Faith is an action word. It is not passive. It motivates us and gives us the confidence to act. It’s 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 personage we can have faith in that will not fail us: 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 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. If we exercise sincere faith in Jesus Christ, continue to learn of Him, obey His laws, and remain true and faithful to what 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. When we act upon that “idea” or particle of faith and seek to know more, the Holy Spirit will confirm in our hearts and our minds that it is true. 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, having Faith in Him, and getting to know Him, 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 having Faith in Jesus Christ. It is dynamic, growing and ultimately will lead you to Eternal Life (the Life that God the Eternal Father lives).
As we exercise Faith in Christ and earnestly seek to learn of Him, we will realize that we are different than He is. Loving Him and wanting to be more like Him, we will naturally want to change, align or adjust our lives to His example. This is called repentance. In addition to making changes, we may want to express our commitment to becoming more like Him (baptism). When we do so, the Lord is so pleased with our actions that He provides an opportunity for us to receive a greater influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives (the Gift of the Holy Ghost). Now, 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 Christ increases, so does our Faith in Him because we’ll have more information upon which to exercise faith. As we gain more knowledge of Him, we will see additional changes that must be made in our lives, so we will make additional adjustments, and the Lord will bless us with a greater influence of the Holy Spirit (see Moses 6:52).
This is the cycle of eternal progression: 1) receiving a true idea about the Lord Jesus Christ, 2) exercising faith in that idea, 3) receiving inspiration or confirmation of it’s truth from the Holy Spirit, 4) gaining a desire to become more like Christ, 5) adjusting/repentance to become more like Him, 6) making or renewing a commitment to follow Him, 7) receiving confirmation and increased inspiration from the Holy Spirit, 8) learning more of Christ and therefore being able to have more faith in Him, and 9) 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 have more information about Him upon which to exercise faith. As we exercise faith in the additional “true” information, our faith in Him grows more, and the cycle continues. Of course, all along the way the cycle is 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 2nd 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 progression,” Hope and Charity are byproducts of sincere Faith in Jesus Christ and they grow proportionally as we become “like” Christ. As our faith 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 with Faith in Christ will also have hope in the future and charity for all.” The man 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 is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:13). 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. A pure love of Christ (charity) is a more visible or outward manifestation of being “Christ Like.”
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