The phrase “faith without works is dead” is typically emphasizing that we cannot simply rely on faith alone, we must pair it with our own sincere effort that reflects our desire for a certain outcome. And this effort is typically assumed to be the “harder” part, while faith and belief might feel like the “easy” part to most.
For me, and maybe for you too, it's quite the opposite. That's why two weeks ago, I had another ah-ha moment when Elder Uchtdorf talked about riding a bike, and how we get so hyper-focused on pedaling that we forget to look up.
I find myself fixating on my efforts, checking off all the boxes, running through the list of “shoulds" that we are told lead to answered prayers, divine guidance, and spiritual confidence. Then we I don't see immediate results, I quickly put the blame on myself. I must have not prayed enough, I must not have fasted long enough, maybe it's because I've missed a few months of ministering!?
When perhaps the true reason I hadn't seen the miracle yet was because I was only doing what believers do, and forgetting that I must also be a believer.
That in the doing, there must be time carved out to simple be—“stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."
Elder Kacher shares that, “We may stumble if we think everything depends on us. An overdependence on ourselves can impede our ability to access the powers of heaven . . . Unbelief blocks our ability to see miracles, whereas a mindset of faith in the Savior unlocks the powers of heaven."
He also reassures us that it is normal to not have a beautiful balance of faith and works right away. The works might feel more obligatory. Our motivation guilt-driven or for the approval or praise of others. When we find this to be the case, Elder Kacher suggests that “A real connection to Him may not YET have been experienced.”
If that connection and loving relationship with God is is something we desire, then it is something we can create—something we must co-create with our Savior.
Only then do we see our mindset “begin to change”, our motivation shift, and the miracles come into view—miracles that have likely been there all along!!
I take time to be still and notice God's hand as I find balance in doing my part and being a believer. My faith is my choice—a mindset that unlocks the powers of heaven.
If you find yourself caught up in the doing (like me!), let's take time this week to be still and be believing. Pause after each prayer. Begin you study with meditation or a minute of silence. Carve out space where He can reach you in between the doing.
Maybe we set a piece of paper by our bedside and list the way we've seen God's hand that day, even if it seemed insignificant. This practice can help to flex the muscle of recognizing what is already in front of us, instead of always longing for what we feel is not.