We often think of a testimony as a burning flame we have to feel in our hearts. In reality, the base of our testimony is simply choosing to believe.
Faith is frequently described as a feeling that suddenly overcomes someone after a spiritual experience. While spiritual experiences can greatly strengthen our faith, the first step to having faith is choosing to have it, as Elder Neil L. Andersen reminds us in his talk “Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice.”
As Elder Andersen explains, “Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright.” Rather, faith is something that has to be developed and nurtured. We’re all probably familiar with the phrase “faith is like a little seed” If faith is a seed, then planting it can be considered the initial decision that we make to believe. Every time we water that seed and care for it, we’re continuing in our decision to have faith and allowing it to grow.
We can’t expect to have strong faith throughout our lives if we don’t put in effort. The fire of our testimony isn’t the fuel for our faith; rather, our decision to believe is what makes the fire burn within us.
It can be especially challenging to choose faith when we have concerns and doubts, but that’s when we need it in particular. Elder Andersen reminds us that when we seek answers to questions and doubts, “using our mind without our heart will not bring spiritual answers.” If we’ll choose to exercise faith as we seek answers, the Spirit will help us find answers and peace.
Elder Andersen adds, “Faith never demands an answer to every question but seeks the assurance and courage to move forward.” Similarly, Alma 32:21 states that faith isn’t a perfect knowledge of things. Strong faith doesn’t come from having an answer to everything; it comes from courageously choosing faith and living the gospel despite any doubts we haven’t yet resolved.
To learn more about the decision to have faith and how to strengthen it, read Elder Neil L. Andersen’s talk “Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice.”
Source: LDS General Conference
—Kamber Alldredge, Mormon Insights
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