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 ponder how to attain the right response to the Father's love.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Struggle to Attain the Right Response
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans, Chapter 12, Verse 21.
A baby feels the dimming of consciousness. Sleep is rapidly descending over him. He fights it with
all his might. He screams at the top of his lungs. He flails his arm and legs. But the unremitting
march of sleep rolls over him like a giant tidal wave, shutting down his budding consciousness.
Countless times the struggle goes on. Gradually the child learns to submit to this irresistible force
as he realizes that it is useless to resist. As the child grows older, he learns that he always emerges
refreshed and more energetic after these periodic consciousness lapses. Not only does he submit to
them, but he comes to welcome them.
Brothers and sisters, in the struggle between good and evil, the struggle is for the attainment of the
divine response over the natural human response. Prior to our dedication to doing the Father's will,
our human response is without thinking in responding to evil. We automatically respond with evil.
If someone does us wrong or if we think someone has done us wrong, we respond in kind. This is
the "eye for eye" response, the "tooth for tooth" reaction.
We automatically respond to the raw animalistic urges in ourselves that are only partially constrained
by the Law. Whatever we want, we try to get. We are oblivious to the rights of others. We define the
rights of others as those rights which we do not want or which we wish to extend to others. We see
all others as existing in relationship to ourselves, and ourselves as existing in relationship to no one.
But we soon discover that though we may control the act, we control none of the consequences of
these acts, much less the consequences of someone else. The consequences appear to be an intricate
part of the act. In fact, the consequence of an act is the opposite side of the coin of an act. If we
choose the act, we automatically choose the consequence. And this is true regardless of the fact that
time may elapse between the act and the consequence.
As we view the consequences of our acts, we are sometimes sorrowful. It is the contemplation of
undesirable consequences that causes most of us to change our way of behaving naturally to our
moral environment. It is the contemplation of consequences that causes us to contemplate our acts,
and thus to seek for better acts, even ideal and divine acts. Divine things have to be loved in order
to be known, and it is the revulsion of the evil way, the hatred for the bad that stimulates the
development of the love for divine things, for the things of God.
But even after we come to recognize the concept of right and wrong, good and evil, our natural
selves still rebel against the way of love, the foundation of patience, the power of mercy and
forgiveness. Something inside us wants to get even, to seek revenge, to even the score. Something
brings anger to the forefront and anger blocks the manifestation of divine goodness.
Time and time again, we find ourselves sinking into the quagmire of evil. For a time, a raging battle
goes on inside of ourselves as the demands of self struggle against the values and meanings of the
divine self. But as the self chooses the divine way, that very choice further reinforces us to always
respond divinely. In this way, we are gradually delivered from the powers of evil and the charm of
sin. We are born again; we dedicate our wills to doing the divine will, the Father's will.
After we are born again, we no longer need the stimulation of evil consequences to propel us in the
way of righteousness. The righteous act carries its own stimulus by virtue of its inherent satisfying
true meaning and value. The meaning and value of the soul that is born again is not available to the
soul that is not, except through the exercise of faith. The driving force of righteous acts is the
spiritual insight of the heavenly Father--the insight of eternity.
This kind of insight surpasses anything temporal and finite. The soul that is not born again cannot
see beyond the here and now. Therefore does he lack the capacity except through faith to see the
superior consequences of righteous acts which may be revealed only in eternity.
This concludes today's message on understanding how to attain the correct response to the Father's
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