In her 1916 book How I Used Truth, H. Emilie Cady outlined to Lowell Fillmore the reasons she objected to changes made to her writings submitted to Unity for publication. Those writings, she noted, were “born out of the travail of my soul ... using all of the knowledge of Truth that I then possessed to secure deliverance for myself or others from some distressing bondage that thus far had defied all human help.” I love her boldness in defending her work and by extension her experiences with God. In the end, all we really have are our “God experiences.” All else fades.
The teachings of New Thought offer practical spiritual tools that can be applied universally, enabling all people to be victorious in their circumstances rather than victims. This is the principal reason I am a student of New Thought.
In Lessons in Truth (Unity Books, 1903), Cady also wrote that “victory must be won in the silence of your own being first.” In other words, victory is an inside job but shows up as an outer demonstration in one’s life, world, and affairs. Life can be challenging, but the New Thought message reminds me of the words of 1 John 4:4: “for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” There is great comfort in knowing that the “God stuff” of which we are made, the divinity within us, is greater than the appearance of challenges before us.
Making the Choice
There is a subtle temptation to believe we can be victorious in some but not all things. This is not true. We can choose victory even when circumstances appear to be working against us. Victory is an attitude we get to choose. As the Law of Mind Action reminds us, the thoughts we hold in mind will produce after their kind. If we choose to entertain thoughts of defeat, we are more likely to feel and experience defeat. However, if we stand victorious, even in the face of what appears as defeat, we are more likely to experience victory in ways known and unknown to us.
As a law student, I witnessed victory in the semifinal round of a court competition. All but one professor on the panel gave me the highest of scores. The score he gave me was less than half of the scores his colleagues gave.
The next day, I visited his office to uncover what he perceived as deficiencies in my legal argument. He denied ownership of the low score. I thanked him and began to leave. Obviously troubled that I was able to identify him as the source of the lower grade, he challenged me. Having discerned his lack of candor and truthfulness, I proceeded to that evening’s final round of competition. I was declared the winner by a panel that included justices from Florida’s appellate court. I had clinched the victory (within my being) and it was so.
Not all people we meet have our best interest at heart. It was up to me to stand guard at the entrance of my own soul and be truthful yet loving, stern yet confident, and victorious yet humble—just as it’s up to you to do the same for yourself.
Victory in Healing
The same spiritual principles work in matters of health, as well. Thirty-six years ago, my medical team told me I had less than six days to live. Instead of panicking, I embraced the healing testimony of Rev. Johnnie Colemon, founder of the Universal Foundation for Better Living (UFBL), who received a prognosis of less than six months to live in the early 1950s. As a student at the UFBL center in Miami, Florida, I had heard her personal testimony. I had studied the spiritual healing principles shared by Unity cofounder Myrtle Fillmore and read the countless healing stories in the Bible as well as in Rev. Catherine Ponder’s books The Dynamic Laws of Healing (DeVorss, 1966) and The Healing Secrets of the Ages (Parker, 1967).
So I got to work. With no time allocated for television, radio, or visitors, I saturated my mind with healing messages and testimonies. My healing was not immediate, but it did come. While facing the appearance of “deadly defeat,” I chose the path of victory by applying spiritual principles.
Whether we stand victorious or face the appearance of defeat, the universal spiritual principles espoused by New Thought equip us to live as victors and never as victims.
Victory in Prosperity
I have experienced the prospering power of spiritual principles, in definite ways, since following the advice of prosperity guru Rev. Edwene Gaines, who taught her workshop participants to incorporate tithing into their spiritual practice. When I was assigned to a ministry in Jamaica, I informed its board of directors that I could lead only a tithing ministry. They agreed. We are in our twenty-sixth year. When I assumed the presidency of UFBL, I informed the selection committee I could accept the position only if there was no objection to UFBL’s consistent tithe. They agreed. I believe a prosperity consciousness has sustained UFBL and its network of ministries during this season of change and transition. This year, UFBL will celebrate its forty-eighth anniversary.
I have also maintained my personal commitment to tithe. It is God who is the source of infinite supply. As we work in alignment with spiritual principle, it works out all that concerns us. Let’s keep trusting in God’s goodness.
These spiritual principles work equally as well to inspire wisdom so we know what to do and when to do it. God, the substance of all form, is the basis of all our wants and all that there is and ever will be. With an understanding of the nature of God as substance, I turned to God’s wisdom within me and asked that an idea be revealed to me that would resolve a pending shortfall of funds owed to a partner organization.
First, my desire was to have the issue resolved and the partner organization fully paid. Second, knowing God to be the source of everything, I asked God to give me an idea. Third, I understood that every idea is fully clothed with all that is necessary to fulfill that idea.
When the idea was revealed to me, although there was no support from the leadership of the indebted organization, I knew the idea would work a prospering miracle if I dared to work it. From the standpoint of integrity, I would not use any of the indebted organization’s resources. Numerous human and material resources became available otherwise, and each was used wisely. In the end, the idea produced an overflow of financial resources that enabled the payment of all indebtedness with excess funds remaining.
Whether we stand victorious or face the appearance of defeat, the universal spiritual principles espoused by New Thought equip us to live as victors and never as victims. Where human help fails, God’s spirit prevails. For such a time as this, New Thought students are called to boldly embody and practice the Truth so that the freedom that is the spiritual inheritance of all God’s children can be realized.
This article appeared in Unity Magazine®.