Faith And Doubt Do Not Mix

Reading: “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Seventy, April 2009 General Conference, Saturday Afternoon Session

Everyone at some point (or more likely, several points) must find out for themselves the truth of the gospel.  The world is full of ideas and experiences that cause us to doubt gospel teachings, and one must live in a hole in the ground in order to avoid them.  Other times our own behavior can cause doubt to come into our lives. In his talk Elder Pearson encourages us to strengthen our faith and to overcome the doubts that enter into our hearts and minds.  He says,

Faith and fear cannot coexist. One gives way to the other. The simple fact is we all need to constantly build faith and overcome sources of destructive disbelief. The Savior’s teaching comparing faith to a grain of mustard seed recognizes this reality… We do have a choice. We get what we focus on consistently. Because there is an opposition in all things, there are forces that erode our faith. Some are the result of Satan’s direct influence. But for others, we have no one but ourselves to blame. These stem from personal tendencies, attitudes, and habits we can learn to change.

Elder Pearson then talked about how doubt can lead to downward cycle where our doubt leads to discouragement, which leads to distraction, which leads to lack of diligence, which leads to disobedience, which lead to disbelief.  In order to turn the cycle around we must make choices that help our faith to grow, such as greater obedience, praying for greater understanding, studying the scriptures, and so on.

Lately I realized that there is one area where I often have doubt.  I doubt that each of us as children of our Heavenly Father has potential to change and become more like God.  Sometimes this doubt is caused by the actions I see others take, and sometimes it is caused by my disappointment with my own choices and lack of improvement.  This doubt inevitably leads to discouragement as I feel bad about my own perceived lack of worth.  Discouragement leads to distraction, which seems to confirm my original fears of my own and other’s hopelessness.  However, when I read or do things that help remind me that we are all children of God and that the Savior suffered the Atonement so that all of us can repent and become better with his help then I am able to strengthen my faith and overcome the cycle.

Today I am going to thank Heavenly Father for my flaws and ask for help to see my potential and the potential in others.

Is there some doubt that continually causes you trouble, or that has caused you trouble in the past?  How can you help your faith grow to be greater than that doubt?

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