Faith: a strong or unshakeable belief in something, especially without proof or evidence; a trust in God and in his actions or promises.1 The Book of Mormon defines faith as not having a perfect knowledge of things, but having things means to have hope in things that can’t be seen, but which are true.2
The fourth Article of Faith declares: “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: First, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ…”3 The reason behind this is stated quite clearly in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth (has faith in) in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Therefore, faith is essential for anyone who wishes to enter God’s kingdom and gain eternal life therein.
But faith needs also to be nurtured, just like anything else. Faith that has not been nurtured will not grow, nor will it be able to withstand the difficulties and trials that life will throw at it if not nurtured. It is like a farmer who plants seeds in a field; he has faith that he will have a good crop, followed by a good harvest. But, if he doesn’t water the plants, pull the weeds, loosen the soil around the plants and eliminate parasites, his faith that the seeds will grow will probably avail him very little, because without proper care, the seeds will probably die.
James said, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and hath not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”4
2 Alma 32:21; also see the entire chapter 32.(Book of Mormon)
3 Articles of Faith, 4
4 James 2:14-17 (New Testament)