By John Smith
There are many interpretations and explanations of the meaning of the word “faith”. Some believe it to be a religious concept that only applies to those who practice a certain religion. Others equate it with the general concept of belief. In this article we will endeavor to answer the following questions. What is faith? Does everyone have faith?
Let us consider the original meaning of the word faith, which includes “conviction, credence or persuasion”. The difference between knowledge and conviction is that the former only requires the acquisition of information while the latter requires acceptance of this information by the mind as truth. Firstly, it is important to understand that the human mind consists of two parts namely the conscious mind – the rational mind which is aware of its surroundings, interprets information and forms thoughts. The second part of the human mind is the subconscious mind, the irrational mind that receives information from the conscious mind without questioning or analysing, ultimately forming convictions and beliefs about the information. It is with the conscious mind that we evaluate the veracity of incoming information through questioning. The subconscious mind however, does not evaluate or question, but involuntarily receives that which has been accepted and sanctioned by the conscious mind.
It is imperative that we always question everything we hear, essentially whether it is truth or superstition; whether it is empowering or disempowering. The biblical principle, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free”, should be the measuring stick by which we evaluate the information we receive in the conscious mind. The quality of the information will determine the quality of our thoughts and ultimately the quality of our beliefs in the subconscious mind. In turn, these beliefs determine the quality of our lives. Unfortunately, most people measure the veracity by the source of the information instead of the information itself. Parents, teachers, preachers etc. are usually considered reliable sources of information. The truth is that this is not necessarily always the case. We need to question what we hear and discover truth for ourselves.
In summary, the information we gather in the conscious mind through the five senses from thoughts. These thoughts, if perpetuated, over time form beliefs (faith) in the subconscious mind. These beliefs are what determine our attitude, behaviour and outcome of our lives. In view of this, consider the following quote from author and public speaker Marilyn Jenett. “Our circumstances in life are the outcropping of thoughts and beliefs that have been gathered and accepted in our subconscious minds throughout our lifetime. As long as those same beliefs exist, circumstances are perpetuated and remain the same. In essence, everyone already has faith. For instance, someone who has never experienced abundance and wealth still has faith - their faith is in scarcity and lack”.
This quote answers the second question at the beginning of this article, “Does everyone have faith?” It is impossible to not have faith. Every person alive has a set of beliefs that have formed over time in their subconscious mind. These beliefs form a person’s faith. The question is not whether or not the person has faith, but if their faith is based on correct and truthful information. If we believe the truth, the evidence will show in our life as empowerment and success. If what we believe is not truth, it will show up in our lives as disempowerment and failure. Whichever way, whatever we believe will be revealed in our lives. Jesus made the following statement, recorded in the Bible, “It will be done to you according to your faith.” By saying this, he was merely affirming the universal law of faith. Whatever it is that you believe you will experience. Another interesting fact is that after performing a healing, he was never quoted as claiming to be the one that healed the person, but that the person was healed by their faith - that which the subconscious mind has accepted as being the truth. The healing was an “outcropping” of the person’s faith or subconscious belief.
It bears repeating that it is imperative that we pay careful attention to what information we acquire through the five senses into the conscious mind. It is equally important that we become aware of the thoughts we keep our minds busy with. We need to understand that we cannot directly deal with our beliefs, as they are subconscious. The only way to change disempowering beliefs is to change the thinking that created the beliefs. The only way we can effectively change our thinking is to question the information we are thinking about. How can a person discover whether or not they are harbouring disempowering beliefs? Firstly, start to pay attention to your words. Secondly, start to observe your quality of life. Thirdly, start to analyse your apparent successes and failures in any specific area. All these factors are a direct result of you beliefs.
Once we begin to grasp the concept of what faith or belief really is, and the effect is has on our experience of life, we will start to experience seeming miraculous change in our lives as we start to take responsibility and develop more empowering beliefs by paying attention to our thoughts. As someone once said, “It is time to start thinking what we are thinking about.”