The Baha’i teachings call on us all to develop confident hearts—to have hope for the future and a positive outlook on life.
To develop that heart-centered confidence, Baha’u’llah encouraged everyone to first attune their thoughts and emotions to the remembrance of the Creator:
Strive, O people, that your eyes may be directed towards the mercy of God, that your hearts may be attuned to His wondrous remembrance, that your souls may rest confidently upon His grace and bounty, that your feet may tread the path of His good-pleasure. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 297.
When you make the love of God the focal center of your heart, the Baha’i writings point out, you begin to develop the quality called assurance:
O peoples of the earth! Destroy the abodes of negligence with the hands of power and assurance, and raise up the mansions of true knowledge within your hearts, that the All-Merciful may shed the radiance of His light upon them. – Baha’u’llah, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 55.
When you’re sure of something, you trust in its truth. With science, for example, you’re sure of its veracity—at least as much as is humanly possible—and you base your decisions on its demonstrable facts. With assurance about the Creator, you base your decision on not only demonstrable facts—the obvious evidence of the beauty of creation, for instance—but on the deep inner conviction that God loves humanity. You feel that love in your inmost soul, and it gives you emotional and spiritual certitude and assurance, the same way science gives you intellectual assurance.
Assurance leads to courage. With an assured heart, we can have courageous, resolute inner convictions. Belief can turn to action, because courage is not just a physical attribute—it also manifests itself in our spiritual lives, when we have the courage of our convictions and the bravery to stand up for what we believe:
You who are the servants of God fight against oppression, hate and discord, so that wars may cease and God’s laws of peace and love may be established among men.
Work! Work with all your strength, spread the Cause of the Kingdom among men; teach the self-sufficient to turn humbly towards God, the sinful to sin no more, and await with glad expectation the coming of the Kingdom.
Love and obey your Heavenly Father, and rest assured that Divine help is yours. Verily I say unto you that you shall indeed conquer the world!
“Only have faith, patience and courage,” Abdu’l-Baha counselled. After the heart develops assurance and courage, a firm faith begins to emerge. Faith, of course, means a steadfast belief—which requires trust, confidence and loyalty. One of the finest attributes a human being can attain, faith doesn’t just mean religious conviction. It can apply to an idea, an abstract concept or an entire belief system.
Those who had faith in the concept of human rights and freedom, for example, fought hard for their realization—and gradually, those rights and freedoms have come about for many of us. Those with faith in a peaceful future have worked for centuries for the abolition of warfare—and gradually, they’ve succeeded in reducing conflict and violence. The faithful followers of the world’s religions have applied the spiritual and moral principles of their belief systems over centuries, and have seen those principles make their individual lives—and the world—much better. Faith, then, is really a belief in the viability of our future:
Lift up your hearts above the present and look with eyes of faith into the future! Today the seed is sown, the grain falls upon the earth, but behold the day will come when it shall rise a glorious tree and the branches thereof shall be laden with fruit. Rejoice and be glad that this day has dawned, try to realize its power, for it is indeed wonderful! God has crowned you with honour and in your hearts has He set a radiant star; verily the light thereof shall brighten the whole world! – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 69.
With these three elements—assurance, courage and faith—each one of us can develop a confident heart. Once that happens, Abdu’l-Baha said, we will see the world with new eyes and a new sense of its glorious potential: