Faith is a powerful and motivating part of our daily lives. But where do we place our faith? The answer to this question is vitally important to our happiness, our effectiveness, and our ability to learn and to grow.
Too often we place too much faith in our own wisdom. While it is important to have faith in oneself; we would be paralyzed without it; that faith must be tempered with humility and respect for the source of that wisdom. Even the wisdom gained from experience is tempered with the experience that has gone before, the experience of others who have contributed to our knowledge and learning as we grow and mature and become independent. Our decisions are based not only upon our own experiences but also the wisdom gained through the ages, passed on to protect us, allowing us to navigate through a dangerous world.
Without our ability to reason and to impart knowledge learned through generations mankind would be just another beast on this planet, surviving or not through instinct and individual strength. Survival of the fittest would rule us. The weak and the sick and the injured would simply fail to survive.
Without faith outside of our own knowledge, our own wisdom, there would be no advances, no medicine, no industry, or no agriculture. If we placed faith only in our own experience mankind would simply not exist today. There are too many pitfalls and predators that could eradicate us with our lack of defenses and the length of time required to attain maturity. Natural selection, without our ability to reason and to pass that knowledge to each other and through generations, would not be our friend.
The connectivity that this faith requires is inherent in our nature. It is a gift from our Creator reflecting the connection that guides our relationship to Him. We are connected to each other because we are connected to Him. He did not just put us here as a small piece of His creation. We are the focus of His creation. As such, our faith in Him is a vital part of our being and is a model of that faith that we have in each other that sustains us.
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light”
“Faith allows things to happen. It is the power that comes from a fearless heart. And when a fearless heart believes, miracles happen.”
A faith in something that we cannot see is important. We believe because we can see the evidence of Him, but without faith the evidence would be meaningless to us. Thus is the model of trusting in the wisdom of others and their experience, without yet having that experience ourselves. With faith we can then seek out the evidence ourselves without the painful discovery that often is a part of experience. We do not have to touch the burner on the stove to believe that it will burn us; we have faith in the wisdom of our parents. We don’t have to fail in business; we have faith in our mentors. We don’t have to break our leg; we have faith in the one who warned us against perilous leaps.
Often we do fail, we do break our leg, or we burn ourselves. It is in our nature to doubt, and this is an important attribute as well. The same nature that allows us to learn from others wisdom also allows us to seek our own wisdom. Without taking chances, there would be no advances. Faith and doubt are brother and sister and this relationship is the very thing from which wisdom springs.
“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.”
Risk and caution are the other faces of faith and doubt. Risk without hope of reward is a fools pursuit, but calculated risk, danger weighed against the possible reward, is the way of all advancement. Wisdom applied to endeavor does not guarantee success, but tilts the scale in favor of it.
Faith in itself is a calculated risk, you have not experienced or seen something, but you trust the source and then can look for the evidence through your own gathered wisdom and the things that you can see for yourself. Faith then grows of its own accord, gathering momentum through the things that you already put your trust in, or sometimes through the refuting of those things that have held back your true wisdom.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
Faith is built on trust and trust is born of honesty and honesty will breed faith.
Faith enriches us, brings hope to our lives, and helps us to grow and move forward. Faith brings us together, to the enrichment of all. It is a fool who relies only upon his own counsel. The wise man seeks knowledge, he does not invent it.
“Faith is reason grown courageous”
Increase your faith in God and you will increase your faith in others. Increase your faith in others and you will increase your faith in yourself. Increase your faith in yourself and do great things.
“Faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens”
Faith in each other drives our relationships and allows the coopperation that fuels the rise of our families, our industries, and our civilization. Without our faith it would all simply crumble into fear and distrust and conflict.
Where do you place your faith?