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I have had many topics running through my mind over the weeks that I have not written a blog post.  I have been pondering a lot about Revelation, Justice, the Holy Ghost, the Priesthood, and how all things consist/hold together  through Christ (see Col 1:17).
One topic that has taken my mind recently is the topic of Faith.  In a new book I have just begun to read by Elder Neal A. Maxwell, entitled “Lord, Increase Our Faith”, I came across a simple phrase that has had my mind reeling over the past few days:

“Poorly defined, faith not only produces little conviction but also is difficult to nurture and increase.” –Elder Neal A. Maxwell

What is the Apostle of the Lord saying here? 
Is he saying that our level of faith is inseparably linked to our understanding and personal definition of faith?
Don’t the scriptures give us a very simple definition that is sufficient?

“Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if you have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” (Alma 32:21)

Isn’t faith just believing and hoping for good things to come?
To begin, I quote my favorite quote of all time:

“True Doctrine, understood, changes attitude and behavior quicker than the study of behavior will change attitude and behavior.” –President Boyd K. Packer

My hope for this article is that I may clearly define and give a “deeper definition” of Faith.  I know that any person who seeks to increase their Faith will have to come to a deeper understanding of the actual meaning of the word!  Faith is an ever increasing spiritual gift that results from our increased understanding and actions.
To begin President Brigham Young gives us an insight to Faith:

“Every man and woman who wishes to obtain salvation through him (the Savior) [by] looking to him, only, is not enough: they must have faith in his name, character and atonement; and they must have faith in his father and in the plan of salvation devised and wrought out by the Father and the Son. What will this faith lead to? It will lead to obedience to the requirements of the Gospel.” –President Brigham Young (Journal of Discourses Vol 13, pg 56)

Faith is a principle of Power.  The more our Faith, the greater divine power we have to lay hold on eternal life.  Our Faith increases when we come to understand the Savior more.  When we come to understand his name, his character, his attributes, his atonement, and the plan of salvation that was instituted by the Father and the Son we will find ourselves having “boldness in the day of judgment” (1 John 4:17).

The more we come to comprehend that Father & the Son, the more we will come to comprehend ourselves.  The more we come to have the “mind of Christ”, the more we will come to have the power of Christ.  The more we come to understand Christ’s character, the more we will refine our character.  The more we understand the perfections of Christ, the more readily we will repent and have faith in our covenants!  In summation the more we come to “know God the Father and in His Son Jesus Christ” the more we will be participating in and laying hold of “life eternal” (John 17:3).

In the Lectures on Faith by Joseph Smith he states that 3 things are essential for developing Faith that leads unto Faith like the ancients had, Faith that leads to our calling & election being made sure:

1)  A belief that God and Christ actually exist.
2) A correct understanding of the nature, character, and attributes of deity.
3)  An actual KNOWLEDGE that your life is in accordance with the Father’s will/in accordance with our covenants.

“I thought that Faith was an action word,” one might say in regards to all of these definitions and explanations.  Faith is action!  A correct understanding of Faith and an ever increasing understanding of it will naturally lead us to having the “mind of Christ” which will naturally result in doing as Christ would do in any given circumstance.

Another simple insight to Faith is given by Elder Bateman:

“In the New Testament, the word "faith" is translated from a Greek word (pistis) which is defined as "a mutual trust and loyalty between two parties based on a covenant or contract backed up by collateral." The Father is willing to enter into a gospel covenant with His children and reward them with immortality and eternal life if they abide the covenant. The works of faith by an individual represent his collateral to the Lord. The Father's earnest money is the spiritual witness He provides which is also guaranteed or sealed by the sacrifice of His only begotten Son (Ephesians 1:13-14, Enos 1:5-8, 1 Peter 1:3-5). The witness of the Holy Ghost comes as an acceptance of the person's works of faith--after the trial of one's faith (Ether 12:5). This reciprocal process of exchanging collateral (works of faith for a witness of the Spirit) takes place at various stages of growth and is the process by which one's faith and confidence increase until he or she arrives at a perfect knowledge (James 2:22, Ephesians 3:14-19).”

Elder Bateman shows us that Faith at its core is all about “giving away all our sins in order to know God”!  That Faith leads to a knowledge but begins with a hope!  That if we continually give away our “collateral”, or sins, the Lord grants us with divine power whereby we are “made holy without spot” (Moroni 10:33).
Our covenants, the ones we make in the temple especially, are essential for us to come to understand our Father and the Son!  Our covenants are essential for us to qualify for eternal life whereby our obedience (or Faith in them!) will qualify us for sanctifying grace!
Thanks for reading!


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