August 15th, 2007
by admin · Filed Under: Blog
ARE YOU READY?
Are you ready to move to a new level of awareness? Are you ready to move to a new level of consciousness?
Recently, a person in church said to me, “You know, I’ve been attending now for six years. I’ve sat out in the congregation and I’ve listened to the messages and I’ve heard the lessons and I’ve participated in many different activities, but I’ve never applied the spiritual principles to myself, to my life.” She said, “I’ve heard something and I’ve said to myself, ‘Oh, isn’t that beautiful!’ but I’ve never applied it to my own life.” Then she said, “Now I’m ready!”
So we’re talking about some action here, aren’t we? In order to re-activate our power of Faith we need to take action.
So often, we are over-read and underdone.
It’s like the student who came to a Unity minister with a problem that he wanted to share. He poured out his problem and the minister said to him, “Well, I think this may help you. I know you’ve been studying but I’m not sure if you’ve really read “Lessons in Truth” yet.” “Oh, yes,” he said, “I’ve read Lessons in Truth, I’ve read scores of self-help books, I’ve read lots of metaphysical books, but none of them have helped me.”
The minister looked at him gently and said, “Well, I think it might be a good idea to start again and start with Lessons in Truth, start reading what you know about until you know it. As you’re reading, a good idea is to come to something that you have to do and stop, whether it is a change of attitude, a change of thought or feeling, or some action. And then, carry out that action. And then you can carry on again reading after that. But every time you come to something to do, do it. Then you’ll not only know about it, you’ll know it! You will know it, with the whole of your being.”
Jesus said, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
I find that it doesn’t matter what is done for me, I never gain full satisfaction until I’m able to apply those principles. Isn’t that true for you? It only comes from taking action ourselves.
We can read about things, we can have people pray for us; we can talk with others about truth principles, but until we really apply them for ourselves there is no fulfillment, no satisfaction.
The religion of Jesus is not for weaklings. The teachings of Unity are not for armchair religious people. They are not for Sunday-only people. The teachings of Jesus require much from us. They promise much, but they also require much from us. They require that we practice the principles, that we forgive and as we forgive so we are forgiven. They require that we take time for prayer and meditation, that we set aide our doubts and fears, and that we move forward in the way that the spirit of God within us is directing us.
IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO PROFESS OUR FAITH
It’s not enough to profess our faith. We have also to express our faith. And we express it through action, through activity.
Abraham, the father of Israel, represents faith and obedience. Listen to what it says in Gen 12:1-2 (read). And he set out, not knowing where he was to go, to receive the blessing from God.
Faith is the foundational power of the twelve powers which are the transforming agents of the one presence and one power of God within you. These powers are not something you have to get from somewhere; they are inherent within you as part of your inheritance from God. Charles Fillmore, in his seminal work “The Twelve Powers of Man,” identified specific centers in the body which each act as a kind of transformer to quicken the particular power into activity. The center for faith is the pineal gland in the center of the brain, just about level with the eyes and ears.
Belief is not the same as faith; belief is the activator of faith. When you believe something, then faith is the power that brings that which you believe into visibility. Faith goes where your attention is centered. When you believe your good can be drawn to you then your faith moves it into expression.
Faith is your ability to say “Yes” to God. Faith is your ability to draw your good from the invisible to the visible.
EXERCISING YOUR FAITH
How do you actively involve yourself in the process of drawing your good from God? You do so by exercising your faith.
Sig Paulson, in his book “Your Power to Be,” said, “Faith can be defined and explained in enough ways to fill the books of a great library, but the only way to know what it is is to put it to work. For as it says in James 2:26, ‘Faith without works is dead’.”
It is significant that Jesus, in doing his healing work, always required some action. To the man with the withered hand, he said “Stretch forth your hand.” To the man who had lain by the pool of Bethesda for 38 years, waiting for someone to put him into the pool, he said, “Do you want to be healed?” Then he said, “Take up your bed and walk.” To the blind man, whose eyes he had anointed with spittle and mud, Jesus said, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means “sent”).
You’ll remember the occasion when Jesus was on the shores of the Lake Genneserat. He was standing there and the people were gathered around him, so much so that he was pressured against the lake. (Luke 5) He looked around and he saw two boats there, one belonging to Simon (who became Simon Peter) and the other to one of his friends. Jesus asked Simon, “Put your boat out just a little way and I’ll get in it, then I’ll speak to the people from there.” The name “Simon” means “hearing,” which represents receptivity. So he did what Jesus asked of him, and Jesus then spoke from the boat to all the people that were thronging around him on the shore.
When Jesus had finished teaching, he said to Simon, “Now put out into the deep and let down your nets.” Simon said to him, “Master, we have toiled all night all to no avail. We did not catch anything. But at your word, I will let down my nets.” So he puts out into the deep, lets down his nets, and they were filled with so many fish that the nets were almost breaking and he had to call the other fishermen to come and help him with all of the fish. The other fishermen were Andrew, Simon’s brother and fishing partner; and James and John, sons of Zebedee.
It was right at that point that Jesus said to them, to those four fishermen, “Now you will no longer be fishers of fish, but fishers of men.” And they followed him from that point on.
“Put out into the deep.” How many of us can do that? How many of us will take him at his word and do that? What would it mean for you at this time in your life, to put out into the deep?
It could mean exercising your faith in the midst of an illness, or in a certain job, or in a particular relationship.
It could mean doing something that you’ve put off doing for a long time, even though in your heart you really want to do it. Maybe it’s getting back into the painting that you’ve neglected; or perhaps it’s going ahead and writing the book or novel that you feel is in you to write.
It could mean deciding to take a series of Unity Institute extension courses for credit in a Unity church.
It could mean that you’ll decide to go to a Retreat at Unity Village or perhaps go for one or two weeks study in the Spiritual Education and Enrichment program at Unity Institute.
