Had a blast with this last topic, Charity. Honestly it kind of took me by surprise, I didn’t expect to get as much out of it as I did. The trick is in the writing, I’ve had some wonderful experiences so far, and several of you have as well, thanks for sharing, and thanks for participating in this little adventure we’re on.
This week we move to faith. I remember as a missionary my companion would often challenge me to “have more faith” – which was great, except it felt so ambiguous, I had no idea what to do with that feedback. In the church in general, I think we have the same tendency, let’s have more faith. Well sure, that’s fun to say, but what do you want me to do with that? Just faith it up some more? I’m trying.
So, as we approach General Conference next week, I think we’d be savvy to give this faith business the ole college try. We’ve grown our faith before, we’ve had great faith promoting experiences, let’s figure out how to raise our level of faith a bit and get on the same page with God.
- How do faith, belief, and knowledge differ? What do we mean when we say we have “faith in the Lord Jesus Christ”?
I feel like belief is sort of separate from faith, or more that belief feeds faith. Knowledge is different from faith because I do not need to merely believe. I do not need to wonder or surmise. Knowledge is absolute certitude. The interesting thing, though, is that we believe that through faith we can acquire actual knowledge. When we say, “I know the gospel is true,” think about the gravity of that. Think about being able to say that, even without having met Christ, Moses, or Joseph Smith, we can still know, through the Holy Ghost, whether things are true.
Now building on that, I think that sometimes we place too much of a stigma on saying, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ.” What on earth is wrong with belief? Nothing at all. We often feel so much cultural pressure to casually testify that we “know” everything, when belief is a perfectly acceptable state of being. After all, look at the great exchange between Christ and the father of a possessed child (Mark 9):
- Verse 23 – Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
- Verse 24 – And straightaway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Christ didn’t say “If thou knowest, all things are possible.” Strive for knowledge, but be grateful for belief.
- Which leads to today’s question – How can we improve our faith in Jesus Christ?
- “Help Thou My Unbelief” – Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
- “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” – Elder Kevin W. Pearson
- Alma 32
Yesterday’s question of “How can we improve our faith in Jesus Christ?” – My thoughts went immediately to “I have no idea.” Honestly, faith is one of those things for which we have easy throwaway Sunday school answers, but I don’t feel like my faith grows every time I read the scriptures or say a prayer (maybe I’m doing it wrong, admittedly, but still); it just doesn’t. But I’m not sure how to make it grow. Faith like a mustard seed eh’, just grow that mustard seed. Well it’s hard. Why aren’t we all moving mountains? What’s not there? What is keeping us from real, genuine access to the powers of heaven?
Well, I don’t know. My one thought is the idea that Faith isn’t getting God to do what we want, but rather, it’s in understanding God’s will enough to ask accordingly and we are blessed to accomplish his purposes (Brother of Jared style) so maybe that’s where we focus?
- What’s keeping us from moving mountains? Where is the power of our faith?
So what’s keeping me from moving mountains? Man, that’s hard. Because I will readily admit that I have zero expectation that I will move a mountain (though when I was younger, using the faith principle, I basically tried to will myself to believe/know that I could fly. I was serious.)
But I’ve seen the power of faith manifested in incredible ways. I have seen my faith in the principle of tithing rewarded in ways I couldn’t have imagined, and I don’t solely mean in a financial sense. I have seen faith in the Atonement grow as I get out of my own head and let Christ do His work. I think we easily place limits upon faith – the aforementioned assumption of moving mountains being a tad hyperbolic even to just wondering whether a blessing of the sick will actually work. Don’t. Faith is very potent stuff when we don’t curtail its power through simple human frailty.
- So today, we want to move in a slightly different direction – How does faith in Jesus Christ help in your non-spiritual (i.e. secular) pursuits? Even if this is about faith helping you choose where to eat dinner, think about it and write down your thoughts.
- D&C 26:2
- “Faith – the Choice is Yours” – Richard C. Edgley
- “The Transforming Power of Faith and Character” – Elder Richard G. Scott
- Based off of the various parts of this faith discussion, where do you see holes in your faith structure? What areas need the most addressing? Establish at least three specific goals to work on going forward.