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 Copyright © June 2005

The Mission of Faith in Goodness...

A Lesson that Seems to Have Been Forgotten....

~written from the common sense perspective of The Winds of the Soul~

by Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.)

 
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But we must first understand what "faith in His Goodness" actually is and what it really means, as well as to how we are to specifically exercise it..., something that few Christian Churches today speak about plainly.

We will remember from last month's newsletter that I believe Goodness is something so central to God's Character and Being, that it necessarily becomes the fundamental requisite for all Happiness.  And because of this critical connection, it should be so central to our respective faiths.  Yet, I am often dismayed when I don't hear these priorities being preached in their totality from the pulpit, as if Faith in God, Goodness, and Happiness were somehow separable concepts.

So, in continuation of this informal treatise on Goodness, I thought this month we might begin to understand some of the more obvious, but nonetheless, less spoken proofs of Goodness from God's own Mouth, but more importantly, how through faith on His Word we are to come to understand what He means. 

But we must first understand what "faith in His Goodness" actually is and what it really means, as well as to how we are to specifically exercise it..., something that few Christian Churches today speak about plainly.  I believe that faith in His Goodness is the critical path required if we wish to understand His Word.

If you were God, and you were to write just 10 things down as an immutable Law and guide for correct conduct for your people throughout time and the cultural changes that were sure to come, what would they be? 

Copyright © 2005 Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.).  All Rights Reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, including but not limited to all forms of media print, audio, electronic and video reproduction, without the prior express and specific written content of the author, except in cases of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

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Thus, His wise priorities may seem to be a conundrum to us, and indeed may appear initially dated, odd, and cumbersome to our young minds.  Yet, if we're not careful, we can easily be misled to pridefully suggest to ourselves that His Commandments somehow don't apply to our lives, and so labeled, become quickly disregarded as some out-of-date religious mumbo-jumbo.  In this, of course, we would be very stupid, and moreover, very wrong.

I have often thought about the Lord's Ten Commandments and why these specific directions were given and not others.  They are no doubt now and were then ingenious, brilliant, and Divine admonitions, reflecting a deftly keen and deep understanding of the Human condition and our needs for this kind of council. 

But still, on the surface and except perhaps for a few, the Commandments are often understood as nonetheless "odd" choices to have been made...  admonitions that don't generally leap into obvious prominence as those most specifically needed, or those that would give us the most needed direction throughout the course of mankind's history. 

Thus, His wise priorities may seem to be a conundrum to us, and indeed may appear initially dated, odd, and cumbersome to our young minds.  Yet, if we're not careful, we can easily be misled to pridefully suggest to ourselves that His Commandments somehow don't apply to our lives, and so labeled, become quickly disregarded as some out-of-date religious mumbo-jumbo.  In this, of course, we would be very stupid, and moreover, very wrong.

The discerning student would not act so rash though..., faithfully determining in the wake of such ignorance that the Commandments must needs be continually studied and prayed about in order to be understood as God has intended.  That these are the Lord's Commandments, not someone else's, should suggest to our minds that deeper meaning and understanding can be found if we sincerely look for it with the right intentions of heart. 

Accordingly, the directions imparted from His Commandments are for our ultimate benefit, not His, and despite what we may initially perceive, these admonitions represent the shortest distance we must travel between Heaven and earth. 

These are superlative directives which are meant to be of sufficient council for the successful direction of His people.  Despite some other directed mandate that at first may seem grander and more marketable to our failing eyes... these Commandments were chosen, given, and remain with us for perpetuity.  Obviously, He did not cause these to be written down for us to be fooled or misled, but to be led within the path of His Light.

Moreover, believing that God does not perform anything in an ad hoc manner, we are left to conclude that within the economy of language used in the Commandments themselves, there must exist layers of meaning that we have not yet seen or appreciated, so that when finally understood and realized would blossom within our minds and hearts in all their intended beauty and glory, yielding a profoundness that would be testified by His Holy Spirit.

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I believe that with a little effort, faith in our Father, and the certitude that "Goodness" (as we have previously spoken about it in other newsletters) lies at the foundation of any understanding that comes from Him, we can begin to unravel these mysteries successfully.

We are reminded in Isaiah 55:8-9 that His Ways and Understanding, as of yet, are not ours---that we think differently than He does, and that He is far more intelligent than we are, enabling His understanding of things, and especially that of Goodness, to far exceed our own. 

