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 prize of divine perfection.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Prize of Divine Perfection
"I press toward the high mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded." Phillipian, Chapter 3, Verses 14 and 15
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast, we share further insight into the greatest prize that we can recognize and obtain in this mortal life. It is our hope that the insights provided here will help us overcome the final obstacle to the completion of this spiritual life in the flesh. Already have we been told that we are the sons of God. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we shall be called the sons of God." And we have been commanded to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect. So the great goal of human existence is to achieve this divine perfection commanded of us by the Father, and we do this by submitting our wills to the Father’’s will through His Son, Jesus, who demonstrated this perfection of character and spirit when he lived his life in the flesh. And when we do, we shall have obtained the divinity of our heavenly Father through His Son, Jesus. We will have become perfect. To help us grasp this great spiritual truth of transformation from the imperfect to perfect, let us consider a material analogy that captures something of the flavor of the process of achieving divine oneness.
Two young adults find themselves in the same class. Through circumstances they happen to be sitting next to each other. The attraction is magnetic. They soon begin seeing each other socially and eventually agree to date each other exclusively. But one person of the contracting party is not sure she is ready to make a commitment of this sort. She has had several relationships that appeared to be heading for a commitment but proved to be disappointing. One of them was extremely emotionally devastating. She was therefore anxious about entering into another relationship of this kind. Though she was attracted to him, she had doubts about his sincerity and his loyalty towards her should she make such a commitment.
The other partner also had previous relationships that did not pan out, and he was also very disappointed. He had placed so much in the relationship, had been very loyal, loving, and attentive towards his prospective mate. But despite that affection and loyalty, she had declined to enter into a permanent relationship with him. He used his sense of disappointment to discern what had gone wrong. He knew that he had been faithful and loving and had done everything humanly possible, so it seemed, to win her. He concluded after much reflection that he had just gotten a bad apple, and that there were others who could and would appreciate his loyalty and affection. It was just a matter of selecting the right partner. And he knew that his love and loyalty were not in vain, for he now had an opportunity to bestow this loyalty and affection upon someone else who could appreciate and enjoy it. Thus, her loss became someone else’’s gain. He was ready and able to be lovingly loyal to his mate without reservation. But he knew that without her consent, the two could never become one.
The new lady found his loyalty and affection to be compelling. She agreed to continue to see him. She began to spend time with him and got to know him better. Her initial impression after being in relationship with him for a short time was that he appeared to be just what he said he was: loyal and affectionate. He really loved her, but still she had doubts about him that were sufficient enough to prevent her from totally committing. She had to acknowledge that she was indeed attracted to him, but the stubborn disagreeable memories from her past continued to restrain her. Besides when she reflected upon the loyalty and affection that he had for her, and that he displayed constantly, she wondered if she was capable of making the same kind of commitment.
But the power of his love for her and his loyalty towards her, coupled with the truth that this was what she really wanted, propelled her forward. Her trust began to soar. This was the kind of love and loyalty that she had always dreamed of and hoped for but had not been able to find up to this point. As she continued to relate to him, she made a tentative agreement to be his fiancee. Now this agreement was not final, but she had agreed to move from the initial agreement to remove all self-restraints and see what would happen.
As time continued, she found that she was drawn more and more to him. She really wanted to be his wife. She really wanted exclusive rights to his loyalty and affection. Gone were all negative emotions from her past experiences. But she now had another problem--the doubt and fear that she might not be able to live up to the loyalty and affection that he had for her. Be that as it might, she wanted to try and to try with all of her might.
One summer night during a full moon, she fully committed herself to him. She finalized her tentative decision to be his fiancee. She would sincerely try to really get to know him and do her best to love him as he loved her. And now her heart was filled with joy, and she began to experience the joy of commitment to true love. And when she made this commitment an amazing thing happened: she discovered that this commitment endowed her with the power to actualize her desire to love her lover as he loved her. This engagement, this courtship, began to grow, and she found that her affection and loyalty for her lover grew to such heights that it matched the love that he had for her.
When her loyalty and affection reached the level of his, she decided to accept his proposal for marriage, and they set the date. Invitations were sent out, arrangements were made, guests were invited, and during this period the necessary license for the marriage was obtained. These arrangements took time and thus the reason for the delay in formally bonding to each other. But during this period of waiting for the wedding date, their love for each other and the quality of their relationship was the same as it would be when the marriage was finally consummated. The only difference was that she still had the option of dissolving the engagement; after the marriage that option would no longer be available. But as she reflected upon this delay, she realized that she would never turn her back on her true lover, the object of her intense supreme desire. Why, she would have to be out of her mind. Her decision was fixed and she would not change it. The nature of time being what it was, the date finally arrived, and they were married and lived happily ever after, loving each other more and more every day.
And now, brothers and sisters, having prepared our minds with the material analogy, let us use this as a springboard to grasp the spiritual truth for our souls contained in this analogy. The greatest love that we can experience is the love of the divine spirit, which is the spirit of the Father and the Son that lives in our minds and souls. This spirit has no reservation in loving us and sharing our lives eternally. Even in this life, the Father is willing to go through our fiery trials and tribulations with us and as us. Let his love overshadow us while we do battle with the temporal realities. No other thing, meaning, or value can even approach this eternal affection that the Father has for us through His Son. And this eternal affection is what we really desire deep down in our souls. We can never become complete unless we become one with this divine lover. This spirit beseeches us! It implores us! It urges us to respond to the love that he is constantly showering our souls with.
Let us turn away from the disappointments of the many false loves of the past. Here is the real deal. He will never disappoint us or grow weary loving us. He will never abandon us. Take time to get to know him. Spend some quality time with him. Let the true desires of our hearts rise to meet him. Accept his love for us. Let us not be concerned about whether we are worthy or not. End the lonely night of separation from him. Let there be one where there were two. He accepts us as we are. And we will discover, if we commit our souls and hearts to him, that our affections and loyalties will rise to the occasion. They will increase so that we can commune with him. We can become one with him. We can become engaged to him right now while we live in the flesh. We can enjoy all of the privileges of being eternally one with him right now if that is our wholehearted desire, for that is his will. And what we truly desire and the lover wills, is.
Let us allow our souls and our minds to be "spirit led; that is, subordinated to truth, ennobled by love, dominated by mercy, and restrained by fairness--justice." Let us allow our souls to become like the lover who waits for us to accept his invitation to be one with him--that is, to be dominated by love and undaunted by mercy. Let us accept his invitation and consecrate and dedicate our souls to being an eternal channel for the love of our lover to eternally bathe us and flow through us to other brothers and sisters. Let us accept the engagement and enjoy the unremitting affection and loyalty of this divine lover while we wait for the arrangements to be made, wait for the invitations to be sent out, and wait for the eternal authorization that will make us irreversibly one with him.
Seize the prize now!
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah’’s lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight.
This robe of flesh I’’ll drop, and rise
To seize the everlasting prize,
And shout, while passing through the air,
““Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!””
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the prize of eternal life. 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