matter of growth before we can actually stand in the Father’’s presence and grasp his personality. To help us understand this growth process, let us consider these analogies.
A person enlists in the army. He is a civilian and is out of shape; he does not have any discipline and does not know about military organization. He doesn’’t have any military skills. After about eight weeks subsequent to the process of training, learning, acquiring skills and exercising, his body becomes strong. His mind becomes knowledgeable and disciplined. He has been transformed from a civilian to a soldier because he has acquired the values of a soldier.
A child starts school and she is asked to draw a picture of her father. At first she draws stick men, which include a circle for a head, two sticks extending our from the body for the arms; and two sticks extending down for the legs. A few years later, she is asked to draw her father again. This time she draws a much better picture of her father; the features are not altogether perfect, but you can tell that this is a human being. Several years later when she is asked to draw a picture of her father, she draws the picture perfectly; all the features are filled in correctly and everyone recognizes that this is indeed her father.
Through the technique of doing the Father’’s will, we attain spiritual growth enough to allow us to see the Father through His Son, Jesus. The technique of doing the Father’’s will involves the process of becoming like him, thus achieving perfection of spirit and perfection of recognition of the Father.
This increasing progression in our ability to execute the Father’’s will has two manifestations: The first manifestation is the progressive change in our characters, where we move from being a selfish materialistic person to an unselfish spiritual person. In this transition from the material to the spiritual, we increasingly show forth the fruits of the spirit in our lives. The quality of these fruits continue to deepen and deepen as we interact with our brothers and sisters. And as we interact with our brothers and sisters, the spiritual values of such interactions appear in our perfecting souls and the meanings of these values appear in our spiritualizing minds. The unification of these values and meanings constitute our progressive consciousness of the Father. The Father is spirit.
The other manifestation of our progressive ability to execute the Father’’s will is the ever- progressive righteousness of our moral and spiritual decisions. The quality of these decisions continue to deepen, acquiring greater and greater wisdom. These decisions begin to take on eternal significance because they are of such quality that they embrace the past, present, and future. They contain everything that the self is capable of knowing about a possible decision: a past experience with making similar decisions as well as the projected consequences of the decision to be made; and the decision presenting itself for resolution in the present.
Now we have to be very careful about the pressure of the moment. It is very clear that there is a vast difference between our wills and the Father’’s will. We know our wills and so will not go into very much detail, but suffice it to say, our wills are selfish, materialistic, self-seeking, and bent on having their way. The Father’’s will is spiritual, unselfish, always seeking the good of other selves. Its motive is truly unselfish, always seeking the best for His children, always mercifully loving them.
The pressure of the moment can cause us to make a decision that is not reflective of the Father’’s will. This is why whenever a moral or spiritual decision needs to be made, we must always seek the Father’’s will first. Only after we have done that should we make a decision of moral and spiritual import. In reality, this means submerging our own desires until we are sure the desire that is truly motivating our decision is the Father’’s will. When we make such a decision subject to the Father’’s will, the decision will be unselfish and for the good of all rather than just for the self. The decision will increase our desire to be more like the Father, and it will be the decision of the highest value.
The decision of the highest value also contains the qualities of past, present, and future significance. For example, we may make a decision today to undergo an activity in the future. As we look back over our past experience, it appears to be a good decision; the future prospects also appear to be good. But as the time draws near to executing the decision, we see that a decision of higher value is in conflict with it. If, say, at the time of executing the previous decision, our child becomes ill, we would or should disregard the previous decision in favor of the child’’s welfare. It is not enough to say that the child will be alright. Clearly the decision to stay with the child has a higher value than the previous decision made before this situation came about. And there are other examples of one decision of higher value replacing another decision of lower value. This is why we must always seek the decision of the highest value at the moment that a decision is to be executed, because when we choose the lower decision, the selfish decision, we choose evil.
The Father’’s will is dynamic, vibrant, full of truth, and alive. It is not static. It is free of all time and space constraints. This example shows us that the Father’’s will is always executed in the now. In short, what is the Father’’s will today, not what it was yesterday or will be tomorrow. We must choose what his will is today.
When we make these kinds of decisions, they enhance our ability to be more loving, more sensitive, and allow us to actually do good rather than to just mean well. We will actually do the good that we desire, rather than the evil that we do not desire. The decision will be true, beautiful, and good, and in most cases (due to our immaturity) will not likely be a decision that we would normally choose.
The decisions that we normally choose are designed to ease our emotional or physical difficulty, to ease our consciences, our guilt feelings, to follow the path of least resistance. While these may be attractive and seem right from the selfish point of view, they are not true, beautiful, and good from the spiritual point of view. "There is a way that seems right to man, but the way thereof leads to eternal damnation."
We must exercise wisdom. As we begin to execute the Father’’s will, we must "intelligently subordinate our own wills to the will of the Father in heaven." We must learn the value of patience and reflection prior to making moral or spiritual decisions. Though there may be some anxious moments as we seek to discover the Father’’s will during some pressing moment, we must wait until we have exhausted our discernment to the best of our abilities. And we should never fail to consult with a trusted friend who may have had experience with the decision with which we are grappling. If we are sincere, we will do this prior to making any final decisions. We must acquire wisdom, and we acquire wisdom when we attempt to employ knowledge by grappling with the errors of trying to apply knowledge--in this case, knowledge of the Father’’s will. We must not be like the foolish fireman who goes out to put out a fire in another’’s house while his own house burns to the ground.
In choosing the Father’’s will, we must be willing to follow the truth where ever it leads, and we must never flinch from seeking, identifying, and embracing the truth. That which is true never fears examination since it will stand all critical analyses. Only that which is error fears critical examination. We must be loyal. We must be wholehearted in our efforts to do the Father’’s will. We must be sincere. Every desire, urge, impulse, and decision must be subjected to the Father’’s will.
But still we must remember that the Father’’s will is the same for each of us, although our abilities in accurately executing the Father’’s will, will vary. If we are sincere and loyal in our attempts to execute the Father’’s will, we will most assuredly be like the child who started out drawing stick men to represent her father but who, after maturing, was able to draw a faithful representation of her father.
““Show me the spiritual Father.”” Look in the spiritual mirror of Jesus, and we will see all of the characteristics of the Father that we can comprehend. We will see his love, his kindness, his mercy, his truth, his beauty, his goodness; we will see his concern, his forgiveness, all that we can comprehend because imposed on our characters will be the character of the Father’’s staring back at us with affectionate regard.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of show me the spirit Father. 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.