What comes to mind when you hear the word faith? Most of us in America, at least in the south, usually think it refers to something religious. There are many types of faith in our lives, however. Let's take a broader look at faith and why it is critical to living our lives.
No one can go through life without believing in something or someone. The simplest definition of faith is in fact, just that – to put our "complete trust or confidence in something or someone" (definition from The Oxford dictionary). Please note that faith includes trust, which is used as a synonym.
Where do you place your faith?
Can you imagine a life in which you could not trust anyone or anything? We must have faith in or trust in many things in our everyday life, whether we want to or not. Otherwise, we could not function in or as a society.
Trust helps us maintain peace in our lives, our country, and the world. It can be a wonderful thing to have someone and something to believe in and trust. Our lives and our businesses are built on trust.
"In actual life, every great enterprise begins with and takes its first forward step in faith." August Wilhelm von Schlegel
Think of the many things about which we have faith in our lives. First and foremost, we must have faith in ourselves. If we do not trust ourselves, how can we trust anything or anyone else? Here's a quick list of a few things we can trust or put our faith in:
- Other people such as colleagues, friends, and family
- Companies and their products
- Government, its numerous departments, systems, and employees
- Those who put themselves in harm's way, such as police, firefighters, and military personnel
- Books and sources of information
- The internet, telephone network, electricity, water, and sewer systems, the food supply
- Transportation such as ground, air, public, and automobiles
- Educational systems such as public and private preschool through 12th grade, colleges, and universities
- Restaurants, brick and mortar stores, and online shopping
- Banking and financial institutions, brokers and financial managers, the stock market, bonds, and other investments
- The constitution and its protection of our individual rights, private property ownership, etc.
There are certainly many other things we can have faith in besides the above, but you get the idea – there are plenty of things we can and many in which we should trust and put our faith.
Faith also comes in many different forms. I am sure you can add others to this list:
- Steadfast faith
- Broken faith
- Blind faith
- Shattered faith
- Active faith
- Dead faith
- Intuitive faith
- Religious faith
- Saving faith
Why faith is important in life
We need to not only have faith, but we need to be faithful. If we are not faithful or trustworthy to others, can we expect anything less from them?
"He who does not trust enough will not be trusted." Lao Tzu
This is where character and faith touch. When we have the character to hold our tongue and not speak ill of others behind their back, we can gain the trust of those who speak and those who do not participate. Somehow the one who is spoken about will know, and you will win the faith of all those involved.
When I hear someone putting another person down behind their back, I lose faith in that person. How can you trust someone when they do that? Too many join in the conversation, which speaks volumes about their trustworthiness or lack thereof.
"Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships." Stephen Covey
If you lead others, it is best to create unwavering trust by being trustworthy to those who follow you. Whenever you strengthen such trust, you build respect and build the faithfulness of those who follow you. To break such trust will cost you respect, followers, and their faith in you.
As you can see, it is important to build the trust of others while also building your trust in them. Think about the many ways building trust or faith in each other can benefit your life and theirs.
A few things faith creates includes:
- Meaning and purpose
- Happiness and joy
- The economy and free enterprise
- Law, order, and justice
- Physical and mental health
Without faith in other people and other things, we would lose most or all of these benefits. I am so thankful we do not live in such a world, and bet you are as well!
Some type of faith is essential to life and living anywhere in the world, in any system. Faith makes life priceless for every individual on earth. Faith gives our lives meaning and purpose. Faith gives us peace and makes life worth living!
When you show you have faith in those close to you, they will usually not let you down any more than you want to let them down. What relationship could you improve in your life by trusting and becoming trusted more? It could be in business or your personal life. Why not step out in faith and see what happens.
"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." Ernest Hemingway
And lastly, a little word of wisdom from a great past president:
"Trust but verify." Ronald Reagan