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 seek to understand the love of struggle.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Love of Struggle
Jesus said," A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as
soon as she is delivered of the child, she rememberth no more the anguish, for joy that a man
is born into the world." John, Chapter 16, Verse 21.
Brothers and sisters, most of us have watched our parents struggle, and in most cases, we have
arrived at negative opinions of struggle. And here is the problem: parents train their children and thus
do children's values derive from their parents, at least during the formative years. Adults struggle and
continue to do so. In most cases, we have not enjoyed this experience of becoming all that we can
be. Why do we dislike struggle? Sometimes struggle means pain and suffering and almost always
does this have a negative emotional component. This conscious dislike of struggle exposes our
animal nature. Animals struggle only because of the coercive demands of survival, and this also
applies to most human beings. We dream of the day when we no longer have to struggle, enjoying
a life of ease, which is the reason for our preoccupation with retirement.
But there are some examples of struggles that involve positive emotional reactions. In the arena of
athletics, individuals volunteer to assume the struggle of competition. This struggle sometimes
involves physical pain, and yet there is no negative emotional component associated with it. Indeed,
such a struggle is characterized by positive emotions, a sense of pleasure. There is determination,
persistence, effort, pride, a "can do" spirit, a mobilization of all the powers that the individual can
bring to bear. And those who are entrusted with training athletes to compete do not rest until the peak
of human power is realized.
What is the difference between the struggle of competing in athletics and the struggles
commensurate with daily living? The difference is the value identified in each. The athlete has
embraced a value that is recognized as worthy by all. He is rewarded for his efforts in the form of
admiration, role modeling. He receives positive feedback. He is respected, and if he really excels can
look forward to a substantial monetary reward for his efforts. And you may see this same attitude
in a few individuals outside the sport arena, but for most the struggle of life is a coercive experience
made necessary by the demands for survival. And from the mortal perspective, it is a losing battle,
for even when the mortal is successful in this struggle he sees the shadow of the sun of mortality
being cast as life journeys on.
But there is another side to life's struggle. As we deal with challenges, our spiritual nature begins to
manifest itself. It is this nature that instructs us that we will survive the vicissitudes of life's sunsets
and one day appear in the brilliant light of resurrection's sun. This spiritual realization is obtained
by faith in Jesus. Upon this realization, we must now undergo a change in perspective. With our
attitudes, we must move from the temporal to the eternal, from the material to the spiritual. We must
change our purpose for living. We must identify spiritual goals as our supreme purpose for living.
These spiritual goals make all of our activities worthwhile. If we seek the greater, the lesser will be
But how do we move from the dread of the necessity of struggle to the joy of the love of struggle,
from the human perspective to the divine? How can we stop asking if we want to do something,
rather than should we do it, when confronting a disagreeable experience? How can we first seek the
right thing to do before allowing our emotions to guide our decisions? Doing the Father's will reveals
the true value and meaning of struggle. It is only through love that we can achieve the spiritual goals
set for us, even the love of struggle.
This concludes today's message on understanding the love of struggle. 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.