The Apostle Paul taught that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1; see footnote b). Alma made a similar statement: “If ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21).
Faith is a principle of action and power. Whenever you work toward a worthy goal, you exercise faith. You show your hope for something that you cannot yet see.
In order for your faith to lead you to salvation, it must be centered in the Lord Jesus Christ (see Acts 4:10–12; Mosiah 3:17; Moroni 7:24–26; Articles of Faith 1:4). You can exercise faith in Christ when you have an assurance that He exists, a correct idea of His character, and a knowledge that you are striving to live according to His will.
Having faith in Jesus Christ means relying completely on Him—trusting in His infinite power, intelligence, and love. It includes believing His teachings. It means believing that even though you do not understand all things, He does. Remember that because He has experienced all your pains, afflictions, and infirmities, He knows how to help you rise above your daily difficulties (see Alma 7:11–12; D&C 122:8). He has “overcome the world” (John 16:33) and prepared the way for you to receive eternal life. He is always ready to help you as you remember His plea: “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36).
Faith is much more than passive belief. You express your faith through action—by the way you live.
The Savior promised, “If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (Moroni 7:33). Faith in Jesus Christ can motivate you to follow His perfect example (see John 14:12). Your faith can lead you to do good works, obey the commandments, and repent of your sins (see James 2:18; 1 Nephi 3:7; Alma 34:17). Your faith can help you overcome temptation. Alma counseled his son Helaman, “Teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Alma 37:33).
The Lord will work mighty miracles in your life according to your faith (see 2 Nephi 26:13). Faith in Jesus Christ helps you receive spiritual and physical healing through His Atonement (see 3 Nephi 9:13–14). When times of trial come, faith can give you strength to press forward and face your hardships with courage. Even when the future seems uncertain, your faith in the Savior can give you peace (see Romans 5:1; Helaman 5:47).
Faith is a gift from God, but you must nurture your faith to keep it strong. Faith is like the muscle of your arm. If you exercise it, it grows strong. If you put it in a sling and leave it there, it becomes weak.
You can nurture the gift of faith by praying to Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ. As you express your gratitude to your Father and as you plead with Him for blessings that you and others need, you will draw near to Him. You will draw near to the Savior, whose Atonement makes it possible for you to plead for mercy (see Alma 33:11). You will also be receptive to the quiet guidance of the Holy Ghost.
You can strengthen your faith by keeping the commandments. Like all blessings from God, faith is obtained and increased through individual obedience and righteous action. If you desire to enrich your faith to the highest possible degree, you must keep the covenants you have made.
You can also develop your faith by studying the scriptures and the words of latter-day prophets. The prophet Alma taught that the word of God helps strengthen faith. Comparing the word to a seed, he said that the “desire to believe” can lead you to “give place” for the word to be “planted in your heart.” Then you will feel that the word is good, for it will begin to enlarge your soul and enlighten your understanding. This will strengthen your faith. As you continually nurture the word in your heart, “with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.” (See Alma 32:26–43.)