Loyd J. Ericson
The Savior shows us that we either choose to allow ourselves to be acted upon from external influences, or we choose to act for ourselves by internal convictions. In each circumstance we will resolve the issue before us by our choice of which source to follow. This is the most basic fact of our existence.
When the right thing is understood, but one slackens his performance then his attention will become commanded by the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lust of other things. When these things come to dominate one's interest, his performance of the more important spiritual insights will fail. Belief without performance will never produce desired results. It is like planting seeds in your garden, watering the garden until they sprout, then failing to continue to water and weed thereafter. Likewise, a person caught by procrastination in the stony and thorny ground of mere belief, will never reap the fruits of his ideals.
While all people have light, it seems obvious that in possession of the light (understanding of present and future reality) we are not all equal. The only way to obtain new light is to trustfully obey the light of truth already possessed and, then seek and trust newly inspired insights provided through the Spirit of God.
The term ideal, herein is not used in the sense of an abstract, unattainable perfection but rather it means a worthy goal that has promise of attainment through appropriate efforts. The gap between where you are and where you desire to be creates a mental and emotional conflict, 'a holy discontent' often called stress in today's world. Normally the first response to stress is to mentally and emotionally run over the outward indications of the conflict anger, fear, disappointment, resentment, embarrassment, or other such negative feelings. In doing this one's mind is trying to fill the gap between his expectation of what he desires and what actually exists.
If the new-found ideal solution to an issue is inspired of God, it will often not make sense to some persons upon whom we have occasionally relied for approval persons who are sometimes well meaning, but not inspired. The Apostle Paul wrote, 'The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.' 1 Corinthians 214,15
To resolve an issue of improvement of circumstances to nurture positive growth the first step is to clearly define and state it in as simple terms as possible. The more concise and clear one's goal is stated an ideal he desires to achieve the better he can focus thoughts upon its essentials. One must go beyond what he already understands, by projecting his mind and the feelings of his heart into hitherto unknown areas and, call upon God for new light upon which to proceed. Such internal direction is available to all persons, because the light of Christ, 'was the light of men ... which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' John 14, 9
When one chooses to be directed by his conscientious decisions thinking and acting according to his divinely inspired ideals he will be acting for himself with thoughts, words and actions that satisfy his conscience. When unbalanced, a person is likely to become controlled by friends, fashions, public opinion, popular individuals or ideas, carnal lusts of the flesh, or by other externals such as money and things.
The English language, unfortunately, is not perfect and many words have confusing common usage. Often the passive term belief is confused with the active terms believe and faith. For purposes of this essay to more clearly distinguish the elements of spiritual conditions we shall use the word belief in its accepted meaning as mere passive, intellectual acknowledgement of an idea or proposition without conscientiously living ones life according to such belief. On the other hand, believe and faith are herein used in their accepted meanings as equivalent active terms that signify conscientious commitment to act out the principle involved. Brigham Young addressed this confusion of terms when he said, 'No living, intelligent being, whether serving God or not, acts without belief. But he must believe the truth, obey the truth, and practice the truth, to obtain the power of God called faith.'