In my continued study of faith, I read a talk by Neil L. Anderson called Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice.
I was drawn to this talk because of the concept that in my journey to gain more faith, I can be, as Elder Bednar says, an agent “to act and not merely be acted upon.”
Elder Anderson says that “faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright.” This is wonderful. Everyone has the same opportunity to develop faith.
“Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it.
Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker.”
These two sentences hold so many keys to gaining and keeping faith throughout our lives.
1. It is a gift from heaven
2. It comes as we chose to believe
3. It comes as we seek it
4. It comes as we hold on to it
5. It is either growing stronger or becoming weaker
Elder Anderson gives keys to increasing faith, or helping it to grow stronger.
“How we live our lives increases or diminishes our faith. Prayer, obedience, honesty, purity of thought and deed, and unselfishness increase faith.
Without these, faith diminishes.”
He then references Luke 22:32, and asks “why did the Savior say to Peter, ‘I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not?’”
31 ¶And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
He answers “because there is an adversary who delights in destroying our faith! Be relentless in protecting your faith.”
First off, verse 31 is frightening. The idea that Satan wants to sift you as wheat is chilling. Then conversely, Jesus prayed for Peter, knowing full well that Peter was about to betray him; then told him to strengthen his brethren when he himself was converted. I wonder if that was alluding to the betrayal and subsequent realization of what he had done.
Just as Satan had “a desire to have” Peter, he wants us too. I find Elder Anderson’s admonition to be “relentless” in defending our faith interesting.
One of the words defining relentless is unrelenting, which is defined as: not yielding or swerving in determination or resolution, as of or from opinions, convictions, ambitions, ideals, etc.
Not only should we work to build and strengthen our faith, but we should be unrelenting in defending it. I believe unrelenting is a very appropriate term.
Satan is ramping up his game.
We need to ramp up ours.
The choice really is ours.