Thursday, August 9, 2012

Words and Faith

I’m working hard preparing for the classes I’ll be teaching next week at BYU Education Week. On Monday I am teaching a two hour class called “Faith Works By Words,” and I am very excited about the things I am learning. The class is based on teachings from Lectures on Faith in which the question is asked, “What are we to understand by a man‘s working by faith?” And the answer is, “We understand that when a man works by faith he works by mental exertion instead of physical force. It is by words, instead of by exerting his physical power, with which every being works when he works by faith” (7:3). After this statement examples are used of how God, using words, created the world by saying, “Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3), etc., and how prophets of God stopped the sun or the rain or in other ways changed the course of events by using words.

It is easy to read that and think it has nothing to do with us. That is how God and prophets work, but I can’t make the sun stop in its course so the instruction has nothing to do with me. But creation accounts are all symbolic of what you and I need to do to become new creatures or in other words to be born again. This second birth happens only if we create it and how do we bring it about? By using words.

Words have power and when we use them correctly we increase in faith and gain the power to overcome the adversary. In the book of Revelation we are told that in the pre-mortal life Lucifer was cast out of the presence of God and came to earth where he tempts mankind to fall as he did. But some people triumph and those who do we are told, “Overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11). The power to triumph over evil is available to all of us through the Atonement and is made operative in our lives by the words we use.

I’m giving you a whole hour long lecture in a few paragraphs, but the gist of this is that words have power and whenever we use good words we build our faith and whenever we use negative words we eat away at our faith. When we start our day thinking, “This is going to be a good day!” we grow in faith and when we start our day thinking, “Another day of dreadful work which I hate” we decrease in faith. Faith isn’t a matter of what words we use to think about religion. Faith is a matter of what words we use when we think and speak.

I know a woman in her late 60s who has never been married. Instead of becoming bitter or self-pitying over that fact she rejoices each morning when she wakes up by saying, “Wow, I’m one day closer to the day when I find my eternal companion.” She is using words to build and sustain and create faith. She, in essence, is saying, “Let there be light.” And by her words she is creating a life of faith, and it is good!

1 comment:

Wendi said...

Thanks for sharing a summary of your class with us. :)