Faith is an action word. It is not passive. It motivates us and gives us the confidence to act. It is an important principle of daily activity. You could say “we live by faith” because we exercise faith in much of what we do. Faith encourages us to get up in the morning and allows us to live, progress and enjoy each day. Examples of active faith include faith in ourselves and our abilities, faith in our plans, faith in our spouse, faith in our family and friends, faith in our old truck starting, faith to safely cross a busy street, faith to plant a seed, and much more. Real faith motivates us to action.
When we act in faith, we act with confidence towards an object, an action, or an outcome. However, while faith gives us the confidence to act, it does not guarantee a positive outcome. The object of our faith may fail us. For example, a faithful old truck may not start, a friend may disappoint, a crop may fail, or we ourselves may fail at a task.
However, there is one object of our faith that will never fail us. That is, there is one person we can have faith in that will not fail us: He is Jesus the Christ. We can have Faith in Him, and we can trust Him. He is who He said He is; and, He is full of light, honesty, and truth. He is the Son of God, our Redeemer, and the Father of our salvation. He has taught that: we are all spiritual off-spring of God the Father …spiritual children of a Heavenly Father who loves us; we can be forgiven of our transgressions; and, we can return to be with our Heavenly Father again in the Resurrection. He speaks the truth! We can trust Him and have Faith in Him. If we exercise sincere faith in Jesus Christ, continue to learn of Him, obey His laws (as we understand them), and remain true and faithful to the truth we learn along the way, then we can change our lives and become more like Him.
In its infancy, our Faith in Christ starts and is based on just a correct idea that He exists …which is True! When we act upon that “correct idea,” we gain a particle of faith. If we seek confirmation, the Holy Spirit will confirm in our hearts and our minds that it is true. And, we should naturally want to seek to know more. Learning of Christ is key to our Salvation. He is the perfect example. As we learn of Him, we can exercise faith in what we are learning, and then know of its truth. Learning of Christ, getting to know Him, and having Faith in Him, should motivates us to want to change and be better. As we learn more about Him, we can more accurately model His life and become more like Him. As we continue to study and learn more of the true nature of Jesus Christ, our knowledge of Him will grow, and we will have more information upon which to exercise faith. All along the learning process, the Holy Spirit (the Revelator) will add (reveal) insight and will add additional confirmation of its truth.
This is the essence of the miracle of growing your Faith in Jesus Christ. It is dynamic, growing and ultimately will lead you to Eternal Life (the Life that God the Eternal Father lives).
The Doctrine of Christ (see Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31)
As we exercise “Faith in Jesus Christ” and earnestly seek to learn of Him by “…feasting upon the word of Christ” (see Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31:20), we will come to know that in our current state, we are much different than He is. He is perfect; we are imperfect. Loving Him and wanting to follow Him, we will naturally want (and need) to change, adjust or align our lives to His example …to be more like Him. Making these changes in our lives is called: “Repentance“ or the repentance process. Through repentance, we essentially acknowledge our transgressions and commit to live more like our Savior. In addition to making these “adjustments” in our lives to becoming more like Him, we will want to express our commitment to Him. “Baptism by Immersion” (performed by an authorized servant of God) is the prescribed ordinance, the gateway! Symbolically, Baptism is a “rebirth” wherein we become a new person, a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ.
Following our Baptism, we are confirmed members of the Lord’s Church and Kingdom on the Earth, and are given “the Gift of the Holy Ghost.” If we remain true and faithful to our covenants, this “Gift” is the promise of greater influence from the Holy Spirit (also known as the Revelator) in our lives. Why is that important? The primary mission of the Holy Ghost is to bear testimony of the Father and the Son. So with an increased influence of “the Revelator” in our lives (and with continued study, prayer, and obedience), we will gain additional knowledge and insight of the Lord. We will increase our understanding of who He is, receive additional insight and confirmation from the Holy Spirit, and become increasingly motivated to modify or change our lives and become more like Him.
As our knowledge of Jesus Christ (His character, perfection, and attributes) increases, so does our Faith in Him … because, we’ll have more information upon which to exercise our faith. As we gain more knowledge of Him, we will more clearly see additional changes that must be made in our lives, so we will make additional adjustments, and because of that, the Lord will bless us with even greater influence of the Holy Spirit (see Pearl of Great Price, Moses 6:52).
This continuous process of becoming is often referring to as “Enduring” to the end, or “…endure to the end in righteousness” (see Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 15:9 and 2 Nephi 31:20).
This is the Cycle of Eternal Progression:
- Receiving a true idea about the Lord Jesus Christ,
- Exercising faith in that idea,
- Receiving inspiration or confirmation of it’s truth from the Holy Spirit,
- Gaining a desire to become more like Christ,
- Adjusting/repentance to become more like Him,
- Making or renewing a commitment to follow Him (Baptism/Sacrament),
- Receiving confirmation and increased inspiration from the Holy Spirit,
- Learning more of Christ and therefore being able to have more faith in Him, and
- Continuing or “enduring” to the end in obedience to the principles you are learning and to your growing understanding of the true nature of Christ.
With increased inspiration and testimony of Jesus Christ, we will have more information about Him upon which to exercise faith. As we exercise faith in the additional “true” information, our faith in Christ grows more, and the cycle continues. Of course, all along the way the cycle must be fueled by:
- Greater study of the true nature of Jesus Christ,
- More effective personal prayers, and
- Faithful obedience to what we learn along the way …and know (see Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 15:9 and 2 Nephi 31:20).
Now, what of Hope and Charity?
Charity is defined as “the Pure Love of Christ,” or the pure love that Christ has. In the above description of “the cycle of eternal progression,” Hope and Charity are byproducts of sincere Faith in Jesus Christ, and they increase proportionally as we become more “like” Christ. As our Faith in Christ grows, so grows our Hope in the future, and so grows our Pure Love of God and all mankind (Charity). I believe it is accurate to say, “the man or woman with Faith in Jesus Christ will also have hope in the future and charity for all.” The man or woman with great faith in Jesus Christ will have great hope in this life, and above all will have great charity for all. As the Apostle Paul taught: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (see 1 Corinthians 13:13). Actually, I believe these three are inseparable. They do not come alone. The person who has Faith and Hope in Christ will have Charity. The more Faith and Hope, the more Charity. The Pure Love of Christ (Charity) is a more visible or outward manifestation of ones Faith and Hope, and of being “Christ Like.”
(See also: Book of Mormon, Moroni 7:33-47)
(For additional thoughts on the above topic, please click on the following link and read the post or article on “The Doctrine of Christ.”)
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