Monday, August 29, 2011

Exercising Faith

Recently, a friend asked me some questions about faith. I thought a lot about it this morning as I made preparations for dinner/treats/etc, and my morning was a lot better for having started out the day by pondering the doctrines of the gospel. I thought I would share with you what I discovered this morning.

I listened to most of the General Conference talks this morning from April Conf. to help get some ideas rolling.


One talk, by Steven E. Snow entitled, "Hope," caught my attention.

Our hope in the Atonement empowers us with eternal perspective. Such perspective allows us to look beyond the here and now on into the promise of the eternities. We don’t have to be trapped in the narrow confines of society’s fickle expectations. We are free to look forward to celestial glory, sealed to our family and loved ones.
In the gospel, hope is almost always related to faith and charity. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has taught: “Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time” (“The Infinite Power of Hope,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2008, 21).

I really like this passage, because I think it does a great job in explaining why we need hope (because it couples itself with faith, etc).


Also, Alma 32 is an entire chapter about faith.
  Alma 32: 21 states, "And now as I said concerning faith - faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." I thought to myself, "What do I have a perfect knowledge of?" And, I couldn't find one thing that I have a perfect knowledge of - I have some knowledge about certain principles of science, of religion, of life even. But, none of my knowledge in these areas are perfect. Think about why we attend the temple. I definitely do not have a perfect understanding of that, which is why I need to return often - I can return and be taught by the spirit, so that my understanding and knowledge of God's plan of happiness will grow.


So it is with life - I need to return to my Heavenly Father often in prayer and in the reading of my scriptures. This will help me to exercise faith by asking Him questions about my life - faith without works is dead, right? So, faith without action is unprofitable. I can have faith that the church is true - but to know for myself, I must act upon the desire to know that the church is true. Faith needs to be constantly exercised. It may be small steps that build our faith, or large, intense spiritual experiences.




Elder David A. Bednar also talks about this last principle, in "The Spirit of Revelation." He mentions that those largely spiritual experiences are rare, and that those of quiet and ever gradual whisperings are more common. So it is with faith. Building your faith doesn't happen in one largely spiritual experience (for most people - see Paul in Acts for such an experience), but it comes little by little - line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. Why? Well, I think it helps us to set a pattern of returning to the Lord - if we start while we are young, a pattern of turning to the Lord for guidance, forgiveness, and other such blessings, we will build our faith because He will send His holy spirit to testify to us that the things we learn from such experiences are true. As we gather these experiences, we can look back on our lives and see how our faith in Him has richly blessed us. Ultimately, it takes faith to seek the Lord early.


Faith is also a crucial element of the armor of God, "...take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day. Taking the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit." (Ephesians 6:13. 16-17) Just a quick lesson here. Notice the elements of the armor of God. Most of these are defensive weapons, to protect us against the adversary. Faith is used here to defend us - defend us from what? Perhaps from wavering in the gospel, perhaps from doubt, etc. The only offensive weapon, however, is the sword of the Spirit - which means our testimonies. Our testimony is the only piece of the armor of God that we can use actively to combat Satan and his evil forces. How do we build our testimonies? By exercising faith.

Anywho, I think I have also gained a testimony of why starting your day off with the scriptures is so important.

3 comments:

Kelsie said...

You are pretty much the best friend anyone could ask for! And you're pretty amazing too!

Kelsie said...

Oh PS-- I am loving your new blog look.

Alan and Kiersten said...

this was a great reminder. loved it. thanks krista. :)