Lessons In Truth - Lesson 8 - Annotation 1
What is spiritual understanding, and how is it attained? How did Peter know that Jesus was the Christ?
1. Spiritual understanding is the revelation of Truth by Spirit to man's consciousness. It comes when man turns his attention consciously to God and recognizes his oneness with Him. No matter what tasks we face, what challenges we have to meet, what decisions are to be made, each one of us may contact God through prayer. Prayer awakens our soul so that we may receive the spiritual understanding to say and do the right things. Turning to our Father-Mother God is the only way to attain true spiritual understanding.
"Understanding is a spiritual birth, a revelation of God within the heart of man" (Emilie Cady Lessons In Truth 8:2). "This revelation of Truth to the consciousness of a person is spiritual understanding" (Emilie Cady Lessons In Truth 8:4). Spiritual understanding brings awareness of the coming of the Comforter to ... hearts and lives, giving them power over every form of sin. sickness, sorrow, and over even death itself" (Emilie Cady Lessons In Truth 8:8). It brings realization of "the ever-abiding inner presence of the Most High, God" (Emilie Cady Lessons In Truth 8:9), a "consciousness of the indwelling Father" (Emilie Cady Lessons In Truth 8:14). which is "the divine voice within ... saying, 'Come up higher,' Lessons in Truth 8:15). "Spiritual understanding is in reality a 'gift of God'" (Emilie Cady Lessons In Truth 8:28), which is attained in a step-by-step process of soul unfoldment as one sincerely desires and consciously feels after it.
Since spiritual understanding is a "gift of God" it can neither be received from another person nor purchased; we can only attain a consciousness of it when we realize it is part of our divine birthright. We should affirm its availability, then act on the revelations it gives to us. Understanding unfolds in our soul in exact proportion to the steadfastness of our faith in God and according to our perseverance in seeking true guidance from the "still small voice" within. As we become quiet, teachable, and open our consciousness (thinking and feeling natures) to receive Truth, we begin to grow in spiritual understanding.
Discipline of our thinking and feeling through denial and affirmation becomes a definite part of the development of spiritual understanding in our soul. As we learn to deny thoughts of limitation and then affirm that which is true of us as spiritual beings, we are able to claim the true understanding that gives us divine ideas to help us in handling every detail of life. The writer of Proverbs emphasizes the need for spiritual understanding, when he says, "Yea, with all thy getting, get understanding" (Prov. 4:7).
"Spiritual understanding is the quickening of the Spirit within. Spiritual understanding is the ability of the mind to apprehend and realize the laws of thought and the relation of ideas one to another."
Probably all of us have had the experience of suddenly becoming aware of new meaning to a verse of Scripture, a hymn, or a poem that we have known since childhood. We feel as though a new world has opened to us through this revelation of the Truth back of familiar words* This is spiritual understanding.
That which the Comforter reveals to each of us is the spiritual understanding needed to meet the experiences of life. When we search in all earnestness for answers, the Comforter (Holy Spirit) "shall teach . . . all things" (John 14:26). It is through spiritual understanding that we become aware of the ideas that make up our divine inheritance, such as ideas of life, love, power, faith, and so forth.
How did Peter know that Jesus was the Christ? He knew this in the same way that any of us knows that which is the Truth -- through spiritual understanding. Peter had known Jesus intimately, had observed His life and His works, had heard His teaching. Intellectually Peter had undoubtedly accepted Jesus' teachings. However, when challenged by the question put to the disciples by Jesus, "But who say ye that I am?" (Matt. 16:15) Peter in a flash knew the truth beyond his intellectual knowledge or reasoning. This was spiritual understanding that was revealed from the Spirit of God within his own being, so Peter could say with conviction, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16). Jesus realized that at this moment Peter had touched the fount of wisdom within his own divine nature. He assured Peter that he was blessed by this understanding that had not come from "flesh and blood" (Matt. 16:17) but from the Father.
Metaphysically Peter represents faith which Lesson 6 defined as the "perceiving power of the mind." Our use of faith indicates the direction in which we are headed. Peter, representing faith, turned Godward for the answer to Jesus' question, and faith opened his soul to direct revelation from God.
Preceding Entry: Are you necessary to God? Explain.
Following Entry: What is the relation between spiritual understanding and intellectual knowledge?