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 seek to understand the spiritual guidance that the heavenly Father gives us here and now.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Spiritual Guidance: Here and Now
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." John, Chapter 16, Verse 13
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast, we explore the nature of spiritual guidance. We know that at various times, we have sought spiritual guidance for our varied moral and spiritual difficulties. Sometimes they have been so great and complex that our spiritual heads have been in a whirlwind of confusion, and our souls have been buffeted by the storms, tornadoes and hurricanes of life. To help us grasp this new insight, we shall use an material analogy.
One day a relatively inexperienced driver decides to go on a very difficult road trip. The trip involves many twists and turns. There are many hairpin curves and narrow passes that run through high and dangerous mountain passes. Sometimes there is only one lane. Many cars will wear out because of the difficulty and length of the journey. But there are many rest stops along the way so that the driver can refresh himself when he is tired.
He is not making the trip alone. In the seat next to his sits an expert driver——a guide. The expert is talented at driving and knows the difficult roads ahead——the curves and hairpin turns, the potholes and detours--having traveled them so many times. The expert is aware of the dangers——all the obstacles and barriers that will be encountered along the way.
And so the drivers——one an expert guide, the other just a traveler-- begin their journey. The trip starts out easy and the traveler is happy. They drive for some time and soon come to a rest stop, where the traveler pulls into an area to rest. And there after refreshing himself, he asks the expert driver some questions about the leg he has just completed. The expert driver patiently answers his questions. One of the questions the traveler asks is why the expert guide remains silent during the ride.
After a short break, they begin to drive again, pulling out into traffic, where they encounter the first of many obstacles. Because of repairs being made on the road, a two-lane highway suddenly merges into a single lane. The traveler, driving carefully, successfully negotiates the first obstacle with minor difficulties. After awhile he pulls into the rest stop and again asks the expert guide about the difficulties they just experienced. The guide patiently answers his questions. And again the traveler wants to know why the expert remains silent since he is supposed to be guiding the traveler. But the guide does not answer the question.
And so on and on they travel, with the driver doing the best that he can without asking the expert guide for any direction. Pitfall after pitfall the traveler avoids, and he gets very anxious at times and other times very depressed because of the uncertainty of driving on these difficult roads. But the expert driver sits besides him calm and serene and tells him to keep going. And as they travel, the traveler frequently pulls into rest stops for refreshment.
After they had been traveling a long time, the car they were driving began to break down. Repairs were made, which allowed them to keep going. And they continued to travel until one day the car stopped altogether. When this happened, the guide instructed him to get out of the old car and into a new car that was ready to be driven.
This time, before beginning this leg of the journey, the traveler asked the expert guide why he did not say anything to him while he was driving. The expert guide said, ““there are two reasons why I was silent. The first reason is that there was no need for me to speak as long as you were making the right decisions. The second reason is that I have my hand on the master control at all times, and when there was a need to make an adjustment, I made the adjustment because you had already asked me to guide and direct you before we even started this journey. And besides, you could have asked me for guidance anytime you thought you needed it. There was no need to wait until we came to a rest stop to ask. Ask and you shall receive.””
As we begin and continue to travel on our moral and spiritual journeys, our expert guide, the Spirit of Truth, travels with us. As we confront difficulties and pitfalls, he has foreseen each one of them and stands ready to guide us safely through all of them. His guidance is so flawless and perfect that we are unaware of having received it as we go through a particular experience. It is only when we look back that we can discern this guidance. We can then see how Jesus’’ spirit has altered the course of our decisions, sometimes ever so slightly and other times dramatically. At crucial junctions in the road of life, the Spirit of Truth cries, "this is the way," always pointing the soul towards the correct spiritual value needed to overcome the present difficulty.
As the meanings of these values spill over into the conscious mind, decisions are made in response to this guidance. The fact that we are not conscious of this guidance does not change the fact of the truth that it is being provided. It requires living faith to grasp the consciousness of divine guidance. Even so, we could become more conscious of this guidance if we would only understand that this guidance is moral (right) and spiritual. It is not the kind of guidance that will interrupt a material experience, which is controlled by the laws of cause and effect——act and consequence. The material experiences must play themselves out until they come to an end. But the moral and spiritual content of these experiences are changed, adjusted, realigned, and assorted so that the soul continues his journey towards his Paradise Father in response to the command to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect.
Disappointments and delays are a part of this life. They are to be expected. But our response should not be of dismay, anxiety, and overwhelming sadness. Rather should we realize that nothing of spiritual value is ever lost, that there are imperishable values and meanings extracted from the experience of disappointment and delay that are essential for our continued growth and development.
We should realize that the pathway to divine perfection does not follow a straight line, and we should realize that the character of the soul is enhanced by responding to disappointment and delays. These experiences help the soul to develop faith and trust in the heavenly Father. And we should also keep in mind that the divine plan for our lives has foreseen all of these so-called disappointments and delays, and allowance has been made for them. In fact, they become a necessary part of the divine plan for our lives.
We are like the traveler. We don’’t know the way, nor we do we know the pitfalls, and the necessary detours around the pot holes of error and of intentional disobedience to the Father’’s will. Therefore, if we hope to arrive safely and without delay, we should trust the Father’’s guide, the Spirit of Truth.
Most of the time, we wait to ask for guidance until formal prayer times. When we do ask for guidance, it is with a loudspeaker of panic and desperation. Of course, we cannot receive any kind of conscious comfort, hope, and assurance because the loudspeaker of panic and desperation drowns out the voice of comfort and hope and assurance. But even still, our souls do receive the answer to our request for guidance.
We should not be like the traveler, who waits to ask until he pulls off for the formal rest stop of prayer. We don’’t have to wait until formal times of prayer to seek guidance. We can seek his guidance as it is needed, here and now. "Ask and you shall receive."
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of spiritual guidance here and now. 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.