What is faith? How would you define it? For me, I completely agree with the scriptures. All over the place we find it saying something along the lines of “Faith is believing in something without seeing.” Occasionally, we might also find it paired with action. Because what is faith without acting on your belief? It’s simply that – a belief. It doesn’t do much for us, and it definitely doesn’t drive us to change, to repent and become more like our Savior if all we’re doing is just saying that we believe in Him. In the Book of Mormon, in Alma chapter 32, it talks all about faith. We are a taught that “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.” Later in the chapter, we are invited to experiment upon the word, to find out for ourselves if it is not true. Faith is compared to a seed that needs to be nourished in order to grow. In other words: Our faith won’t grow; in fact, it will die if we don’t do anything about it. We have to act on what we believe and know to be true or that belief will dwindle and become nonexistent. Lately, I’ve found myself saying it in a different way: “We don’t plant a seed assuming it won’t grow. We plant a seed knowing that it will grow into a tree, or a tomato plant or a flower. Because we know what it can become, we plant it and we also water it and make sure it has the right amount of sunlight. We do everything we can to try to keep it alive and growing strong. The same goes for faith. We don’t have faith while at the same time thinking nothing will come of it. We have faith and so we ACT.”
Obedience is a pretty large factor when it comes to growing our faith. Without obedience, we never really come to know what’s right or wrong, what’s true or not. We just live our lives as we want and nothing really, truly good ever comes from it. Not in the eternal perspective anyway. As we are obedient, our faith is confirmed, blessings come, and miracles happen.
Faith is the first principle of the Gospel. Why? Because it’s, in my opinion, the basis for everything else. It’s the reason we do ANYTHING in the Gospel. We develop faith and as we do, we repent and change, we learn to be more Christ-like and we WANT to be more like our Savior. We become more like Him as our faith increases. The Gospel of Jesus Christ in a never-ending cycle of Faith, Repentance, Baptism (or the Sacrament) and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Once we’ve gone through it the first time, we can’t stop. We have to continually be increasing our faith, changing and repenting and becoming clean again by taking the sacrament in order for us to always be guided by the Holy Ghost. Without Faith, that whole cycle crumbles and fails. We can’t improve and grow and become stronger. We can’t progress and be able to live with God again. Faith is the reason we even have the opportunity to apply the Atonement and become clean. It’s really as simple as that.