{Isaiah 55:8-9} 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

And in this quest, the most obvious question that we should be asking ourselves after we have covenanted to obey them is:  "Why these and not other directives?.....  Why were these singled out and prioritized above other possibilities of Heavenly governance and rule...?  There must be reasons for them that we haven't yet figured out, or have yet to have been revealed to us."

For instance, why is the keeping of the Sabbath so important, and why is it specifically mentioned in priority even before the admonition of 'not to kill (i.e., Hebrew=murder)?'----all of which is fully explored within The Winds of Forgiveness and The Winds of the Soul. 

I believe that with a little effort, faith in our Father, and the certitude that "Goodness" (as we have previously spoken about it in other newsletters) lies at the foundation of any understanding that comes from Him, we can begin to unravel these mysteries successfully.

And the more we examine these directives and inquire into the mind of God that created them, we will become all the more impressed with His Brilliance, beginning to understand the nature of His Priorities, and how they differ from ours.  I believe that in all of His Word can be found layers of meanings just waiting for our discovery, layer upon layer of Goodness silently and eagerly awaiting our enquiry with the hope of persuading us to its cause.

But this "looking" must be done in a certain way, with a certain mindset attached, in order to be fruitful.  Otherwise the doors will be closed to our enquiry.  In other words, our mind's eye must be singularly focused on the Goodness of the Lord, believing that He is Good, and as such, He is not playing games with us.  Failing that, we've bungled the equation and the understanding of God will be kept from our minds and hearts. 

Put in another way, we are to simply have "faith" in Him, and most pointedly, have faith in His Goodness, in His Excellence.  So, please note that this is a particular kind of "faith"----calling not for just some faith or belief in His existence alone, but faith as to what manner of character He is..., faith that His Integrity of Goodness would remain constant and continuous from one situation to another...., the kind that asserts that under all conditions and without contradiction, He is fundamentally "Good" and is directed by "Goodness" itself. 

Moreover, having a faith in His Goodness specifically means that Goodness would pervade and permeate all that He does and has done.  Goodness would not only be found at the root of all His motives, all His intentions, and in everyone of His designs, but it would also be found as the fruit of His works, unto the tasting of the sweetness of the fruit itself.  Such a faith entails us to firmly and convincingly believe that in nothing His Hand would do, would there be an absence of that all-telling primordial Goodness.  Such underlying flavor and resonating pattern would be demonstrated throughout everything that concerns Him, and most importantly, be readily recognized and identified by any of us who go specifically looking for it. 

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For most of us, this generally means that we must exercise our faith and mind by holding onto the firm expectation of His Goodness while simultaneously demonstrating that we have and will actively refuse to accept any interpretation of His Word that does not testify of His Goodness and Loving Kindness.  Herein is found the key that so many of us don't understand and fail to practice.

That kind of faith and faithfulness takes (1) determination, (2) trust, and (3) confidence that He and His Goodness are Changeless and Eternal-----meaning, (1) a determination for us to keep wholly to this perspective and a consummate refusal to believe Him capable of performing contrary to the manner of Goodness -----(2) a trust in Him that Goodness will be found in everything that is about Him or of Him, or proceeds through Him-----and (3), a confidence that He cannot deviate from this one Eternal course of Goodness.

Only when we look into and query the nature and meaning of His Word as evidenced within the Scriptures with the resolution tuned to the above defined faith in His Goodness, will the meaning and profoundness of His Word begin to slowly open up to our minds. 

When we determine within ourselves to only accept the most loving and Goodly understanding, the veil of Heaven will be lifted and we will begin to see and understand anew, not from our eyes, but from His.  

These blossoming actualities are real.  They are an epiphany, and can be personally witnessed by any one of us determined to "see" by our faith in Him (as described above) and in consequence our minds may become enlightened.   Herein the saying that "seeing is not believing, but believing is seeing" becomes a reality. 

This experience is not simply a case drawn from psychological manipulation, or of some naive self-fulfilling prophecy, but one that follows a spiritual law independent from the human mind, but nonetheless one that the human mind and heart may follow and obey.

But this understanding and experience is only given to us after the trial of our faith..., that is, after we have proven that we hold true to our belief that He is and always will be Good, and is not capable of doing anything contrary to that mandate. 

For most of us, this generally means that we must exercise our faith and mind by holding onto the firm expectation of His Goodness while simultaneously demonstrating that we have and will actively refuse to accept any interpretation of His Word that does not testify of His Goodness and Loving Kindness.  Herein is found the key that so many of us don't understand and fail to practice.

