The Importance of Applying
Spiritual Knowledge

By Jennie Taylor Martin

Edgar Cayce - The Good StewardOne of my favorite Edgar Cayce quotes encourages us to take action—even if that action turns out to be wrong. It reads:

(Q) Has any progress been made in the last two or three incarnations?

(A) There is progress whether ye are going forward or backward! The thing is to move! (3027-2)

When I first saw this reading, I was both heartened and confused. Heartened, because I know that I have made mistakes in this life and have certainly “fallen back” on more than one occasion. But confused, because I couldn’t understand how one can make progress by moving backward. I had assumed that my fall backs were exactly that—a step in the wrong direction that I have (hopefully) since made up for with steps in the right direction.

But the more I studied all of the Cayce readings, particularly those on application, the better I understood this one.

Cayce is very clear that there is more to our spiritual growth than simply having knowledge. We can study the great spiritual teachers of past and present, and read the Bible for every year of our lives (like Cayce did), but without application of what we’ve learned, it will do us little good.

… each should apply that known, and in the application gain a clearer, a better understanding, in experience. (262-7)

For, as ye apply does there come the understanding in the activities. (497-1)

We can see that Cayce is telling us that application and experience give us a better understanding of what we’ve learned. And experience, as we all know, sometimes comes from making mistakes. He goes on to express that as we apply what we know, more knowledge will be given to us.

As given, use that thou hast in hand; and as the ways open for the activities in relationships to those about the body, the entity, there may come that needed for the next steps … (441-1)

Fruits of the Spirit

Cayce also promises us that application of the fruits of the spirit (love, faithfulness, patience, kindness, joy, charity) brings us closer to God:

For only in doing the fruits of the spirit may ye attain to the use of the Knowledge and the fruit thereof. To have love, give it; to have patience, show it; to have long-suffering, be it; to have the love of God, live close to His ways. (262-98)

Cayce reminds us that we have an example in the life of Jesus as he embodied the Christ Spirit:

For as it was said, "He went about doing good." Not being good but doing good…  (412-9)

He even gives us this warning against not applying our knowledge, or not even wanting to apply it (remember thoughts are things!):

Knowledge without the ability to apply is harmful. Knowledge without the purpose and aim to apply is devilish. Knowledge without any desire to apply is worse than no knowledge at all! (255-11)

He also states that application can bring contentment to our lives:

… the entity may find the greater abilities and the greater contentment in the application of that knowledge gained. (361-13)

As with many Cayce readings, we are encouraged to have patience and take small steps. Application doesn’t have to be hard—but one does have to move!

Ye do not stitch the whole seam at a flash, but one stitch at a time. Hence as has been given, it is precept upon precept, here a little, there a little; making practical application.  (412-9)

And here’s a promise that with application not only will more be given to us, but we will receive gifts that are “accorded” to us. And it is in this manner that Spirit—or the Creative Forces—can help us. As we take action, the Creative Forces take action.

We would study well that as has been given, and apply self in this present earth plane, that the gifts as are accorded the entity may manifest in this present day and generation. (900-16)

Reading Cayce’s advice on application and his admonishment to "move!" always reminds me of the metaphorical story of a man stranded on his rooftop during a flood. He remains on that roof, refusing to budge, even when rescue workers come to him—the first two attempts in a rescue boat and the third in a helicopter. Each time he states that God will save him and stays on the roof. Eventually he is overtaken by the waters and drowns. When he finally meets God, he asks, "Why didn’t you save me?” To which God replies, "I sent two boats and a helicopter!" Let’s remember that story the next time we’re tempted to sit on our symbolic "roof"!


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Jennie Taylor Martin Blog 2014Jennie Taylor Martin is the marketing director of A.R.E., and a former director of the PETA Foundation to Support Animal Protection. Out of love and respect for animals, she chose to commit to a vegan lifestyle in 1996. She is currently writing a book on this topic and welcomes stories of experiences you’ve had with possible animal reincarnation and or with animals and the afterlife. You can write to her at

This article first appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of the Venture Inward Newsletter, a membership benefit that is mailed quarterly and also available online at You can learn more about membership and enjoy a free sample of our magazine at