On many occasion, when faced with difficulty and hope seems thin, we advise, “Have faith.” What we really mean is cross your fingers, close your eyes, and hope for the best. After thinking on it all day today, I have fine tuned my definition of faith that I mentioned in my last post.
“Faith is putting your trust in the mind and will of God the Father.”
As we learn more of the mind and will of God we choose to align with it, trusting in God that it is for our gain. The more we search God’s mind and will in the word the more the Holy Ghost brings these truths to our remembrance and reveals more.
The word atonement was invented in the 1500’s by William Tyndale when he translated the Bible from Greek to English. The way it was supposed to be written was with hyphens to point out the process of becoming one (at-one-ment). A similar word in Hawaiian is “Lokahi” or to make one. That is what Christ provides us… a way to be one with God..
So in order to be one with God the Father, we must be one with Christ. To be one with Christ we must partake of the at-one-ment. In order to partake of the at-one-ment we must be sanctified. We are sanctified as the Holy Ghost is our constant companion, teaching us and bringing to our remembrance the attributes of God so we can align with Him. When we partake of the sacrament (renewing our baptismal covenants), the sacrament is blessed and sanctified so that we might always have his spirit to be with us. This is the mind and will of God the Father. Before we can be baptized we must repent. In order to repent you must know what to repent of by the study of the words of Christ, which teaches us the mind and will of God. So from the beginning we must have faith and that means putting your trust in the mind and will of God the Father.
I’ll put it in bullet form progressing from faith (trusting in the mind and will of God) to being one with God the Father:
- Faith is to know the mind and will of God the Father and trust in it- This is done by prayer, reading the words of Christ and personal revelation
- Repentance- Once you read the word and pray with real intent and you know that it is true, you bend to God’s will through repentance. Bowing and kneeling is symbolic of us bending our will to God. King Lamoni’s father prostrated himself before God (not one vertical bone in his body, symbolizing his willingness to submit completely to know God.)
- Baptism of water- is symbolic of being immersed in seeking the mind and will of God, becoming a disciple of Christ. This is when the search to know God gets serious.
- The Holy Ghost is the baptism of fire or sanctification- we are told to “receive the Holy Ghost.” When we sincerely desire to know the mind and will of God, we will talk of Christ, rejoice in Christ and prophesy of Christ. Depending on our sincerity, the Holy Ghost will enlighten our minds. The more the Holy Ghost dwells with us, the more we will know of the mind and will of God, or the mysteries, or the hidden treasures, and become sanctified. This is receiving more and more light.
- At-one-ment with Christ comes after being sanctified. In Ether 3:13 the brother of Jared is brought into the presence of Christ and is told, “Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.” We are redeemed when we are brought back into the presence of Christ and He shows Himself to us. At this point we have faith no longer. At this point we are partaking of the fruit from the seed we planted.
- Finally Christ teaches us to be one with God so we can return to His presence and receive eternal life.
This is a lot, I know. But think about this. It would seem counter productive to advise someone who has not studied, pondered and prayed about the mind and will of God to “have faith.” When the time to act is upon us, the time for preparation is gone. It’s too late to get the mind and will of God when the rain is falling and the ark is locked down. Likewise, the five virgins who weren’t prepared and didn’t have sufficient oil can’t “…just have faith.” Faith- trusting in the mind and will of God- requires effort to understand, then implement, and finally grow into confidence/ success. Procrastinating the day of your repentance is a fatal choice.
The degree of which you trust and understand the mind and will of God is the degree in which you have faith. It is your seeking (prayer, study and pondering) and desire, combined with the Holy Ghost, that reveals the mind and will of God. Faith doesn’t magically appear. Faith comes from asking, seeking, and knocking (remember: you took no thought save it were to ask). It doesn’t come from an office, a title, associations, miracles. True faith comes from seeking and trusting in the mind and will of God. We cannot cover our desires from Christ. Christ said:
“22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
That is why Christ asks for our heart. Our heart is symbolic of our desires. We can say that we want to live in the celestial kingdom, but our heart isn’t ready to let go of the telestial world. Alma considers our desire to hold to things of this world as “the chains of hell.” No man can serve two masters. If you hold to the things of this world, you will find yourself despising the things of God (Gods mind and will).
Prophets of old and modern day alike point their subjects to repent, and align or reconcile their lives with God by first reading the word (Alma 32:22). As they ponder the scripture, the Holy Ghost will rest upon their mind, teaching them a portion of Gods mind and will. This knowledge is often referred to as mysteries of God and they are unfolded to you line upon line, until you know all the mysteries of God in full (Alma 12:10).
This is the process spoken of in Alma 32: 27-43 when Alma compares the word unto a seed. Here, Alma refers to the nourishing of the seed (faith- trusting in God) as the cause of the seed getting root, growing up and bringing forth fruit (v37) But if that seed is neglected (no faith- no trust in God) it will not get root, grow or bare fruit. Searching the mind and will of God in the word is nourishing the seed (the word) so that it grows within you, into a tree that bares a most precious fruit- Christ (v42).
Nephi in the first verse of the Book of Mormon tells us that because he knew the goodness and mysteries of God that is why he writes his record. Abraham in the first two verses of the book of Abraham, we find him seeking for those mysteries and the greater knowledge. Enos in the first two verses also reflects upon the words of his father, which gives him cause to wrestle with the spirit and receive greater light and knowledge. We are instructed to seek out messengers from our Father and to seek Christ for more light and knowledge. Those who seek and trust in God grow their faith until they are able to receive “all that the Father hath.”
Faith is the trusting the mind and will of God the Father. If we press forward, continually seeking to be one heart and one mind with God, the Holy Ghost will begin to be more of a constant companion, rather than a special guest star appearance in our lives. This constant companionship with the Holy Ghost will provide more and more understanding of the mind and will of God and will produce “great faith.”
However, before faith can progress to become “great faith,” we must act in obedience to the limited understanding that we do have. This leads us to the next step in the process to learning by faith- exercising faith (practice/application/implementation).