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 meaning of the spiritual appeal.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Spiritual Appeal
"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us." 1 John, Chapter 4, Verses 7-10
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we examine the nature of the spiritual appeal. We know the futility of making an intellectual appeal or a emotional appeal or even a moral appeal in attempting to change the basic character of an individual. These futile efforts have caused great frustration in those desiring a change in some devastating character trait of one with whom we associate. We know that as long as we are relating to these individuals, we must share in the consequences of their interactions, which are often most unpleasant.
When an emotional appeal is made, the response is emotional. This is problematic because as soon as the emotional setting disappears, the effect of the emotional appeal disappears as well. Emotions are constantly changing. A tentative decision made based on emotion is not likely to be lasting since the foundation of the decision is not solid. As soon as the consequence of that emotional decision begin to assert itself in a fashion that the self finds disagreeable, the decision will evaporate just as quickly as the emotions that gave birth to it. Although a spiritual decision does involve the emotions, they should never be the basis for making a spiritual decision. The emotions will never yield a lasting commitment.
When an intellectual appeal is made, we run up against a similar problem. An intellectual appeal is based on reason and logic, and the self may very well agree that the appeal is rational and logical, tentatively consenting to abide by a decision made as a result of this appeal. But when the decision indicates a permanent change that is disagreeable to the self, this same self will find a way out of the decision. The decision will not be binding. We see examples of this all the time, and a great body of contract law has evolved to ensure that agreements that are entered into are binding. And again, while a spiritual decision should be logical and reasonable, this should not be the primary foundation for the decision.
Only a spiritual appeal is lasting. But just how do we make a spiritual appeal, and what is the role of prayer in this process? We know the divine spirit is love, and this spirit works through love. So in order to make a spirit appeal to the soul of our brothers and sisters, we must enter into loving relationships with them, relationships based upon truth, beauty, and goodness. We must relate ourselves to them in an unselfish way, relate ourselves to them in a merciful way, a patient and forgiving way. We must love them even as Jesus loves us. This display of love penetrates to their souls and stimulates their souls to respond to love by exhibiting love. "The experience of loving is very much a direct response to the experience of being loved." But we also know that this love must be constant and must be at supreme levels, truly unselfish, to be effective.
If we are trying to ignite a piece of wet wood, we know that it must first be dried. After it is dried, a constant flame must be applied to it before it reaches the temperature of combustion. Likewise with the souls of our brothers and sisters, who are thoroughly drenched with the waters of evil (error). Only love can first dry out their souls and subsequently ignite them into a blazing fire of divine love. The constant display of love awakens the response of love in their souls.
But as with the material analogy of trying to ignite a piece of wood that is wet, the spiritual appeal requires time. If time is required, so is patience. And this is where a lot us stumble. We run out of patience, turning off the flow of divine love. This cessation of divine love is immediately recognized by the soul of the evildoer, which indicates that love was being experienced even though the evildoer was not "dry enough" to kindle into a flame of love himself.
Understanding is an important factor in showing patience. When children are small and young, they are not able to satisfactorily accomplish all parental requirement. But because the parent understands the nature of the growth process, and because of the love that the parent has for the child, the parent is able to be patient while the child matures. The parent knows that the child will eventually mature. The wise parent understands all of the benchmarks of growth, understands when the child gets stuck in a particular growth phase, and also understands why. And because the wise parent understands, she is able to institute those remedial instructions that are designed to get the child unstuck and move him forward. But not always does the parent recognize the nature of the difficulty; she becomes impatient, causing further delay. If a door is locked, what is required is the key to the door, not an axe to break the door open. Such an act destroys the door. What the growth-delayed child needs is the key that will unlock the door to his progress. This is the case with the delayed soul.
To understand the nature of the delayed soul first requires a genuine commitment to love the person unconditionally, not just a desire to make the problem that the delayed soul is causing us to go away. Next it requires seeking the Father’’s will. Spiritual ministry requires spiritual energy, and as this energy is used up, it must be replaced. Seeking the Father’’s will is where the energy for spiritual ministry becomes available. And equally important in seeking the Father’’s will is where the necessary understanding, wisdom, and patience are made available. Here is to be gained those insights into the solution of the problem, taking cognizance of the free will choice of the evildoer.
Free will must be respected in spiritual ministry. Our souls are constructed by nature to respond to love, but because we have free will, we can abrogate that natural tendency. What persistent spiritual ministry to a discordant brother or sister does is to transform the evildoer into a radiator of love, or because of the nature of divine love causes him to move to the next stage of maladjustment. This is the stage of sin, where the evildoer knows that he is willfully rejecting truth. Whereas before he was unaware of his distorted relationship to others and to the heavenly Father, he now knows that he is in a distorted relationship and chooses to remain that way. And if he continues to maintain that distorted relationship, he moves on into the realm of complete spiritual unreality--the realm of the iniquity--the land of eternal death, where no one returns. Divine love is the only solution to error. If divine love can’’t fix it, it can’’t be fixed.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of spiritual appeal. 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.