Answered by Victor Belousov, 04/28/2014
Anatoly asks: "How to strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ? I believe in the Lord for a long time, but I think that the roots of my faith are very weak - help and tell me what to do?
Peace be with you, Anatoly.
Strengthening faith is a daily constant action. We all know what we need to pray for and read the Scriptures, to maintain fellowship with believers. Some points that can still be addressed:
18 Thank you for everything: for such is the will of God in Christ Jesus about you.
(1 Thess. 5:18)
Gratitude focuses our attention on the actions of God, which we usually do not notice. The more we see them (pay attention), the more we realize God as their cause, the more our faith is strengthened.
18 When He spoke these things to them, a certain leader approached Him and, bowing to Him, said: My daughter is now dying, but come, lay Your hand on her, and she will be alive.
19 And standing up, Jesus went after him, and his disciples.
20 And now, a woman who had suffered bleeding for twelve years, coming up from behind, touched the edge of His garment,
21 for she said in herself: if only I touch His clothes, I will recover.
22 Jesus, turning and seeing her, said: Dare, daughter! your faith has saved you. From that hour the woman became healthy.
(Matthew 9: 18-22)
Every day we have different experiences, thoughts. On the one hand, it seems that they are situational, on the other hand, they express some permanent character traits. If we pay attention - to those words that we speak inside ourselves - about life, about work, about ourselves (for example, praising or scolding), about people, about God - we can consciously choose these words. To do this, for example, one can learn Bible promises - and when a certain typical situation recurs, one can recall the words of faith. It will be a kind of confession.
3) Rethinking the past day (period of life).
5 I remember the days of old, reflect on all your affairs, reason on the works of your hands.
(Ps. 142: 5)
2 And remember all the way that the Lord your God led you through the wilderness, for forty years now, to humble you, to test you and know what is in your heart, whether you will keep His commandments or not,
(Deut. 8: 2)
From each situation, we draw a lesson or conclusion - regardless of whether we want it or not. This happens both in childhood and in adulthood. Man adapts to the world around him, like any living creature. There are many examples and experiments on this subject. One of the most famous is elephant training. A stake is hammered into the ground (or a tree stump is used) and a baby elephant is riveted on a chain. No matter how hard the elephant tries, he cannot break out of this chain. He gets used to the fact that there is no point even trying to do it. And when the elephant grows up, it is tied with a thin rope to the peg, and he could easily break it - but he doesn’t even try. In the life of every person there can be such “invisible” chains that hold us and interfere with our walk with God. With prayer, we can ask God about the different situations of the past time, remember biblical examples. We can rethink the experience with God, see how God heals deep emotional emotions, shows new sides that we ourselves have not noticed before.
10 From arrogance comes contention, but among counselors - wisdom.
(Prov. 13: 10)
22 Without advice, enterprises will be upset, and with many advisers they will take place.
23 Joy to man is in the answer of his mouth, and how good is the word in time!
(Prov. 15: 22,23)
42 And they were constantly in the teaching of the Apostles, in fellowship and breaking of bread, and in prayers.
When we communicate with sincerely believing people (even on different topics, not necessarily religious), we become stronger in faith. We mutually share spiritual life experiences - and this gives a great degree of freedom in God. Because we see not just a “list of commandments”, but a practical model - how and what can be done, how to perceive situations and seek solutions. This is good spiritual help. But this does not replace personal fellowship with God.
The gospel of Jesus Christ. Part One: Faith
We often make choices based on what result we expect to get. “If I do A, I get B.” This motivating force that pushes and encourages us to act is called faith. When we wake up in the morning, we expect the sun to rise. When we plant a seed, we expect it to germinate. We are confident in this, because we have the belief that we will get the result. Faith is also the key to following Jesus Christ.
We can learn from the scriptures about faith. In the Book of Mormon, a prophet named Alma taught: “And now, as I said about faith, faith does not mean perfect knowledge of anything, but because if you have faith, then you hope that which is invisible but that is true” (Alma 32:21).
Faith in Jesus Christ is the assurance that He is our Savior.
Faith in Jesus Christ helps us cope with our daily worries and problems.
Faith in Jesus Christ is necessary to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Faith in Jesus Christ means a firm belief that He is the Son of God. He is the Redeemer of the world. He overcame everything for us. We depend on His grace and grace to help us return to the presence of our Heavenly Father.
To move forward in life, we must act, but it is impossible to act without faith. We do something or make specific decisions because we hope for a good result. We cannot have perfect knowledge of everything while we live on earth, so we should not expect that perfect knowledge will be revealed to us before we allow ourselves to make decisions. We must make choices based on faith, and if we do so, our knowledge and our confidence will increase.
