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 shared many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the joy of hope.
In today’’s broadcast we explore insights into the meaning of the joy of hope. We show how they are related. We hope that by doing this we will gain greater appreciation for the things of the spirit. And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Joy of Hope
““Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." Romans, Chapter 15, Verse 13
Brothers and sisters, too often our understanding and therefore our appreciation of spiritual values are clouded and obscured by our unfortunate comparisons to material things. At some point in our journey, we run into the storms of pain and suffering, even disappointment. And when we enter these storms, our tranquility suffers and then vanishes. But underneath the loss of tranquility lies spiritual tranquility, which always remains on an even keel. Because we lack spiritual appreciation, we don’’t allow this spiritual tranquility to keep our souls afloat.
Whether we tread the lonely valley of human bleakness, or travel the highway of a difficult material existence--with its realities of pain, suffering, and disappointment--our material eyes strain for relief, and we attempt to find this material relief in the spirit. But it is not forthcoming. We struggle and we pray, asking the Father to help us, to deliver us from the difficulties of a material existence, but he does not. We run hither and thither, seeking that spiritual understanding that will help alleviate our material difficulties. But we realize slowly that the Father is not going to intervene in our material difficulties. And sometimes our faith begins to flag.
We are told that the Father loves and cares about us, that we are precious in his sight. We believe this is true, but as we contemplate our material state we strain to see how this love is manifested. Looking through material eyes, nothing gives us hope. Our dual nature creates this paradox of understanding. As material beings, we experience all the material counterparts of the spirit. We experience spiritual reality as well and often times because we are one personality, it is difficult to recognize our dual nature. We are in the first stage of an endless life. During this life the soul is born, that which allows us to be conscious of spiritual reality. Without our souls, we could never become conscious of spiritual reality, and thus there would be no basis for projecting our spiritual consciousness on the material consciousness.
Our souls have to grow and develop so that we can appreciate the spiritual aspects of our lives. To do this we must have a starting point for comparison and always does this create problems. For though the material concepts allow us to intellectually grasp the spiritual concept, we soon confuse the two and seek to have the spiritual concept replace the material concept when in fact, being a dual creature, we must have both. As hard as it may seem and be difficult to understand, living this material life has supreme spiritual value.
"The greatest affliction in the cosmos is to never have been afflicted." We simply must have a stimulus for acquiring divine values. There must be a powerful reason for the self to abandon the material values as supreme and transfer its loyalties to the spirit world. Afflictions admirably accomplish this by proving to the material self beyond a doubt that it is vulnerable. Each time the material self undergoes a difficult experience, it is in some way diminished. As time goes on, it become obvious that the material self is losing ground despite its efforts in that material consciousness becomes increasingly aware of its mortality, not just as an intellectual reality in the far distant future, but as a factual reality now. Each day the grip of mortality tightens upon the material self.
On the other hand, spiritual consciousness, soul consciousness, reveals that each time it undergoes a difficult material experience, it remains unharmed and undiminished. In fact, the soul grows stronger and stronger in the face of life’’s difficulties. It becomes clear to the soul that it cannot build its hopes on temporal and material things; instead it must build on the eternal foundation. The soul begins to identify with the spiritual consciousness. It begins to submit its will to the Father’’s will and begins to increasingly use material resources in the service of the higher self.
The soul that has its origin and initial existence in this material life must take on the spiritual qualities of faith, trust, and hope. Living of the material life justifies the soul’’s acquisition of faith, trust, and hope. The soul’’s justification for acquiring faith, trust, and hope is not fully validated until it begins the second phase of its existence, where the soul experiences first-hand salvation and the consequences of righteousness, of exercising, faith, trust and hope in the Father.
But these qualities are serviceable in this life as well because we experience spiritual reality even as we tread the valley of material reality. Joy and hope are part of the spiritual experience just as they are related to material experiences. When we unselfishly serve and love others the spiritual experience begins. This is the hallmark of spiritual experience, for God is love. As we love others unselfishly, we experience joy and hope, filling our souls with pure pleasure. It is like an addiction but a pure and positive one. The more the soul engages in loving acts, the more joy it experiences. As the soul continues to submit to the Father’’s will, it appreciates more and more the values of the spirit.
This appreciation of the values of the spirit more and more overshadows the material life. Such a self now declares that ““even though he slay me, yet will I serve him; my redeemer lives.”” The joy of such an experience of trust and faith gives rise to spiritual hope, which keeps the soul afloat in the midst of the raging seas of life. Though this joy and hope may be intellectually understood, it remains an experience within the soul, not the material mind. The meanings of such an experience do register in the mind and thus reinforce our decision to continue to do the Father’’s will. It causes the self to continue to fight the good fight of faith in the face of all the material contradictions of life. The self eventually becomes convinced that it is divinely loved, and though it must live the material life, with its ups and downs, it will survive this life.
So even though the material self continues to suffer the misfortunes of a material existence, and even though spiritual values cannot alter its material struggle, the flavor of the joy of hope fills the nostrils of the material mind and inspires it to continue with the material life until the final battle with material reality is fought. It gives courage and stamina to the moral and spiritual struggle. It continues to act on behalf of the divine spirit in its decisions. It continues to pray and worship, ever seeking the Father’’s will and ever growing in capacity to appreciate the spiritual values of joy and hope.
Within every hope there is joy and behind every joy lies hope. And this joy of hope ushers in the state of spiritual happiness, that state where the soul bathes in the security and love of the heavenly Father. It knows that it is indestructible and that its future will be nothing but successful. While material misfortune may derail the material self, there exists no force that can derail the spiritual self. While spiritual happiness is a state of the spiritual mind, spiritual joy is pure spiritual pleasure. It is similar to cake, which by itself is sweet, but the icing on the cake takes the sweetness to a whole different level.
When the soul finally realizes that the Father is living within him, and walking with him, experiencing life with and as him, it bubbles over with pure spiritual joy. And this pure spiritual joy gives rise to tranquility of spirit, and peace of mind, emotional stability, a mind that is free from the conflicts of ambivalence. It is a mind that has decided all decisions in the Father’’s favor. It has decided to eternally abide in the love of the Father and to continually bask in the spiritual joy that such a decision entails.
This concludes today's message on understanding the joy of hope. 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.