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 relationship between faith and the divine presence.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Faith and the Divine Presence
Jesus said, "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John, Chapter 14, Verse 23
Brothers and sisters, what is the relationship between faith and the divine presence? Faith is the quality that the Father gives us to see and comprehend spiritual reality. There exists no other way we can see and know spiritual reality. The divine presence is the gift that the Father gives us to recreate, love us, and guide and direct us along the eternal journey. Jesus admonishes us to recognize the divine presence by faith. To help us grasp this relationship, we shall use a material analogy.
When a child is born into the world, it takes a while before he is able to see clearly with his material eyes. But soon he begins to follow objects with his eyes, indicating that he is seeing. Pretty soon he begins to see and recognize his mother. At first the child is unable to tolerate being separated from his mother, but as times goes by the child is able to tolerate the mother’’s absence from his immediate presence for longer and longer periods of time. He learns to sense her presence even when he doesn’’t see her. Soon he learns to tolerate a complete separation from her presence as is indicated by his attending daycare facilities, where children are taken care of while their parents work. The child develops faith and trust in his parents.
He begins to interact with his mother more and more, and as he continues to grow he comes to know his mother because of the experience with her. The child continues in his knowledge of his mother, and soon gains a database of information about her. But this knowledge of his mother continues on and on. And though the child eventually arrives at an adult understanding of his mother, he never fully and completely comes to know her. There are still parts of her that he is unable to penetrate. There are parts of her that are not the province of the child’’s knowledge, even as the child becomes an adult.
Let’’s turn to the spiritual counterpart of this material analogy. We are all familiar with our material natures. Knowledge of our spiritual natures is a work in progress. But just as the material child is conceived and born into the material world, so is the spiritual child conceived and born into the spiritual world. This spiritual child is our souls. The material child is the product of the material mother and the material father; the spiritual child is the offspring of the material mind and the divine spirit. The material self has eyes to see its material environment; the spiritual child has eyes also to see his spiritual environment. The eyes of the spiritual child are representative as spiritual faith. These spiritual eyes are very accurate for discerning the manifestations and presence of the divine spirit just as the material eyes are very accurate in discerning the manifestations and realities of material reality. These spiritual eyes become dysfunctional when attempting to use them for discerning material reality, just as the material eyes become dysfunctional when trying to discern spiritual reality. "Render to Caesar the things of Caesar, and render to God the things of God.
It takes some time for the full faith vision of the soul to develop; that is, it takes some time for faith to grow, but like the material child, this spiritual vision begins to see right away. Since both the material reality and the spiritual reality are mediated by mind, it takes some time for the mind to recognize the spiritual nature. But the spiritual nature and the material nature manifest differently. There is a sharp contrast between the material nature and the spiritual nature. As the soul develops, it begins to recognize more and more of the presence and the manifestations of the divine spirit. The presence of the divine spirit is manifested by the presence of unselfish love in the soul. And this presence can be known and recognized by faith. To describe how this works, we will resort to a material example.
There are two people living in a house. They are in communication with each other and interact with each other. Soon one of the parties leaves the room and goes into another part of the room. Now even though he has left the room, the other party is still aware of his presence in the house. This is based upon material considerations and reasoning. The party knows the other party is still in the house though absent from her presence. He has not left the house and therefore she reasons that he must still be in the house, though absent from her immediate presence. Taking these factors into consideration, she is aware of his presence in the house. These may not always be true in a case where the other party slips out of the house unbeknownst to her.
In recognizing the presence of the divine will, we operate by a similar mechanism. Instead of using material mechanisms for recognizing the presence of the divine spirit, we use spiritual methods for it. Faith is our spiritual eyes. These eyes can see the divine presence but the sharpness of the recognition of this divine presence depends on another spiritual quality: trust. This trust makes the faith-vision effective. Without trust in the divine presence, there is no basis for faith to operate. We must simply trust in the goodness of the Father, trust that he is ever present with us. This recognition of the divine presence is not related to our emotional reactions nor to the circumstances of life. The divine presence is always with us, loving us, and sharing our moral and spiritual experiences with us. So we recognize the divine spirit by acknowledging that it is there and by interacting with it. We begin to pray and worship, to receive guidance and direction, and to receive the revelations of truth, beauty, and goodness. And when we recognize the divine spirit by faith, our faith gives reality to the divine spirit’’s presence. This is a way of recognizing material reality with our physical senses, except that we are recognizing the divine spirit with our spiritual senses. We simply acknowledge his presence and begin to behave according to that acknowledgment. The recognition of the divine spirit is associated with its emanations of love.
Now when it comes to knowing the divine spirit, we come to know him by a similar mechanism that we come to know material personalities. By interacting with a material personality, as time goes on we come to know that person, not just to know that he is a person or how we are related to him, but we come to know his character, come to know how he reacts under various circumstances. As time goes on, we become pretty accurate in our assessment of his character. As my dear aunt use to say, "I have learned him." The more intimate our relationship with the person, the more we come under their influence and begin to take on their characteristics, their character pattern. If the person is a positive role model, this is beneficial; if the person is a negative role model, then this becomes detrimental.
Having recognized the divine spirit, we come to know this spirit by the technique of doing the Father’’s will. This is the process of becoming like him, of gaining a moral and spiritual character like his Son. The more we submit to his divine will, to his divine nature, the more we come to know him. We gain knowledge of the divine spirit through the Spirit of Truth. This Spirit empowers us to emulate the character of the Father. And as we become more and more like him, we gain greater and greater knowledge of him. But we are never able to gain complete knowledge of him because he is absolute. This spirit is going to be with us forever, and we will always gain more and more knowledge of him, will always gain a greater and greater knowledge of truth. We will always be in the process of becoming more and more like him.
We can measure the degree to which we have acquired a character like the Father. As we continue to submit to the Father’’s will, to the divine nature, the divergence between our material natures and spiritual natures widens. The material nature is still there, but it is in submission to the divine nature. Therefore, we can compare the degree to which we are choosing the Father’’s will over our own. As we continue to grow this widening between our material natures, the soul takes on greater and greater characteristics of the divine spirit. At some point in this exchange, our souls become so identified with the divine spirit, and our will so attuned to the Father’’s will, that we become one, thus ushering the mandates for us to be ever identified with our divine nature and forever submitting our wills to the divine will.
In summary, we recognize the divine spirit by looking at it with our faith eyes, and we come to know this same spirit by faith and trust, which makes it possible for us do the divine will, to become like the divine nature. "Always will we know him because we trust him." We recognize the qualities of the divine spirit, the qualities of love, patience, mercy, and forgiveness. We recognize the goodness, truth, and beauty of the spirit, and we respond to this recognition by trusting the divine spirit and immediately become filled with spiritual hope. When we reach supreme trust of the divine spirit, fear departs from us and is replaced by the consciousness of love and spiritual invincibility. We know that no harm can come near our souls, even as our material mechanism falters and eventually fail. We identify with our spiritual nature and wait eagerly for the translation flash.
This concludes today's message on understanding the relationship between faith and the divine presence. 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.