So…now we’re really getting to the good stuff. Charity has a strong connection with faith. I’m sure you’ve either noticed it in the scriptures or heard it a lot – faith, hope, and charity. Today, we are studying about faith – and what it has to do with charity.
There are a lot of good places to find definitions of faith or examples of faith. But I love how King Benjamin taught the connection between faith and charity.
“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.” – Mosiah 4:9-13
So…here’s how it works.
1. Believe in God
Here’s faith. We believe in God. We believe that He created all things, has all power, and that he may be a little bit smarter than we are.
Believing God means that we trust in Him.
As our trust and belief in Him grows we will begin to exercise our faith by doing a few things (good works).
2. Do Good Works
I don’t mean this in the typical sense – of serving one another. But I mean we need to do the work that only we can do. We need to give Heavenly Father the only thing we can give Him – our wills. We give up the natural man. We repent. We humble ourselves. We ask for forgiveness.
3. We Receive a Remission of Sins
When we receive a remission of sins, then we will know of His goodness and taste of His love. And – remember – God’s love is charity. It is His pure love – that never fails. We can experience charity – long before we do a single act of service – just by being faithful (through belief in Christ and repentance).
What I find interesting about this is how hard it can be to repent sometimes. Have you found it difficult? I have sinned, and continue to sin. When I approach the the Lord, I often feel ashamed of my sins because I want to be better. I love Heavenly Father, and I know that He loves me. I don’t want to disappoint him. The act of repentance can be hard; we must experience Godly sorrow in order to truly repent. Sometimes it is tempting to think that we would be better off to go without repenting – so we can avoid the shame and discomfort of such growth.
However, it is when we repent that we are filled with such Joy.
I love Alma’s experience –
And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” – Alma 36:20-21
As difficult as was the pain Alma experienced, he had to wade through the sorrow of repentance in order to feel the miraculous joy of God’s pure love.
Once we experience this, we need to retain it in our hearts. (Always remember Him).
4. Our Knowledge of God Grows
Here’s why knowing God is kind of a good thing for us:
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” – John 17:3
Knowing God: knowing His love, commandments, and mysteries is the way that we inherit eternal life. Of course, we can’t know Him if we aren’t living worthy of His Spirit and revelation.
5. We will have charity for others
It is when we develop a love of the Lord and experience His love for us that we are able to share His love for others.
I have experienced this. I know it is true. Because I have felt the deep and abiding love that Heavenly Father has for me, I know that He loves all of His children. When I am close to the Lord, experiencing His charity, I’m filled with this idea, “I need to share this with others.” The only way that I can show my gratitude for the atonement and blessings that God has given me is by sharing the Love He has for others. I know that the Lord loves all of His children. The best way for me to help express this love is by supporting others.
Oh, and one more thing. When I experience the love of the God, my love for Him grows. I want to please Him. I want to make Him happy. And I know that when I sin against others, it hurts the Lord. Conversely, I know what King Benjamin has taught:
“…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” – Mosiah 2:17
My love for others grow as my love for God grows. My love for God is strengthened as I show love for others. And all of this starts with the simple act of faith. It’s neat how that works.
We can develop true charity for others. We just need to take the first step: faith. What do you do to increase your faith? How have you felt faith strengthen your ability to have charity?