Exercise Faith

Shortly after convincing Ishmael and his family to join them in their journey, Laman and Lemuel decided that they wanted to return to Jerusalem. In response, Nephi reminded them of a fundamental principle of the gospel:

How is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him?

1 Nephi 7:12

Alma repeatedly emphasized the need to exercise faith (Alma 5:15, 13:3, 18, 32:27, 36, 33:1, 37:41). Mormon and Moroni both emphasized the blessings we can receive by exercising faith (Ether 4:7, Moroni 7:25).

In February 1831, the Lord made the following promise after instructing church leaders to organize a conference:

Inasmuch as they are faithful, and exercise faith in me, I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together.

Doctrine and Covenants 44:2

Exercise is exertion. It is activity that requires effort. Physical exercise is repeated, consistent effort in order to build strength and endurance and maintain our health.

We build spiritual health and strength by following a similar pattern, as Elder Juan Pablo Villar taught:

We could expend much mental effort reading and learning about our muscles, but if we think this will make them stronger, we will be very disappointed. Our muscles grow only when we use them….

Spiritual gifts behave in the same way…. Just as reading and learning about muscles is not enough to build muscle, reading and learning about faith without adding action is insufficient to build faith.

Exercising Our Spiritual Muscles,” General Conference, April 2019

In our most recent general conference, Elder Ahmad S. Corbitt emphasized another similarity between physical and spiritual exercise: We do not create our muscles. We inherit them. We strengthen them through use, but they are already there. Similarly:

Your great faith is like muscles that get stronger and bigger the more you exercise them, but they are already inside you.

You Can Gather Israel,” General Conference, April 2021

President Russell M. Nelson has invited us to increase our faith. He said, “To do anything well requires effort. Becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ is no exception. Increasing your faith and trust in Him takes effort.” He suggested the following five activities as we work to build our faith:

  1. Study
  2. Choose to believe
  3. Act in faith
  4. Partake of sacred ordinances
  5. Ask God for help

The following sentence from his talk particularly struck me:

Receive more faith by doing something that requires more faith.

Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains,” General Conference, April 2021

Today, I will exercise my faith by tackling difficult challenges with the Lord’s help. I will remember that my faith will grow as I exercise faith consistently over time.

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