Faith seems like a simple thing, and really, it can be. But it’s also often misunderstood. Faith is not just believing, though believing is part of it. Instead, faith is an eager effort to do serve and trust God. Again, it sounds simple.
But then you start thinking more about it. And pretty soon you’re wondering what that effort looks like and what’s really expected of you and what if you mess up and what if you think you have faith but you don’t and how do you know what to do?
We can sometimes get into these mental spirals that overcomplicate God’s plain truths. Faith is fairly abstract. It’s hard to define and do until you have experienced it for yourself. But it isn’t difficult or complicated to start experiencing faith. As long as you try to follow Christ, your faith will be backed by His strength and power, so you will be led to do many good things.
If you aren’t sure what you can do to start experiencing faith on your own, here are a few things you can try. Just remember – faith isn’t about the results of your actions; it’s about doing what you think is right and trusting that God will guide you and help you along the way.
1. Expect to Learn From the Holy Spirit
When you are trying to follow Christ and obey His commandments, you can expect that the Holy Spirit will be with you. You don’t have to be perfect to receive the Spirit – thank goodness, or we’d all be stranded without divine help. If you’re doing your best to live like Christ, the Spirit will be there to help you.
Trusting that the Spirit is with you as your companion when you’re trying to live like Christ is an act of faith. You can’t see the Holy Spirit, so it requires faith to believe He’s present and helping you. You can expect to find the Spirit guiding your decisions, giving you answers (or a pathway to answers), teaching you from the scriptures, and witnessing your prayers. He will warn you and comfort you. And, maybe most important, He will bring you closer to Christ each day.
2. Make a Decision You’ve Been Avoiding
Sometimes exercising faith requires that you do something without knowing exactly what God wants you to do. The fact is, God doesn’t micromanage us in most things. He tells us what we most need to know, then lets us do what we want to do or what we think is best.
But we don’t always like that uncertainty. So then we decide not to decide until there is no uncertainty. If that’s where you are, it’s probably time to decide for yourself. There is a difference between taking time to ponder your options and avoiding making a decision. If you’re waiting because you’re still learning and pondering, that’s fine. But if you’re just avoiding deciding for yourself, stop. Making a choice – whatever that choice may be – will be the act of faith you need to receive more direction from the Spirit and more confidence in yourself.
God trusts you to make decisions on your own, so you can trust yourself to make these decisions as well.
3. Look in the Right Places
Often, we question our faith when we are questioning other things as well. It can be tempting to look outside of the gospel for answers, but doing so doesn’t require much faith – if it requires any. Questions are not a bad thing, and having questions doesn’t inherently mean that you don’t have faith. It just means that you don’t know everything yet. And the fact is, you won’t know everything during this life, so questions will likely be your constant companion during this life.
What does take faith is deciding to learn from the gospel that you’re questioning. If the questions you have are about God and His gospel, what better source to go to for answers than God Himself and His prophets? Exercising the faith to look to the best sources for truth will open your heart to receive the answers you need, and you’ll become stronger because of it.
4. Drop Something From Your Life
We all get into places that are comfortable, even if they aren’t great for us. There are times when it becomes necessary to drop an unhealthy relationship, an addiction, a habit, a fear, a goal, etc. because it’s keeping you from doing what’s most important – seeking Christ. It’s scary to drop things from your life because you don’t know what will change as a result.
But if you know that there is something in your life harming you or holding you back from Christ, it’s time to let it go. Loving God is the first thing you need to do when you exercise your faith, so don’t let anything prevent you from doing so. Letting go of things in your life is never comfortable, but it also is often one of the best things you can do to become happier and closer to your Savior. It just takes some faith to trust that God will make sure everything works out the way it needs to.
5. Trust in Christ’s Promises
Trust is a major part of faith. Christ has sacrificed so much for us and He’s made it possible to repent, change, and become more like Him. Now our job is to trust Him when He tells us He’s done what needed to be done. We need to trust Him when He promises that He will return to the earth again. We need to trust that every promise will be fulfilled, no matter how small.
Mastering trust in Christ may take our entire lives, but it is something we should try to master a bit more every day. Trust in Christ can be the key to complete faith in Him. He’s given us no reason to doubt Him, so let’s all seek Him more fully in our lives, trusting that He will be with us at every moment.