“Faith is to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true, and must be centered in Jesus Christ in order to produce salvation.”
– Bible Dictionary, Faith.
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I want to understand more about faith. I also want to have more faith. I am always puzzled by the Lord’s declaration “for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove” (Matthew 17:20). Does He mean that we would literally be able to move a mountain? I know that there are figurative mountains that we move every day with our faith. I have a lot of mountains that need moving, and while I’m not perfect at it, I’d say I do a pretty good job of moving them, most of the time. But move a mountain?
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My doubt about the Lord being literal about moving mountains is probably a stumbling block to my faith. I want to believe that I could move a mountain if I had enough faith, but I guess it is the natural man in me that makes that seem impossible.
But with God, all things are possible, right?
So how do I learn to have faith that all things are possible – that I really could move a mountain? I have faith that I can do a lot of thing. Moving a mountain isn’t one of them, and yet the Lord explicitly says that we can move mountains. He did talk in parables a lot, so maybe this was a parable of sorts. Was he speaking literally? Even if he wasn’t speaking literally, couldn’t we still move mountains if we had enough faith?
The Lord has all power, and He has shown us this time and time again. His power is illustrated throughout all four books of scripture, and through a lot more experiences more recently. “The Lord has revealed himself and his perfect character, possessing in their fullness all the attributes of love, knowledge, justice, mercy, unchangeableness, power, and every other needful thing, so as to enable the mind of man to place confidence in him without reservation.” (Bible Dictionary, Faith) And yet, I still have reservations.
“Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized without stubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.” (Alma 32:16) I know this doesn’t really have anything to do with moving mountains, but this did remind me that the first principle of the gospel is faith , not knowledge. Faith comes first. We don’t have to know very much in order to get baptized, we mostly just need to have faith. That is why we let people get baptized who have only had six lessons from the missionaries. Definitely not enough instruction to have much knowledge of gospel principles, but they have faith, and that is what is important. As they grow in the gospel, they will receive more knowledge.
“Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.” (Alma 32:17) Am I waiting for some kind of “sign” before I will believe that faith can move mountains? “Is this faith? Behold I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.” (Alma 32:18) If I know that I can move mountains if I have faith, then I don’t really need to have faith that I could move a mountain. So why don’t I move mountains? What would that faith look like? Would I really be having faith in the Savior if I said “I am going to have faith that this mountain will move so that I can move it.” That doesn’t seem to be faith “centered in Jesus Christ.” Why do we need to have faith? “to produce salvation.” We need to have faith so that we can be saved. We don’t have faith so that we can just move big stuff with our faith. Alma clarified this, “therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” (Alma 32:21)
I have so much to learn about faith.
What can you teach me about faith? Do you have a hard time believing that faith can move an actual mountain? Do you struggle to have faith about other things? How can we learn more about faith? Where do you study about faith in the scriptures? What words about faith have helped you?