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 shared many revelations of spiritual truth with me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we wish to explore the soft spots of our faith, those areas of our faith that do not hold fast when under stress.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Soft Spots of our Faith
"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: As it is written, the just shall live by faith." Romans, Chapter 1, Verse 17
Brothers and sisters, there are weaknesses in our faith. We know the whole spiritual journey is progress by faith. But yet at times, we display attitudes of progress by material sight. This is evidenced by the sudden disappearance of peace from our souls when the storm clouds of trials and tribulations suddenly burst. We would like to better understand this slippage of trust and hope in the face of trials and tribulations. Although we eventually regroup, grasping the reins of faith, trust, and hope once more, it is still very traumatic to our souls to have to undergo this major adjustment whenever we are confronted with a new trial or even a sustained one.
These soft spots or weaknesses in our faith arise because we are two-fold creatures. We are material and potentially spiritual. We are absolutely conscious of our material status; but only by faith are we conscious of our spiritual status. Such a situation causes quite a bit of turmoil and confusion in our minds. Our faith can be applied to both the material and spiritual aspects of lives, even though only faith applied to our spiritual selves is truly effective. It is difficult at times to render to Caesar the things of Caesar, and render to God the things of God. Our material journey is fraught with hardship, often suffering, pain, and disappointment. And it is this desire to be delivered from these awful material afflictions that cause us almost unconsciously to seek relief by using our faith. Failing to find that relief, we produce soft spots in our faith.
Our first faith assertion is the acceptance that we are the sons and daughters of the heavenly Father. This is something we really desire to believe and want. We really do want to be sons and daughters of the heavenly Father and we are. Accepting this truth ensures that we will be resurrected at the end of the mortal race. From a mortal perspective,
resurrecting is a proposition that we cannot test while we still live the mortal life. It is only when we have survived the mortal life that we can test this proposition. Thus, this particular proposition causes no erosion of our faith. Since we know that we are mortal and we desire to survive, we hold onto this truth without too much difficulty. But when we move beyond this simple affirmation of faith to the meanings and values of the relationship with heavenly Father, we run into profound difficulties, difficulties that arise because we are forced to believe more than we know. Let us examine some of these faith difficulties.
Having accepted our status as faith sons and daughters of the heavenly Father, our next test of faith is to believe that the divine spirit lives within us. How do we really believe more than we know? How can we reach that point of view, where faith conditions our emotions and influences our decisions, where our faith determines our value system and our mode of living? In the material life, our senses tell of things that are real. We have to know them to believe they exist; on the spiritual side, our faith tells us of the things that are spiritually real. We have to believe them in order to know them. What is the guarantee that what we believe by faith is real?
Just as the proof of material things is our experience with them, so it is with our experience with the things of the spirit, our ability to experience them. In the material world, we use the laws of the material world to operate with material reality. And as long as we use these laws, we experience no error in operating with them. But if, for example, we try to use material means to discern the things of the spirit, we will experience error. Our assessment of the spiritual world by material means is valueless and meaningless. In the spiritual world, we use the laws of the spirit to operate with spiritual reality. As long as we use these spiritual laws, we experience no error in operating with them.
Though we are material creatures with spiritual potentials, we cannot use spiritual laws to influence material reality. No matter how extreme our material situation, we cannot use spiritual laws to modify them. It is only by applying material laws that we can modify material reality. And therein is the first soft spot of the application of our faith. We continue to confuse the province of the material and the spiritual as we move through the material life, either outright or attitudinally. This is disclosed when we question our spiritual status while experiencing some disagreeable material realities.
But the greatest manifestation of the divine presence is divine love. This spirit works through love. It is this spirit that sponsors the unselfish urges of concern for others. Thus, whenever we feel the urge to love unselfishly in a situation where we have to the choice to be selfish, such an urge is the manifestation of the divine spirit. This divine spirit also goes through the experiences of life with and as us. And like a wise parent, this spirit watches over us as we tackle the challenges of this life. The wise parent does not remove his child from necessary experiences just because they are difficult--physically, emotionally, or intellectually. The wise parent knows that confronting these challenges lead to growth: increase in status. And neither does the divine spirit remove us from the moral and spiritual challenges of life, but it always stands ready to supply all the spiritual qualities that we need to meet the moral and spiritual challenges of life.
And as the divine spirit urges us to love, the Spirit of Truth interprets this urge so that we wisely serve our brothers and sisters. This Spirit always points our souls in the direction of truth. It personifies the correct relationship that exists between us and others. The Spirit of Truth is the guarantee that we will not get spiritually lost as we traverse the road of spiritual values and meanings. At junctions of confusion, it always points our soul in the right direction. Though we may not be intellectually conscious of such guidance, it remains a bonafide reality. And as we look back, we can discern the reality of this spirit’’s guidance in our moral and spiritual interactions.
In addition to these spiritual influences, our guardian angels do so much for us. These spiritual helpers provide the circumstances where increasing moral and spiritual stimuli are encountered. They make practical the urges of the Father and the interpretations of these urges by the Son by insuring that there will be interactions with varied and different people.
Cooperating with these influences provides the growth stimuli for the soul. When we cooperate both on the inside and the outside, we do the Father’’s will. Now that we understand the operational arena of these spiritual influences, we can begin to separate them from our material functions. We can remind ourselves that what we are experiencing materially has nothing to do with our comprehension of divine values and meanings as is demonstrated by so many others who grapple with unpleasant realities of a material existence but who still remain loving and kind.
Once we disconnect the spiritual influences from the material influences, we remove the shackles of our faith and allow our faith to repair the soft spots in it. We must insist on believing that these spiritual influences exist within us and around us despite the ebb and flow of material reality. By prayer and worship, we actually interact with them. We thus increase our spiritual capacity so that we can realize these great truths. Whenever we are confronted with the spectacle of the material mind requesting proof of our spiritual status, we should seek to know the Father’’s will. We should remind ourselves that our relationship with the Father is purely spiritual, and therefore the material mind has no jurisdiction over such faith matters. The material mind must look to material reality to alleviate its material problems. We can always ask our heavenly Father for the power to use our minds to the best of our abilities.
This concludes today's message on understanding the soft spots of 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.