Although we have not seen Christ, our faith in Him can grow when we read about His life in the Scriptures. If we exercise faith by choosing to follow Jesus Christ, we begin to build a relationship with Him. Acting with faith in Christ, we can understand His role in our lives and prepare to follow Him in other ways.
Watch this video and learn more about faith. This video shows how one girl and her family were blessed when they acted in faith.
By exercising faith, we can witness miracles. To learn more about faith, we invite you to join us and attend worship.
What is repentance
None of us are perfect. This is reality, the fact is that sometimes we violate the commandments of God and sin. This choice often leads to feelings of guilt, sadness, or even depression. If you have ever been overwhelmed by an unbearable feeling of guilt, grief or sadness as a result of the wrong choice you made, know that these feelings can be replaced by feelings of peace, joy and happiness. Thanks to Jesus Christ, there is a way to overcome the guilt that we experience in life. We can overcome these feelings through repentance.
When Jesus Christ lived on earth, He taught people to follow Him, have faith, repent and be baptized. Repentance is a very important step in following Jesus Christ.
After faith, repentance is the next part of following the gospel of Jesus Christ. Repentance is a renewal of life prospects, a change in our views on relations with God, and changes our hearts and actions so that we can be one with Him. True repentance means that we acknowledge our mistakes, correct them and, as a result, strive to be more obedient in life. Repentance is a real opportunity for us to become the best we can.
When we repent, we first admit that we made the wrong choice and feel sadness for God's sake. Sadness for the sake of God means that we feel bad, not because we were caught hot, but because we really understand that our choices alienated us from God. Then we confess our sins and ask God to forgive us in prayer. After that, we do our best to fix any problems that arose as a result of our choice. This is the process of repentance. We are changing through this process. When we allow ourselves to change, our desire to follow God grows.
Making adjustments or changes to our lives can seem intimidating or even scary. But a change for the better is so wonderful! Yes, we may need to humble ourselves, but this is an opportunity for us to become more like Jesus Christ. Repentance is not a one-time process; it is something we must do constantly if we want to improve throughout life.
When we sincerely repent, we feel peace, joy and forgiveness.
If you have questions about repentance, we invite you to chat with us.
The gospel of Jesus Christ. Part Three: Baptism.
All of us, being carnal creatures, probably did things that we are not proud of, things that cause guilt and hurt ourselves and others. Have you ever had the desire to simply start all over again so that all feelings of guilt and heaviness from the wrong deeds you have committed can be washed away?
The good news is that there is a way to start all over and do it right. This method is called baptism.
Why do we need to be baptized?
Mormons believe that once a person reaches the age of responsibility (8 years), he or she may decide to follow Jesus Christ by being baptized. Many churches believe in the sacrament of baptism, but perform baptism in different ways. Mormons believe in baptism by immersion in water, performed by a person who has authority from God, in the same way that Jesus Christ was baptized. We are baptized in order to follow His example, to be cleansed from sins and to step on the path leading back to Godhead.
Follow the example of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ came to earth to become our Savior and a perfect example for us. It is thanks to His sacrifice that our sins can be forgiven if we exercise faith in Him, repent and enter the waters of baptism. Christ was perfect and sinless, but in order to show obedience to God's commandments and show us all the path leading back to God, He sought out John the Baptist and was baptized, as shown in the video that can be found here.
Just as Christ showed His love for God and for all of us by receiving baptism, we show our love and desire to follow Him when we receive baptism in the same way as He is by immersion in water with the help of a person endowed with the appropriate authority.
Cleansed from sin
Baptism, which involves complete immersion in water and exit from water, symbolizes the "death" of our old, sinful essence and our "rebirth" as followers of Christ. When someone repents and is baptized with the help of someone who has the authority of Jesus Christ in His Church, all his sins are washed away and he becomes pure and spotless. We start life from scratch.
Take the path leading back to God
After we have shown faith in Christ and repented of our sins, during baptism we enter into a covenant with God that we will continue to repent and improve so that we can return to His presence. The covenant is a two-way obligation, the conditions of which are established by God, we promise to keep the commandments of God and always remember Christ, and God promises to forgive us our sins and send the Holy Spirit, who will abide with us and guide us to Him.
Repentance and baptism not only wash away our sins, but also because of this we become members of the Church of Jesus Christ, His Kingdom on earth. By promising to follow Him all our lives, we get opportunities to serve and grow in the Church wherever we live. These opportunities help us become more like the Savior.
The sacrament of baptism is sacred and important, but it is only the beginning. After we have “entered the gates” of baptism, we must continue along the path leading back to God, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit and enduring to the end. You can read more about the gift of the Holy Spirit and what it means to endure to the end in the fourth and fifth parts of this series of articles.
