I’m not sure if I have faith, and I don’t know how to get it stronger. I have to do projects and experiences on faith for personal progress in Young Womens, but I never really got what faith was. Can you please help me?
Celeste, from Utah
As an abstract concept the principal of faith is sometimes hard to understand. There is a biblical definition that has confused me for most of my life. Paul tells us in the Book of Hebrews—
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1).
You almost have to know what it is before you can understand what Paul says that it is.
There is another scripture that is important in the study of faith, which is a little bit easier to understand that is found in the Book of Mormon—
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 (Alma 32:21).
From this scripture we learn that if we hope for things that are not true, that is not faith. Since faith is a gift from God—
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8).
it cannot be a hope in something that does not or will not exist, because God would never give a false gift. So, if we have faith, we have enough confidence that something will happen that we actually bring it about. So, to have faith is to act as if we had knowledge. The apostle James said—
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works (James 2:18).
So faith is a principle of action. If we have faith we have enough confidence in what we are doing that we actually bring it about. Therefore, one could say that—
“As memory is the record of the past, so is faith the record of the future. Action in the present converts the faith in the future into the memory of the past.”
So when Paul says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, we understand that what exists of the future is only in our minds, because we convert the future into the present by the things that we do. And when he says that it is the evidence of things not seen, they are not seen because they have not yet occurred, but since they will occur the evidence that they will do so is the very faith that we have that will bring them about.
Now, what about such a concept as faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? If we have faith in the Savior we will ACT as though we actually knew from personal experience that He suffered for the very sins that we commit to such an extent that He paid to the principle of justice the full price for all the sins that have been committed by all of God’s children who have lived or will ever live on all the worlds in the universe over all the ages of time. His suffering was truly infinite in its magnitude. With that sure knowledge, how could we ever disobey any of the Lord’s commands, who has already extended to us his infinite love? That faith, which amounts to knowledge, is the motivating power that will cause us to be obedient to all of Gods’ commands, and to obey both God and his servants–those who preside over us in His behalf–as if we were obeying the Lord himself!