Greetings, 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 spiritualization process despite a disbelieving material mind and the futility of trying to get the material mind to accept spiritual reality by material wonders.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Disbelieving Material Mind
"Lord I believe; help my unbelief." Mark, Chapter 9, Verse 24
It is difficult for the material mind to be shown spiritual realities without signs and wonders. Always will it ask to be shown more and more, but no amount of material evidence can convince the material mind that a spiritual reality exists. Until the material mind becomes spiritualized, it can’’t see spiritual values as it does material values, nor can it comprehend the spiritual meanings that are derived from the spiritual values in the soul.
The material mind has many opportunities to recognize the spiritual values in moral and spiritual acts, but while it may enjoy the material manifestations of such acts of kindness and appreciation, it forgets them almost as soon as it receives them. That is to say, it may be exceedingly glad when they are presented, but the impact of these acts disappear. A day, a week, or a month from the day of reception, the material mind acts as if it never was shown them. These acts become like a distant foggy memory. They are like water running off a duck’’s back.
Consider when Jesus fed the five thousand. They ate the bread and the fishes with gusto, but when Jesus refused to be a material king, those who were fed forgot all about the great material blessing and the mercy out of which he acted. You would think that even if they were disinclined to receive the truth that he tried to teach them, that would be grateful for the feeding, but such is the nature of the material mind. It remains skeptical of spiritual reality as the motive for bestowing material favors upon itself. Jesus admonished them to ““believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me or believe me for the very work’’s sake.”” But such is the nature of the absence of faith in the material mind. It believes neither the testimony nor of the works that back up the testimony.
And so the self finds itself in a dilemma, acting upon the spiritual impulses that arise from its soul, and feeling unappreciated for the spiritual work that it is doing, which is manifested through loving acts of service and mercy. So we see that we cannot look to the material mind for validation of spiritual reality. We are to validate spiritual reality by faith. It is no metaphoric play on words when we are told that without faith, it is impossible to please God, impossible to do his will. And without doing the Father’’s will, the game is over before it even starts. We can never get out of the starting blocks without the exercise of faith.
This faith sustains us as we undergo the long growth process. It reveals the values of the spirit to our souls. Faith makes spiritual things real to our souls; this same faith eventually spiritualizes the material mind so that it can comprehend divine meanings. Faith makes truth meaningful to our souls that we are indeed the sons and daughters of the heavenly Father and determines our attitude towards the things of this life. It determines whether our life is awash with hope or drowned by despair.
By the means of this faith, we are to accept the effectiveness of our desire to love others as being the proof of our spiritualizing transformation upon our brothers and sisters. But the soul undergoes a very real transformation in response to the flow of spiritual impulses through it. Spiritual influences are very powerful, though subtle and effective over long periods. Let us consider these material analogies to give us a feel for spiritual influences.
When children are small, they love playing in puddles left by the rain. Whenever the rains puddles in the dirt, the child considers it his mission in life to step in and splash in this puddle of muddy water, and if not restrained will jump right into it. If parents don’’t put a stop to it, the child will eventually become completely covered from head to toe with this muddy water. He will require a thorough washing before he is back to his normal state of cleanliness. And while the parent is dismayed by all of this muddy water covering the child, the child has had a ball, thoroughly enjoying it all.
In North Carolina, there are quite a few hog farms that a very smelly. When approaching the farm, one can smell the hogs long before one actually arrives there. The smell alerts us that we are approaching a hog farm; the unpleasant scent grows stronger and stronger the closer we get to it.
A garden hose is a marvelous instrument. We can hook it up to a water source and by placing a suitable nozzle on it, we can control the force of the water that comes through. We can use this water to clean the pavement, to water the grass, or the flowers. And if the pressure is sufficient, it will wash away all the grime off of the pavement. But even as the water cleans the pavement on the outside, the water also cleans the inside of the hose from any buildup of contaminating materials within the hose. The force of the water dislodges any material on the inside of the hose.
Ignorance is the lack of knowledge; wisdom is the application of knowledge guided by experience; therefore, our decisions should be made according to our understanding of the knowledge of experience-wisdom.
Patience is the result of restraint. The person feels a strain but is able to restrain himself. We know that eventually restraint will fail, and our patience will evaporate. Tolerance is the result of not being affected by the act; it requires no restraint at all. Tolerance does not allow irritating values into a relationship. It ignores them. Forbearance, on the other hand, not only allows for irritating values but because of its insight and understanding of the nature of the values, it inhibits any reactions of irritation within the self. Thus, forbearance is far superior to patience and tolerance.
The Father’’s will lives at the very center of our being; when we choose this will, we allow its influence to change us. As we continue under its influence, we gradually become like that will. We gradually take on the image of the Father’’s son, Jesus. This is very similar to the small child playing in the muddy water. The longer he plays in the puddle, the greater is he affected by it. Soon water and mud will cover him completely. The Father’’s will is a spiritual influence and it radiates love. This love moves outward and can be experienced by others. It is like the smell of the hog farm. It has a distinctive fragrance, and it can be smelled long before they can see it. They can experience the effects of this love long before they realize it.
Now this love is designed to stimulate love in others as they come under its influence. It is designed to remove all impurities from the soul, to overthrow evil in the hearts of man. This loves moves out to shower some brother or sister, washing them with its mercy. This love is similar to water moving through a garden hose. As it moves out of the hose onto the pavement, not only does it clean the outside, but it cleans the inside also, clearing out any evil that may have accumulated within the soul. If we keep this garden hose of love on at all time, evil will never accumulate in our souls.
Now it requires time for this love to do its work. Sometimes when interacting with an evildoer, the reaction to this relationship causes feelings of irritation. The soul must respond to this evil with goodness. The soul can respond with patience; it can respond with tolerance, or it can respond with forbearance. Of the three responses, forbearance is the superior way of responding since this is the eternal viewpoint. It enters into the relationship to transform the evildoer so that he becomes a radiator of goodness. The other two methods do not have this effect. Patience eventually runs out, as restraint gives way, transforming the soul into an evil doer in the process. Tolerance ignores the evildoer--does not enter into the transformative process, leaving the evildoer the same way that he found him.
We eradicate our ignorance of spiritual matters by gaining spiritual knowledge, and then we must coordinate this knowledge through our experience, thus we acquire wisdom. Therefore our decisions should be made according to our understanding of the knowledge of experience-wisdom. And wisdom mandates that we exercise our God-given faith for spiritual matters. Yes, there will be times when we are rewarded with seeing the fruit of our efforts, but just as often we are not. And no matter how many times we are rewarded, the material mind remains skeptical; therefore, must our faith reign supreme as our indicator of the effectiveness in revealing the Father’’s love.
This concludes today's message on understanding the spiritualization process despite the doubting of the material mind. 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