Sunday, June 29, 2008

a svithe for you...

For those of you who have no idea what a svithe is...check this site out and read all about what svithe is. :-)

All week I have been studying for a talk I had to give in church today with my topic being Faith. I'll be honest; I've had a difficult time preparing for this talk. Faith is such a broad topic, and because it encompasses so many other gospel principles it is hard to focus in on what faith is.

Edith Hamilton explains that Faith is not belief. Belief is passive. Faith is active.

Let me give you some examples of how faith is active.

First if you have a car and you put gas in it, you might be inclined to believe that it will be able to run since you have put the necessary fluids in it. However, no matter how much you sit there and believe, it’s not going to run. You have to take that belief, turn it into faith and act on that faith and turn the key to start the engine.

My second example comes from my life. Last night I went swing dancing as I am wont to do on Saturday nights. So I am dancing last night and I got to thinking how faith is active in dancing. When dancing with a partner the girl has to follow her lead and trust that he will not lead her astray, or drop her. I can believe that my partner won’t do anything but if I just sit on the side believing then I don’t know if that’s true. I’m not exerting my faith. Instead, I give my partner my hand and my trust and he does just fine. My faith has been tried and I now know that he will be there for me.

Thirdly, Many times we have big decisions to make in life. For some of us, we believe that we can get guidance from our Heavenly Father that will help with those decisions. However, if you just sit at home and believe He can answer your question, but never ask how are you going to get the answer? Answers are not given out like candy at a 4th of July parade; you have to put the question forward in prayer. You have to have faith that Heavenly Father will answer your prayer by actually asking your question and receiving and answer.

In Hebrews 11: 4 it states, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh."

and in verse 7 it says, "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."

Now each of these examples have something in common. They all show you how faith is an action, but they also show that you must have faith in something or someone.

Elder Oaks said in the General Young Women’s Conference in March 1994, “Faith does not exist by itself. Faith requires an object. It must be faith in something or someone. In that respect, faith is like love. Love cannot exist without an object. Love is meaningless unless it is directed toward something or someone. We love our parents. We love our brothers and sisters. We love the Lord. Faith is the same. If we think we have faith, we should ask, faith in whom or faith in what? For some, faith is nothing more than faith in themselves. That is only self-confidence or self-centeredness. Others have faith in faith, which is something like relying on the power of positive thinking or betting on the proposition that we can get what we want by manipulating the powers within us.”

When Elder Oaks says that faith requires and object he means that we must direct our belief towards something and act on that, whether that be the gas in our running, our dance partners, or our Heavenly Father. I believe that most importantly, we must have Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have been taught that this first principle of the gospel: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When we have faith in Christ, several things happen: we recognize that we can return to our Heavenly Father because of our faith. When we have faith in Him we accept and apply his Atonement and his teachings. We know that He has the power to keep His promises, we trust in Him and what He says. We are blessed because we have faith to obey Christ.

I have had experiences in having faith in my Savior. During this past December, (about finals time in fall semester) I applied for some summer camps where I would be a bunk counselor and a dance instructor. I actually got to interview for 2 different camps. One camp offered me the job on the spot; the other offered me a job the next day. I started praying about it. (I would be there now if I had done it) I had a hard time with it. However, every time I thought about going to camp and being a counselor I freaked out, I got super nervous, and I didn't feel comfortable. However, I hadn't made a decision yet. Fast forward to the first week of school. My best friend and former roommate now missionary in Georgia came out to Utah to get some stuff, she visited me. She and I talked about my future. I told her about camp, and at this point I had had blessings telling me that I had good things going for me, but no yes or no to the camp question. I was told to talk to people about it; well my friend was a camp counselor in Oregon. We talked about it, what I would do if I didn't go and what not...and she gave me her opinion. She said, "Alishka, I would be the last person to tell you to not go, but I don't think you should go. (She was the first to say that, everyone told me to go, my parents had been pretty neutral)" she said that every time I talked about camp I got all shaky and closed up and when I talked about other things I lit up and was happy again. I agreed that the idea freaked me out, and that night I decided to act in faith and ask the question not WHAT should I do, but ask the question if not going to camp was the right decision. The power I felt that night as I listened to the spirit was pretty powerful. I took the opportunity the next day to go to the temple and confirmed my answer that I wasn’t to go away to either of these summer camps.

This experience taught me that believing Heavenly Father can answer my prayers is only half of the battle. I have to have faith and ACT on that belief. I had to get down on my knees and really ask. I didn’t really receive my answer until I did that. I think part of me knew all along, but I didn’t have the faith to ask at first.

Faith is definitely an active part of life. You can't just sit around and hope that things happen by just have to act on that faith and put trust in your someone or something that it will all work out. Believe me when I say that I have had the experience of taking my belief and making it faith by acting on that belief, and it is so worth it in the end.


Th. said...


I've been thinking about this issue anew after General Conference and you are, of course, absolutely right.

I remember a chapter in the Kimball book from last year about prayer and faith that reminds me a lot of your comments here.