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 how doubt affects our experience of spiritual reality.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Effect of Doubt Upon the Experience of Spiritual Reality
Jesus said unto them: "Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of them. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith." Luke, Chapter 12 Verses 27 and 28
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast, we continue our discovery and exploration of divine values and meanings, as they are eternal in nature. Remember faith is designed to find those values which call forth faith, trust, and assurance; faith culminates in worship. “Faith discovers for the soul those supreme values of divine love, truth, beauty, and goodness which are in contrast with the temporal relative values discovered by the mind. Such superhuman insight can be had only through genuine religious experience."
In a previous broadcast, we alluded to the fact that only the persistent exercise of faith, and continually conforming our will to the Father’’s will can vanquish the shadow of doubt that robs us of our sense of security, our trust, and hope, our peace and joy, our patience--our vital spiritual forces and ultimately derail us if left unchecked. Doubt is the manifestation of the identification with the material mind rather than with the Father’’s spirit through His Son, Jesus. The strength of doubt is directly proportional to the failure to wholeheartedly identify with the Father’’s will. So since doubt is such a negative pull upon our spiritual faith, we shall further explore it to gain further insight as to how we might vanquish doubt altogether from our souls. Doubt is the final barrier, the overcoming of which signifies that we have completely surrendered to the Father’’s will.
When the material mind runs into those experiences of uncertainty, insecurity, distrust--those things that threaten our well-being--doubt rears its head. Doubt has an important roll to play in the material life. It is sort of a warning for the material self to take heed, a warning that there may be some danger. But while doubt is important in navigating material reality, it has only a negative function in ascertaining spiritual reality. It is the bridge that must be crossed by all before they can enter the land of divine values and meanings and obtain citizenship, divine sonship. Without the conquest of doubt, the soul may enter the land of divine values and meanings, but it cannot remain there for long. As soon as doubt rears its head and we succumb to it, the soul is automatically ejected from this land of divine values and meanings.
While the material mind may long for material faith, trust, and assurance, it cannot be found, for the environment of the material mind enjoys constant ups and downs. There is no security in the material world. The material mind is mortal and is therefore destined to be extinguished unless it possesses faith values. The first value of faith for the material mind is the possession of the soul.
This soul comes into existence under a tremendous handicap. It is experiential and must possess itself of survival values. When the soul attempts to identify with the material self, it becomes unstable, restless, insecure, hopeless, anxious, and depressed, for the soul must go through all of the experiences of the material mind. But the soul soon learns that it can not lean upon temporal realities, cannot lean upon the material mind. It must find eternal supports for itself. As the hymnal advises, it must built its hope upon eternal things. It must find some other set of values to identify with. It soon comes to recognize its Father, the divine spirit of the heavenly Father, but it must learn to acquire the values of the spirit. It must posses itself of the spiritual counterparts of courage, altruism, hope, faith, the love of truth, idealism, loyalty, unselfishness and pleasure. And there is only one way in which these qualities can be acquired. Consider the following:
"Is courage--strength of character--desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments."
"Is altruism--service of one's fellows--desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality."
““Is hope--the grandeur of trust--desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties."
"Is faith--the supreme assertion of human thought--desirable? Then must the mind of man find itself in that troublesome predicament where it ever knows less than it can believe."
"Is the love of truth and the willingness to go wherever it leads, desirable? Then must man grow up in a world where error is present and falsehood always possible."
"Is idealism--the approaching concept of the divine--desirable? Then must man struggle in an environment of relative goodness and beauty, surroundings stimulative of the irrepressible reach for better things."
"Is loyalty--devotion to highest duty--desirable? Then must man carry on amid the possibilities of betrayal and desertion. The valor of devotion to duty consists in the implied danger of default."
"Is unselfishness--the spirit of self-forgetfulness--desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast."
"Is pleasure--the satisfaction of happiness--desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present experiential possibilities."
Now it is obvious that this environment is very troubling to the soul, but the soul discovers that when it leans on the Father in such an environment rather than on the doubting forecasts of the material mind, it begins to acquire the qualities delineated above. The self must now separate the realities of the material world from the realities of the spiritual world. The self must learn to render to Caesar the things of Caesar and to God the things that are God’’s. In short the self must learn to distinguish between the two realities and react appropriately to each. While it is quite appropriate for doubt to operate in the material mind concerning material reality, there is no place for doubt when it comes to acquiring spiritual reality. Spiritual realities are secure, eternal, and indestructible. Though spiritual realities are eternal and absolutely indestructible, doubt makes these realities false and unreal to the soul, and thus the soul is deprived of all those values that it needs to safely negotiate the spiritual realm.
When faced with material reality, the self must mobilize all of its power to confront, manage, and accommodate itself to the rigid facts of material existence. As the material self continues to gain experience with material reality, it comes to know it. It can plan for those material eventualities it has learned are part of material life. It can prepare as much as possible to antidote the negative aspects of material existence. It must use knowledge, reason, experience, foresight, and wisdom in its battle with material reality.
When it is not sure of what course to pursue, doubt should cause the material mind to pause until it can ascertain the best course to pursue under the circumstances. In this case, doubt serves as a spotlight that highlights different options, only giving its approval when the course to be pursued has met the criteria of the material mind. Doubt allows for other material options to be considered, one of which may be the very solution that is needed to satisfy the problem presented. But this doubt will only work this way if the time for action is used by the material mind to fearlessly pursue the options.
Spiritual faith must never be used to attempt to alter material reality. Such a course is the surest way to enthrone doubt, which will prevent the comprehension of the validity of spiritual faith. And even though spiritual faith cannot alter material reality, it does extract those spiritual values and meanings that are concealed within material realities, the accumulation of which eventually liberates the soul from the material mind.
This concludes today's message on understanding the effect of doubt upon the experience of spiritual reality. 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.