This, then, becomes the test of our faith.  We must hold out for what we perceive to be the best, the most loving, the most Goodly interpretation and understanding of His Word, lest we mistakenly and hurriedly accept something that is unbecoming, soured, and weak coming from His Hand.  We must never take for His Doctrine or accept of His Goodly Character things which instead are withered, starved and miserable..., things which would deform the Gospels' fair proportions and dishonor His Mantle of Pure Goodness. 

Sadly, most Christians wrongly subordinate their understanding of these things to others, unwittingly giving away a right to exercise and practice their faith, relying upon others for absolute guidance with little or no questioning or interest.  Instead of growing in their faith of Him, and in Him, they largely surrender the opportunity for learning from His Spirit directly, and blindly get into the line that is led only by others that are more blind.....

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Sadly, most Christians wrongly subordinate their understanding of these things to others, unwittingly giving away a right to exercise and practice their faith, relying upon others for absolute guidance with little or no questioning or interest.  Instead of growing in their faith of Him, and in Him, they largely surrender the opportunity for learning from His Spirit directly, and blindly get into the line that is led only by the blind.....

 Surely, without knowing of His Divine Goodness, it is clearly impossible to have faith in Him.  After all, how can we have faith in someone we do not know, nor have taken the time to experience and witness the rudiments and interactions of their character?  On what basis do we then place our faith, but the wind? 

Without taking the time to learn of God and His Goodly Ways, and especially how different they are from the ways of the world, we remain duped and misdirected, conditioned and influenced only by the tyranny of appearances, treacherous superstitions, gossip and innuendo..., readied for any false doctrine that may be in vogue. 

So befooled and to our shame, we then prove entirely capable of then shutting the door on the Master, keeping Him away from us by mistaking Him for a thief, calling "Good" evil, and evil "Good."  And that sadly is what so many of us unwittingly do....  Assured and comforted by our own vanity and pride, we convince ourselves that we worship correctly, and that we know what we worship.  Nonetheless, we remain far from the Master's Design and Mission, indulging ourselves with the varying teachings of men instead of God.  Consequently, our faith is stagnant and misaligned to the ways of Heaven, and will yield no Goodly fruit.

Despite our waywardness, His Being remains changeless, as does the Goodness which constitutes His Primary Pattern.  Anything that is Good comes from Christ and His Father.  There is no other source, nor any other trajectory from which Goodness comes.  Man cannot define God or His Goodness; only God can.  And only by knowing Him, can we know of Goodness, and only in the experiencing of His Goodness and His Goodly Ways, can we know how to follow Him correctly, and know what faith we are to have in Him.  That's not double-talk.  That's the truth. 

In the interest of seeing these things more clearly, let's simplify the matter of faith in Goodness even further with an analogy.   Without us even being aware, we often practice the aspects of faith in many matters around us, yet astoundingly, never make the correcting connections with our spiritual life. 

Take for instance what happens when you eat a sun ripened peach.  Before the peach even reaches our mouth, we have already begun to anticipate its flavor, its juiciness, its sweetness, its creamy and soft texture.  In fact, because of such anticipation, most us would have already begun to salivate before the fruit is even tasted. 

The real tasting of the fruit simply becomes a confirmation of our previous expectations..., of our "faith" in what a delicious peach is supposed to taste like.  However, when and if we are met with less than this expectation, we generally spit it out like soured milk, knowing that it hasn't met or risen to our standards. 

Without our knowing it, we have just practiced and exercised a "faith" of sorts.  That is to say, we were led by a reasonable expectation, and when it was not fulfilled, we refused the matter, finding that its flavor was not good.  We were faithful to what we know is true and should be true of a sun-ripened peach.  And thus, we have taken the known (the sum total of our past and proven experiences of peaches) into the unknown (the eating of a new peach)----an act of extrapolating from the known into the unknown----which is, for all intensive purposes, an act of faith.

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This is remarkably the very thing we must do when we read the Scriptures or study and reflect upon His Word.  Here too, we must first fill our mind's eye with the anticipation of His Goodness, remembering the taste of His Goodness that we have experienced previously, holding onto this expectation up as our ongoing standard.  These are the prescriptive lenses we must look through as we read and study His Word. 

This is remarkably the very thing we must do when we read the Scriptures or study and reflect upon His Word.  Here too, we must first fill our mind's eye with the anticipation of His Goodness, remembering the taste of His Goodness that we have experienced previously, holding onto this expectation up as our ongoing standard.  These are the prescriptive lenses we must look through as we read and study His Word. 

If and when what we read, or what has been interpreted for us, does not measure up to the standard of Goodness we previously experienced from His Hand, then we should spit it out, just like we did for the bad peach or soured milk. 

