Copyright © 1993 by Lee Woofenden. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 7

Faith

108 Since faith does not exist where there is no kindness, we cannot possibly know what the essential nature of faith is unless we know what kindness is. Kindness and faith work together in the same way that goodness and truth do. Whatever we love and care about, we think of as good, and whatever we believe, we think of as true. So clearly there is the same kind of union between kindness and faith as there is between goodness and truth. You can see what this union is like from what I said before about goodness and truth.

109 The union between kindness and faith is also like the union between our motivation and our understanding. These two capabilities are what receive goodness and truth--our motivation receives goodness, and our understanding receives truth. So these two capabilities also receive kindness and faith, since goodness relates to kindness, and truth relates to faith.

Everyone knows that kindness and faith are inside of us. Since they are inside us, the only place they could be is in our motivation and our understanding, because that is where all our life force is, and where it comes from. We have memory, too, but memory is just an entrance hall where things that will become a part of our motivation and understanding gather.

So clearly kindness and faith are united in the same way that motivation and understanding are. You can see what this union is like from what I said before about motivation and understanding.

110 Kindness unites itself with faith in us when we want to bring about what we know and realize. Wanting has to do with kindness, and knowing and realizing have to do with faith. Faith comes into us and becomes part of us when we want and love what w e know and realize. Until then, it is outside us.

111 Faith does not become faith in us unless it becomes spiritual, and it does not become spiritual unless it comes from love. It comes from love when we love to live out truth and goodness--that is, to live according to what the Bible tells us to do.

112 Faith is a love for truth that we have from wanting the truth just because it is true. Wanting the truth because it is true is what spirituality actually is. It is detached from materialistic thinking, which is wanting truth not for its own sake, but to build up our own fame, reputation, or profit. When truth is detached from these kinds of things, it is spiritual, since it comes from the divine. Everything that comes from the divine is spiritual and is united with us through love. Love is spiritu al union.

113 We can know, think, and understand many things, but when we are thinking about them all by ourselves, we reject anything that is not in harmony with our love. We also reject these things after our life in the physical body is over, when we are liv ing on the spiritual level. Only what has become a part of our love lasts as part of our spiritual self. After death, we consider everything else to be alien to us, and we throw it out of our house because it has nothing to do with what we love.

I say "part of our spiritual self" because after death we live as spirits.

114 You can get an idea of how goodness relates to kindness and how truth relates to faith by thinking about the sun's light and heat. When the light coming from the sun is combined with warmth, as it is in spring and summer, everything on earth sprou ts and blooms. But when there is no warmth in the light, as happens in winter, everything on earth becomes dormant and dies off. Spiritual light is the truth that makes up faith, and spiritual warmth is love.

From this you can get an idea of what religious people are like when their faith is combined with kindness--they are like gardens and orchards. But religious people whose faith is not combined with kindness are like deserts or snow-covered land.

115 When the trust and confidence called "faith" is only faith by itself, it is a materialistic trust and assurance, not a spiritual one. (I am talking about the kind of faith that is called "saving faith.") Spiritual trust and confidence gets its ess ential nature and its life force from the goodness of love, not from the true ideas in faith disconnected from love. Trust in a faith that is not connected with love is a dead trust. So when we live a destructive life, we cannot have a genuine trust. Trus ting that we will be "saved" because the Lord has earned it from the Father for us, no matter how we have lived, is not a genuine faith either.

When we have a spiritual faith, we do have confidence that we will be saved by the Lord. We believe that the Lord came into the world to give eternal life to people who believe and live according to the principles he taught, and that this is how we a re reborn and become fit for heaven. We also realize that the Lord does this for us out of pure compassion, with no help from us.

116 Believing what the Bible or our religion teaches without living according to it may seem to be faith--and some people think they are saved by this kind of faith. However, this faith does not save anyone by itself. It is a deceptively convincing fa ith, and I will describe what it is like:

117 A deceptively convincing faith is when we believe and love the Bible and our religion's teachings not because we want to know the truth and live by it, but because we are seeking profit, status, and a scholarly reputation. When we have this kind o f faith we do not focus our attention on the Lord and heaven, but on ourselves and the world.

A desire to be rich and powerful in the world makes us more strongly convinced than people without this desire that our religion's teachings are true. This is because our religion's teachings are just a means of achieving our goals, and we love and b elieve in the means as strongly as we have a desire to achieve our goals.

Here is what it is really like: To the extent that we are absorbed in burning selfishness and materialistic love, so that we talk, preach, and act from this fire inside us, we are caught up in a deceptively convincing faith. The thought that our beli efs may not be true never enters our minds. But when we are not absorbed in this burning love, we hardly believe in them, and many people do not believe them at all.

So, clearly, a deceptively convincing faith comes out of our mouth, but not from our heart--which means that it is not faith at all.

118 When we are caught up in a deceptively convincing faith, we have no inner enlightenment as to whether the things we teach are true or false. We do not even care about that. All we care about is whether the masses of people believe what we say. We do not love the truth for its own sake.

For this reason, if we lose the respect and profit we get from our faith, we also lose interest in it--provided our reputation does not suffer as a result. This deceptively convincing faith is not deep inside us. It is just superficial knowledge in o ur memory, which we can draw on when we are teaching people. This "faith" disappears after death, along with any truth there was in it. Only faith that is deep inside us lasts--faith that is rooted in goodness and has become a part of our life.

119 This passage from Matthew refers to people who are caught up in a deceptively convincing faith:

On that day, many people will say to me, "Lord, Lord, haven't we prophesied in your name, thrown demons out in your name, and done many powerful things in your name?"

But I will tell them, "I do not recognize you, . . . you people who practice oppression." (Matthew 7:22-23)

And in Luke:

Then you will start saying, "We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets."

But he will say, "I tell you, I do not know where you came from. Get away from me, all you people who practice oppression!" (Luke 13:26-27)

This is also the meaning of the five foolish virgins in Matthew who did not have oil in their lamps:

Finally, those virgins will come and say, "Lord, Lord, open the door for us!"

But he will answer them, "I tell you the truth: I do not recognize you." (Matthew 25:11-12)

"Having oil in their lamps" means having the goodness that comes from love within their faith.

Chapter 8

Back to Contents