“Line upon Line: Faith in Jesus Christ,” Liahona, Mar. 2002, 42–43
We come into this mortal existence to fulfill several purposes. Among the most important are to obtain a physical body and to accept and follow Jesus Christ by faith. Everyone who enters mortal life receives a body. But unfortunately, not everyone accepts and follows the Lord Jesus Christ by faith. Developing the necessary faith is up to each of us. Some may think, I believe Jesus Christ is the Savior, but I’m not sure I understand what it means to have faith in Him.
The Apostle Paul taught that “faith is the substance [or assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1; see Joseph Smith Translation, Heb. 11:1). Perhaps a true story can clarify this definition.
Several years ago a young mother experienced problems early in her pregnancy. Fearing she would lose her baby, she asked her husband to give her a priesthood blessing. The husband knew he should express the Lord’s desires in the blessing rather than his own wishes, so he knelt in fervent prayer to seek the Lord’s will. After some time, the distinct spiritual assurance came to this young father that the baby should live.
A blessing was given, but the problems with the pregnancy did not disappear. In fact, the baby was born three months early. The first night of the baby’s life, as medical professionals made repeated and seemingly fruitless attempts to get oxygen from the baby’s underdeveloped lungs into his bloodstream, the young father watched—and pondered the spiritual assurance he had received earlier. He prayed again and received another distinct impression that the baby would survive. Even when the doctor told him things looked hopeless, the father said to himself, “I know what the Spirit has told me. I will trust the Lord.”
Before long, the doctors applied a procedure they considered the last resort. When it worked, the father was not surprised. Many difficult months followed, and the medical professionals were often pessimistic about the baby’s chances of becoming healthy and living a normal life. But today he is a healthy, active 12-year-old and has recently been ordained a deacon.
The young father had faith that his son would be well because he received a divine assurance that it would be so. He could not see into the future and view a healthy 12-year-old passing the sacrament—that would be a sure knowledge. But he knew what the Spirit had told him, and that was evidence enough.
When we act on such assurances from the Lord, we are exercising faith and, in turn, our faith grows stronger. We can then receive greater assurances from the Lord and exercise even greater faith in Him. Jacob explained that because he and other prophets of God who preceded him received “many revelations and the spirit of prophecy,” their faith became “unshaken, insomuch that [they could] command in the name of Jesus and the very trees [obeyed them], or the mountains, or the waves of the sea” (Jacob 4:6).
The principle is the same for us. When we receive commandments or counsel from the Lord through His prophet or through our Church leaders or our parents, we can obtain a testimony through the Holy Ghost that the instruction is indeed from the Lord. Then, if we act in faith on that assurance, we allow the Lord to bless us and others.
Heavenly Father might not ask us to move mountains, but He may ask:
“Do you have enough faith to receive answers to your prayers?
“Do you have enough faith to pay tithing?
“Do you have enough faith to date only those who can take you to the temple, trusting that I will provide someone with whom you can start an eternal family?”
But perhaps the most important questions He can ask us are about our willingness to accept the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives and allow Him to help change us:
“Do you have enough faith in the Lord to plead for forgiveness of your sins and a change of heart?
“Do you have sufficient faith to keep the commandments and walk as I have asked?”