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 shared many revelations of spiritual truth with me, and I want to share them with you. In today's broadcast, we consider the value of faith.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Value of Faith
"Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." Hebrews, Chapter 11, Verse 1
So beautiful, and so sweet
Yet so powerful within itself
Faith launches forth without retreat
Brothers and sisters, what is faith? What is its origin? Why is it so important and necessary? What does it do for us? What is its area of functioning? And more importantly, how do we use it, and what is the validation that it is effective?
The classical definition of faith is that it is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." It's alternate definition is that it is "the value of things hoped for, the meaning of things not seen." What does this mean? First of all as we examine this statement, we see that faith is an intangible quality, it is not material nor intellectual; it is spiritual. The very thing that we desire and hope for is the very substance of faith. So when we hoped for something that is spiritual, that very act or desire is the very fabric of faith, and since this very faith is the evidence of the thing unseen, the very fact that we exercise this faith is the evidence of the thing hoped for.
Though faith operates in our minds and souls, they are not the source of faith. Faith is a gift given to us by the heavenly Fathers. It is given to compensate for incomplete growth, to help us comprehend spiritual realty, to in effect transform us from material creatures to spiritual ones. Faith is a spiritual quality that transforms potential spiritual realities into actual ones. And since we have the potential to become spiritual creatures, faith becomes essential for us to escape the material death by creating a spiritual vehicle that will allow us to survive mortal death. Though difficult to exercise at times, it is the only tool we have to make the tremendous transformation from man to spirit.
When we pray for a spiritual value, we must exercise faith in order to receive and comprehend it. When Jesus told a man to pick up his bed and walk, he did so. This signifies that he believed he could walk. Faith must be exercised before it can become a reality. It is only by taking a step that we really exercise faith. Otherwise, it remains belief or conviction. But our attitude only reaches faith levels when we allow it to dominate all phases of our lives, including thinking, feeling, and doing. It is evident that unless faith dominates all phases of our lives, it will be ineffective. We will never comprehend the value or its meaning. Consider this example: Assume you have been training to run a marathon, and your body and mind are optimized to run this marathon. You will never run it unless you actually make a decision to do so. You don't know whether you can really do it until you try.
When we pray for spiritual values, such as patience, we must then make the attempt to exercise patience; more than this, we must actually exercise patience. This is so because faith is composed of patience and is the very evidence that it is a reality. And we will continue to maintain this value of patience and its meaning as long as we wholeheartedly believe we have it. All the spiritual values we conceive, believe, and achieve are made real by this operation.
Faith is the supreme assertion for spiritual values and meanings; therefore it requires supreme effort to exercise it. When faith is operational, we align ourselves with the great spiritual law: What the true son desires, and the Father wills, is. We shall seek and shall find the value and live it. The faith attitude is always "I am." It is never "I desire such and thus and want to have such and so." These attitudes are the beginning of the process that allows the cycle of faith to begin and illustrate the spiritual law of "ask and you shall receive, knock and the door shall open." Once the faith attitude is embraced, the value is always "I am." Thus the exertion of the attitude: "I am patient, I am trusting, I am hopeful; I am loving, I am kind. I am merciful, I am forgiving. I am one with the heavenly Father."
Perhaps the most difficult of the faith values to hold onto is trust. We may be able to exercise patience, even hope, but without the exercise of trust, we will never experience a tranquility of mind and spirit. This difficulty arises because of our twofold nature, one material and the other potentially spiritual. Faith has to be exercised in the material mind, and the material mind is skeptical of spiritual values. Apparently spiritual values are non-existent to the material mind. The material self is subject to the laws of material reality, and at this stage of our development we are often buffeted by the effects of these laws. And our minds cry for help from God. When this help is not forthcoming, the self becomes skeptical and sinks into despair and hopelessness. And the battle with doubt begins within the soul.
The only solution to this difficulty which is itself a faith solution is to exert faith in the very midst of the material difficulty. Such a self cries that regardless of the material difficulty, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the spiritual status of the self, except to further stimulate the growth and power of faith in the soul. And material difficulty has this effect because it stimulates the faith of the soul, causing the soul to become even closer to the heavenly Father.
But the greatest affirmation of faith in this life is to grasp the divine oneness while still living the life in the flesh. This precious gift is given to us by the Lord Jesus if we have the faith to accept it. Being free will creatures and being material, we must choose divine oneness, and the only way we can choose it is to choose it by faith, to wholeheartedly believe and live it as a factual and truth reality. When we do this, faith forthwith creates the spiritual reality for us. But in this life, we must remember that all spiritual values are provisionally in our souls. We have the power to reject them at any time short of actually fusing with the divine spirit, who is the source of this faith, though it is hard to understand why someone who has begun to experience the delights of sonship with the heavenly Father would choose to reverse them just because of temporal material difficulties. As the Apostle Paul stated, the sorrows and hardships of this life cannot be compared to the glories that awaits us.
Because we have the power to reject eternal survival while we are living the life in the flesh, it is important that we remain constant faith attitudes. This is done by dedicating and consecrating our wills to doing the Father's will. This decision will insure that our faith remains strong. By being consistent in our attitude, we allow a provisional value to become eternal in our souls. And we are increasingly transformed from the temporal to the eternal.
This concludes today's message on understanding the value of faith. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.