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 spiritual value of growing older.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Spiritual Values of Growing Older
"The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head." Proverbs,
Chapter 20, Verse 29
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we examine the spiritual values of growing older. In
today’’s society, with its emphasis on youth, we don’’t like to use the word "old." It carries such a
negative connotation. We prefer words such as "senior"and "mature." These words attempt to hide
the reality of being mortal. We know that growing older, the traditional age beginning at 65, from
the material point of view is often a distressing period.
Often chronic diseases begun in the 40s began to amplify, bringing with them quite a bit of suffering
and physical disability. Depression and a sense of being relegated to the sidelines all take their toil.
Often children are too busy with their own lives to maintain meaningful bonds with seniors. This is
also a period when couples who have been together for many years are forced apart by the strong arm
of death. These factors conspire with the limited life span of the mortal to terminate mortal
existence. And at such times, we often hear "he is no longer suffering,”” and ““she is in a better
place.”” When these factors are considered, it is no wonder that the experience of growing older
becomes something that many dread. Although we may not fully appreciate the values of aging, there
are spiritual values nonetheless: intellectual, spiritual, and experiential.
Intellectual values. A mortal is born into the world with basically an empty slate, a table la rosa if
you will. During the course of his life, he begins the journey of understanding the world in which
he lives in. Learning to master the physical environment began with the first human beings and
continues on, each generation enlarging the understanding of and consequently controlling the
physical environment. Each generation stands on the shoulders of the previous one, and this
constitutes intellectual acquirement. Only those who make the journey to the last phase of mortal
existence have the opportunity to maximize their acquirement of intellectual knowledge, which gives
way to the satisfaction of living derived from mastering the material environment.
Spiritual values. The real blessing of aging is the acquirement of spiritual values. These are based
on faith, unlike intellectual values. The intellectual values can be shared with and reproduced by
anyone. Not so with the spiritual values. Spiritual values depend on spiritual maturity and
receptivity--being personal, there are no two exact interpretations of what these values mean. Even
consciousness of these spiritual values must be grasped by faith. They are not demonstrable to the
outside world, but the proof of these values lies in living them. But spiritual values are the only ones
that make mortal life truly worthwhile. Within these values the meaning of being mortal finds
As the material life winds down, the spiritual life gears up for its never ending run. It is within the
mind of the mortal that the spiritual life takes root. But again we emphasize that this is a hard test
for the material consciousness as it watches its own dissolution. It has observed the dissolution of
others, and as far as it can see, there is no other life when this one winds down. Lack of faith makes
aging a dreaded event for those who are facing the last phase of life. There is more than a little
anxiety and depression as the material self adjusts to its final verdict: material death. To adjust to
death is a difficult thing to do. As we know there are several stages to this process.
First there is the stage of denial. This stage can best be seen in those who say that we are as young
as we feel. These are the ones who refuse to grow old gracefully, but spend large amounts of efforts,
including spending money, trying to stay young. After the material consciousness awakens to the fact
that the philosophy of being young as you feel does nothing to stop the inexorable process of
material dissolution, anger sits in. This anger has as its object reality itself; but it is often taken out
on those who are near by, as the blame game is played, but soon this anger gives way to bargaining.
It is at this stage that the material consciousness, tries to be conciliatory, having realized that nothing
in his power can make a difference. He agrees to turn his life in a different direction. This may be
the first real effort to acknowledge that there may be a greater force (personified as God if the person
is religious) at work in the universe. But all of this bargaining is to no avail as the destructive process
continues its deadly downward spiral.
Following on the heal of this failed effort, depression flows in and covers the self like a flood tide
that covers a former dry plain. This depression blocks out all the material values of life, and the
material mind lingers for a time, as its moans its fate, and slowly goes through the process of pulling
its relationships up by the root. This is a painful process, as the emotional aspect of self finally comes
to grip with mortality, and finally acceptance is ushered in with its resignation to the inevitable, and
with it a certain peace, a peace that might be called the "death peace,”” the result of having nothing
else to fight with, and now sees death as a release from an intolerable state.
But lets us return to the budding spiritual consciousness that has grown over the years. Each year of
living has seen a proportionate increase in spiritual consciousness. Stated another way, the passing
years have increased the faith grasps of the spiritual values. And each year, the spiritual values have
become more dominant. When life has reached the final phase, the spiritual value of love has added
to the consciousness eternal life. It has also cast out the fear of death, and put it in its place trust and
hope. The material consciousness is also still present, but the function of wisdom has admonished
the material consciousness to allow faith to achieve for it what it cannot achieve for itself. Thus the
net effect of aging from the spiritual perspective is an increased consciousness of the heavenly Father
and his love and mercy, with the assurance of surviving material life , that it will live on in a higher
form on a higher level. Jesus said, "In my Father’’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I
would have told yo. I go to prepare a place for you." This love and mercy is also able to better control
the attitude of the materially disintegrating mortal self. But now the soul is making itself felt within
the material consciousness, and cries, "nothing of spiritual value is lost."
The self that allows the spiritual consciousness to dominate it during the final phase of life also goes
through several stages. First there is the stage of recognition. This stage signals to the spiritualized
consciousness that it is entering the final phase of the soul’’s sojourn in the material mind. Compare
this to the reaction of denial in the material mind. Next follows acceptance. This acceptance propels
the spiritualized consciousness to complete the final touches of the partnership between the spirit
and the soul. An increased faith effort is made to finalize a working agreement between the soul and
the spirit. Compare this acceptance with anger in the material consciousness. After acceptance comes
adjustment. In this phase the self begins to adjust to the fact that it will soon leave this level of
existence. An effort is made to complete all unfinished business on this level. It begins the process
of changing its relationship to those who will be left behind.
Compare this to the bargaining of the material mind. After making the adjustment, the spiritualized
consciousness goes on to grasp the value of the final stage of material life. It grasps the
worthwhileness of this final stage of existence. It realizes that this is the final stage until its
spiritualized self can become free. Compare this stage to the depression of the material
consciousness. Then the self goes on to grasp the meaning of this final stage. Immediately it begins
to look forward to the next stage of existence, where unheard of opportunities for growth and
development exist. Compare this to the acceptance of the material mind which is more of a
resignation than a positive acceptance. And finally the spiritualized consciousness shifts its
consciousness to the soul and serenely awaits the transfer to the new level of existence. This serenity
unlike the serenity of resignation of the material consciousness is born of trust in the goodness of the
Finally there is the value of experience. The person who has lived the complete gamut of mortal
existence, the one who has drunk deeply from the experiential cup not only when it was full but also
to the very bottom, draining it to very dregs of experience, has achieved the meaning of what it
means to be human. He has unified within himself all of the human values as well as the spiritual
values and has gained a perspective which cannot be completely appreciated until the next life. But
suffice it to say, there is a sense of completion, a sense satisfaction of knowing that life was lived
to the fullest, with its ups and downs, even a sense of a job well done. Afer all life is but a days work,
do it well.
This concludes today's message on the spiritual values of growing older. 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.