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 explore the spiritual question of "What Am I Doing? And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
What Am I Doing?
Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say to unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." John, Chapter 5, Verse 19
Brothers and sisters, during some phases of our lives, we are unable to correlate spiritual values and meanings evident in our material journey. At such times we ask, "What am I doing?" And in trying to resolve this question, we also ask, "What should I be doing?" Since we have dedicated our wills to doing the Father’’s will, it is only natural to ask these questions when we run into what appears to be a spiritual road block.
Often this apparent spiritual roadblock is associated with a material roadblock, a stretch of time in the journey of life where the forward impulse becomes blocked due to material circumstances, irreversible changes in our lives, or temporary changes. Whatever these changes, they throw us off balance, and we struggle. Sometimes it is difficult to regain our balance, and we begin to doubt. Questions then surface: ““What am I doing? What should I be doing?””
From the material perspective, we are aware of what we are doing. But because we seek a way out of a disagreeable and unpleasant experience that has trapped us, we ask this question anyway. While the answer to this question is fairly easy, not so easy to answer is the question of what we should be doing. For in trying to answer this question, we have to reckon not only with our desires of what we would like to be doing, but we also must reckon with the limitations imposed upon us by the barrier blocking our forward material path. When we fully appreciate the difference between these two questions, we are often left in a sorry state of mind. We can find no way to bridge the gap between what we are doing and what we perceive we should be doing.
Sometimes attempting to answer these questions may help get us back on course. Sometimes the only thing that is blocking our path is misdirection. Reflection in this case can help us realize that there is a difference between what we are doing and what we should be doing. If we are courageous and true of purpose we can make a course adjustment so that what we are doing and what we should be doing are one and the same.
Sometimes in the material state, we must recognize, realize, accept, and adjust to the fact that what we are doing is all that we can do. What we are doing from this material perspective is what we should be doing. It is a fact that the material aspects of life provide barriers that at some point cannot be overcome. Always does the specter of our mortality loom over our heads like a dark cloud, threatening to unleash its rain of death at any moment.
Once we recognize the limitations imposed by the material barrier, we may not understand all its ramifications. We may not realize the limitations that the barrier has imposed. This realization causes quite a bit of emotional distress as we struggle to accept them and adjust to the new reality of life, a reality that is less desirable.
But when we turn to the spiritual side of life, we often ask the same questions. In our efforts to discern and do the Father’’s will, there are times when the outward manifestations of that will appear opaque to us. This usually occurs when we hit a material block in the road, since we understand the spiritual journey is in some way linked to the material journey. There is indeed a linkage but it is not direct; the material blockade cannot interfere in any way with the spiritual journey.
When we seek to do the Father’’s will, we immediately interpret this as discovering what it is we need to do. For example, in acting on our will, we may decide to take a trip. So it is only natural that we should assume that when we do the Father’’s will something similar and material should happen. We spend countless days and nights seeking to know the Father’’s will. We constantly bombard ourselves with the question, "What does the Father want me do about this situation?" And when we meet a material roadblock that prevents us from acting, we become disheartened and confused. We feel that we have been prevented from doing his will in some way, somehow. We can continue to ask ourselves and the Father the same questions, becoming more and more frustrated.
Since the Father reveals himself by his nature, in order to discern his will we must become like him in nature. Thus, to do the Father’’s will is the progressive process of taking on the divine nature. To the extent that we take on the divine nature is the extent that we become like the Father. And to the extent that we become like the Father, we will view moral and spiritual aspects of the situations facing us just the way that the Father sees them. All this was demonstrated in perfection by the divine Son, Jesus, when he sojourned in the flesh. This is what it means to be one with the Father: To have a divine nature that is so similar and exact to the Father that the Father and your nature are one. When we do the Father’’s will, we share the Father’’s values; we think like the Father and our decisions reflect his divine character. In making a moral or spiritual decision, we make the same decision that the Father himself would make if he were actually in the flesh, in the same situation, confronting the matter.
The Father’’s will is manifested by the quality of our decisions. It is less important what we should do when seeking the Father’’s will; more critical is how we do what we do. (What we do is determined by the opportunities available to us.) We know that the Father is love and therefore are all of his decisions motivated by his great love for us. Therefore, when we do the Father’’s will, our moral and spiritual decisions should also be motivated by love. Now we are in a position to answer the question, "What are we doing?””
Consider that the material life is a road upon which we are traveling. Sometimes the road is smooth; sometimes it becomes bumpy; other times there are twists and turns; and often detours are required or the road is blocked altogether. But in our spiritual journey, we are not handicapped by the ups and downs of travel along this road. Each twist and turn, each bump or smooth patch, each detour or barrier presents no obstacle to acquiring the divine values and meanings of the spiritual journey. And since we are in search of divine values and meanings when we do the Father’’s will, each condition on the road of life provides opportunity for us to recognize these divine values and meanings.
When the road of life is smooth, we enjoy the success of the divine values and meanings that we have already acquired. When the road of life becomes bumpy, we must consolidate the values and meanings that we have acquired. When the road of life presents twists and turns, we gain additional skills in using the values that we have acquired as we are stimulated to negotiate these unexpected twists and turns of moral and spiritual challenges. When the road of life requires a detour, we gain unexpected spiritual values; when it is blocked, our spiritual values are challenged with the stimulus of growth until we overcome the barrier. Our souls respond to the challenges and grow so as to meet and ultimately overcome them. Always are spiritual values, with their precious meanings, forthcoming
When the road of life presents us with a clear path, we pursue the values of curiosity, knowledge, and courage. When the road of life becomes blocked and we can’’t see our way, we pursue the values of faith, trust, hope, and patience. When the road of life becomes difficult, we pursue the values of effort, perseverance, and faith. When we hit the twists and turns of the road of life, we pursue the values of courage and determination. When the road of life leads us to isolation, we pursue the values of divine communion, prayer, and worship. As long as we are morally conscious, there can be no barrier to spiritual development. As long as we can interact with others, human and divine, we will continue to grow and develop.
We are doing the Father’’s will. We are acquiring a spiritual character like Jesus through the ups and downs of life. As we choose under these various moral and spiritual challenges, so we become. What should we be doing as we move through these sometimes difficult and protracted experiences? We should be doing the Father’’s will, acquiring a spiritual character like Jesus. There should not be any difference between what we are doing and what we should be doing. And as we acquire a character like Jesus, our decisions reflect the values of his character.
We are sons and daughters of the heavenly Father and have been given moral and spiritual free will. The Father does not tell us what to do; he only tells us what to be: like him. He reveals the divine values and meanings of his divine nature appropriate for any situation And it is up to us to choose them. And as we choose, so we become. We develop and perfect our moral and spiritual characters. We make decisions that reflect his character. And since we are perfecting sons and daughters who are in the process of perfecting the embodiment of the Father’’s will, we can only discern the Father’’s will, divine values and meanings, to the degree that we have become like him. As we continue to increase in God-likeness, our characters will increasingly approximate his likeness, and our decisions will be in accordance with his will. Through Jesus, we will do only that which we see the Father do.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the answer to the question, "What am I Doing?" We hope you find something to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.