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 encouragement of love.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Encouragement of Love
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your hear be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John, Chapter 14, Verse 27
Brothers and sisters, as we live this life, with its trials and tribulations, we often become discouraged. But discouragement is like carrying extra weight as we struggle to climb and reach the top of the mountain of perfection. We are extremely interested in getting rid of this extra weight. The climb itself is sufficient for the test.
Perhaps it will help us to identify the components of discouragement and thereby be enabled to see what spiritual remedy is needed and how the Father supplies that remedy. We have embarked on a great task of revealing the Father’s love through his Son, Jesus, and making man aware that he is a son of God. He has shown us the way, therefore we should go forth and not become "weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not." And we go not alone for the mighty Spirit of Truth goes before us. Jesus says, "I always stand near, and my invitation-call is, and ever shall be, Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am true and loyal, and you shall find spiritual rest for your souls."
"Behold what manner of love, the heavenly Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God." There are still many who don’t yet realize that they are sons and daughters of God. We often become discouraged because of this. There are two factors that cause spiritual discouragement. One is the failure to wholeheartedly submit to the Father’s will; the other is spiritual fatigue.
Failure to wholeheartedly submit to the Father’s will is a matter of commitment and dedication. Nothing must stand in the way of our desire do the Father’s will. That desire must be supreme. We must desire to become like Jesus with all our hearts, minds, and souls. Anything short of total dedication will only result in failure.
In the material life, we become fatigued after laboring. And we must replenish those depleted energies by way of suitable nutrients and physical rest. It is not surprising, then, that spiritual work also exhausts. And we must be mindful to spiritually rests our souls, for we can become discouraged as a result of spiritual fatigue. We may not recognize the symptoms of spiritual fatigue and therefore not recognize this source of discouragement. But when we are spiritually fatigued, we lack zest and enthusiasm for the work. We just don’t feel like doing it. The challenge of the spiritual work seems overwhelming, and we cannot see how we are making any difference.
And when we look at the product of our efforts, the increase in those who accept true salvation, those who accept their spiritual birthright—as sons and daughters of the heavenly Father--we don’t see much progress either in our brothers and sisters or within ourselves. We know that no matter how persuasive our message, it is our life of revealing Jesus that must make the spiritual appeal to others’ souls. The indicator of our effectiveness in revealing Jesus is the degree to which our lives are recognized by our brothers and sisters. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
But much to our consternation, there are very few who acknowledge our light or our good works, or glorify our Father in heaven by asking us how it is that we are so loving and kind, so merciful and forgiving, so helpful, so willing to go the extra mile. This lack of recognition causes quite a bit of discouragement, and we search our souls to try to find the difficulty within ourselves. Is our light bright enough or is it too bright?
We know that light can be dispel the darkness, but we also know that light can blind as well. We seek the wisdom that will enable us to display just the correct amount of light to our brothers and sisters. From a practical point of view, this means being willing to meet them where they are and lovingly and patiently relate to them in such a way that they receive just enough light to dispel the darkness of evil blocking their paths. When we do this, we prevent ourselves from encountering the discouragement that results from unwise ministry.
After examining ourselves and finding no fault or correct the fault within ourselves, we may still find that the spiritual appeal is ignored. Sometimes darkness is so deep that the brothers or sisters may not realize that they are in darkness. As Jesus said, "if the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness"? They cannot behold the true light because they have become blinded. They have closed their eyes so they cannot see. But while we sadden over our brothers and sisters who choose to remain in darkness, we should rejoice that their remaining in darkness can have no effect upon our efforts to obey the Father’s supreme command: To be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect.
Discouragement caused by spiritual fatigue as a result of sustained effort is best corrected by prayer and worship. When we come to Jesus, he re-energizes our souls and our purpose. By maintaining constant communion, we remain continuously energized. Sometimes in our effort to grasp the divine values and meanings of progressive spiritual perfection, we become discouraged at the experiences that conceal these divine values and meanings. Sometimes we are so hard pressed by the material counterpart of our spiritual experiences that we see absolutely nothing. But we must posses our souls in patience; time will eventually reveal the divine values and meanings of perfection. We must take our encouragement from Jesus: "in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he believed." Prayer will sustain us through the mortal life, and will allow us to continue as "seeing Him who is invisible."
Worship will illuminate our destiny, that state where we shall have obeyed the Father’s eternal command, to be perfect even as He is perfect. When we enter the prayer and worship mode, we receive hope which allows us to continue on with our struggle to grasp the divine values and meaning of perfection. We receive assurance that we can indeed grasp these divine values and meanings of perfection. This hope shows us a victorious picture on the other side of struggle, whereby we have grasped the divine values and meanings of perfection. Hope continues to urge us on, to forget about our temporal existence as a supreme reality and focus on our eternal existence as a supreme spiritual reality. This focus pulls us through the temporal existence.
It prevents us from acting impatiently and thus unwisely, increasing our discouragement, for when we act impatiently and unwisely all we do is prolong our discouragement. Time determines when an experience comes to an end, and we cannot rush time, but we can grasp the eternal values and meanings of the experience which are not subject to time if we have the faith to look for them and the courage to embrace them. As we continue to commune with Jesus, our faith deepens, grows stronger in the face of trials and tribulations. And as our faith continues to insist that there are divine values and meanings of perfection concealed within our struggle, we become energized. And we boldly grasp these values and meanings of perfection and sweep away the shackles of discouragement.
We know the spiritual journey of divine perfection is about the acquiring divine values and meanings, not about our material status, the very status that is being used to generate the divine values and meanings. If our primary purpose is acquiring divine values and meanings of growth, then we will never become spiritually discouraged because those values and meanings are constantly being revealed in our minds and souls.
Continuous communion with the Father through his Son, Jesus, fills us with trust, and when we exercise this trust, there exists no basis for spiritual discouragement, for our trust in the all powerful merciful, Father whose divine plan of perfection for our souls, the progressive acquirement of divine values and meaning, runs right through our trials and tribulations. Ponder this truth: Ultimately spiritual discouragement is the result of lack of faith, hope, and trust, which is the result of the failure to maintain constant communion with Jesus whereby we receive the spiritual power and strength for our souls and our resolve.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the encouragement of 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.