By openly rebutting contrarian views which act to unfairly demean the character of His Goodness, and never willfully accepting anything that is unbecoming of Him or His Father, nor mistakenly take for Good that which is evil, neither reject that which is Good, thinking that it is evil, we demonstrate to Heaven that we have "faith in Him," faith in the integrity of His Goodness. 

This, in part, is what it means in having faith in His Name, His Character, His Word.  Our "faith" begins in knowing the Goodly Character of Jesus Christ, who perfectly represents and reveals to us the Character of Goodness instilled in His Father.  This understanding and personal witness of God's Loving Goodness in our lives becomes the basis of our faith.  And the practice and defense of our faith would then necessarily entail the open, intelligent, and reasonable refutation of any disparate challenge that seeks to tear down the integrity of His Goodness. 

Mind you, this doesn't in any way imply that we close our minds to further enquiry.  He wants us to test His Ways, and clearly invites us to do so, knowing that His Goodness will meet any sincere and honest challenge head-on and win with little effort!  We are never to hide our head in the sand, nor dull our intelligence over these matters.

Thus, contrary to what many believe of faith (i.e., that it's beyond reason and logic), the real faith in Goodness embraces both reason and logic at depths and heights to which secular humanists and academicians only aspire but never reach. 

Faith is not, therefore, and could never be and never has been, "blind,"----but rather raises the bar beyond that which most secular philosophies are able to compete, demanding that its realities of Goodness be examined at length from God's perspective, not man's alone.  Those that claim that faith is otherwise know not what they are talking about-----pure and simple!

Remember what Paul has said: 

{Hebrews 11:1 KJV}  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Here, the "substance of things" in the Greek means something that is substantial, has a weighty confidence about it, or has a grounding in something material and real, upon which hope may be legitimately based.  And similarly, "evidence," as Paul is using the term, is very specific as well.  It is not a variety of wishful thinking.  Rather, "evidence" is something real and tangible, something again, that many Christians have failed to understand. 

Yet, this kind of "substance" and "evidence" is only the beginning and portending of its hoped for promise. 

And there is even an easier way of understanding Paul's words:  The "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" is like that of holding a seed within the palm of our hand, and then understanding that lying within the seed is the potential and promise of fruit.  In fact, the seed is the actual "evidence" that fruit may one day grow from its core.  Therefore, the understanding of what a seed actually "is," that it specifically has life giving powers within it (as opposed to other things that we may choose to hold within our hand/mind that are inert and powerless) is that which is so critical for us to know, for the seed legitimately bears the hope for fruit. 

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But know this:  The value of the seed must be gleaned and verified by the Spirit from our own experiences.  Having passed this test, the seed must have already been differentiated from the pebble.  We must have already experienced and witnessed the seed as having powers of germination that the pebble most certainly does not.  We must know the inherent difference between the seed which promises life and the pebble that cannot.  So, the seed is the proof or the apriori  "evidence" that fruit may one day materialize...., although at the moment we hold the seed within our hand, the fruit is not yet seen.

In contrast, if we held just a pebble within our hand rather than a seed, we would have no legitimate reason to hope for fruit.  Yet many people do just that, don't they?  They unwittingly hold onto a worthless pebble (i.e., secular humanism, leftist Christianity) and then superstitiously believe that someday it will be able to bear fruit----and this they mistakenly call "faith," which of course it isn't.   

Again, the seed is the tangible "evidence," if planted and cared for, that fruit will one day come from the seed. 

But know this:  The value of the seed must be gleaned and verified by the Spirit from our own experiences.  Having passed this test, the seed must have already been differentiated from the pebble.  We must have already experienced and witnessed the seed as having powers of germination that the pebble most certainly does not.  We must know the inherent difference between the seed which promises life and the pebble that cannot.  So, the seed is the proof or the apriori  "evidence" that fruit may one day materialize...., although at the moment we hold the seed within our hand, the fruit is not yet seen.

And let us remember what Paul is specifically speaking about here.  The "thing" that we are to hope for and have faith in, is to be Good....  After all, we all hope that we may be Good someday.  It is something that is basic to our constitution, for God has so placed that hope and desire for His Purity and subsequent Happiness within us----the hope that we may be "Good" and inherit all the Goodly consequences after the order of God and Jesus Christ. 

Moreover, the very "evidence" of our portending Goodness of which Paul is specifically speaking, is the Lord's Seed-Pattern from which His Spirit may be directly experienced within us...., an evidence that each of us has been given of God from our beginning. 

