THE POWER OF FAITH RIGHTLY PLACED
Our theme for the month is: Ultimate Power Tools! In your workroom at home, power tools make any job go smoother, quicker and easier than do hand tools. We also have spiritual power tools - they are power tools -- for living!
Emma Curtis Hopkins -- a woman who knew about spiritual power tools once said: "We have unlimited POWER. If we do not USE that power it does not alter the fact that it is our INHERITANCE."a
Last Sunday we talked about the Power of Enthusiasm -- the recognition of the Presence of God within and activating/stirring up that power by proclaiming God as expressed through our Good; explored so wonderfully in Emma Curtis Hopkin's Scientific Christian Mental Practice.
Today our Spiritual Power Tool is "Faith", not just any faith but "Faith Rightly Placed." Because our faith is either the source of our power or the cause of our distress.
Let me say that again because it is a very, very, very important concept: Our faith is either the source of our power or the cause of our distress.
I've heard people say, "well, I just need more faith" or "if I only had enough faith." Those statements are actually quite inaccurate. We all, always have enough faith. In fact, we have an enormous amount of faith. The question is . . . IN WHAT do we have our faith?!
In The Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes writes: "Someone has said that the entire world is suffering from one big fear . . . the fear that God will not answer our prayers. Let us analyze the fears which possess us . . . The fear of lack is nothing more than the belief that God does not, and will not, supply us with whatever we need . . . The fear of loss of health, loss of friends, loss of property -- all arise from the belief that God is not all that we claim: Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence. So what, then, is fear? Nothing more or less than the negative use of faith . . faith misplaced. . . . To correct all the evils of the world would be but to have faith rightly placed, a faith that lays hold of the beneficence of God, the Unity of all life, and the integrity of the Universe."b
Let me say that last part again: "To correct all the evils of the world would be but to have faith rightly placed, a faith that lays hold of the beneficence of God, the Unity of all life, and the integrity of the Universe."
We all have plenty of faith, in fact we have an abundance of faith - we have faith in lack, faith in limitation, faith in sickness, faith in failure, faith in poverty, faith in failed relationships, etc. etc. We don't need more of that! That, my friends, is MISPLACED faith.
So where is that well-placed faith? Well, in God, of course! Like the fiancé in this story . . .
A Jewish girl brings her fiancé home to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother tells her father to find out about the young man. He invites the fiancé to his study for schnapps.
"So, son, what are your plans?" the father asks the fiancé.
"I am a Torah scholar," he replies.
"A Torah scholar," the father says. "Admirable, but how will you buy my daughter a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?" asks the father.
"I will study," the young man replies, "and God will provide for us."
"And what will you do to give her a nice house to live in, as she's accustomed to?" the father asks.
"I will concentrate on my studies," the young man replies, "God will provide for us."
"And children?" asks the father. "How will you support children?"
"Don't worry, sir, I will study, and God will provide," replies the fiancé.
The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father questions, the fiancé insists that God will provide.
Later, the mother asks, "How did it go?" The father answers, "I've got bad news and I've got good news. The bad news is -- he has no job and no plans, but the good news is -- he thinks I'm God."
OK -- not quite like that! But, faith rightly placed is faith in God.
Because ministers talk a lot about faith in God (I've talked a lot about faith in God) and because that is such a big, general statement, this morning I want to get very specific by looking at three ways we can place our faith in God! Because the POWER lies in these ways! They are:
1. Faith in the idea that the Universe is Conspiring for our Good
2. Faith in the Workings of the Law
3. Faith in Ourselves
1. FAITH IN THE IDEA THAT THE UNIVERSE IS CONSPIRING FOR OUR GOOD
Faith in the idea that the Universe is Conspiring for our Good
Ernest Holmes always started his radio program with this statement: THERE IS POWER FOR GOOD IN THE UNIVERSE GREATER THAN YOU ARE AND YOU CAN USE IT!c
Emma Curtis Hopkins in Scientific Christian Mental Practice wrote: "People often know the 'promise' passages of the Bible by heart, but when trouble strikes them they have no confidence in them as absolute Truth. Just once holding on to them when you are in trouble would give you a good start in faith. Holding on to the great principles set forth in Scripture, while you are in trouble, will invigorate your character marvelously. It is the very mystery of godliness. How sure people are to come out right who have a strong, honest confidence that they will come out right!"d
As Michael Beckwith often says, "Our job is not to SET THINGS RIGHT, but to SEE THEM RIGHTLY!"e Now that's faith placed rightly! Say with me: "The Universe is Conspiring for My Good!"
Hopkins writes: "God is Life. Thus, we are to have confidence in Life as the outcome. . . . Life will win. We must be firm on this point. God is Truth. We must believe that the truth about the Good will always act. We must be sure of it."f
Moses said, "Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today."g
Paul said, "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against all."h
Jesus said, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."i
Faith rightly placed is the faith that says: "Yes, there is a power for good in the Universe!" It is moving away from a belief in duality. We say we don't believe in duality (God and . . . ), but I'm not sure that's really true.
Rev. Johnnie Colemon for over 40 years preached a single message, "God's desire for everyone is absolute good."j
Her own healing journey began when she was diagnosed with an incurable disease in the early 1950s and decided to change her own prognosis from six months to live to a long lifetime. And she did this by turning away from the condition and toward the idea that "God's desire for her was absolute good, which included a long healthy life."
