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 share insight into how we use our faith. While trying to obtain and comprehend a greater depth of a spiritual value, the thought entered my mind to "use your faith." After reflecting upon that thought, the question arose as to how. What is faith? How do we actually use it? What is the mechanism and how does it work? How do we validate those values that we have discovered with our faith? How can we avoid the errors that are a part of misdirected and misplaced faith?
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
How We Use Our Faith
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths." Proverbs, Chapter 3, Verse 5
Brothers and sisters, we start with a traditional definition of faith with which we are all familiar. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”” We must use this same faith when relating to God, "for ... without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”” We start with the assumption that there is a God, and that he can be known, that he knows us, and that we can have a relationship with him.
Faith, I define as that living spiritual force that transforms potential spiritual values into actual ones and when exercised wholeheartedly empowers the mind to transmute spiritual values into divine meanings. It transforms the potential consciousness of God into actual consciousness of God. It empowers us to recognize divine values and meanings, and when embraced bring about a change in our moral and spiritual character. These are the divine values and meanings that reflect our personal relationship with the heavenly Father. These are the values of truth, beauty, and goodness, the values of love, for God is love. Living faith is of such a nature that it makes these spiritual values and meanings real to our souls, so real that we make them a part of our souls. These values when embraced impart the divine nature to our souls.
How do we use this force without error? When we desire to know God, to become like him, there is only one way this can be done--by and through our faith. Let us consider a material analogy to help us understand how we use this force in the spiritual world. Suppose that we saw an object within our reach that we were desirous of obtaining. The only thing preventing us from acquiring it is our desire. When our will acts on behalf of our desire, we reach out and grab the material object. Faith works like this with the exception that we are desirous of obtaining spiritual values and their meanings and not material objects.
In our moral and spiritual interaction, the need for a particular spiritual value is made manifest when we are confronted by a spiritual stimulus to which we lack sufficient value to adequately respond, for example, patience in a trying situation. Because we are aware of the deficiency, we desire to have this quality to meet the moral and spiritual challenge. We reach out and grasp the value of patience. Instead of using a material hand to grasp the value, we reach out with our faith and grasp it.
In reality this means seeking or asking for the needed value; when we believe that we have received it, it becomes a part of our souls--we display the needed value of patience. Whether it is a request for greater trust, greater hope, spiritual strength, moral stamina, growth, insight, tranquility of spirit, divine stability, or a request for greater faith, all are obtained in the same way. We reach out for them with our faith and begin experiencing these requested qualities right away. And though it may take a while before the meanings of these qualities appear in our spiritualized mind, they do appear as we realize that the spiritual request that was made has indeed been granted.
Our emotions are not always able to perceive that our request has been granted since we are rebelling against going through the disagreeable experience. We long for the sunny days of pleasant living and material well-being where no additional effort or stress is required to maintain the current status. The animal nature rebels at the necessary effort to move towards its spiritual nature. Therefore faith is something more than just believing. It also includes trust and hope and commands the full cooperation and force of the self. As we believe, so do we receive.
We know that sometimes in our experience, we have erred in the use of our faith. That is, we have desired something and believed we would receive it and it did not materialize. What is the explanation for this? We properly use faith for the things of God, the fruits of the spirit. The attempt to use faith to receive the things of Caesar causes us to err in the use of our faith. The correct use of our faith is in the spiritual realm, the realm where we experience the relationship with the heavenly Father and all those values and meanings that are a part of the Father-son relationship. These values are always spiritual.
It is also erroneous to attempt to use our faith to escape from the rigorous progressive status of becoming perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect. It is not the province of faith to show us how to escape from a disagreeable experience but rather to lead us through it, and to go through it as a son of God with courage, faith, trust, and hope and not as a desperate animal. After all, this is what the increased quality of spiritual values we have called forth are for--to overcome our present status in some disagreeable experience, to traverse all such struggles subject to the Father’’s will results in moral and spiritual growth. Faith calls forth tranquility of spirit and divine stability in the midst of struggle. Faith is for operation in the Kingdom of heaven, and "the kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink, but peace, joy, and righteousness in the holy spirit."
We are conscious material beings, and we desire to be conscious of the heavenly Father, a spiritual being, a being that is not real to our material minds. Our material minds are only conscious of material things and material meanings. So some sort of arrangement must exist that we will allow us to be conscious of God, the spirit of which lives in our minds and souls. It is impossible for our material eyes to see God, to comprehend divine values and meanings. So living within the material mind, we have a spiritual nature, the soul, a nature that can progressively comprehend God, divine values, and meanings.
We are conscious of our bodies and our minds, where our self-consciousness resides. It is in the mind where our will resides, where we think, reflect, make decisions, choose our will or God’’s will. We are conscious of our souls, that part of us that lives within the material mind that comprehends divine values, that part of us that recognizes truth, beauty, goodness, and experiences divine love We are conscious of the divine spirit. We are conscious of the divine values and meanings that proceed from it. But this is a faith-consciousness that is created by our faith. But we know that this is bonafide spiritual reality because we can interact with it. By communing with this spiritual consciousness, we increasingly become like it.
There are many intellectual and material influences, ever moral influences that impinge upon us and to some degree that influence our material, intellectual, and moral status. And there are many so-called spiritual influences that purport to influence our spiritual reality, but none of these so-called spiritual influences can upgrade our characters. When we have finished with them, we are the same as we were before we started. They lack the power to change our characters. But when we interact with the spiritual consciousness of the Father through his Son, a definite progressive change occurs in our moral and spiritual character. We increasingly take on the image of his Son.
And so, the admonition to use your faith becomes a powerful piece of instruction, for no matter how difficult the struggle may be, whatever the spiritual value that we need to function in the difficulty and to ultimately overcome the difficulty that stands in the way of our achieving divine perfection, we must use the hands of our faith to obtain it, just as we would use the hands of our bodies to grab an object we desire. But while it may take some time to acquire something material using our material minds, obtaining spiritual values is immediate and effective. Though it may take some time and effort to traverse a given struggle, the spiritual values and their meanings that are needed to function as a son of the heavenly Father are readily available. "Ask and you shall receive."
This concludes today's message on understanding how we use our faith. 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