Such evidence of Goodness occurs within us in countless ways if we would allow our sensitivity some place..., as when experiencing an act of compassion and kindness being given to another, or when touched by the innocence of a child, or even when experiencing a moving scene in an old movie.  The resonations of Goodness and their proofs are in constant symphony around us, if we would only listen.

Though this experience has not yet "fruited" within us, per say, (i.e., just because we experience this resonation of Goodness, doesn't yet mean that we have fully ripened into being "Good"), but it is evidence that the fruit may well be expected if we care for His Seed-Pattern and treat it respectfully within us, following its admonition and inspiration. 

And please note, that these experiences of His Spirit resonating within us are not intangible just because we cannot see them....they are not smoke and mirrors.  Remember the sweetness of the peach is beyond just the witnessing that such a thing as a peach exists.  The personal experience of the complexities of flavor and aroma of a peach cannot be physically seen, but the flavor and aroma of a ripened peach is nonetheless alive and real when it is experienced, though we cannot take a photograph of it or even prove to another the reality of our experience.

So is the value and feelings of Goodness to which His Spirit testifies.  Just as as clouds eventually move away from the sun, so we will begin to see anew, gather new insight and glean more understanding when we follow the ways of His Goodness.

And when we have developed and applied such faith in His Goodness, when we have exercised this faith by refusing to believe the worst and instead embrace the best in Him, our mind and heart become more open and receptive to His Understanding.  Then and only then will we be able to experience His Commandments as well as the Scriptures opened to our understanding.  In my opinion, this is the great key missing from most Christian teaching.

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About the Author:  Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.) is a Clinical Psychologist and Neuroscientist having been educated abroad where he completed his postgraduate studies at King’s College, the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and then graduated and received his Doctorate from the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. He has been in private clinical practice and medical research for over 25 years, being active as an author, popular radio and TV personality, public speaker, and biomedical researcher. An expert in a number of fields including Forensic/Criminal Psychology, Child and Family/Relationship Psychology, and Neuropsychology.  He has also served as an expert scientific advisor, product innovator and formulator, and professional consultant to the Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries. He is the author of The Winds of the Soul~Heaven’s First Voice To Us, as well as numerous other scholarly papers and works.

 

 

 

 

Nevertheless, many there are that call themselves Christian, but are truly unaware of the necessity of believing in and understanding His Goodness.  Many there are that simply profess a belief in Christ, yet remain stubbornly unwilling to make the connection between Goodness and Christ.  As it has been written, truly, many call on His Name, but their hearts are far from Him, because their hearts have persistently resisted the instruction in the ways of His Goodness, thwarting the resonations of their conscience and from His Spirit.

{Matthew 15:7-8}   7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,  8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

So it is, without the critical understanding and knowledge of Goodness, without our "treasure" or priority of being "Good" itself, our faith is vain, for it demonstrates little or no connection with His Spirit, and hence, the ways of Goodness.  We are reminded that  where our "treasure" is, there also will be our heart (Matthew 6:21).  Thus, if our heart has priorities other than Goodness, our faith can hardly expect to work----the spiritual circuit with Heaven will be disabled.....

Thus, it is literally impossible to legitimately profess faith in His Name, and not want to be Good, or be unaware of His Nature..., namely, that He is Good. 

But isn't that what so many of us Christians attempt to do?  We parse the Gospel into a social code of sorts, a doctrine that is to be followed blindly, without question and without any understanding of the Goodness of which Christ testifies.  Nor do we ever exercise and discover our deep and critically essential desires for Goodness that He has so long ago place lovingly inside us.   

Though we may acknowledge Him as being all-powerful, we have yet to fully comprehend that it is His Goodness that is the basis of all His Power, the Kingdom, and Glory.  And that it is directly because of His Goodness that we are directed to worship Him, so that we may, through the process of having such faith, learn to esteem and nurture His Seed Pattern (that which He "authored") within us, so that the seed may bring forth its promised Goodness (i.e. making us and "finishing" us, after the order of His Image).  In other words, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2).  

Worse than the Greeks in Paul's time (for today's Christians should know better) many of us continue to worship an unknown God whose image of Goodness becomes more obscure and further removed from our hearts. 

And as goes the nation's faith, so goes the nation's security and prosperity....  Is it any wonder then, that the Judeo-Christian standards which have so blessed this nation are now in peril?  Neglect the mission of faith in Goodness, and the milk will surely sour.  

 

 

Why don’t you take a moment and become part of the discussion.  Of course, more of this discussion can be gleaned from in the books.  Share with me your perspective, questions, and comments; tell me what you think of all this by emailing me.


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