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 process of strengthening the underbelly of character.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Strengthening the Underbelly of Character
"That he would grant you accordingly to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." Ephesians, Chapter 3, Verse 16
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we share with you the process of strengthening the underbelly of character. Character is the manifestation of the soul--it is not the soul itself. Using material analogies we shall demonstrate how this process works. We should endeavor to cooperate more fully with this process: only when character is rock solid can it master all life experiences.
If what you believe is true, it will generate ever greater meanings of truth. If it does not, then what you believe is not true, you lack growth to comprehend the greater values and meanings of truth, or you lack sufficient faith to wholly dedicate and consecrate your will to doing the Father’’s will. Now the emphasis of this discussion is facilitate the growth of the soul so that it can comprehend more and more of the sublime values of truth and meanings thereof. In this country, there is now a wave of physical fitness mania sweeping the land, and large numbers of people are enrolled in various athletic clubs for the purpose of getting in shape, of firming and toning all those flabby muscles of the body that have gotten that way through disuse. Those who are really serious about this process have a personal trainer. This trainer is skilled in the process of instructing their pupils in the correct exercises and use of these exercises and other body building techniques that will strengthen the muscles of the body. There are different techniques and exercises for various groups of muscles.
There are specific exercises for strengthening the muscles of the extremities, and specific exercises and techniques for strengthening the muscles of the trunk. And there are specific exercises and techniques for strengthening the muscle of the buttocks, and finally exercises and techniques for strengthening the muscles of the abdomen. Now the muscles of the abdomen are the hardest to tone and firm up, and we all can testify to this as we see the large number of beer bellies strolling among us. This area is the least firm of all the muscles and is the one that is most prone to really get out of shape since it undergoes stress and strain such as child birth, the storage of excess calories--known as fat.
Trainer does not start with the most complicated exercises and techniques as first but implements a gradual but progressive program that is designed to strengthen the whole body, especially the weaker areas that need more attention. More attention is paid to the abdominal groups of muscles since this group is the weakest and most difficult to reach. But under the guidance and response of the pupil to the instruction, the body eventually becomes fit, that is, the muscles become toned and strengthened.
Initially when the exercise program is begun and before the pupil gains insight into the necessity of the different exercises, their techniques and purposes, the pupil may not cooperate fully. He may not do the exercises consistently, may protest that they are too hard, or even sometimes may drop out of the program all together. Thus we see that there is a certain amount of trust and faith the pupil must have in the trainer for the pupil to make satisfactory progress. But as time goes on the pupil begins to see the results himself, and this recognition of the progress that he is making becomes a stimulus to cooperate more fully and to more fully trust and have faith in the trainer.
Initially the soul needs to have a training program that will strengthen its character, especially its weaker parts. We refer to the weaker parts of the soul as the underbelly because it is the most vulnerable, the part that is most difficult to strengthen. The trainers, those all efficient, relentless, and merciful and effective guardian angels, are fully aware of each soul's weakness. No soul has exactly the same underbelly. And while other parts of the soul needs training as well, only a mild stimulus to firm up their character, just enough to keep it sharp and sensitive to divine values and meanings, the underbelly of the soul needs intensive work, and this is where the major efforts of those spiritual trainers are directed. And we know that when they begin training our underbelly, as when beginning physical training, we moan and groin, and experience the pain and frustration of growth.
But we have learned from experience as well as instruction that the trainers of the character of the soul attack the underbelly with a regimen. The deficiencies of the underbelly of character in nine groups. These groups may also overlap each other, so that a training program my emphasize one or more or even all of the nine groups. And these nine groups are love, faith, goodness, meekness, temperance, gentleness, long suffering, peace, joy and all of those qualities that are derived from these, such as trust, hope, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and so on. But how does the soul know which deficiencies are being shored up? Well, we must look to our experiences that we are presently undergoing, and the ones that are causing us the most stress is the one that is being applied to strengthen or shore up some deficiency in one or more of the nine groups. And you only need to look to your natural response and choose the opposite of that natural response to see which quality or qualities are being developed.
At first there is more or less an antagonistic attitude to the training program, but like the infant, growth brings about increased capacity to discern the values and meanings of the training, Soon the soul is cooperating fully with the trainers noted by the absence of such traits as "procrastination, equivocation, insincerity, problem avoidance, unfairness, and ease seeking." And the purpose of all of this training is to perfect the character of the soul so that when standing in the divine presence, the light of the Father’’s goodness will detect no weakness (evil) in it.
This concludes today's message on understanding the process of strengthening the underbelly of character. 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.