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 shared many revelations of spiritual truth with me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we discuss the struggle that we undergo as we try to learn to love our brothers and sisters divinely.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Struggle of Love
Jesus said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you." John, Chapter 11 and 12
Brothers and sisters, the heavenly Father is the source of divine love. This love comes to live in our minds and souls when we make our first moral decision. It then strives to transform us into the image of the Father’’s Son, Jesus. Jesus demonstrated this love in perfection when he walked among us as a man among men. Jesus said that if we love one another as he loves us, all men will know that we are his disciples. The love that Jesus commands us to show far eclipses human love and suffers none of the limitations of human love. As purely human beings, we have a certain concept of love, but this concept being of experiential origin must give way to the eternal love of the heavenly Father. We must translate this love down from the eternal level to the experiential level.
Human love is selfish and thrives on reciprocity. It also has a very narrow scope and tends to be exclusive rather than inclusive. If you only love a small group of people and only love those who love you, you are depriving yourself of the joy of loving divinely. Loving selfishly is like playing a single instrument. Divine love is like an orchestra. The effect of many instruments is immediately recognizable. But how do we learn to love outside our immediate range and to love divinely?
Consider this: "In physical life the senses tell of the existence of things; mind discovers the reality of meanings; but the spiritual experience reveals to the individual the true values of life. These high levels of human living are attained in the supreme love of God and in the unselfish love of man. If you love your fellow men, you must have discovered their values. Jesus loved men so much because he placed such a high value upon them. You can best discover values in your associates by discovering their motivation. If someone irritates you, causes feelings of resentment, you should sympathetically seek to discern his viewpoint, his reasons for such objectionable conduct. If once you understand your neighbor, you will become tolerant, and this tolerance will grow into friendship and ripen into love." God is love.
Supremely loving God by dedicating and consecrating our wills to doing his divine will reveals a value and exudes a meaning that cause us to see man as our brothers and sisters and causes us to want to love and serve them. The spirit of love struggles to be released from our soul, but it must overcome the self in order to do so. It cannot flow without the consent of our will. Even though divine love encounters many obstacles, it overcomes all of them. It is like water flowing down the side of a mountain. It will eventually overcome all obstacles that stand in the way of its journey to the bottom of the mountain.
Love struggles long and hard, first overcoming the resistance of the self and then overcoming the resistance of other selves. In overcoming the resistance of the self, there are three stages. The first stage occurs when the self is presented with a situation that requires an unselfish response, simultaneously with the revelation of this divine love in his soul. At this junction, it becomes clear that there is a distinct difference between this divine affection and the selfish affection with the same name. The next stage involves the reflection process, culminating in the decision to either choose the divine affection, the Father’’s will, or the selfish affection, his own will. The last stage consists in the actual choice for the Father’’s will, and this is brought about by a glimpse at the potential value that strives to be actualized along with the potential meanings that urges the self to choose the Father’’s will as the best way to achieve happiness.
Having overcome the self, divine love is now ready to take on resistance offered by other selves. The first stage of this struggle is similar to the first stage already discussed. The other self is presented with the divine affection. The initial response to this unselfish affection is skepticism. The self wants to know what the angle is. Having been emotionally traumatized one time too many by the evil weapon bearing the name of love, the self is rightly skeptical of what appears to be a wolf in sheep’’s clothing. The resistance is up.
As divine love is first showered down upon this soul, it is like water being poured over a very dry sponge. At first the water just rolls off the surface and is not absorbed at all, but once the volume is adjusted, the sponge gradually begins to absorb the water. Thus begins the second stage as divine love continues to bath the soul gently with mercy and grace, softly repeating "Try me." "Taste and see that I am the real deal." After what may appear to be a protracted period of time, the soul allows a small stream of divine love to enter. And with the analogy of water finding a break in the armor of an obstacle, it soon widens the breach and begins to pour full force through the breach, sweeping away any resistance. Here the soul evaluates what it is receiving. It tastes and sees that it is good. The final state occurs when the soul drops all resistance to this divine affection and becomes lost in it.
"Men all too often forget that God is the greatest experience in human existence. Other experiences are limited in their nature and content, but the experience of God has no limits save those of the creature’’s comprehension capacity, and this very experience is in itself capacity enlarging. When men search for God, they are searching for everything. When they find God, they have found everything. The search for God is the unstinted bestowal of love attended by amazing discoveries of new and greater love to be bestowed.””
““All true love is from God, and man receives the divine affection as he himself bestows this love upon his fellows. Love is dynamic. It can never be captured; it is alive, free, thrilling, and always moving. Man can never take the love of the Father and imprison it within his heart. The Father’’s love can become real to mortal man only by passing through that man’’s personality as he in turn bestows this love upon his fellows. The great circuit of love is from the Father, through sons to brothers, and hence to the Supreme. The love of the Father appears in the mortal personality by the ministry of the indwelling Spirit. Such a God-knowing son reveals this love to his universe brethren, and this fraternal affection is the essence of the love of the Supreme."
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the struggle of love. 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.