The gospel of Jesus Christ. Part Four: The Gift of the Holy Spirit
Imagine that you just started climbing mountains where you have never been before. You have heard about the amazing view that opens from the top of the mountain, you have never seen anything like it before, and you want to get there at all costs. You took the first step - got to the mountain and found the beginning of the trail - but you are not sure about the route. You know that on the way to the top you will find difficult sections of the path that are difficult to determine, and without help you can be injured or lose track.
However, at the beginning of the journey, a guide meets you. You already spoke with him before, by the way, it was he who helped you choose this route. Now he will be with you throughout the campaign and will safely guide you to the top of the mountain.
So how does this relate to the Holy Spirit?
After we showed faith in Jesus Christ, repented of our sins, and were baptized, we, in fact, found a “mountain” and began our journey back to Godhead. The Holy Spirit, whose influence helps us get to the “beginning of the path” through baptism, which testifies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that His Church is true, becomes our constant companion to guide us along this path to the lungs, and in difficult times, after we entered into the covenant of baptism.
The role of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit fulfills many roles in its quest to help us return to God. Here are some of them:
- Testify. One of the main roles of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, that They exist and love us. It helps us to know spiritual truths with such force that the testimony of the Holy Spirit is more convincing than any other process of gaining knowledge.
- To educate. James 4:13 in the Book of Mormon says: “The Spirit speaks the truth and does not lie. Therefore, He speaks of everything as it truly is, and of everything as it will be true. ” The Holy Spirit enlightens our minds and broadens our understanding of spiritual truths, helping us see everything “as it truly is.” The Holy Spirit will teach us only what is true.
- Warn. Sometimes the Holy Spirit manifests itself in the form of a warning voice, telling us when we should get out of a given situation, or warning us that we spiritually “went out of the way”. When we go astray, He can help us determine what we need to change in life in order to repent and continue to move forward on the path to God.
- Guide. Have you ever had to make an important decision, not being sure what exactly needs to be done? Seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit can help us find peace regarding the fidelity of our decision. The Holy Spirit never forces, but He invites and directs us to do good, love, serve, forgive and help each other.
- Console. In the hours of trials and sorrows, the Holy Spirit can comfort us and assure us that through the atonement of Christ, all injustice in life will be corrected. With the help of the Holy Spirit, Heavenly Father surrounds us with the arms of His love.
How to feel the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit speaks with our mind and heart, but people feel the Holy Spirit in different ways. The ability to recognize the Holy Spirit is a lifelong process, but we invite the guidance of the Holy Spirit when we live according to the commandments of God. In the New Testament, Paul describes the fruits of the spirit as “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, mercy, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal 5: 22-23).
In addition, Gordon B. Hinckley, the prophet of our day, said: “In the end, this is a test. Does this prompt you to do good, to perk up, straighten your shoulders, do the right thing, be kind, be generous? If so, then it is from the Spirit of God. ” We can be sure that our choice will always have good consequences if we follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit will always encourage us to do good.
The gift of the Holy Spirit plays an important role in helping us stay on the path to God. In the final part of this series, we will talk about how to endure to the end.
The gospel of Jesus Christ. Part Five: Endure to the End
The gospel of Jesus Christ — the path back to Godhead — includes faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the need to endure to the end. We have already examined the first four parts in this series of articles. Let's do a short review of what we have already learned.
When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we are confident that He loves us, has the power to forgive us and make us better than we are. Our faith leads us to repentance, or a change of heart, which prompts us to change what we do wrong, and to diligently keep God's commandments. Одной из этих заповедей является крещение, во время которого мы выходим из воды, что символизирует наше возрождение в качестве нового человека, и вступаем в завет, что будем следовать за Иисусом Христом до конца жизни. После крещения мы получаем дар Святого Духа, или иными словами право всегда иметь Святого Духа с нами, который будет направлять нас на пути назад к нашему Небесному Отцу. После этого мы должны претерпеть до конца.
Претерпеть до конца? Звучит как марафонский забег – задача, которая кажется сложной и не особо веселой.
It is true that difficult times may arise in the lives of followers of Jesus Christ. Belief in Jesus Christ and the obligation to follow Him do not guarantee that adversities such as financial difficulties, painful choice of other people or death of a loved one will not happen in life. However, to endure to the end does not mean to bite the bullet and wade through the jungle of difficulties. On the contrary, this means that every day, both in good and bad times, we continue to exercise faith in Christ, repent, keep the covenants made to God and follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This means that we continue to change and move forward on our path to Him. If we fall (and this will certainly happen) or get out of the way, we will return to the path, relying on the Savior and His ability to save us. To endure to the end means to remain faithful to the laws of Christ and covenants throughout our lives, and also to allow Him to guide us.
We invite you to see how Dieter F. Uchdorf, the modern Apostle of Jesus Christ, explains this joyful process of gaining hope and deliverance.
Learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ in the first, second, third, and fourth parts of this series of articles.