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 meaning of the challenge of faith.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Challenge of Faith
"Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews, Chapter 11, Verse 6
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,
and so does the endless spiritual journey begin with a single step of faith.
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast, we examine the challenge of faith. We know that as we continue this spiritual journey towards the Father, our faith is increasingly challenged. This morning we shall look at the nature of these challenges, the implications that they present, and their ultimate meanings. To help us get a feel for the challenge of faith, we shall use a material analogy.
Mr. Faith decides that he wants to embark on a very difficult journey. He wants to test himself and everything within him. He is particularly interested in how far he can go. He wants to know what his limitations are. He had pondered over the saying that ““a man’’s reach should always exceed his grasp." In other words, we should always have goals that are just beyond our reach. He is fascinated by this principle, and so he sets a goal for himself. In the process of embarking on this journey, he knows that there will be interim benchmarks along the way, and he fully intends to enjoy them to the fullest. After enjoying them, he intends to push on, going further and further to reach his ultimate goal.
There are two other individuals who also want to make this journey: Mr. Reason and Mr. Wisdom. Mr. Reason and Mr. Wisdom are also worthy candidates for the challenge. Mr. Reason has quite a reputation for dismantling obstacles and pointing out the best way of getting around them or through them. He has a few tools and accessories that have helped him overcome all of the obstacles in his past efforts. But a challenge of this nature has never confronted him before. There have been many challenges, some very daunting, but nothing to compare with this. This challenge will test his limits.
And Mr. Wisdom is well known and has slain many dragons of difficulty. He is famous for explaining why a course of action is best and what it means. When he finishes his discourses, the obstacle while still there and appears to mount no insurmountable challenge. He knows whether the challenge is worthy of undertaking, and, like Mr. Faith. and Mr. Reason, he is desirous of testing himself to see how far he can go.
After extended briefings from Mr. Reason. and Mr. Wisdom, Mr. Faith and his two companions launch forward on their journey. And like most journeys, the initial steps are not too challenging, but as they journey on, the road becomes increasingly difficult. Soon they run into their first real challenge. It is a barrier that stops them cold in their tracks, and they have to confer and regroup. But under the skillful counsel of Mr. Reason, the trio make fairly quickly work of the obstacle and are soon continuing their journey. Mr. Reason appears to have taken the lead during this leg, and mighty are his exploits and his display of skill and courage. He performs brilliantly, and he demolishes one barrier after another. It seems that there is no stopping him. He appears to be invincible until the day finally arrives when he can go no further. All of his tools and devices have failed. No amount of courage or skill can take him over this barrier that stands in front of him like a silent obelisk
And then they sit and confer trying to find a way around what seems to be a dead end. Then Mr. Wisdom rises to the occasion. He begins his analysis, thoroughly examining Mr. Reason’’s tactics and his rationales. Whereas Mr. Reason had attacked the problem of the obstacle directly, Mr. Wisdom realized that the solution to this problem was not to be found in a direct assault but in an indirect attack. He realized that some problems require correlation with the past and the future in order to find a suitable solution in the present. After performing this correlation, he brought forth the solution and applied this solution most brilliantly.
The solution excluded Mr. Reason, who could not go on. Mr. Faith though still possessed the wherewithal to continue and in company with Mr. Wisdom journeyed on. Mr. Wisdom applied some astounding solutions to the obstacles that they encountered, demolishing them one by one with the greatest of ease. And this went on for quite awhile. In the meantime, Mr. Faith and Mr. Wisdom continued to savor their victories.
And things appeared to be going well for quite sometime until one day another barrier was encountered that stopped Mr. Wisdom dead in his tracks. None of his brilliant analyses or correlations could prevail over this obstacle. Though Mr. Faith was unaffected by the barrier, he still had the resources to continue, but he wanted to continue on the journey with Mr. Wisdom as he had with Mr. Reason. So the two of them sat down to discuss the problem. And after considerable study and after trying different approaches, there was found no way for Mr. Wisdom to continue. He had exhausted his potential and could go no further.
Now as Mr. Faith was contemplating continuing on without Mr. Wisdom, his original purpose still intact, there appeared another traveler, a Mr. Truth. Mr. Truth said that his, like the journey of Mr. Faith, was an endless journey. And not only did he know every step of the way through the endless journey and could guide Mr. Faith, he was endless himself. Mr. Truth was surcharged with power; he was power. He explained to Mr. Faith that they had reached a point that utterly eclipsed what Mr. Reason and Mr. Wisdom were capable of comprehending. Only Mr. Truth could guide and interpret the journey for Mr. Faith. So, after saying goodbye to Mr. Wisdom, Mr. Faith embarked upon his endless journey in the sole company of Mr. Truth.
"Faith most willingly carries reason along as far as reason can go and then goes on with wisdom to the full philosophic limit; and then it dares to launch out upon the limitless and never-ending universe journey in the sole company of Truth."
In the beginning, faith is the paramount quality that launches us on the spiritual journey. The first obstacle that confronts the believer’’s faith is the acceptance of divine sonship. This is the first benchmark on the journey, and without passing this obstacle, no further progress can be made. After accepting this divine sonship by faith, the tools of reason and philosophy (wisdom) can be of some assistance. But eventually in the acquirement of the progressive values and meanings of the spiritual journey of divine sonship, reason (the technique of science and logic) and wisdom (the technique of accumulated learning) reach their limits and faith must now depend solely upon Truth. Since Truth is the relationship that exists between the Father and his Son, faith must look to Truth for nourishment.
Finally brothers and sisters, each spiritual value that lodges in the soul and each spiritual meaning of that value that finds its way into the mind must be embraced by faith. Other than personal spiritual experience, there can be no other outside validation for these divine values and meanings. And so the challenge of faith remains: Will we accept the ever-increasing divine values and meanings that appear in our souls and minds? Will we depend upon the Spirit of Truth to continue to reveal the divine values and meanings even though the limitations of reason and wisdom prevent their objective validation?
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the challenge of 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.