Faith, Not Fear

It is a fundamental belief of my religion that one should live a life of faith. I suppose that is somewhat self-evident, and I think this is probably foundational to many religions. What is faith, and what does it mean to live a life of faith?

It is a fundamental belief of my religion that one should live a life of faith. I suppose that is somewhat self-evident, and I think this is probably foundational to many religions. What is faith, and what does it mean to live a life of faith?

Faith is a belief that things will ultimately work out for the best in the end for those who trust God, in spite of any challenges along the way. Faith is written in the scriptures to be “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”1, or also translated as the “proof” of things not seen. To have faith we must believe in, and hope for the good things that are ahead for us, even when we don’t have complete proof that those good things are coming.

Faith requires action. The “substance” of faith, as noted in the quote mentioned above, includes the efforts exerted by us in giving life to our hopes, and longings. These actions and efforts may be prayers, studying scriptures, focused and optimistic thoughts, or acts of kindness. Acts of faith may also include stepping out of our comfort zone to build a friendship, apply for a job, go to college, have children, or follow through with an idea to do something good. These are some ways that we live a life of faith.

“Faith is the opposite of fear.”2 In church, and in scripture we’re taught to “be not afraid”3. Instead of being fearful, we are to “walk by faith”4, and to “be of good courage”5. It can be difficult to have faith when life gets hard, things seem bleak, and our faith is tested, and yet these are exactly the times when faith is needed most.

Today, the voices of fear and anxiety in the world seem to be growing louder. These voices would have us believe that when hope is fading and solutions are hard to find, fearfulness and capitulation is the only response. If we act with fear, the result is often more fear, pain and confusion. What does faith offer instead?

“And Christ hath said: if ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.”6

“Faith is a principle of power”7. Faith must be centered in Christ. If we have faith in Christ, He enables us to accomplish things we would otherwise consider impossible.

“What, then, are the blessings of faith? What does faith accomplish? The list is almost endless:

Our sins can be forgiven because of faith in Christ.17

As many as have faith have communion with the Holy Spirit.18

Salvation comes through faith on Christ’s name.19

We receive strength according to our faith in Christ.

None enter the Lord’s rest save those who wash their garments in Christ’s blood because of their faith.21

Prayers are answered according to faith.22

Without faith among men, God can do no miracle among them.23

–Elder Quentin L. Cook8
  1. Do Not Fear, President Boyd K. Packer
  2. Hebrews 11:1
  3. Mark 5:36
  4. 2 Corinthians 5:7
  5. Isaiah 41:6
  6. Moroni 7:33
  7. Faith, a Power That Centers in Christ, Doctrines of the Gospel, Student Manual
  8. Foundations of Faith, Elder Quentin L. Cook

Doubt not, fear not

There’s been a lot on my mind lately. It seems like as soon as I get one aspect of my life figured out something else pops up right away that needs to be worked on, fixed, improved, etc. It’s hard sometimes not to let certain things become points of worry. I read recently that the subconscious mind makes up about 90% of our brains and that it will tend to control our thought patterns using learned habits of thinking, unless we use the conscious mind (the other 10%) to direct it otherwise. I prefer not to allow any negative, learned habits of thought to control me. It seems healthy to turn off the brain autopilot (the subconscious mind) and reprogram ourselves to envision a happy present/future as often as possible.

Peace of mind, in large part, is a matter of proactively focusing one’s thoughts on good things, which in turn creates a state of mind where faith and a hopeful outlook is possible. Today, I was reminded of the need to keep the right focus as I began to think with worry about some thing that is unimportant in the larger scheme of things. I have a stack of index cards on my desk with favorite scriptures on them that I flip through occasionally, this one happened to be on the top of the stack:

“Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” (D&C 6:36)

As soon as I read this I had a strong thought/impression come to me as a firm reminder that the Lord doesn’t give us fear, it doesn’t come from Him. He told us not to be fearful in any way, period. How many times in the scriptures are we told not to fear and not to doubt? We’re taught to simply be believing, exercise faith, follow His commandments, trust Him and things will eventually work out, if not right away. There are no scriptures that say first you’re supposed to sit around and worry about things, after you’ve nagged yourself and dreaded the possible negative outcomes long enough, then you’ll be blessed with good things and with happiness. It doesn’t work that way. Push all doubts and worries out of your mind and continually focus on the good you have and will soon have in your life. We’re not supposed to go it alone either, God is there to help us every step of the way.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)