Faith as an idea, or tenet of religion is static. Having faith in Christ as a great teacher, or as a prophet, or even as the Son of God whose words and works are set and accomplished has its basis in truth, and has a positive effective and upward push in our lives, but it is static. By that I mean that it does not change. This type of faith consists of adoring believers looking upward. Living faith consists of Jesus Christ looking downward, responding to our needs, answering our prayers, sending forth poignant and timely blessings, directing our lives and feet and hands. It is living because Jesus Christ is living. He is not an idea, he is our Savior, a living being and He is intimately involved in our lives.
Last Sunday I had the opportunity to teach the High Priests group in our ward. The subject was Faith in Christ, with the second part of the discussion being the question, “How can we increase our faith in Christ?” The comments from the group were leaning toward “keep the commands” and “repent of your sins”, which are true faith builders, but suggest that Christ is only involved in our lives when we’re relatively perfect. Christ isn’t in our lives to just minister to the whole, and the saved, but to those who are struggling and lost and at a loss as to how to proceed. “Keep the commandments” as a formula for faith reveals a less-than-intimate understanding of how faith works, and why it is even present in our lives.
To have faith in Christ we must first understand who Christ is, and where He is. I don’t mean, that he is in heaven. I mean, where is He in the barren fields of our own lives. One cannot have faith in something that is non-existent in their lives. If you don’t know how Christ interacts with you, what His voice sounds like, how to receive answers to your prayers, or even how He answers them, then you having very little to make your faith operate.
When one realizes that Christ is the source of all truth, and that we hear His voice constantly in our lives – first as our conscience, then further on as the workings if the Holy Spirit, then you suddenly know where Christ is, what He’s doing, and how to become a disciple. When you become aware that this little voice of truth that has been niggling at you all your life is actually your Savior attempting to direct your life, then you have in a very real way, “come unto Christ.”
When you realize that all of these little urgings to do good, or perhaps to not do something wrong, have come from Christ, you can begin to sample obedience. In a very short time everyone comes to realize that this isn’t just a bothersome voice of “stop, don’t do that”, but it is a loving voice of safety – and that it is never wrong. Safety follows obedience, experience produces confidence, and that confidence in the voice of Christ is in fact “living faith in Christ.”
It is faith because it is to know, with great confidence, that the direction or prompting, or truth or principle or words or acts you have just been directed to do will bless your life and everyone around you. It is living because it comes from a living and loving Christ. It is living because it is the voice of heaven speaking in your ear for your benefit. It is living because it breathes life and hope into your life. It is living because it is the very pathway to righteousness, peace, joy, and salvation.
It is such a simple concept that toddlers can learn it. It is such a powerful concept that the mighty and great ones stumble and stub their eternal welfare upon it. It is such a pure concept that the humble and meek of all the generations of mankind have used it to write their names in the books of the saved throughout all the generations of man.