There are many things to be said about faith, most of which we have understood from childhood. The most important may be that faith grows from inspired experience. It works like this, we receive a prompting from the Holy Spirit, and when we obey we always experience a blessing. That experience gives us the necessary hope to try obedience on a little higher scale, perhaps sacrificing a little to be obedient. With each act of obedience Jesus Christ blesses us, gifts us with a little more faith, and we grow by a long progression of increasingly loftier experiences into greater and greater faith.
This is referred to as receiving grace for grace. When we obey, we dispense grace to other people; we are more kind, more of service, more giving, more willing to sacrifice. Christ, in return, gives us grace, for our grace. Then, something profound happens – we are changed by His grace; upgraded, and sanctified by this process of His grace for our grace.
The difference is, we have a teaspoon with which to dispense grace, and Christ has a dump truck. Our grace is a mere token. Even when we seem to do great things, it is because He enabled and empowered and inspired us and provided the way. When we dispense grace, we give our gifts to another. When Jesus Christ dispenses grace it comes to us paid for by his blood.
20 For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace. (D&C 93:20)
To receive of “His fullness” is the end objective of the temple experience; the promise of the Oath and Covenant of the priesthood, and the greatest desire of our mortal hearts, which is to see Him and be in His presence.
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am. (D&C 93:1)
Our faith cannot increase any other way. There is no other process. It is the 1+1=2 of the gospel of Christ.
This is the only way to acquire faith powerful enough to part the veil, to work miracles, to behold angels – or any other divinely orchestrated gift.
Have you ever watched the runway lights go by as the airplane you are in accelerates into the air? Faith is somewhat like this. Each inch on the runway must be touched. Each light must be passed. None can be skipped. Each inch is a moment of decision, of obedience to truth. And, when we obey, each inch increases our speed toward the end of the runway. When we disobey, our journey is paused, and sometimes stopped entirely. No inch may be defiled and still accelerate to flight.
Then comes the domain of faith – the moment when we feel the weight lifting from our wheels. This is why every inch of the runway prior to this was precious. By the time we realize we must fly or crash, our experience and our inspired belief is that we can fly. We can part the veil. We can work miracles – because we have experienced a lifetime of inspired runway. This is why only a million obediences and a million graces could have paved the runway we just departed; because now it is only faith that lifts our wings, not the tarmac beneath our wheels.
© March 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved for the contents of this blog and website.