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 spiritual truths to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the embracement of spiritual perfection.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Embrace of Spiritual Perfection
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 48
Brothers and sisters, we have been commanded to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect, and we have in earnest embarked upon the magnificent journey from human self- consciousness to divine consciousness. In making this journey, it is helpful to keep certain faith principles in mind.
The heavenly Father is our Father and we are his children, to whom the command to be perfect has been given. Our understanding of this command is that all mortals, having been given free will, have the option of obeying this command or declining to obey it. If we accept this command, we will in due time appear in his presence as fully perfected spirits.
To understand why this is so, we must consider the nature of the heavenly Father. The heavenly Father is the source of all divine reality, both actual and potential. The temporary realities of evil, sin, and iniquity are excluded from his reality. These realities exist because of the time-space universe in which they occur and because free will creatures in time and space can create temporary realities because of the delays of time and the handicaps of space. These temporary realities are sooner or later terminated, as the time-space realities become coordinated with the eternal realities.
But we are concerned with those free will creatures who are desirous of living the Father’s realities in perfection. This being the case, the supreme desire to comply with the command to be perfect aligns our time-space status with the eternal status, and we become perfect. But we know that there is a long journey involved in achieving the supreme perfection of the heavenly Father. Since this command has been given to us as mortals, we must consider spiritual perfection for our lives in the flesh. Does this command to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect apply to us while we live in the flesh? Or is this command applicable only to the completed spiritual journey when we stand in the presence of the heavenly Father? We think the answer to both questions is yes.
The journey to gain the Father’s paradise perfection terminates when we reach paradise, but there are several stages involved in the acquirement of this spiritual perfection. There are spiritual stages that are involved, and each preceding stage must be mastered before moving to the next stage. That is, each stage must be perfected before we can move to the next stage. But we are also given the command to perfect our souls while we live the life in the flesh. Being a combination of the material and spiritual, we are to perfect our spiritual characters while we live in the flesh. By our supreme desire to do the Father’s will, we become perfect in the spirit now.
When we subject our wills to the Father’s will, we overcome our temporal significance; we have had our status expanded within the Father. Our spiritual realities--actual and potential--exists in the Father now, and when we submit our wills to the Father’s will, we share that reality. Now it may be somewhat difficult to grasp this concept, but lets consider this: We know that we don’t have lasting material peace in this life, but we can experience spiritual peace in this life now.
Spiritual peace--unlike material peace-- has no limitation and is not subject to the ups and downs of material life. When we experience material peace in our minds, we experience a certain set of material values and meanings. These are reflections of our material environment. We arrive at a state of material peace when all the factors of our material environment are in harmony, where things are proceeding according to our material understanding. The standard by which we judge material peace is being met. We are all familiar with this kind of peace, which also brings a sense of joy and happiness. This peace is like a pleasant cool breeze that blows over us on a hot summer day. It is very refreshing, but alas it does not last. We experience spiritual peace in our souls. When we experience spiritual peace in our souls, when we obtain a certain set of spiritual values and meanings, all the factors of our spiritual environment are in harmony.
Material peace is the satisfaction of material purposes. There are many components of this material purpose. They may range from obtaining the job we want, having the kind of material relationships we desire, having material health and wealth, and so forth. Whatever our material purpose, the satisfaction of that purpose brings material peace to our minds. And just as material peace is the satisfaction of a material purpose, spiritual peace is the satisfaction of the spiritual purpose. The spiritual purpose is the satisfaction of our relationship with the heavenly Father.
When we are in right relationship with our heavenly Father, our wills are subjected to the Father’s will, we have spiritual peace. We have an eternal purpose that is not subject to change, always will we pursue this spiritual purpose. Our souls have found their maker, and peace flows over our souls like a gentle river flowing down the river bed. And this peace also carries with it joy and happiness, for the highest spiritual joy and happiness we can experience is the consciousness of being sons and daughters of the heavenly Father.
If we can experience this spiritual peace in our souls, we can experience spiritual perfection in our souls also, as well as eternal life. The pursuit of divine values in our souls, the pursuit of the relationship with the heavenly Father, is the pursuit of eternal life, and the experience of divine meanings is the joy and happiness of eternal life. The spiritual peace in our souls is of such a nature that it inspires hope in the face of despair and no wonder: This spiritual peace knows no disruption of the relationship with the heavenly Father. As long as our souls desire to maintain their relationship with the heavenly Father, our spiritual peace continues.
So how do we embrace the perfection of the spirit in our souls now? Lets consider this analogy: suppose a very wise person, who thoroughly knows us, knows our potentials tells us that we can reach a certain goal that we have set. He tells us that it is a certainty that we can reach this goal if we dedicate ourselves to it. We have faith in this person, and he has faith in our abilities. Which is better? To assume we have already reached this goal, and that our efforts are now directed towards helping us to realize the achievement, or is it better to see the goal as something we have yet to obtain and know that we are working towards it?
In the first instance, we have faith and confidence that exceeds anything in the second instance. Our entire attitude is different since we know that we will obtain the goal, have already attained it in the spirit. The attitude of one who has obtained a goal is different than the attitude of one who has not attained the same goal. And though in actual status, we have to wait the unfolding of time, in spirit we can enjoy the status that we have embraced with our faith. Something similar happens with spiritual perfection.
The Father has set the goal for us and has commanded us to be perfect even as he is perfect. The command itself is the power and the assurance that we can achieve this goal. If it were not so, he would hardly give us his spirit which is the command, power and the assurance that we can achieve this goal. Nor would he have given us the Spirit of Truth, the spirit of Jesus, to show us how. In fact, this spirit is our spiritual perfection, and that is why we can obtain this perfection in the spirit now. And since it is the Father’s will that we do this, be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect, it only remains for us to desire it by wholeheartedly submitting our wills to his will.
To help us believe this, the Father sent his Son, Jesus, who became flesh and blood like you and I and demonstrated the technique of acquiring spiritual perfection. Having achieved spiritual perfection in the flesh at each stage of human existence, he left behind his Spirit of Truth, the same spirit that he used to achieve and demonstrate this perfection. We can begin to realize that the Son was already perfect when he came to earth--he just had to realize it. So his was a struggle to realize his divine perfection rather than the struggle to obtain it. He was already perfect in the spirit. By living his life in the flesh subject to the Father’s will, he realized his divine perfection and his pre-existence. And now he invites us to do the same thing that he did.
We know that this Spirit of Truth has the power and the assurance to do this for us. It is no mere poetic play upon words when he says, "knock and the door shall open; seek and you shall find. I am the way, the truth, and the life." If we are supremely dedicated, we can really align our wills with the Father’s will through his Son, Jesus. We can perfectly contain the divine values and meanings of perfection in our souls. We can really display the fruits of the spirit. To help us realize this, I suggest we follow these seven steps:
Step One: See yourself as being perfect in the spirit and realizing this great truth.
Step Two: Sincerely and wholeheartedly desire to do the Father’s will; submit your will to the Father’s will; sincerely desire to love the Father with all your heart, soul, mind, and might, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Step Three: Unflinchingly acknowledge your divine sonship with the Father through his Son, Jesus.
Step Four: Sincerely desire to lovingly serve your brothers and the sisters.
Step Five: When the divine values and meanings of spiritual perfection appear in your mind and soul, boldly embrace them.
Step Six: Ask Jesus to show you how. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
Step Seven: Feel, know, and act like he is showing you the way to realize your divine spiritual perfection.
This concludes today's message on understanding the embracement of spiritual perfection. 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.