"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." Ephesians 6:16
Create in me a pure heart, О God. Open Thou my heart to the faith Thou hast implanted in all that seek Thy face. Help Thou mine unbelief in my God, in my neighbor, in myself. 262-13
[Based on Edgar Cayce readings 262-13 through 262-17]
What Is Faith?
Faith is an attribute of the soul. It is the inner spiritual knowledge of the Creative Forces of the universe. As we become cognizant of the physical body through the senses, so we may become aware of the soul through the activity of its attributes. Faith may be denied or renounced until it ceases to exist within the consciousness of the physical mind. It can be acknowledged and exercised until it will remove mountains. That which is brought into consciousness through the activity of spiritual forces, manifesting in and through the spiritual force of the individual, becomes the essence of faith itself. Hence, it has been termed by many that faith, pure faith, accepts or rejects without basis of reason, beyond the ken and scope of that which is perceived through-that which we bring to our activity through- the five senses.
"Faith," as defined by Barnabas, "is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith knows that it has already received and acts accordingly, doubting nothing. It is the builder of the seemingly impossible. It is that which has brought into manifestation all that has ever existed. God is, faith is. It is the evidence of God's promise fulfilled. Man's divine privilege is to accept, use, develop, and enjoy the fruits of faith.
In the material world we often mistake confidence for faith. We are prone to depend upon our physical senses, forgetting that they are deceptive. This is not faith, but confidence-for confidence comes through the physical senses. When trials and disasters arise, that are seemingly beyond our power to control, we begin to sink, and immediately in hopelessness and distress we cry out, "Lord, help me, I perish!" It is then that the Voice speaks, "O ye of little faith!"
Let us examine ourselves and see whether we are holding to faith or confidence. We must view spiritual things from spiritual standpoints and accept them in a spiritual way.
Many say, "We have faith," but they begin to explain that it applies to mental and not to material things. We say, "We believe, but-" which means there is doubt, the very opposite of faith. Remember, when we entered this material plane, we became subject to material laws. It is the failure of our senses to perceive and fully to understand these laws that brings many of us to the point where we have little real faith.
There is a world before us to be understood: the mysteries of the universe, the law of love, the power of thought, and the matchless gift of faith. We stumble, we falter, even when we have the divine promise, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you." With such a promise, should we not cry out, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief"?
Need of Faith
Faith is victory, for where there is faith rightly placed, there is no failure, but true success. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life"; that is, be full of faith and have as a reward life's crowning glories. We know that all our development, physical, mental, and spiritual, depends upon our faith in God, in our fellow human beings, and in ourselves. Just in proportion to the amount of faith we place in God and in ourselves, just so great is our development. Why not take God at His word, letting our faith become a living faith by acting in the manner that shows to the world that we know ourselves to be children of God. There is no other way to real victory.
Let us have more faith in our fellow human beings. We may not agree with them, but who knows whether they are not more in line with the divine plan than if they were following our lead? It is well to remember that our Ideal is manifested through our fellow humans as well as through ourselves, and it is, therefore, more necessary for us to trust them, even though appearances may be against it.
It is not only our privilege, but our duty to have faith in ourselves. We are workers together with God, and when we doubt ourselves, we doubt the God within us. He has promised, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Call to mind the words: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." In His Name we are more than conquerors. It is only by having the faith of a little child in the abiding presence of the Christ that we can hope to inherit the kingdom.
Faith is a bridge that spans the gulf from the seen to the unseen. It is often all we have left when everything seems against us. With this in mind, how diligently should we cultivate and seek to increase our faith when all is going well with us, in order that it may be a strong fortress when the storms of life begin to beat upon us. Lord, increase our faith!