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 value of spiritual appreciation.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
"Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”” First John, Chapter 3, Verse 1
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast, we consider the value of spiritual appreciation. Appreciation, like most qualities whether material or spiritual, has to be acquired through experience. In the final analysis appreciation is related to growth. Since it is related to growth, it should become a natural part of us as we grow. Appreciation is defined as the proper recognition of a thing, value, or meaning followed by the appropriate emotional, intellectual, moral and spiritual response.
However sometimes, we notice that the appreciation of things, values and meanings are retarded. That is, they are not given the proper emphasis. We shall explain the cause of this deficiency and set forth some measures for correcting it. (A certain amount of humility is desirable, but when it shuts down all appreciation for things that have been earned, then humility has gone too far.) When we cannot wrap our emotions around worthy achievements, then something has gone wrong. When we cannot experience lasting joy over our worthwhile accomplishments, then the normal working of the self is slightly off. Failure to appreciate worthwhile accomplishments has it genesis most of the time in our early upbringing.
Many times when children are born into the world, they are born into a hostile environment. Instead of their being a joy to their parents, they are a burden. They were unplanned. Due to financial reasons, selfishness, and/or a complete absence of the desire to be a parent, the child is barely tolerated and sometimes neglected and rejected altogether. The parents see them as one more burden to be borne in this life. The child soon learns that he is not appreciated by his parents as something special; rather, he feels he is a hindrance.
Then there are situations where parents bring a child into the world because of their own unmet internal needs. This is a very serious situation because even under the best of circumstances, the child will require the parents to give and give, and then give some more. The child has nothing to give and has not been borne to meet a parent’’s needs. A child coming into the world under these circumstances will lack the proper nurturing by his parents, which leads to low self-esteem and a deep sense of unworthiness for the child. Instead of nurture, the child is seen as an extension of the parent. Rather than being at the center of the family, the child becomes a peripheral part of it. It is obvious that a helpless child, devoid of experience and ability to care for itself, needs to be at the center of the family. Every function that parents carry out should regard the child’’s needs.
When children start out in life with low self-esteem, it is very difficult for them to have any great appreciation for themselves or for others. When a child feels unworthy, everything in the child’’s life becomes unworthy. Appreciation should begin when the child comes into the world. He should be the joy of his family, and parents should demonstrate this by happily providing for the needs of the child and dedicating themselves to this task. The child will soon come to appreciate that he is someone special. And realizing the great love that his parents have for him, the child increasingly shows behavior that reflects that love.
We are not talking about spoiling and not teaching the child the lessons of life. While every effort should be made to give the child what she needs, many things that the child wants should be withheld from her. When it is deemed wise to give the child something, there should be some effort on the child’’s part, no matter how minimal, for her to earn it. This way, the child comes to appreciate the value of things and will have a proper assessment of how the things of life are acquired. When the child makes a contribution to acquire what she wants, she gains an appreciation of those things. The concept of scarcity should be a part of every child’’s experience. She comes to realize that effort is required to progress in this life, and that the things of life are not given to her on a silver platter. The child develops a sense of thankfulness and gratitude, as well as a forward-progressing spirit. She is equipped to fight the battles of life.
A child who is given everything and who never suffers disappointment or is rarely disciplined is being taught to live in a world that does not exist. And he will have severe adjustment problems once he takes his place in the world. A child should be allowed to experience the normal events of life. He should come to know disappointment and should be taught discipline. Train a child when he is young and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Whether we realize it or not, we are training our children. Whether this training is negative or positive will determine what kind of adult the child becomes. After a child has been trained, it is exceedingly difficult (but not impossible) for the now adult to depart from that training. This is the reason for the existence of so many maladjusted individuals in society.
In order to train a child properly, parents must be intimately involved in their children’’s lives, physically, emotionally, intellectually, morally and spiritually. The parent must realize what a great responsibility they have in rearing their offspring. They should teach their children the better way by saying not "Go do this and go do that," but rather, "Come with us while we show and share with you the better way."
In order to further cultivate the quality of appreciation in the child, the child should be rewarded when he does something good. Accent the good behavior. We should command the child to do the right thing, not command him to do the negative thing. Every achievement that the child makes should be acknowledged by the parent, and the parent should tell the child how proud he is of the child’’s accomplishments. This connects with the child’’s reward center. Nothing succeeds like success. The child craves to be rewarded by his parents and therefore he is motivated to continue to make worthy achievements. Because the parent places value upon the child’’s achievements, the child learns to do the same and responds with appreciation.
Much of the ceremony surrounding our various kinds of achievements is designed not only to acknowledge that the person has completed a certain degree of mastery over a given task but also stimulates the quality of appreciation in the taskmaster. When the developing self lacks the foundation for appreciation, it is a tough sale to get the person to appreciate even the most difficult of accomplishments. When the person is deprived of the proper recognition of things, meanings, and values by being deprived of the proper emotional, intellectual, moral and spiritual response to his accomplishment, then his whole life takes on an artificial quality. It just does not seem real. One of the great joys and consolations in life should be our accomplishments. This is especially true when we are no longer able to make significant accomplishments as recognized by our peers. As we reflect back over our accomplishments, all the emotional, intellectual, moral and spiritual investments of memory should come to the fore to comfort us and fill us with the joy of satisfaction. Without that significant quality of appreciation, none of this happens: the person just lingers in the land of ambivalence. He knows that he has accomplished many things, but he can’’t quite grasp the true value and true meaning of his achievements. Such a one feels as if he has not had a successful life.
When the child has been successfully trained, when there has developed a natural sense of thankfulness, trustworthiness, and gratitude, then it is much easier for him to grasp the spiritual qualities of life and to respond to them with the proper emotional, intellectual, moral and spiritual qualities. He can more fully appreciate what the heavenly Father is doing, has done, and will do for him. Such a one honors the heavenly Father and appreciates him even as he honors and appreciates his earthly parents. And just has he has come to appreciate the material aspects of life, he appreciates the spiritual aspects of it as well. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”” He appreciates his gift of divine sonship and is able to make the correct emotional, intellectual, and moral response to such a glorious gift. He appreciates his spiritual accomplishments, and they are a source of great joy and satisfaction to him.
But to the child who has not been successfully trained, it is an uphill struggle to gain appreciation for the spiritual qualities of life. The cure for such a deficiency is to wholeheartedly pursue the Father’’s will. This brings the soul into existence. And this soul, which has the perfect parent, can be taught and trained correctly so that as it develops, it becomes more and more appreciative of the divine gift of sonship and ultimately appreciative of all the other qualities of life. It takes some time, but if the child/adult will faithfully seek the Father’’s will, he will wake up one morning and discover to his pleasant surprise that life is beautiful, good, and true. What has happened to make him feel this way? The material circumstances have not changed; he is the same person. But something has happened internally: his soul has been born again. He has become a new creature in Christ Jesus. Old things are passed away, all things are becoming new. And now he appreciates the love of the heavenly Father and all the wonderful things that he does for him--recognized and unrecognized. Such a state causes him to burst forth in spontaneous worship and causes his soul to rejoice forevermore.
This concludes today's message on understanding value of spiritual appreciation. 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.