Sunday, July 15, 2012

Three Imperatives of Faith

Faith is defined by the Bible as the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." and by LDS Scripture as "not to have a perfect knowledge of things... which are not seen, which are true."

Elder J. Wirthlin
Faith is necessary for a believer to have in order for him to be baptized and be among the sons and daughters of God. It is the first principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I learned when I was converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1980.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint (LDS) apostle Joseph B. Wirthlin asserts (Nov. 2002), "Faith exists when absolute confidence in that which we cannot see combines with action that is in absolute conformity to the will of our Heavenly Father."

In his message, "Shall He Find Faith on the Earth?" published in Ensign Nov. 2002, Elder Wirthlin explained that when faith lacks "absolute confidence, action, and absolute conformity" it is considered as "counterfeit, weak and watered-down."

Three Imperatives of Faith

He discussed further the "three imperatives of faith."

First, there must be "confidence" in that which we cannot see. He cited Thomas' experience when he (Thomas) felt the prints of the nails and thrust his hand into the side of the resurrected Savior. The he finally declared that he believed that Jesus Christ has risen. Jesus said to him: "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

Second, for that faith to make a difference, we must act. We must do all that is in our power to change passive belief into active faith, for truly, "faith, if it hath no works, is dead." In 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley raised a voice of warning: "... the time has come to get our houses in order. So many people are living on the very edge of their incomes... Some are living on borrowings... by the huge consumer installment debt which hangs over the people of the nation, including our own people."

And third, one's faith should be consistent with the will of our Heavenly Father, including his Laws of nature. This was elucidated by an example of the sparrow flying into a hurricane may believe that he can successfully navigate the storm, but the unforgiving natural law will convince him otherwise in the end.

It is distressing to see how eager some people are to embrace fads and theories while rejecting or giving less credence and attention to the everlasting principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is distressing how eagerly some rush into foolish or unethical behavior, believing that God will somehow deliver them from the inevitable tragic consequence of their actions. They even go so far as to ask for the blessings of heaven, knowing in their hearts that why they do is contrary to the will of our Father in Heaven.

Elder Wirthlin offered these three things to determine when our faith conforms to the will of our Heavenly Father and He approves of that which we seek. Thus, we must know the word of God; that is, to know of Heavenly Father's dealings with man from the beginning. If the desires of our heart are contrary to scripture, the we should not pursue them further.

Next, we must heed the counsel of latter-day prophets as they give inspired instruction. And finally, we must ponder and pray and seek the guidance of the Spirit. If we do so, the Lord has promised, "I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart."

"Only when our faith is aligned with the will our Heavenly Father will we be empowered to receive the blessings we seek,". assured Elder Wirthlin.

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