Whatever we think faith is or may be, it must be something that we do within our consciousness, even though we feel it has a relationship with something greater than we are. Faith starts with ourselves, like doubt or fear. Faith, being nonphysical, has to be a mental thing. Someone will say it is a spiritual thing, a prayer, or a hymn of praise. It doesn't not matter what we choose to call It; if we did not have a mind, we could not pray and we could not sing a hymn of praise.
Faith, then is within our own conscious awareness, something that is taking place within us right now; not something imaginary, but something that is actual. What kind of thought should we have if we are going to oppose a thought of fear? One that will be affirmative and that will really do something. The faith we have to exercise is a conviction. Faith is not merely a generalisation, or a statement, or like any other thought. Faith has to be in something, about something, or for something; it has to be located. It is an acceptance of that which may still be invisible in our experience.
Let us figure out just how we should use faith to better advantage in our lives. First, we should begin with the idea that we are One with universal Mind, and therefore we are all united with Its creative action which does things to us and for us by doing them through our consciousness. This invisible Force we think of as Law, or the Power that acts.
Next, we should consider that we are also centers of self conscious awareness, individuals in this Mind with the ability to think, to choose, and to know; and that according to the sum total of all our thoughts we are either attracting good to us of repelling it from us.
Finally, we can change our thinking to be affirmative, and in so doing, cause the Law, the invisible creative Force, to respond to us in an affirmative way rather than in a negative manner. Faith itself is an affirmation that good is greater than the negative, and is an acceptance of that good.
Let us start to develop and use our first idea: We are already One with the universal Mind and Its creative Power can do anything. This is the basis of all faith and of all effective prayer; and since prayers have been answered, we may accept that this is certain. It is why Jesus told us that when we pray we are to believe we have what we desire. When he said, "as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee, 'he implied there is a Power that can, will, and must react to us. It does so in an affirmative manner if that is the way we think.
This is why it is that when we pray or meditate we must do so affirmatively, and we must do so in the present time. We must say or think of our desire as taking place now. Up to the time of Jesus, people believed that God might help them; that there were concessions He might make if people pleased Him, or performed certain rites or ceremonials. Jesus brought a new kind of teaching, -today we call it "affirmative thinking". He talked about a Power that operates on our belief the way we believe it; and that we may see definite results of our belief in our experience.
So we find that faith is an affirmative belief. There is a Power that operates upon our thought the way we think it, and we can use our faith consciously and definitely and intelligently and for specific purposes. When we do, we should expect something to happen. And we are not to deny it in the meantime! Perhaps this is the greatest responsibility of all, and it is not easy.
But the Law can bring us only as much good as we can mentally accept. This accepting is an act of our own consciousness; it is an act of faith. No one before Jesus had ever talked so simply about faith. People have come to realise that he was talking about a spiritual Law in which we are all rooted. There is a Power greater than we are and we must find our partnership with It. There must be an acceptance in our own mind, a belief within our own consciousness, a belief that does not deny itself. It is a belief that says, "It is so." You and I have to do this.
To be continued...