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 spiritual comfort.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Jesus said, "I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world can not receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye shall know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." John, Chapter 14, Verses 16, 17 and 18
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we share with you some insights into spiritual comfort. We are told that when the Master ascended on high, he promised to send the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth into the hearts of his children. We want to examine the various qualities of spiritual comfort that this Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, provides.
As we struggle in and with our material lives, we certainly need to be comforted, to be encouraged. The Master has ordained that we progress this way, the way of struggle. He says, "in the world ye shall have tribulations: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." The tools of growth are painful and cause much tribulation. Growth requires effort, perseverence and faith.
All of our struggling is not in vain: there is a glorious purpose behind all this struggling to gain completeness, to be perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect. And we know that all of this struggling redounds to our eternal good, for the psalmist declared, "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word; Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."
We only learn wisdom by experiencing tribulation. The acquirement of wisdom is the product of affliction, and though we may not understand the wisdom that requires all of this tribulation, our experiences verify that the process is righteous. Trials and tribulations prevent us from being dominated by our animal natures, those natures that seek the path of least resistance, the path of ease that eschews wisdom. If our animal natures had their way, we would still be living in caves; but trials and tribulations drive us forward in life. They help us to overcome, and in so doing, we gain wisdom.
But as we struggle to progress, we are given certain spiritual comforts to encourage us. There is the comfort of hope. This spiritual quality comforts us by empowering us to visualize the future, where we shall have overcome the difficulties of the present. The comfort of hope reminds us that "it won’’t be this way always." The comfort of hope empowers us, gives us that strength to endure until the very end. It even allows us to comprehend that soothing truth to our souls that says, "My grace is sufficient unto thee." It reminds us that we are involved in a temporal experience, that though we are going through it, it may seem as if it is never going to end, it definitely has a beginning and an end. It is an event of time.
To our minds, time may appear to pass slowly when we wish to pass more quickly, but even so, it will eventually move us through the most difficult of experiences. Time changes the factors of a trying experience. And eventually time leaves the trying experience behind, and it vanishes like a wisp of smoke. And remember, time does not stop. It even continues through the end of life. It will eventually complete its work. Meanwhile, spiritual exercises are being conducted in the soul, where it experiences all of those values that the trying experiences have generated, values that the soul will use for the next level of existence.
The comfort of hope reminds us that we are not always to be incomplete, that our status is slowly changing from day to day. It reminds us that one day, we will be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect, that one day we will see the final product of all of this struggling, with its trials and tribulations. We will have gained wisdom that can only be gained by experiencing it. The trials and tribulations will have stamped it into our very souls. The comfort of hope makes it possible to "carry on as seeing Him who is invisible."
Added to the comfort of hope is the comfort of trust. This spiritual quality reminds us that our trust is grounded in the goodness of the heavenly Father. The comfort of trust causes our souls to cry out, "I don’’t believe he brought me this far to leave me now." It insists that there are divine values and meanings in these soul-trying experiences. It also reminds us that because of his goodness, and his love for us, the way we are proceeding is the best and only way to achieve the divinity of our Father. We can only become perfect as He is perfect by following the path that He has ordained. We are reminded of the absolute wisdom of the Father in constructing the divine plan for our lives. The night of our struggle is dark, but the joy of successfully overcoming them is light. The comfort of trust really becomes effective in relieving our anxieties and fears, when we submit to its truth, even as a little child trusts his earthly parents. When we surrender our lives to His way completely, then does the peace that passes all understanding wash over our souls, as the waves wash up on the material beach. There is a peace in trust that cannot be gained in any other way.
Integrated into the comfort of hope and trust is the comfort of faith. This all powerful tool actually has the power to change our status from material beings into spiritual beings. This powerful tool given to us by our heavenly Father actually allows us to experience the spirit of our completed status now. We can actually visualize our divine perfection. We can actually see the time when we will be free of incompletion, with its errors and evils and incomplete wisdom. We can see the end of our journey, can even see that great and glorious day when we stand in the Father’’s magnificent presence. By believing Jesus with our whole hearts, we can be delivered into the kingdom of heaven now, wherein there is peace, joy, and righteousness in the Spirit.
The comfort of faith makes real the comfort of hope and the comfort of trust, for it makes real these qualities to our souls, and we begin to respond positively to the trials and tribulations with these spiritual comforts. We grow. "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit." And throughout every trial and in the presence of every hardship, ““spirit-born souls are sustained by that hope which transcends all fear because the love of God is shed abroad in all hearts by the presence of the divine Spirit."
But the greatest of the spiritual comforts is the comfort of love, for God is love. This love, the desire to do good to others, lives within our soul, going through each and every experience with us, telling us how precious we are in His sight. This love gives us the courage to dare to be Godlike, to boldly go through trials and tribulations without fear. This presence of the Heavenly Father in our souls is the guarantee that no harm can befall our souls. When the trials and tribulations overflow us, and we cannot find our moorings, when we have exhausted our capacity of redress, then we should seek the Father’’s will. When there is nothing else we can do, we should seek the Father’’s will. No matter how we feel, by seeking the Father’’s will, we will not fail. Our souls will stand tall. We will emerge from each and every situation more loving, more kind, more merciful, more patient, more forgiving, and far wiser.
This love stimulates us to do our very best. When we feel we are loved, we are willing to go through every trial and tribulation with faith, hope, and trust. Our heavenly Father--after all--loves us with an infinite affection and knows what is best for us. His divine plan actually includes all of our trials and tribulations. So we can rest assured that no trial or tribulation can derail us from the tracks of the Father’’s will. Only we can do that by refusing to trust him and by refusing to submit to these experiences with love, patience, mercy and forgiveness. By choosing to do His will, we allow situations to do their soul-transforming work: to increasingly transform us into the image of His Son.
This concludes today's message on understanding spiritual comfort. 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.