I’m sure many of you who are familiar with the Book of Mormon have read or heard the following passage in a multitude of lessons, talks or devotionals.
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Well, if you continue and read the next verse, you will read the following in that verse:
… I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.
Just this past week I was talking with my home teaching companion about Faith, Hope and Charity and indicating that for the longest time I didn’t understand why Hope was included in this trio of principles. It seemed to me that Faith and Charity are primarily action oriented. Something that we focus or offer to others. But Hope appears to be such an inward focused principle that I couldn’t see its relationship to Faith and Charity. I understood it was good to have hope, though until recently I didn’t understand how powerful of a principle it was. My understanding of just how powerful and important of a principle it is increased significantly over the past few months. I won’t go into how that came to be here as that would be too much of a diversion from what I do want to share.
This past week as I studied in the book of Ether, I came across a passage that speaks of hope and in particular the source of our hope. Several verses prior to the ones sited above, we read the following:
9 Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.
There it was again, the principle of Hope connected to the principle of Faith only this time it is made clear that the source or path to Hope is by and through Faith. In other words, the strength of our Hope is directly proportional to the strength of our Faith. I now see that it is our faith that gives us hope and it is our hope that leads us to have charity. After that, the cycle begins again since charity will motivate us to actions and changes which will result in an increase in our faith. Is it any wonder that the Lord uses a fountain in verse 28 as the metaphor to illustrate the power of these three principles?
As many of you know, I am participating in the BYU Idaho Pathway program. This semester in my Book of Mormon class we had to choose an attribute of Christ to work on incorporating in our lives. After much prayer and consideration, I selected the attribute of being submissive. As I have studied this attribute, in particular how to incorporate it into my life, I have learned a few things. The primary lesson I learned however is that we can become totally submissive to the Lord instantly. I know that sounds impossible but it’s true. Here’s what it takes. You decide that you want nothing for yourself and that all of your desires will be motivated out of wanting what the Lord wants. What was clear to me once I came to this conclusion is that the hard part is in the not wanting anything for our own purposes. I knew that in order to do this, I would need a strong motivating factor and that source of motivation has been elusive to me until this studying this chapter in the book of Ether. I know of no motivation that is more powerful than love and there is no love more pure than charity.
Faith, Hope and Charity my friends is how it’s done. As we increase our faith it will give us hope which will fill our hearts with charity and we will have springing up in us a Fountain of All Righteousness. We will then naturally want what our Heavenly Father wants.