She once wrote: "God knows nothing of arthritis, diabetes, cancer, tuberculosis, or AIDS. Resolve this moment to pray for the elimination of these illusions from the minds of all men and women, thus eliminating them from the bodies of all humankind."k
An eccentric philosophy professor gave a one-question final exam after a semester dealing with a broad array of topics. The class was already seated and ready to go when the professor picked up his chair, plopped it on his desk and wrote on the board:
"Using everything we have learned this semester, prove that this chair does not exist."
Fingers flew, erasers erased, notebooks were filled in furious fashion. Some students wrote over 30 pages in one hour attempting to refute the existence of the chair. One member of the class however, was up and finished in less than a minute.
Weeks later when the grades were posted, the rest of the group wondered how he could have gotten an A when he had barely written anything at all. His answer consisted of two words: "What chair?"
What arthritis, diabetes, cancer, tuberculosis, AIDS, poverty, loneliness, etc., etc? We often struggle trying to find all the reasons we have for fear, sickness, etc. In spiritual truth it does not exist.
Fillmore tells us in the book Prosperity: ". . . begin to seek [the] Kingdom of God's substance. Trust in the promise and see the result in the mental currents that are set in motion all about us. You may not be able to see at just what point success began, or what separate word of allegiance to the Father first took effect, but as the weeks or months go by, you will observe many changes taking place in your mind, your body and your affairs. . . [Your] consciousness of an omnipotent hand guiding all your affairs will establish you in confidence and security. . . Things will be coming your way, being added unto you indeed according to the promise."l
Faith rightly placed is the knowing that spiritual substance is all around us, waiting to be formed. This is what Jesus meant when he said: " Ask, and it will be given to you."m
If the good were not already ours in the invisible supply, it would be impossible for us to procure it in any manner.
2. FAITH IN THE WORKINGS OF THE LAW
Faith in the Workings of the Law
At James 5:15 we are given a powerful message about faith. "The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up."n
What is the prayer of faith? Jesus clearly taught that Spiritual Power works through us at the level of our belief, implying it is done unto us by some impersonal Principle, a Principle which knows not who uses it, but knows only Its own ability to do. It will do as quickly for one as for another. The Law is no respecter of persons but works alike for each and all.
FAITH is an affirmative way of using this Law, this Energy, this Force.
Fillmore speaks to it in Talks on Truth when he writes: "Jesus demonstrated the law of God, and His word was with power. He became the Word of God incarnate, because He fulfilled all the requirements of the law. This fulfillment is the privilege of every man. Whoever dedicates his whole life to the supreme good and by devotion, right thinking, right doing, right acting, pure living, and pure speaking fulfills the law, may have all the power of Jesus. God is no respecter of persons, but He requires an exact observance of the law to the least jot and tittle."o
That is the power that is available to us. Sadly we don't use it productively as often as we could. Most people do not deliberately offer thought, instead they let their thoughts drift to whatever is happening around them.
When was the last time you used affirmative prayer or simply asked the Universe - because it is all the same thing you know - for help with a project, a meeting with your boss, or a new client, or a difficult situation at home or with a friend. The more we turn to Source for daily assistance - for guidance, the more in tune with the Universal Good we will be.
In The Science of Mind, in large bold letters it says: "The things that we need we are to ask for - and we are to believe that we receive them!"p
We are surrounded by a Law which is creative. It moves from thought to a thing. Unless there is first an image, it cannot move. It responds to our thought. It doesn't reason, it responds only to our thought. Our asking!
Faith rightly placed is a belief that this Law is operating on our word.
3. FAITH IN OURSELVES
Faith in Ourselves
Finally, faith rightly placed is faith in ourselves.
You have the power to create life-giving experiences. This is not only your own life--this is Life living through You. This is God living through you.
Now, why is that such a wonderful and such an important thing? When will you get that You are extensions of Source Energy? You are individualized expressions of God Itself. You have come into this physical body as the leading edge...hear that: the Leading Edge Extension of Source Energy, to quote Abraham.
You are the further-most focus of this Energy that creates Worlds; You are creative genius and You have access to all of this Energy.q
So, act as if. Taking a leap does mean you must move! MOVE confidently in the direction of your dreams because "Faith without works is dead,"r but works with faith, well, in the words of Meister Eckhart: "There is nothing else a man can do that is so beautiful as to put complete trust in God. God never failed anyone who trusted Him greatly, but rather, through him, God does great things."s
So, I ask this morning: Does your faith move mountains or do mountains move your faith?
It's not the power of your faith that moves mountains, but your faith in the power of God as expressed through:
* The Universe conspiring for your Good;
* The absolute workings of the Law
* You -- as an expression of the Divine.
Use this poem to remind you to use your power tool of faith rightly placed:
Doubt sees the obstacles - Faith sees the way.
Doubt sees the darkest night - Faith sees the day.
Doubt dreads to take a step - Faith soars on high.
Doubt questions, "Who believes?" - Faith answers, "I."
And so it is!
aEmma Curtis Hopkins, Scientific Christian Mental Practice
bErnest Holmes The Science of Mind p. 156
dEmma Curtis Hopkins Scientific Christian Mental Practice, p. 74
fEmma Curtis Hopkins Scientific Christian Mental Practice, p. 75
jRev. Johnnie Colemon
kRev. Johnnie Colemon
lCharles Fillmore Prosperity p 39
oCharles Fillmore Talks on Truth p. 43
pErnest Holmes The Science of Mind p 458
qAbraham Esther Hicks
sMeister Eckhart, German mystic, late 1200's