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. In today’’s broadcast, we consider the process of spiritual perfection, the process whereby the Father, the Son, and the Spirit collaborate to perfect us. This is a daunting experience, requiring our supreme effort, but the Father has commanded us to be perfect even as he is perfect. We shall see how the Father leads us, how the Son guides us, and how the Spirit drives us.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Process of Spiritual Perfection
"Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 48
Brothers and sisters, to help us get a feel for this process of leading, guiding, and driving, let consider a material analogy.
During the days of the old west, before the advent of trains, there was a great distance between the market and the range where the cattle grazed. When the cattle were ready, the owner of these herds would start the long trek to get them to market, but this process was a long and difficult one. The trail was very dangerous, and the distance was considerable The cowboys along with suitable dogs would take them from the cattle range to market. In front of the herd was the leader and the scout. They would lead the herd down the trail, blazing the way. The scouts would ride on ahead to make sure that the trail was safe. Some cowboys and dogs would guide the herd, making sure that they followed the trail, making sure they would not stray. They would usually ride on the outside of the herd, while from the back some of the cowboys would drive the herd, making sure that they kept moving. With the leaders/scouts, the guides and the drivers, the herd would eventually reach market with the minimum amount of loss to the herd. And we can see right away that without these leaders/scouts, guides, and drivers, the herd never would make it to market. Without someone to lead and scout the way, the herd would not know what direction to go in. Without the guides, they would lose the cohesiveness of the group, and some would lose sight of the trail and wander away and be lost. And without the drivers of the herd pushing them forward, the herd would not make much progress towards their destination.
And now we are ready to consider the spiritual parallel.
At the appropriate stage of development, after the development of the moral nature, the Father sends the signal in the form of his spirit for the soul to begin the journey to perfection. In the course of this journey, the soul acquires the attributes of perfection and becomes a perfected spirit by the time it reaches its destination: paradise. This is also a long and arduous journey, and much resistance has to be overcome before the soul in earnest begins it. This is similar to rounding up the cattle on the range in preparation for them to make the journey to market.
The soul has its origin in the material mind and is initially influenced by the nature of the material mind. The soul offers resistance to the process of moving from the animal nature to the spiritual nature. It has been enjoying the easy going environment of the material mind, where no strenuous exertions are required. It has been drifting into the evil bypaths of procrastination, equivocation, insincerity, problem avoidance, unfairness, and ease seeking. And like the cattle, who’’ve have been grazing on the delicious grass completely unaware of their supreme purpose, and who become somewhat confused as they are rounded up into an organized herd, the soul also becomes quite confused with conflict when it realizes its true purpose. The signal is sent to the soul, shaking it in its very foundation and kicking it loose from the pleasant hitching post of evil. This broadcast from the Father to be perfect even as he is perfect catches the soul off guard, as he realizes that he can’’t stay idle in the material mind any longer but must begin the journey to its destination towards spiritual perfection.
When the soul begins to see the lures (ideals of the Father) and compares them to the selfish drives and urges of the self, it experiences quite a bit of confusion and conflict, just as the cattle did when they were rounded up in preparation for the market. The soul would like to remain just where it is but the power of the signal forces it to choose between the values of goodness and the values of evil. The values of good are very attractive, and the soul feels if it pursues these values of goodness, it will lead to true happiness. The soul has experienced some happiness in the material mind, but the happiness has always been short lived. It has experienced some peace also, but that has been short lived. The soul longs for some permanency in the face of the constant changes that the material mind undergoes all the times.
The soul sees these values of goodness, recognizes them as superior to the values of the material mind but does not know how to reach and obtain them. It tries (self- righteousness) but finds that it does not know how to incorporate these ideals and values into itself. It does not know how to use them in its interaction with its brothers and sisters. The soul lacks power and direction in pursuing them. It needs a guide to move it along the path so it can follow these leadings as they wind their way through the foreign terrain of truth. The soul does not know the way and wanders all over the place, hopelessly lost in an endless morass.
And like the cattle who are embarked on the trail, the soul needs a guide, someone who will show the way to the Father; someone who will show how to make these ideals and values of practical use. Like cattle, the soul needs someone that will keep it on the right path and prevent it from straying onto the bypaths of evil. And this guide is none other than the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of the Son, Jesus. This spirit guides the soul into the pathways of truth and prevents the soul from straying off of the path. Like the cowboys riding alongside the cattle, this spirit keeps it on track. The Spirit of Truth constantly makes corrections so that the soul always stays on the path of truth, showing the soul how to incorporate the divine ideals and values into its life, so that they become effective in the outer life. As the Father leads, so does the Son guides. The Son demonstrates the perfect behavior that is acceptable to the Father. No one can follow the leading of the Father without the Son to guide him. "No one comes to the Father accept through the Son. All who find the Father find the Son first. The Son is the way, the truth and the life."
Now that the Son is guiding it, the soul is ready to effectively follow the leadings of the Father. The soul need not fear going off on some wild evil tangent, doing things that are not representative of the Father’’s character. The soul need not attempt to use force to attempt to cause others to follow the Father’’s leadings. The soul now has a perfect grasp of the Father’’s character, since this character is revealed in the Son. This being the case the soul begins moving towards the Father’’s ideals and values as revealed in the Son.
But this is a long and arduous journey requiring supreme effort and persistence. And sometimes like the cattle who attempt to slow down and lose steam on the trail, the soul gets lazy at times and attempts to slow the ordained pace towards perfection through animal distractions, such as "procrastination, equivocation, insincerity, problem avoidance, unfairness, and ease seeking." And like the cattle whose path has obstacles, such as rivers to cross, desert-like areas, high elevations of land that tax their stamina and purpose, so does the soul. The soul still wants to make the journey, but sometimes its ease-seeking tendencies make discipline necessary so that the forward momentum can be maintained.
This persistent driving force that pushes the soul forward is provided by those marvelous mercy drivers, the guardian angels These untiring drivers continue to provide progressive stimulus for the soul by providing increasing difficult moral and spiritual situations that are stimulative of moral and spiritual choosing. These persistent moral and spiritual drivers move the soul over the mountains of procrastination, across the rivers of equivocation, through the arid lands of insincerity and problem avoidance, through the blizzard of ease seeking and unfairness. And like the cattle who finally reach market, the soul under the impulse of the guardian angels conquers these barriers that stand in the way of its forward momentum, adhering to the guidance of the Son, and following the leading of the Father increasingly moves closer and closer to its destination of spiritual perfection in a timely fashion where it will stand in the actual presence of the heavenly Father on Paradise.
This concludes today's message on understanding the process of spiritual perfection. 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.