Spiritual Sriving
Greetings and good morning brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our serieswhere 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 will ponder our lives as we seek to understand the meaning of spiritual

And now, sit back and listen to today's message.

Spiritual Striving

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 48.

The heavenly Father has commanded us to be perfect even as he is perfect as revealed in his Son, Jesus. And since Jesus left his perfect Spirit of Truth, the perfect guide into the perfection of the truth of the Father's love, the goal of spiritual perfection is certainly attainable. This spirit is not only a guide--the way, the truth and the life--but it is also the power that enables our souls to choose the Father's perfect will.

In response to this spiritual gift and promise, we begin that incessant spiritual striving that will eventually end in perfection of character and eternal life. We begin this spiritual striving with the creation of our souls by the heavenly Father. It discerns the truth of the Father's love, admires the beauty of his love, and reverences the goodness of his love. The soul causes our minds to be concerned with quality---values--- as well as quantity---things. It also causes a peculiar urge to strive to master things, meanings, and values. The urge to pray and worship also appears.

Being spiritual children, it is sometimes difficult to appreciate the command to be perfect but we can see this command at work in our material lives. We are constantly trying to make things better, constantly seeking to perfect them, and we never stop trying to perfect them. In the age in which we live, we have seen and continue to see mind-boggling discoveries such as computers, the Internet, breakthroughs in medicine and in other areas. And we have a tidal wave of young people going off to college to improve their minds and make further discoveries. But sad to say we have lagged behind in perfecting our moral and spiritual natures. But even though progress is slow, it is nevertheless progress.

We may not have an opportunity to go to college, or some of us may not have had the opportunity to finish high school. And there are other handicaps that prevent us from making progress in the material and intellectual arena, but such is not the case when it comes to spiritual perfection. There is no force or power in this world or in heaven above except ourselves that can prevent us from being loving and kind, even merciful and forgiving. The power for doing this is within ourselves and is a matter first of desire and second of choice. If we choose to be loving and kind, m spiritual perfection.

When we desire to choose the Father's will, we are presented with increasing opportunities to love our brothers and sisters. And these opportunities are progressively difficult. They are spiritual stimuli for our growth. As we choose the Father's way, the way of love, our souls increasingly grow, ever becoming more like Jesus.

As we endure fiery trials and tribulation, our spiritual strivings bring forth strength, courage, understanding, wisdom, and patience. These gifts of the Father allow us to recognize that with the help of the Father not only can we endure these challenges but we can master them. We master them by submitting to the Father's will, the way of love. As the Apostle Paul said, "I will show you a more excellent way: Love suffers long and is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not vaunt itself, is not puffed up. It does not behave unseemly, does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil. Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in truth. Love bares all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things." This attitude was so magnificently shown by Jesus when he walked the earth.

In striving for spiritual perfection, we are in fact traveling the road illuminated by Jesus. As he grappled and wrestled with the uncertainties of life, he developed a sublime faith and righteous character like that of the unseen Father. In order for us to develop this characteristic manner of reacting to life's circumstances, we must first be conscious of the need to develop it. Without demand, there is no supply.

As we struggle in our moral and spiritual environments, we come to understand that the easy way out of a problem winds up being, in fact, the hard way. We learn that evil produces more evil. Only good overcomes it. But applying good to evil situations requires a righteous character. We must develop faith by experiencing the uncertainties of life. Victory over doubt-inducing situations produces faith.

Instead of reacting to situations with impatience, we must learn patience by controlling our natural impulses. Instead of reacting to hate with more hate we must react with love. Praying for our enemies leads to loving them. Instead of exacting revenge we must show mercy and forgiveness. Eradicating ignorance produces mercy and forgiveness. These are some of the spiritual qualities that perfect our souls, and we can only develop them by grappling with experiences that require them. Finally, while going through painful experiences, we are often unaware that we are developing these spiritual qualities. When we learn that this is the way of Jesus, our hearts take delight in the Father's character. When we consciously begin to strive for a character like Jesus, then we have become conscious--self conscious--of our relationship with God the Father.

This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of spiritual striving. 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.

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      By Dr. James  Perry      
  Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done!
                      Spiritual Striving