Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of His gospel. When we exercise our faith in Jesus Christ, we are actively living his gospel. The strength of our faith in Him will determine how we live His other principles.
Then-Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke on the topic of “Face the Future with Faith” in the April 2011 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here are a few quotes that I found when I recently studied his talk.
It is true. We live to die, and we die to live again. From an eternal perspective, the only death that is truly premature is the death of one who is not prepared to meet God.
… All that the future holds in store for each sacred child of God will be shaped by his or her parents, family, friends, and teachers. Thus, our faith now becomes part of our posterity’s faith later.
Each individual will make his or her way in a constantly changing world – a world of competing ideologies. The forces of evil will ever be in opposition to the forces of good. Satan constantly strives to influence us to follow his ways and make us miserable, even as he is. And the normal risks of life, such as illness, injury, accident, will ever be present.
We live in a time of turmoil. Earth quakes and tsunamis wreak devastation, governments collapse, economic stresses are severe, the family is under attack, and divorce rates are rising. We have great cause for concern. But we do not need to let our fears displease our faith. We can combat those fears by strengthening our faith.
Start with your children. You parents bear the primary responsibility to strengthen their faith. Let them feel your faith, even when sore trials come upon you. Let your faith be focused on our loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Teach that faith with deep conviction. Teach each precious boy or girl that he or she is a child of God, created in His image, with a sacred purpose and potential. Each is born with challenges to overcome and faith to be developed.
Elder Nelson speaks of numerous areas where parents must help their children to develop faith. They include: faith in God’s plan of salvation for His children, faith in keeping all of God’s commandments in order to receive many blessings as well as physical and spiritual protection, the importance of prayer in developing faith, and how being a committed tithe payer strengthens faith. He then adds this reason for the need to strengthen our faith.
Why do we need such resilient faith? Because difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord “shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives.
How you deal with life’s trials is part of the development of your faith. Strength comes when you remember that you have a divine nature, an inheritance of infinite worth. The Lord has reminded you, your children, and your grandchildren that you are lawful heirs, that you have been reserved in heaven for your specific time and place to be born, to grow and become His standard bearers and covenant people. As you walk in the Lord’s path of righteousness, you will be blessed to continue in His goodness and be a light and a savior unto his people.
Elder Nelson explains that difficult days are coming that will test our faith. He closed his remarks by quoting some remarks by President Thomas S. Monson given in a talk titled “Be of Good Cheer” at the April 2009 General Conference. I have learned that when one prophet quotes another prophet, the information is very important. Therefore, I consider the following statement to be of utmost value to me and to you.
I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.
My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.
Two prophets of God tell us that our safety lies in developing our faith in Jesus Christ. Even though there will be tough times ahead for all of us, God will bless us. We must not allow fear to overcome because we can step confidently forward in the knowledge that God is with us.