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 faith recognition of the divine presence.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
Faith Recognition of the Divine Presence
"If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we shall come unto him, and make our abode with him." John, Chapter 14, Verse 23
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we share some further insight into the recognition of the divine presence. Since we are going to be using faith to accomplish this spiritual task, let us review the meaning of faith. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen."
Now let us clarify the meaning of faith so that when we us it, we shall be error-free. Let it be made clear that we are talking about purely spiritual matters. And we must also remember that since we are dealing with purely spiritual matters, we cannot judge the validity of spiritual reality by material means, even though we shall use a material analogy to help us grasp this spiritual insight. Therefore we should not expect any perception of anything by the five senses or emotions. Though we acknowledge emotions can become attached to this phenomenon when we consciously desire it, but we must remember the emotional reaction is not the spiritual phenomenon itself. This becomes important because no matter how great an emotional reaction, they will eventually subside; if we don’’t understand the difference, we will substitute the exercise of faith with the exercise of emotions. Consequently when we do this, we will conclude that the spiritual reality has vanished with the emotions, and we will vainly seek and hope for this emotional experience which we have erroneously identified as a spiritual experience.
Secondly we must remember that faith reality must be believed with all, not some, of our being. Only then we will change our attitude and act according to our beliefs. There are some helpful things to keep in mind as we try to mobilize all the forces of our personality in the achievement of this faith accomplishment. Our understanding of the Father says that he is all powerful and all knowing, as well as all merciful and all loving. Our finite understanding might instruct us that, if the Father is with us, the proof of that would be our deliverance from all material difficulties. But this understanding is erroneous.
The Father is living within us and is going through life experiences with and in reality as us. To thus deliver us from experience is to deprive him of the very thing that he is desirous of obtaining, the experience of sharing our struggles as we move from imperfection to perfection. Settle in your mind and your attitude for all times. The Father wants us to go through the experience; by doing so, we extract divine values and meanings that constitute growth, which is a vital factor in achieving divine perfection. While it is quite proper to ask the Father for the wisdom, courage, strength and other qualities we perceive that we need to successfully go through the experience, it is not proper to ask the Father to deliver us from the experience. We should not hesitate to ask him to empower us so that we can go through the experience with confidence, without fear, with tranquility of spirit--peace in our mind and joy in our souls, divine stability, and patience. The presence of the Father living within us is the assurance that no harm can befall us spiritually. Therefore, it is an added comfort to realize this divine presence.
We believe the Father is in us, and what we want to accomplish by faith is the awareness of this great truth. We want to be conscious of the Father’’s presence. To further lay the foundation for this achievement, we shall use a material analogy to demonstrate awareness of material things. Being self-conscious beings, we have the ability to be conscious of them. We are conscious of all things in our material environment at all times, but we can become self-conscious by an act of will by shifting our consciousness to any object we desire to focus on.
Let us try a little thought experiment. Imagine that you are sitting in your den or living room, and you’’re examining all the things in that room. You look at any pictures that may be on the wall. You may observe that they are not perfectly aligned; you examine the windows in the room and may notice that they may need washing; you examine the other chairs in the room and make similar observations about their condition.
Next you shift your focus to the kitchen. You observe a stove on which a pot of vegetables sit. You observe the cabinets in the kitchen and note their content; you observe the table in the kitchen and observe the place mats and whether the table is set for the upcoming meal.
Then you shift you focus to the bathroom. Here you notice how small it is compared to other rooms. You notice whether the seat is up or down, a very important distinction if there is a female living there. You notice whether there is sufficient toilet paper on the roll. Next, you observe whether or not there is water dripping from the faucet.
