Monday, December 5, 2011

What is Faith?

Hi there,

My name is Meghan, and I'm one of Jeremy's Canadian jump rope friends and I'm also a Mormon. I had a Sunday School teacher explain that the General Authorities of today and even prophets of old, especially Jesus Christ, taught in parables so that people could better understand the principles of the gospel. She also told us that these parables are related to things they know well. She called on me in class, asking if I could relate anything to jump rope... It took me this long to think of one.

THE ARTICLES OF FAITH 4: We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

This fourth Article of Faith is wonderful because it so plainly illustrates the means by which we may receive our eternal salvation. I would like explain a little bit today about the principle of Faith. In the Bible in James 2:17 it reads, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Thus we are told that faith in Jesus Christ is more than merely believing in him, but it requires action on our part; a commitment to follow him and act in accordance to the example he provided us.

Christ taught by parables and so I decided to create a little parable myself relating the principle of faith to something which I know very well: rope skipping. One of my favourite events is Double Dutch Speed. This is a timed event in which there are two turners and one jumper.

The jumper moves their feet up and down as fast as they can in a sort of ‘jogger step’ and the turners must keep up with the jumper so as to make few to no mistakes. I love to turn, and if you ask my opinion, I would tell you that the turner’s job is the most important at any time that you are doing Double Dutch. After all… All the jumper has to do is jump!

Relate this timed event to our probationary state here on Earth. Make Heavenly Father the jumper, who jumps perfectly and never tires. You are one turner, and Christ is the other: “Judges ready, jumpers ready, set, go!” The event is under way and as you begin to turn the ropes, the jumper, in this case, Heavenly Father, enters and begins to jump. Right foot, left foot, right, left. You, Christ, and Heavenly Father start to gradually speed up until you all agree on a fast, yet steady and comfortable pace. As time passes, Heavenly Father continues to jump perfectly, but you, being imperfect, begin to tire. You can no longer feel your arms and they seem to only be moving by momentum. You want to give up because the pain in your shoulders is too much to bear but you hear a voice inside your mind urging you to know that if you stop turning that the whole event will fall apart. Just as you begin to slow your arms, you can feel Christ begin to speed up his turning on the other end. In so doing, he has made up the difference for your lack of speed and the event continues smoothly and without error until the clock runs out.

The principle of faith is modeled quite clearly in this analogy. The time represents the time we have on Earth; a time of testing, to feel both joy and pain, and to gain experience and return again to live in the presence of God. Heavenly Father is the jumper. He jumps perfectly and serves to represent the way to eternal life. If you, as a turner, can keep Him in the ropes for the duration of the event without causing a mistake, then you will be able to achieve your eternal salvation. The voice inside your mind is the Holy Ghost, providing you with personal revelation and a means to know what to do—to never give up. Christ is the second turner. He begins along with you, and when you tire and feel as though you have expended all of your energy and cannot turn any longer, he makes up the difference. He takes you the rest of the way after you put in all of your effort, “for [you] know that it is by grace that [you] are saved, after all that[you] can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23)

Thus we see faith in action. The only way for Heavenly Father to have made a mistake and the only way in which you could have lost your eternal reward would have been if you did not turn at all. Without the slightest movement on your end of the ropes, Christ could not have made the event even start. Simply raising your hands up to your waist allows the ropes to start moving if Christ turns them. As soon as you began to move your arm, you were demonstrating faith in Jesus Christ. You were proving to him that you trusted in his ability as a turner to make up for your shortcomings after you had done your very best.

“Therefore ye are justified of faith and works, through grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to them only who are of the law, but to them also who are the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” (JST Rom 4:16)

Eternal salvation granted by faith, works, and grace is a wonderful promise which is given to all those who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and who repent of their sins and take upon them his holy name by entering the waters of baptism. I urge every one to fall to their knees and pray that they might have faith enough to act when times get tough, that they might know that Heavenly Father loves them and that Christ yearns to help them to achieve their eternal salvation. I testify that faith and works are essential in our search for eternal happiness.