Faith, as a principle of power, is one of the most amazing parts of our relationship with God. He is able to measure the amount of faith a person has, and based on that amount or quality, He is able to bring to pass events that can only be described as miracles.
Just as we are expected to learn the precepts of salvation one concept at a time, so too with faith, usually all that is required of us is to accept the challenge before us and move forward with willingness and hope. That is usually sufficient for the Lord to step in and help with the rest of what we are trying to accomplish. All He really wants from us is a willing heart and a hope that we will measure up to our task.
"As a demonstration of the pragmatic and practical nature of faith in spiritual things, compare our use of faith in spiritual things to the faith required to get a drink of water. If you had no faith that water would flow from the tap then why would you walk across the room and hold a glass under the tap and turn the handle to make the water flow?
Experience has shown us that if we put our glass under the tap and turn the handle, water will flow. We can’t see the water any more than we can see the blessings that come to us from prayer. Does that make them (the blessings) any less real? No, it does not.
If the Lord can create worlds through the power of faith then we can surely pray for help or blessings and expect with surety that we will receive a response to our pleadings. For some strange reason, people will trust in what they can’t see when they want water or light in their room, but they challenge the creator of the universe by saying he can’t hear his child ask a question. And they are just as reluctant to acknowledge that he has the ability to answer that question. Just because we don’t see how something is done, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. That goes for physical things in mortality as well as for spiritual things in mortality" (Quoted from the Mormonbasics.com commentary on this lesson).
Remember that the Lord will not force himself on us. If we want His help we must ask for it. He is all too willing to engage with us, but we must seek Him out. This is the great test of mortality, it is to demonstrate how much we want to be with our Father and Savior again.
When we recognize that the members of the Godhead are always ready and waiting to help us and teach us of their ways, we can begin to use that assumption in all the decisions and actions of our life. It is like assuming there will always be water in the tap when you turn the handle, or assuming there will always be light when you flip the switch. When we fully come to believe that the Lord really does want to support us and teach us, power begins to flow into our actions that wasn’t there before. Now we are acting in faith that our good efforts have divine support.
" . . . Faith can become the very wellspring of purposeful living. There is no more compelling motivation to worthwhile endeavor than the knowledge that we are children of God, that God expects us to do something with our lives, and that He will give us help when help is sought. . . ."
We may not be able to see far ahead in difficult times, but we can always see that we have a choice in the here and now. Once we move forward in faith and make that choice based on faith in God and a desire to do what is right, other choices will follow. Often it feels like we are in the dark, but the Lord gives us just enough light to teach us to continue pressing forward. When we get to the end of the process we can turn back and look at our series of decisions and recognize that we were being led the whole way. This is what it means to walk by faith.
Living by faith
" . . . This precious and marvelous gift of faith, this gift from God our Eternal Father, is still the strength of this work and the quiet vibrancy of its message. Faith underlies it all. Faith is the substance of it all. Whether it be going into the mission field, living the Word of Wisdom, paying one’s tithing, it is all the same. It is the faith within us that is evidenced in all we do."
It is through faith that we develop the godly attributes that will let us enjoy and be comfortable in the presence of God. It is by faith that we learn to appreciate and understand all the commandments and concepts of the gospel of Christ. It is difficult to believe a principle we are not willing to live. It requires faith to live those principles. I think we have more faith than we tend to believe we do.
Faith requires action. We cannot have faith in the Church and its principles and stay home each Sunday. We cannot have faith and ignore our Church callings. Faith propels us out the door and requires that we do something about what we believe. The strength of the Church is in the doings of its people.
Faith and fear
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. “Fear is the antithesis of faith. It is corrosive in its effects, even deadly.”
Increasing our capacity for faith
Just as someone who has never experienced running water and on-demand electricity has to get used to remembering that these blessings are available, so too do we have to remember to use our faith in order to begin to accept spiritual things automatically by faith.
The more we come to accept that certain things always work in the gospel, like the light always coming on when we flip the switch, so too will we need to be tested with more difficult experiences so that they also become routine and no longer a challenge. In this way our faith grows and what used to be difficult to believe now is taken for granted.
"Faith is like the muscle of my arm. If I use it, if I nurture it, it grows strong; it will do many things. But if I put it in a sling and do nothing with it, it will grow weak and useless, and so will it be with you. If you accept every opportunity, if you accept every calling, the Lord will make it possible for you to perform it. The Church will not ask you to do anything which you cannot do with the help of the Lord."
Our most basic need as a member of the Lord’s Church is faith. Without it, we cannot glorify God, because it is our good works that glorify Him. Faith is the fundamental attribute of the godly and holy person. It is like breathing is to the human body. It may only be one function of the body, but without it, the body dies.
As we seek to increase our faith by doing good at all times, we will find that doing good becomes easier and easier, and more and more pleasant. Our lives will become more fulfilled, and we will discover strengths and abilities we didn’t previously know we had.