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 necessity of struggle.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Necessity of Struggle
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me." John, Chapter 14, Verse 6.
Brothers and sisters, we know that the Father has commanded us to be perfect is as he is perfect; and
this is achieved by overcoming obstacles that stand in our way. It requires effort and perseverance
to overcome our natural tendencies which is to avoid difficult challenges. I remember some years
ago of listening to a radio program where a narrator was telling the story of a guy who loved
butterflies. He was enthralled with the delicacy of their wing structure and with the gracefulness of
their flight, and was wholly mesmerized with the spectacle of their beauty. He studied them, and
came to the conclusion that something that was so beautiful should not have to struggle so
desperately to be born. And we know that out of the cocoon the former caterpillar emerges as a
The process of emerging from a cocoon appeared to a lover of butterflies as a life and death struggle.
So he decided he would help the butterfly emerge by cutting the cocoon. What emerged, much to his
chagrin, was a deformed parody of a butterfly. The butterfly's wings did not open gracefully but
remained unfurled. It never took to the sky as was its destiny. He didn't realize that the struggle he
witnessed was necessary to force fluid through the small capillaries that unfurled the wings. There
is no doubt that the lover wanted to help the butterfly. But he did not understand its nature and what
was needed for it to develop. His love lacked knowledge and wisdom.
That the Father has decreed that we should progress by struggle indicates that the Father not only
knows us, but his love is conditioned by his wisdom and knowledge of us. Jesus said we would have
tribulation. But he told us to be of good cheer, for he had overcome (mastered) the world. We must
do the same thing. He left his Spirit of Truth to empower us to overcome the world. Though we are
material beings, we also have a spiritual nature that needs development. The Father's plan is designed
for us to become perfect even as He is perfect. To achieve spiritual perfection from a material nature
We are free will, imperfect creatures who must grow. We can choose to go forward, embracing the
road of struggle, or we can choose to stagnate, walking on the road of ease. The Father, however, has
made it difficult for us stagnate. The environment in which we live guarantees that we will have to
struggle if we wish to live. Overcoming struggle moves us closer to obeying the command of the
Father to be perfect even as he is perfect. But this process requires time.
Struggle is inherent in the desire to move forward from the actual state in the face of resistance of
time and space. The emotional turmoil that this produces can be quite disheartening. We keep asking
why the test when we are doing our best. When we make the decision to become all that we can, we
are going against our natural tendencies and aligning our will with the Father's will. This is not an
easy thing to do as we run into stiff resistance from the natural self, with the consequences of
conflict, unhappiness and uncertainty. Only faith and hope can sustain us as we make the transition
from the inertia of self to the forward motion of the spirit, at least until we "reach some degree of
intellectual and emotional maturity. Discouragement, worry, and indolence are positive evidence of
Continued struggle will banish these harbingers of moral immaturity. And don't forget the function
of prayer and worship: these renew our minds and spirits. And when we master one progressive
obstacle, there is rest for our minds and spirits. "On every mountaintop of intellectual thought are
to be found relaxation for the mind, strength for the soul, and communion for the spirit. From such
vantage points of high living, we able to transcend the material irritations of the lower levels of
thinking--worry, jealousy, envy, revenge, and the pride of immature personality. Such high-climbing
souls deliver themselves from a multitude of the crosscurrent conflicts of the trifles of living, thus
becoming free to attain consciousness of the higher currents of spirit concept and celestial
communication. But we must jealously guard our supreme life purpose of becoming perfect as the
heavenly Father is perfect from the temptation to seek for easy and transient attainment; likewise
must it be so fostered as to become immune to the disastrous threats of fanaticism."
And it is only when we do our best that real progress takes place, for our spiritual potentials only
unfold in response to supreme effort, to doing our best. It is important to do our best because that
is the only thing that can set off the chain reaction of spiritual growth. This chain reaction is initiated
in response to doing our best and sets into motion a cycle whereby our best keeps getting better.
Every time we do our best in the face of some difficult challenge, we discover that in our next
struggle our best has gotten better. We learn that we are capable of achievements that heretofore
would not have been possible. Each struggle we overcome makes us stronger, wiser, and even more
determined. When in purpose, in value, and meanings, spiritual energies are used, then does the
spiritual purpose, value and meaning become self evident, and we are comforted in our struggle. We
begin to realize not only our glorious destiny, but also the discovery of the Father through His Son,
Jesus, who struggles within and for us.
Every rightful struggle accepted in the righteous spirit surely chips away at the cocoon of time and
space, and brings the mortal butterfly just a little bit closer to demolishing his cocoon, and in the
process emerging with the grace and beauty of the spiritual butterfly who effortlessly glides through
the skies of eternity in the presence of His Father. And his flight of beauty, truth, and goodness
testifies to the righteousness and love of the Heavenly Father for his mortal children. The willingness
to accept and ultimately to overcome the struggle in partnership with the Heavenly Father has
accomplished what nothing else could: spiritual perfection.
This concludes today's message on understanding the necessity 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.