…A continuing commentary on Moving Forward with Faith
The power of faith
In this world wealth equals power. It is only fitting then that the wealth of the Church would be the faith of its people. Faith is the source of spiritual power. It is what sets the Saints apart from the rest of the world. Whereas anyone can exercise faith, the members of the Lord’s Church have more truth in which to place that faith than any other body of people on earth.
Righteous behavior is the expression of faith. It can be expressed through obedience to a principle, fulfilling a calling, supporting our priesthood leaders, the giving of offerings, serving a stranger, or a hundred other manifestations of faith.
Since faith is a principle of action, and cannot be expressed without action, it becomes the underpinning motivation for all we do. Someone with great faith cannot sit idly by and miss church each week. Great faith cannot ignore those over whom they have been given stewardship, be it HT/VT or through a calling. Faith compels us to move forward and to do something of worth. One simply cannot have faith and do nothing. This is the strength of the Church, in the doings of its people.
When we are encouraged to move the work forward, it is not just through missionary work. We move the work forward with every good thing we do, for all good things come from Christ. The more good we do, the more we glorify God.
It is faith that enables us to move forward, even when times are difficult. It is faith that enables us to move forward with a song in our heart, even when times seem bleak. It is that very faith that gives us hope in a brighter future that moves us forward, even in times of darkness. It is because of our faith that we continue to do good, with the assurance that the Lord is by our side and is keeping watch over us.
Faith and fear cannot exist together, for faith creates within us hope. Hope breeds strength and optimism. Hope urges us forward to do good works because we anticipate good results. This is the nature of faith.
Fear is born of doubt and uncertainty. It requires us to pause and question our abilities, our motives, and the possibility of a useful outcome. This is why fear is the opposite of faith.
Test of our faith
Each of us needs to find the answer to this personal question: “Do I believe the Lord will ever forsake me?” If we can each answer that question with an unqualified “No!” then what is there to stop us from moving forward and accomplishing great things in our lives? With the Lord’s backing and support, with his unending love and strength, is there really anything we cannot achieve in His service?
“With effort we can develop the capacity to subdue those impulses that lead to degrading and evil actions. With faith we can school our appetites.” Faith will not immediately change our disposition to do evil, but with faith we can tame and change our disposition to something of a higher nature. It is through the exercise of our faith, the doing of good as often as we can, that our lives are filled with the strength of character that is needed to overcome our weaknesses.
The Lord has declared in the scriptures that those who believe His word and act on that belief (exercise faith) will receive more of His word. Those who choose not to believe His word will receive less and less until they can no longer believe any of it. How much we have in the end is based completely on how much we are willing to accept. This is a faith-driven process.
There are times when we simply must choose to do what is right and “let the consequence follow.” This is the Church equivalent of saying “let the chips fall where they may.”
In each person’s life there come times when nothing but the eye of faith can get us through a situation. It is that innate belief that despite what it looks like from every other perspective, we still refuse to give up on what we have chosen to believe. It is in these times that we have only our chosen faith to give us the strength to take that next step into a seemingly dark and hopeless future.
This doesn’t sound like a hopeful statement, but each of us will have at least one time in our life when this will happen to us. At some point we will each be taken to what appears to be a ledge of uncertainty and doubt and told that the only path forward is to take a step into the void. It will seem like everything will yell at you that certain destruction awaits you if you take that step into the unknown, yet you will see no other path before you but to do as you are told by the Lord.
Having been to that ledge before, I can tell you that it is a very real place. The fear in that circumstance can be almost tangible. I can also tell you that the strength that flows from exercising our belief in God’s love for us, and our belief that he will never abandon us can give us the courage to do what we formerly thought would be impossible.
This exercise of faith to take that step forward into the unknown creates a well and reserve of strength within us that will carry us forward for years to come. The Lord does in fact increase our capacity to believe and to act on that belief once we have demonstrated our willingness to follow His counsel in our times of extremity and doubt.
When our time in mortality comes to an end, be it a quick departure or a lingering one, all that we have to take with us is our faith. What we have become through what we have chosen to believe and adopt as our standard in this life is all that we can take with us into the next one.
When that moment of departure arrives, what more can we think of to take back to that God that gave us life than the gift of the life we have chosen to live in His name? At that point nothing else will matter. Nothing else will make any difference. Our relationship with our God, and the character that relationship has built within us, is all we can take from this world when we leave it.
As we enter the Christmas season and seek to find ways to demonstrate our love for our Savior and our belief in our Father in Heaven, I hope we will consider doing good as a way to respond. When you go and find someone to serve, if you want to post your idea on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #LIGHTtheWORLD, and hopefully include a video or pictures.
Doing good isn’t all about the public acclaim you can achieve, but about what doing good does for you. The Church is hoping to create a wave, a “groundswell” of good deeds going into this Christmas season that will build into a movement of people being genuinely good to other people. I believe this is not only a great goal, but a good way for each of us to express our individual faith in God, whether or not we post the results online.
Kelly P. Merrill
Kelly Merrill is semi retired and writes for https://gospelstudy.us. He lives with his wife in Idaho. His strength is being able to take difficult to understand subjects and break them down into understandable parts. He delights in writing about the gospel of Christ. Writing about the gospel is his personal missionary work to the members of the Church and to those of other faiths who are wanting to know more about Christ's gospel and His Church.