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 commitment of love.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Commitment of Love
Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love for one another. John, Chapter 13, Verses 34 and 35
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we consider the commitment of love. This is the quality that stands at the heart of our spiritual journey, for without it, we are not likely to make much progress. Jesus spoke of counting the cost. And he spoke to his disciples to open their eyes to what they were getting into. It was not that he was trying to discourage them; he wanted them to know that the depth of their loyalty must match the commitment to service in the kingdom of heaven. It is true that great inner peace accompanies all who make this commitment of loyalty to the Father’’s will, but there is also a great deal of trouble on the outside for those who truly commit to the way of the Father. Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation," and our experiences in this world confirms that truth. Since loyalty and commitment are so intertwined, we want to explore them in a material analogy.
Sometimes commitments are entered into without much thought. Consider the couple who marry without remotely considering the consequences. They are being driven by inflamed emotions. They have not begun to consider the responsibilities of marriage, only its privileges. They are totally unprepared for family, for the rearing of children. Now this couple might very well rise to the challenge, but in a lot of cases they do not. They have not counted the cost of their decision to marry. When the emotions subside, and they will, and the responsibilities remain, they begin to flounder, blaming each other for the unpleasant realities of marriage.
During this period of parenting, some parents will commit to providing resources for the child’’s physical well being, such as food and shelter, but are unwilling to enter into the complete spirit of child rearing which requires their total commitment not only to the child’’s material well being, but also to the child’’s social, intellectual, moral and spiritual development. They must guide and direct the child’’s path, setting the example for the child to follow. Sometimes it is hard for the parent to realize that the child follows what they do, not what they say. The values we parents are loyal to impresses the child.
There are many parents who wake up when their child becomes an adult and wonders what happened to all the instruction they gave her. It takes a while for the parent to discern that the child is just like they are, a combination of both parents’’ influences. The child has faithfully copied those qualities that the parents were loyal to. There is a popular song that tells about how a parent was too busy to spend any time with his child, always promising to spend some time later. And the child would reply, ““I am going to be just like you dad, I am going to be just like you.”” And as the child grew up and matured, and the father was now old and his selfish fires had burned themselves out, he craved the company of his child. But his child did not have any time for him, saying ““I’’m going to be just like you, dad, I’’m going to be just like you. The father realized his child had become ““just like me.””
Even when a parent sits down and counts the cost of rearing a child, they are not likely to arrive at the true cost, for they most often are looking through the lens of selfishness in their evaluation; they see the child as an extension of themselves, a second opportunity for them to relive their lives through their children, with the hope of capturing all of the missed opportunities of love they failed to take advantage of or were denied them. But the true parent as experience is gained will more fully realize the depth of the commitment if they can break the stranglehold of selfishness in their parenting. For almost at every turn, when it comes to the needs of the child, the parent is required to set aside his own desires in favor of the needs of the child. In order for the commitment to parenting to last, there must be loyalty to that commitment. For without loyalty, there is no force to empower the commitment. Loyalty is the power of the commitment. And so it is when we commit ourselves to doing the Father’’s will.
When we commit ourselves to doing the Father’’s will, we are required to count the cost. A lot of times our reason for doing the Father’’s will is purely selfish, just as a lot of time the reason for choosing to be a parent is purely selfish. When we commit to doing the Father’’s will, the fee for counting the cost of unselfishness becomes due. We must voluntarily pay it by choosing the Father’’s will rather than our own. And again we can see that without loyalty, we will reach a point where the cost of the Father’’s way becomes too steep and we become like the rich young man who, when confronted with price for entering the fellowship of the disciples, sadly walked away.
Sometimes we are dismayed when we are confronted with a part of us that has not yet entered the domain of supreme loyalty; therefore our commitment to doing the Father’’s will in that area becomes null and void. But we should welcome such discoveries for they allow us to identify them and voluntarily submit those selfish aspects of ourselves to the Father’’s will. We are like parents of young children who are only just beginning to realize the depth of loyalty and commitment required. And as the human parent must submit to the depth of this required loyalty when recognized, so must we submit to the greater loyalty that is revealed to us in the form of requirement for a greater and deeper commitment to doing the Father’’s will.
And as times goes on and we are consistent with subjecting every desire for self-aggrandizement to the Father’’s will, we will eventually reach that highly desirable state where we not only fully understand the cost of submitting to the Father’’s will but have become joyfully willing to pay it. We have understood the cost and weighed the benefits against the cost of doing the Father’’s will. We have discovered that there is no cost so great that can even remotely compare with the constant love of the Father to and through us. We will have discovered that the Father’’s love is the greatest reality in existence. There is no higher or greater personal reality than the Father’’s love, for the Father is living love.
Finally we make this observation of the Father’’s parenting. The Father not only supplies our spiritual needs, but he also is what we should be. He is the perfect parent and we can all learn from his parenting skills. Never does the Father instruct us to be something that He is not. Never does the Father send us somewhere He himself is not going also. The Father goes through every experience with us and as us. The Father is absolutely loyal and committed to the rearing of his spiritual children. The Father is loyalty and commitment. And as we stay with this magnificent spiritual influence through constant communion-prayer and worship, we gradually take on His character. We become perfect even as He is perfect. As the words of the popular song goes: "I’’m going to be just like you, dad, I’’m going to be just like you."
This concludes today's message on the commitment to love. 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.