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 nature of the correcting experience.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Correcting Experience
"My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth, he correcteth; even as a father the son whom he delighteth." Proverbs, Chapter 3, Verses 11 and 12
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we share with you some further insights concerning spiritual discipline. We shall also share as far as possible how this discipline is effected. Not only is this discipline necessary for those brothers and sisters who are following the plan wholeheartedly, but also for those who get a little lazy at times and drift into the bypaths of ease, those who feel the rigors of climbing the mountain of faith are too much and have paused for more than the customary period of rest and relaxation, where depleted energies are restored.
There must be some plan that will stimulate those well-meaning brothers and sisters but who still are not completely convinced that the way of progress is struggle, struggle, and more struggle until the last challenge is mastered. We shall distinguish between the discipline that is applied to those who are on the path and those who have momentarily slipped off of the path. In our continuing attempts to reveal the values and meanings of the spirit, we shall resort to a material analogy to make clear to the mind these values and meanings of discipline that are so essentially to acquiring and maintaining perfection in the spirit, and ultimately perfection of the spirit.
The analogy that comes to mind is the discipline that is used to train a soldier. When a soldier is in the process of being trained, of acquiring the military point of view, the first priority is to transform a civilian whose attitude may be "if I do it is okay; if I don’’t do it, that’’s okay too" into a soldiers whose attitude is "I will do it or die trying." Now we can see that there is a tremendous difference between the two attitudes of the civilian and the soldier. The civilian’’s attitude is useless as far as being a soldier entrusted with the duty of defending his country from all enemies, domestic and foreign. But how does this transformation takes place? What methods are used to effect this transformation?
Well the first step in making this transformation is to select and isolate the civilian from his former way of life for the most part. This has the effect of diluting the old values and meanings of his prior existence. And while the values and meanings are still material, a shift occurs in his purpose, and this shift is associated with its own set of values and meanings. Let us look at a few of them. The first new value is timeliness. The first thing the new soldier learns is to be on time. No excuses are accepted. The failure to be on time is followed by penalty. The next thing the soldier learns is how to march in an organized fashion. Everywhere he goes, he goes in an organized group. Now this little simple and often irritating practice to the novice has the powerful effect of uniting the soldiers together in such a way that, on the battlefield, no soldier will leave a comrade behind. And this uniting process goes on continuously during the training period. Next, he learns about the traditions and successes of the service. And this sets a standard for him to live up to. The soldier learns that he must not let those down who have gone on before him. This attitude motivates the soldier to do his very best when carrying out a military mission. He learns how to be brave, courageous, to control his fear and anxiety impulses in the face of danger. He learns responsibility by being held accountable for the things he does or does not do. In other words, there are failures of omission as well as of commission and he is responsible for both. He learns how to be honorable.
And during all of this intellectual training and acquirement of military values and meanings, he also undergoes physical transformation. There is a definite physical training and conditioning process that the soldier undergoes. And this process is intensified by the mistakes the soldier makes both individually and collectively. Any mistake is quickly rewarded by having to do extra physical exercises. These exercises can range from doing push ups to additional time running. And now we see how the intellectual training is reinforced with the physical training and vice versa. This is very effective and produces a disciplined soldier as well as a physically fit one. After being submitted to this intense training, the civilian emerges as a soldier. And this training is so entrenched in the habits of the soldiers, that most of them carry the flavor of this training long after their military service is completed. And now having paved the way for the spiritual uplift, we shall take up the discipline of the spirit.
The soul--like the civilian who is transformed into a soldier--must also undergo a transformation. The soul comes into existence devoid of all experience. It has great potential, but it must be actualized, and since the soul is the joint creation of the human mind as well as the divine spirit, it definitely has some animal traits associated with it. And these traits are ". . .procrastination, equivocation, insincerity, problem avoidance, unfairness, and ease seeking." The soul must develop a divine character as demonstrated by Jesus, the revelator of the Father for all times and all places. There is a definite training program designed to transform the soul from its material association to the divine dignity of its Father. The soul must learn first of all who it is, and to appreciate the great honor that has been given to it. The soul is a son of the heavenly Father, admittedly a child of the heavenly Father, but nevertheless a bonafide son.
