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 the Father purifies our faith.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Purification of Faith
““Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." James, Chapter 1, Verse 12
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast, we share some insights about the purification of our faith, wherein our sincerity becomes sublime, our faith becomes disappointment-proof, and our loyalty becomes supreme. What method does the Father use to purify our faith, to rid us of all the air pockets of insincerity, and to propel our loyalty to supreme levels? It has been said that he is the potter and we are the clay, that when he finishes we shall come forth as pure gold. To help us grasp this spiritual concept, we shall use a material analogy.
When building a skyscraper, the foundation has to be laid first; the foundation has to be solid enough to withstand the weight of its super structure. It has to withstand the powerful forces within the atmosphere that might topple it. Before the building process begins, huge machines drive piles that the building will rest upon into the earth. This powerful machine drives the piles into the earth until they rest upon solid rock. Having laid the foundation, the building can now be constructed upon this solid foundation.
Spiritually, we must undergo a similar process of making sure that our foundation will support the superstructure of our souls. When we embark upon the journey to be perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect, our souls are thoroughly tested. The foundation of our efforts must begin with sincerity. We think that we are sincere when we say we want to do the Father’’s will, but we don’’t really know this until we have been tested. Jesus referred to this very fact when he gave the parable of counting the cost. We must be willing to pay the cost of doing the Father’’s will.
The Father’’s will must be done under all kinds of circumstances, not just during pleasant times. The Father’’s will must be done in the dead of midnight as well as under the sun of midday. Most of us have some untested air bubbles in our sincerity. The process of going through progressively difficult experiences test our sincerity, experiences that rid our sincerity of its air bubbles. If we stay the course, when we emerge from the testing process, our sincerity will be sublime. Not only will it be perfect, but it will be replete. When the Father’’s light shines upon our souls, no shadow of insincerity will be cast. The purity of the soul will be such that it does not obscure the divine light of goodness. It passes right through. Our souls have become one with the light.
But how does the Father accomplish this amazing transformation? By sending his spirit to live in us, to be with us to experience with us and as us, the Father is able to convict us of his love and concern for us. He is able to convince us of the glorious future that awaits us upon the completion of our growth. But we start off far from being transformed into this image. We start off as selfish individuals with an over-abundance of fear and suspicions and wracked with this dual aspect of the conflict to survive in the face of being mortal. The Father begins his work by creating our souls and then begins to recreate us, using the natural qualities of fear and suspicion and the desire to survive mortality. By placing us in an environment that tends to exacerbate all of these qualities, the potentials in the soul are now able to begin its never-ending unfolding. It is in a position to begin to strive for spiritual perfection.
Because of the imperfect environment we live in, we are rapidly confronted with our inadequacies in the face of superior forces that we neither understand nor control. This lack of understanding and control launches us into the religious phase, where we seek the Father to help us, to save us.
The Father begins right away to build faith around the fear of our mortality, and begins to compress and squeeze it out of the consciousness, replacing it with a consciousness of eternal life and of spiritual invincibility. As we approach the end of our mortal existence, the desire for salvation grows stronger and stronger because of the strong instinct of self-preservation. And as the desire for salvation grows stronger and stronger, our faith grows stronger and stronger until it reaches supreme levels, where we boldly grasp the spiritual truth that we will survive mortal death. Thus the Father’’s spirit is able to impress upon the soul of man that he has eternal life.
At the time that our faith is being built around our fear, the Father’’s love surrounds our souls and permeates
them, imparting to them the consciousness of being a son of the Father. This love begins to compress the fear, squeezing it out of our souls, and replacing it with the consciousness that we are in the hands of our heavenly Father, and that no real harm can befall our souls. And now having tasted the goodness of the heavenly Father, our souls are now in position to boldly begin to cooperate with the plan for our perfection. We are now ready to be shown and taught, to learn and display what we have been taught. We are ready to do the Father’’s will, which is the process of transforming us into a perfected spirit.
The instructions begin right away. And they take this form: The Father through the Spirit of Truth, the spirit of Jesus, shows us how we should respond in a given moral and spiritual situation, and then asks us if he would like to be taught how to respond that way. If we respond with a yes, then the Father begins to teach us, to transform us into the image of his Son, Jesus. We learn how to perform according to the image that he has shown us because we become like that image. And this process is repeated over and over again with ever-increasing difficulty. As our souls continue to receive this instruction, we run into increasing difficulty, for the material self offers opposition to this plan, and we must choose which path we will continue to follow: ours or the Father’’s path. Each lesson that our souls learn requires a greater and greater exercise of faith and trust to maintain stability.
Our faith sustains so many disappointments that at times we are beside ourselves, but the Spirit of Truth is always there after we have taken a wrong turn and experience disappointment, saying, "This is the way." So once more after almost countless times, our faith turns away from the disappointed path and follows the Spirit of Truth, our ever-present guide. Eventually we come to realize that because we have free will, disappointments are the only tools that can signal to us that we have turned down the wrong path. We finally realize that these disappointments are no more than the way to fine-tune our faith, corrections in the ever forward struggle. But eventually our faith and trust rise to such levels after being further compressed by the Father’’s love that it becomes perfected. It becomes so perfected that it knows that when it sees the Son, it is seeing the Father. It knows that the Son is the personal revelation of the Father. This faith becomes eternally stable and because there are no pockets of doubt within, it becomes forever disappointment-proof.
As we pursue these spiritual instructions concealed within the vicissitudes of life, our sincerity undergoes a similar process. The difficulties of life compress all insincerity out of us. As we continue with the struggle, our sincerity is severely tested and at the end of that testing process we realize that we are sincere. We are sincerely dedicated to doing the Father’’s will. We would not continue in the face of difficulty if we were not sincere. We would seek some other way, some other goal. Our sincerity continues to undergo the compression of love until it becomes pure. It will not cast any shadows of procrastination, of equivocation, of unfairness or ease-seeking when the Father’’s search light of truth shines on it. Sincerity is our ticket to becoming perfect even as the heavenly Father is perfect.
Finally after our loyalty has been tested over and over again and we have been given every opportunity in the face of adversity to abandon the Father’’s plan for our development; we have been disappointed over and over again but because our responses in the face of every crisis was "not my will, but your will be done," no amount of time in the face of disappointment could dislodge our loyalty towards the Father. Our loyalty became identified with the eternal and is now ready to pursue eternal life, the pursuit of divine love, loving others as we are loved.
This concludes today's message on understanding how the Father purifies 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.