Posted by Rob (184.108.40.206) on December 26, 2002 at 00:41:37:
In Reply to: joining the faith is not as simple as you are led to believe posted by Stuart Gilman on December 25, 2002 at 07:04:18:
At some level, those who join any group, especially a religious group, are consciously submitting themselves to a set of instructions, rules, prohibitions, potential growth, potential challenges, and possible tests, which otherwise they would not have encountered. Submission to the Will of God is born for love of Him without thought of self. When the thought of self enters the picture, that is when the difficulty begins. Since none of us are perfect, we all fall short of perfect submission and so tests are inevitable. Each of us finds something or somethings within the teachings of the Faith which are beyond our grasp, confuse our intellect, and test our belief. Most often, we test each other's faith by our own inperfections.... all of this has been laid out in the Writings, that we will experience tests between ourselves and with God's Will and Purpose. Why else are we called upon to pray daily, fast annually and consult lovingly with a listening ear on every issue that challenges us? So, let it not be said that we are leading anyone into something other than this bold new world, for we are not and have not mislead anyone. The challenges are great, but the Faith offers at its heart and in outward manifestation solutions and authoriy to meet these issues with courage, hope and the abiding power of unity.
Yes, this Faith, like all others from God, will present the seeker and joiner alike with some challenging matters. Without the quote at hand, Baha'ullah comments on this. He indicated that the new believer will be tested in their faith (someone else might find this quote and share it). There is nothing in the Writings of the Faith or any religion from God which would "lead" one to think otherwise. For, as it was said aforetime, 'the way narrow' and 'many are called but few are chosen.' Read the Seven Salleys and meditate thereon to understand the path of the wayfarer begins with difficulty.
'Abdu'l-Baha said this about the early believers of His day:
"In this day one must be tested, as the time of the 'chosen ones' to prove their worth is indeed very short. The day of attainment is drawing to a close for them. The 'first fruits' must be ripened in spirit, mellowed in love, and consumed by their self-sacrifice and severance. None other are accepted as first fruits, and all who fail to attain to the standard through the tests, are relegated to the 'many who are called.'
Utterances of 'Abdu'l-Baha in answer to questions asked by Dr. Edward C. Getsinger, Star of the West magzine, Vol. 6, No. 6, p. 45.
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