Greetings, 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 examine the joy of spiritual love, determine its origin, and show how it is linked to divine love.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Joy of Spiritual Love
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John Chapter 15, Verse 11
Brothers and sisters, we know that spiritual love comes from the heavenly Father, and we know that just as there is truth, beauty, and goodness in love, and that there is joy in love. Since all spiritual qualities are derived from love, since God is love, it therefore follows that joy is also to be found in spiritual love just as spiritual love is found in joy. It appears that we are dealing with an endless cycle, an eternal cycle. Let us use a material analogy to help us grasp the joy of spiritual love.
It is nearing Christmas time, and the child is now at the age where he can appreciate the joy that is associated with this special day. He also appreciates the gifts that are associated with it. When he thinks about this coming day, he is filled with joy. And as he thinks about this joy, he becomes filled with the consciousness that his parents love him so much that they would give him such gifts. His parents have always blessed him with a special gift on Christmas that was more than he imagined it to be. And he can hardly wait until the day arrives. He is sustained by the joy that arises out of appreciation of the great love that his parents have for him that they would treat him this special way.
Joy that arises out of spiritual love is similar because of the spiritual love that the heavenly Father has for us, his sons and daughters. The appreciation of this truth fills our souls with joy. This joy gives rise to great expectations because being a son of God means that not only do we have eternal life and the infinite and eternal love of the Father, but such birthright bestows upon us an endless career of discovery, achievement, and increase in status with the Father. The realizations of these truths fill us with joy as we await these new adventures of the future.
Now too often, we associate joy with our material status. Such an association is not evil if we remember that there is a more deeply spiritual joy that is associated with the yearnings and expectations of our souls. The nature of spiritual joy is such that it can be experienced at the same time as outward sorrow. Now this seems to be a conflict. How can we experience sorrow and joy at the same time? There is no conflict between the two states. Just as the material mind can experience sorrow, the soul can experience joy. The mind and the soul are different; the value system of each is different although both sets of meanings are experienced with the material mind.
By doing the Father’’s will, we experience spiritual joy and hope in our souls. When Jesus was living in the flesh he gave us a new commandment. Previously he had sanctioned the commandment to love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. But he wanted us to experience a greater love, and so he said that he desired his children to love one another as he has loved them. This, he said, would allow us to experience the supreme joy even though enduring outward sorrow. Consider this quote: "When I give you this new commandment, I do not place any new burden upon your souls; rather do I bring you new joy and make it possible for you to experience new pleasure in knowing the delights of the bestowal of your heart's affection upon your fellow men. I am about to experience the supreme joy, even though enduring outward sorrow, in the bestowal of my affection upon you and your fellow mortals. When I invite you to love one another, even as I have loved you, I hold up before you the supreme measure of true affection, for greater love can no man have than this: that he will lay down his life for his friends."
Now when we analyze this quote, we see that when we bestow the love of Jesus upon our fellow brothers and sisters which is the love of God, we experience the supreme joy. We know that there can be no greater experience than to experience the love of God; consequently there can be no greater joy than that which springs from loving our brothers and sisters with the love of Jesus. And we know that this love is unconditional, truly unselfish, and looks for and seeks the best in the individual.
But how do we make all of this a practical experience in our own lives? How can we learn to love the way that Jesus wants us to love? How can we remove all of those borders of conditions, suspicion, jealousy, pride, and sometimes downright hostility from our affections so that it is truly Christ-like? How can we remove all of these roadblocks to the experience of supreme joy in our souls? Finally how can we learn to appreciate this spiritual joy as it results from loving each other the way the Jesus loves us?
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And so we begin our journey into the experience and appreciation of the supreme joy that is the result of loving our brothers and sisters the way Jesus loves us. We begin by making the whole-hearted choice of choosing the Father’’s will. The decision to do the Father’’s will is the decision to become God-like, to become like Jesus. It is impossible to experience what Jesus experienced without having the value system that made it possible for him to love us the way he does. By doing the Father’’s will, Jesus discovered the infinite and eternal value that the Father has for his children. Jesus says there are tremendous possibilities in each of us. If we do the Father’’s will, we will see those possibilities unfold. But we must proceed in love.
By choosing the Father’’s will, we expand our capacity to love our brothers and sisters and can begin to view them in the same light that Jesus views them. By choosing the Father’’s will we rid ourselves of all evil, those attitudes and practices that obscure the light of the Father’’s love. By choosing the Father’’s will, we come to realize that we are indeed his sons and daughters and that he loves us with an infinite and eternal affection. And we discover this consciousness in our souls by loving each other the way Jesus loves us. There is great joy in loving our brothers and sisters, but to experience such great joy, we must love divinely.
By choosing the Father’’s will, our appreciation of his love for us will continue to grow and so will our appreciation of the joy that comes along with it. By choosing the Father’’s will, we solve one of the greatest mortal conflicts in our lives, conflict that arises out of the fact that we are mortal and yet desire to be immortal. The choosing of the Father’’s will gives us eternal life, and this fact itself is joy. If we continue with our choosing of the Father’’s will, we will find that our attitude towards our brothers and sisters will change from feelings of antagonism to feelings of sympathy and empathy and to love. And this joy will constantly increase in our souls, and we will have real peace with the heavenly Father and know that we are pleasing him and that we are abiding in his great love for us. And this great joy will color all of our reactions to life, as we realize the great love that the heavenly Father has for us.
This concludes today's message on understanding the joy of spiritual 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.