Next you shift your attention to the bedroom where you observe your mate asleep. You observe the curtains at the windows, the dresser, the mirrors, and other items such as the jewelry box. You then return your focus back to the room in which you are actually sitting. This demonstrates the operation of material self-consciousness. We are not self-conscious of all these things at once, but as soon as you desire, you can shift your consciousness to any of the rooms. And since we are familiar with these rooms and their contents, we have no difficulty in being conscious of them when we choose; we are conscious that they are there at all times, though not necessarily self-conscious of them. But it is the awareness of these rooms that give a sense of all being in order in our house. Now we shift to the spiritual awareness.
Instead of using our material consciousness, we are going to use our faith consciousness. We are going to proceed from the general consciousness of the divine spirit to the self-consciousness of the divine spirit in a similar manner that we used with the material analogy, keeping in mind the admonitions that we gave earlier of the things that are not a part of this consciousness. We become conscious of the divine spirit, when we are told that it is the Father’’ spirit that lives within us that urges us to love one another as the Father loves us. We become conscious of the divine spirit when we are told that it is the divine spirit that is the Father of our souls, and we are told that the Father gives us salvation through his Son, Jesus. When we believe these truths, we become conscious of them. With this consciousness of the divine spirit, we move through this life with a sense of spiritual security, a sense that no matters what happens to us in this life, that we will be okay. This awareness causes us to trust the spirit Father, and we move through this life without an attitude of fear at the sudden rise of the storm clouds of trouble on the horizon.
In general, we take these spiritual qualities for granted until, we run into some difficulty. At this point our consciousness moves to self-consciousness of the divine spirit as we begin to communicate with it, seeking help for our difficulty. We assume that the divine spirit is there, as we pray and commune with it. But since most of us are not use to being self-conscious of this divine spirit unless we are in formal prayer, we do not remain self-consciousness of this spirit. To become self-conscious of this divine spirit, all we have to do is to shift our focus to it. This can be done similar to the way we became self-conscious of the different things in the rooms given by the material analogy.
Having satisfied ourselves that the Father want us to go through the experience, even as Jesus did when he was locked in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, we can now enter into self- consciousness awareness of the divine spirit, and can begin to petition the Father for whatever it is that we perceive that we need. And we can do this as often as we feel the need to do so, at least until we realize that the Father is already supplying us with everything spiritual that we need even before we have thought to ask. All that remains is for us to thank him for those spiritual blessings.
The divine spirit is invisible to our material consciousness and material eyes. This in and of itself puts his presence beyond our material consciousness. But just because he is invisible does not mean that he is not there, any more than the fact that we cannot see the wind. But we become aware of the movement of air by the force of it, and by the effect that this force has on our material selves. We become aware of the invisible divine spirit by the force/manifestation of it, and by the effect that this force/manifestation has upon us. When we perceive the wind blowing upon us, we become self-conscious of it; when we perceive the spirit acting upon us we become self-conscious of it. Thus in order to become self-conscious of the wind or the divine spirit, we must know what it does, and what effect it has upon us.
Since self-consciousness of the divine spirit may not be well developed in our consciousness, it may prove helpful when in the arms of a difficult moral embrace or spiritual uncertainty to remind ourselves what the spirit is doing and notice the effect it has on us. When the spirit acts, we become filled with hope, wisdom, understanding, courage, strength, and other qualities that we need for the moral or spiritual task at hand. We want to go through the experience with confidence, without fear, with tranquility of spirit (peace in our minds and joy in our souls), divine stability, and patience.
We can reinforce this self-consciousness of the spirit by reasserting its presence in the very face of the difficulty. Whenever anxiety, fear, or dread enter into our consciousness, we can simply say, ““I have to go through this experience, but I go not alone. The Father is going through it with and as me. We acknowledge the difficulty, and acknowledge that we are going through the experience-not my will but your will be done.”” And we do this until we achieve a faith self-consciousness of the spirit. If we continue to do this and believe that the spirit is in fact present, we will become self-conscious of this spirit of love, mercy and compassion. And as long as we wholeheartedly believe this great truth, we will remain self-conscious of the divine spirit.
This concludes today's message on understanding the faith recognition of the divine spirit. 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.