The media and society like to portray faith as a crutch for weak people. Many people believe that there can be no God since so many awful things happen every day. However, God is our greatest source of strength and it is no weakness to acknowledge His power and existence. We live in an imperfect world where bad things happen. This does not mean that God does not exist, nor that He does not care about us, but because each person on this earth has agency, sometimes others’ poor choices affect us.
Faith in God and in Jesus Christ is not something we decide to have once and then we will have it forever. Faith requires a daily, progressive effort. Once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, believe that He died for us, then we work daily to strengthen our testimonies in Him and to show Him we love Him by following His commandments.
Reading the scriptures daily is essential to building faith. Mormon youth, or young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are encouraged to read the scriptures daily. The Mormon books of scripture are the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Each of these books of scripture testifies powerfully of Jesus Christ. They exist to give us as much information as we choose to learn. The more we learn and study, the more our faith increases and the more we can know about Christ.
Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, received his first vision through faith and scripture study. He read a passage in James that says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). Joseph had the faith to follow James’ counsel. He did ask of God, and he received an answer.
It’s a saying in the Mormon Church that “faith precedes the miracle.” We can have lives filled with joy and miracles, but we must first believe in Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. Faith involves obedience, as well. We might not always understand why the Lord requires something of us; we might not understand a certain commandment; we may simply not have a testimony of a commandment, but if we truly have faith in Christ, we will follow Him even if we don’t understand at first. After we act, we will receive the blessings and our faith will increase.
To have faith in Christ is to also have hope. This will shield us from despair, which can come all too easily when the world turns dark. It’s easy to believe when life is going well and nothing bad is happening, but when family members die or jobs are lost, or wars rage, our need for Christ is at its strongest. It might feel like He’s turned away from us, but He will never abandon us. If we turn to Him, He will comfort and support us.
Even when life is good, our need for Him is there, though we might feel it less keenly. Christ will guide us and lighten us as we strive to live after His teachings and to follow His example. If we live by our faith and constantly put it to the test, it will grow and will support us through both good times and bad.