Continued from part five.
The last ingredient of faith is the Holy Spirit.
Alma said, “Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.” (Alma 32: 28 )
The Holy Spirit is the ingredient that comes when there is belief on the word of God (the seed of faith) and it is the action of the Holy Spirit on that seed that starts it growing, allowing it to take root in the individual’s heart and begin its upward sprout. The seed of faith (the word of God), once planted by belief in the heart of man, germinates (or, as Alma says, swells) by the action of the Spirit and in this growing state is now called FAITH.
We LDS are often quick to point out, at least among ourselves, that the god that the Christian world worships—and the god I refer to is the one without body, parts or passions—is not really God, but one of the creations of God. In other words, they actually worship the creature, and not the Creator. ( The creature that they worship is actually the Light of Christ. See D&C 88: 12.) But we often make the same mistake when it comes to faith (as do they.) Many people of the world equate belief with faith, yet they are not the same. One is an ingredient of the other. Also, belief must be centered on the word of God before genuine faith can be generated. Believing in falsehoods does not generate faith.
Likewise, although the Holy Spirit germinates the seed of faith, it also is not faith. It is but an ingredient. Nevertheless, as the Spirit brings more of the word of God along with it, if that word is believed, it can immediately generate faith in the individual by action upon the newly planted seed.
In fact, as the Spirit does bring the word of God along with it, it is even equated in the scriptures as the word of God:
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6: 17)
For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ. (D&C 84: 45)
Although both the Holy Spirit and belief in the scriptures are associated with, and often even equated with, faith, only the word of God can rightly be called faith. When it is in its unplanted, unswelled state, it is dormant faith, or the seed of faith. When it is planted by belief and swelling by the action of the Holy Spirit, it is faith.
The action of the Holy Spirit upon the seed of faith planted in the heart of man by belief is immediate and instantaneous. No action need be taken by man to bring it into the heart or to cause it to do its job. The Holy Spirit automatically goes to every believer’s heart and swells the seed. Jesus taught this plainly:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one. (3 Nephi 11: 35-36)
As with everything in the gospel of Jesus Christ, all that is required of us is that we don’t resist the Holy Spirit, in other words, passive action. The gospel is set up to easily obtain salvation, so that none of us are left with the excuse that the way was too hard.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11: 29-30)
And he did straiten them in the wilderness with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished. (1 Nephi 17: 41)
A common misconception we LDS fall into is that something other than passive action is required of us. If you were to sit in any three hour block of church on Sunday with a pencil and notepad, you could record many instances of words being spoken that indicate the difficulty of the gospel, words like hard, difficult, not easy, struggle, fight, battle, effort, etc., and you’d hardly hear of an instance of the gospel being referred to as easy.
We have largely turned the gospel upside down and desired complicated things, instead of the simple, easy things that the Lord has given us. Instead of easily basking in the light of the Spirit and enjoying the bounty of fruits, gifts and powers of the Holy Ghost, we have made for ourselves a difficult path to perfection, that hardly anyone who walks therein will finish. Even terms like sanctification are now equated as requiring years and years of diligent effort and full church activity, that only the strongest obtain a long time from now, instead of the instantaneous thing it is that can be obtained effortlessly and now. We refer to every part of the gospel as a process, something requiring much time and effort, instead of something that happens instantly and effortlessly. Thus, sanctification becomes a process, conversion becomes a process, and because these things take much time, much effort and great personal sacrifice, and because we are not perfect, daily repentance becomes necessary, too. All of these concepts are the precepts of men and are not part of the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in his holy, revealed writ.
But I digress. Back to the subject at hand: the Holy Spirit.
Like the word of God (the first ingredient) and belief on the word of God (the second ingredient), both of which can be increased,—and, when increased, faith also increases—so the portion of the Holy Spirit obtained can be increased, increasing faith. The Lord has left nothing to chance or randomness. The whole thing is scientifically based. Anyone, anywhere, can obtain faith in Jesus Christ. And anyone, anywhere, can increase that faith by simply increasing the amount of each ingredient. I have already written about how to obtain more of the word of God and more of belief. In the next article of this series, I will expound the principle of how to obtain more of the Holy Spirit.
Next Faith of God article: The faith of God, part seven: prayer and fasting
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