So as with the civilian and solider analogy, the soul is separated from the animal vestigial traits of its origin; that is, the divine values and meanings saturate the soul and push out the purely animal values and meanings. And then the soul is given exercises to make these divine values and meanings apart of its character. On the inside the soul is presented with the pattern of its future character; and on the outside the soul is given the opportunity to actualize this pattern. And this training on the outside is sponsored by the guardian angels and their associates. And as you might expect, initially there is great anxiety, fear, ". . .procrastination, equivocation, insincerity, problem avoidance, unfairness, and ease seeking." The soul shrinks from the task of new challenges. This is, the animal traits must be purged from the soul, and the only way that can happen is for the soul to undergo the experiences that are designed to purge them and replace them with the positive divine values of faith--assurance, courage, decisiveness, sincerity, trust, hope, and a love for the unknown and the uncertain.
Now before the soul begins its training period, it is told that it has everything that it needs for success, that it is invincible and indestructible--that nothing but itself can prevent it from acquiring the divine values and meanings that are associated with acquiring the divine character. It is told the divine spirit itself is wedded to it as it goes through these battles of character acquirement. And the divine spirit is the assurance that it will not fail if it puts forth the supreme effort. But oftentimes the soul refuses to believe this. Sometimes the soul allows the material forecasts of the material mind to influence and therefore delay its progress in the conquest of divine values and meanings. What the material self is going through, the ups and downs of material life, is real, but the soul must learn how to identify with the Father’’s will for its sense of security and well being. It must learn to say that "all is well within my soul."
It is only after the soul dedicates itself to doing the Father’’s will that this power of the spirit can stabilize him as he makes his way through the trail of potential divines values and meanings, transforming them in the process. Now this dedication to doing the Father’’s will is in an analogous sense similar to separating the civilian from his former material values and meanings. Dedication to doing the Father’’s will means that no other values and meanings are above it and all other values and meanings are below it. And this constant choosing of the Father’’s will soon causes the soul to become so identified with the Father’’s will that it is able to keep its lower nature in check. This is similar to the soldier learning how to control his anxiety and his fear. The soul learns to be responsible and is held accountable for the values and meanings of commission as well as the values and meanings of omission. The soul is the representative of its Father, and no excuse can be accepted. The soul learns that it must display the Father’’s character regardless of the material state of the material mind.
Eventually the soul emerges from the training, is born again, and is now qualified to represent the Father in ever-increasing quality of perfection as it continues the growth process stimulated by the training exercises sponsored by the guardian angels. And it is somewhat of a paradox that adversity seems to bring out the best in the soul. But sometimes when there is a temporary period when adversity relaxes her grip upon the environment of the soul, the soul drifts towards the animal nature of seeking ease. Now this does not happen to all of the Father’’s representatives just as most soldiers never falter in doing their duty. But when it does happen, there is a discipline process that is designed to bring the thoughtless soul back into the service of light and life.
Now these guardians cannot violate the free will of the soul, and neither does the Father. But these guardians have such control over the circumstances of life that they can associate the circumstances in such a way that it is analogous to the penalty that a soldier receives for dereliction of duty. This penalty is not pretty and nor is it pleasant.
Now the difference in these courses of action, one course designed for the progressive growth of the soul and the other designed as discipline for the soul who has taken its eye off of the Spirit of Truth, is based on value and meaning. The values and meanings associated with doing one’’s duty and the values and meanings associated with dereliction of duty are entirely different. In the former, the values and their associated meanings of peace, joy, goodness, faith, and love--the consciousness of the Father--are present. In the latter, the values of turmoil, unhappiness, sadness, evil, disbelief, and remorse, followed by the intense urge to repent and receive forgiveness, are present. When these urges are heeded, the soul returns to the good graces of the Father with the correct attitude towards the service of light and life.
This concludes today's message on understanding the correcting experience. 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.