I love this talk. It’s an uplifting change from my other post today, which is a bit of a downer. I don’t have the power to change somebody else’s decisions–but I can determine my own, and that’s why I love this talk. I’ve made the choice to follow Christ–He is my path, He is my light. I love Him and I will never stray. I’ve moved back a session of conference, because there are so many great talks in that one as well and I’m pretty much out of favorites from April’s. So this is from the October 2016 General Conference, given by Elder Neil A. Andersen: Faith is Not By Chance, but By Choice.
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“Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something ethereal, floating loosely in the air. Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright. It is, as the scriptures say, “substance …, the evidence of things not seen.””
“By the grace of Christ, we will one day be saved through faith on His name.9 The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice.”
“There are many Christian men and women with deep faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we honor and respect them.”
“Your faith will grow not by chance, but by choice.
How we live our lives increases or diminishes our faith. Prayer, obedience, honesty, purity of thought and deed, and unselfishness increase faith. Without these, faith diminishes.”
“Addressing honest questions is an important part of building faith, and we use both our intellect and our feelings. The Lord said, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart.”13 Not all answers will come immediately, but most questions can be resolved through sincere study and seeking answers from God. Using our mind without our heart will not bring spiritual answers.”
“Faith never demands an answer to every question but seeks the assurance and courage to move forward, sometimes acknowledging, “I don’t know everything, but I do know enough to continue on the path of discipleship.””
“For example, questions concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith are not new. They have been hurled by his critics since this work began. To those of faith who, looking through the colored glasses of the 21st century, honestly question events or statements of the Prophet Joseph from nearly 200 years ago, may I share some friendly advice: For now, give Brother Joseph a break! In a future day, you will have 100 times more information than from all of today’s search engines combined, and it will come from our all-knowing Father in Heaven”
“When was the last time that you read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover? Read it again. It will increase your faith.”
“Another gift from God that enlarges our faith is the guidance of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.”
“Although your beginning fire of faith may be small, righteous choices bring greater confidence in God, and your faith grows. The difficulties of mortality blow against you, and evil forces lurk in the darkness, hoping to extinguish your faith. But as you continue to make good choices, trust in God, and follow His Son, the Lord sends increased light and knowledge, and your faith becomes settled and unwavering. President Thomas S. Monson said: “Fear not. … The future is as bright as your faith.””
“My dear friends, your faith did not begin at birth, and it will not end at death.”
“My dear friends, your faith did not begin at birth, and it will not end at death. Faith is a choice. Strengthen your faith, and live to be deserving of the Savior’s approving words: “Great is thy faith.” As you do, I promise you that your faith, through the grace of Jesus Christ, will one day allow you to stand with those you love, clean and pure in the presence of God, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
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Sometimes my church is accused of indulging in “blind faith”. As a church we do encourage obedience–we see it as a virtue and not a weakness. But this is because it is not blind. How much better is it to ask someone to come to know for themselves and then obey than to simply wander without direction for fear of being led astray? I don’t have the understand and answer to every question, but I have a relationship with my Savior–a relationship I trust will not lead me wrong. I may have questions, I may have doubts and I may have concerns–but I know in whom I have trusted, and I will not be lost. I’ve made my choice, as we all do. What’s yours?
Thanks for reading,