You may decide to work toward becoming a Licensed Unity Teacher or even a Unity Minister.
You may decide to follow your guidance to move to a different city or a different state or even a different country.
Whenever we step out, whenever we utilize faith as initiative or action – then there is a change of context. We begin to see things differently.
That’s why we find in just about all cultures there is a tradition that allows individuals to go on a “vision quest” of some kind, to bring about an inner awakening.
That can also happen when a group of like-minded people travel together to other countries. It brings a change of context; it gives a whole new viewpoint. And the group develops a bond that could not occur in any other way.
Some people have traveled with me to different countries such as the United Kingdom, China, and India.
We each have special memories of those times, spiritual moments that deepened our sense of oneness.
I especially remember standing in the ruins of Coventry Cathedral in front of a wooden cross put together out of the burned beams of the old building that was bombed during the Second World War, and the new, modern Cathedral built alongside it. And I remember the feeling of being allowed inside Stonehenge with our group at sunset after all the other visitors had gone.
In China, my memories include the fascination of being in the Forbidden City, climbing the steps of the Great Wall of China, joining with our whole group in doing Tai Chi in a park like area at one of the wonderful places we visited, and seeing and feeling the wonder of the excavation site of the ten thousand terra cotta warriors in Xian.
In India, I particularly remember my first view of the Taj Mahal in Agra and of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, a crazy rickshaw ride through the narrow streets of a bazaar in Old Delhi, and a very special moment standing in the River Ganges and sending off a prayer basket down the river.
There are many, many memories like this that have deepened my connection with a broader picture of our world and its people, buildings, cultures, and traditions.
It takes daring to put out into the deep, to go into untried waters, to move in new directions; it may not always be comfortable and can bring special challenges. It also takes daring to bring forth new ideas that may be ridiculed by others, ideas that may be original in the whole of humanity, that may be new to the whole human race.
We can think back in our history to people who have dared, people who have put out in the deep. Think of Copernicus, who said that the earth is not the center of the universe; and Columbus, who said that the earth is round and is not flat. Think of Benjamin Franklin, who tried to capture lightning in a jar; and Edison, who tried to use this fire from heaven to dispense with kerosene and gaslights and use it to create electricity and to propel machinery. Think of Louis Pasteur, who dared to face the scorn of his fellow physicians when he introduced his germ theory. Think of these people who dared, and changed our world. Think of the Wright brothers, who dared to say that they could fly and soar in the skies; and did so, and showed us how to do it.
It takes faith, but it takes more than just faith. It takes acting on our faith.
Someone, and it could be you, will dare to put out into the deep. Today. Or this week. Someone, and it can be you. Someone will fail, but will try again, and again, and again.
Simon Peter succeeded in that particular instance we mentioned in catching those fish, but at other times he failed, didn’t he? He succeeded for a little while in walking on the water, and then he began to sink when he looked around and saw the waves, until Jesus stretched forth his hand to him. And then at the close of Jesus’ ministry when terrible things were happening, we find that Peter denied Jesus three times in as many hours. But yet he tried again. He tried again many times; and he persisted. And because he persisted, we find he actually became the embodiment of faith. In Unity, we recognize Peter as the disciple that represents faith.
You will recall that Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” They said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter and upon this rock will I build my church.”
THE PERCEIVING POWER OF FAITH
The perceiving power of faith sees the truth of God’s presence and power within us, and enables us to become what we can if we will but step out on it.
Charles Fillmore said “Faith is the perceiving power of the mind linked with the power to shape substance” and “spiritual faith includes unfailing assurance and immediate response.”
Faith helps you to see with new eyes, to look at new options that you hadn’t seen before.
There’s the story of a young man, a strong young man, who worked on a building construction site. But he was always bragging about his strength, that he could anything that no one else could do and he was picking on some of the older people that were there on the construction site, putting them down and laughing at them. This one older man got tired of all that, and he turned and said to the young man, “Look, put your money where your mouth is. I bet you a week’s wages that I can haul something in that wheelbarrow from here to the other building over there that you can’t haul back.” The young man looked at him and said, “Old man, you’re on. Show me what you’ve got.” So the older man took the wheelbarrow and said, “Get in it!”
We have to take the initiative. We must step out on faith; not just profess it, but express it. And to express that power, it takes action.
There are three steps by which we may come into the realization and the activation of the nature of the kingdom of God within us.
Those three steps are:
First, we need to know our oneness in God. Not just know about, but to know. Second, we need to dare. And then we must do. Those three steps. And one thing more: in the days of preparation, to be silent. So often, we blow off so much steam that we don’t leave enough to get us going.
There’s a story that I remember from way back about an old steam paddle stern-wheeler on the Columbia River. It would generate a big head of steam to get the paddles turning, but when the whistle blew the paddles would stop.
We’re like that sometimes, we generate a big head of steam but we blow off so much steam that we don’t have enough to get us going where we’re supposed to be going.
The only thing that really gives us that head of steam is turning to the true source of power, which is the presence and power of God within us. That’s the only place where we’ll find it.
As we begin to sense oneness with God’s presence and power within, we are empowered to move forward toward our dreams and goals, and the desires of our heart. We find an alignment with Spirit and we begin to achieve much more easily than we ever could have otherwise; we can affirm with conviction “God in me works to will and to do what he wishes me to do, and God cannot fail!”
Re-Activate Your Faith
Rev. Alan Rowbotham, a Unity minister for more than thirty-five years, invites you to enjoy more articles on Spiritual Solutions and/or subscribe to the free Spiritual Solutions newsletter at www.spiritualsolutionsblog.com Feel free to share this article in its entirety with a friend. You can reproduce and publish the article if you also include this reference box. Thank you.