Sitting in sacrament meeting the first Sunday of the new year, we sang together, “Press forward, Saints, with steadfast faith in Christ” (“Press Forward, Saints,” Hymns, no. 81). As those words sank into my heart, I felt overwhelming gratitude for Jesus Christ, that He truly is our Savior and Redeemer who ransoms us from sin and saves us from death. “He is the life and the light of the world” (Alma 38:9). In Him we have our ability to “live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Salvation is in Christ and from Him all blessings flow. Mormon teaches it is by faith in Christ, that we may obtain every good thing in mortality and in eternity (Moroni 7:21-34).
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of His gospel (Articles of Faith 1:4). We begin to exercise faith when we hear the word of God, understand what God wants us to do and humbly act upon what we have learned. With faith in Christ we repent. We accept and apply His Atonement and His teachings so that we may change and become like Him. We are baptized and covenant to faithfully love and serve God and to always keep His commandments. By faith in Christ, the Holy Ghost may always have place in our hearts.
As we endure in faith throughout our lives, we may become the sons and daughters of Christ, we witness miracles in His name, and in the name of Christ we may be saved. Truly all things that are good come of and through Christ, and it is our duty to have steadfast faith in Him.
Around the world, I have met many young women who are exercising faith in Christ. They love the Lord and strive diligently to follow Him by keeping His commandments. They do not allow challenges or difficult circumstances to diminish their faith.
A young woman in Yerevan, Armenia, and her younger sister are the only members in their home. They are poor and have very little of worldly things, but they faithfully attend Church every Sunday. They live the standards in For the Strength of Youth. They have hope that they will be able to attend the temple and to serve missions someday.
In Saratov, Russia, I met a young woman who feels alone. She has been persecuted by her peers and is the only young woman in her branch. She has set a goal to faithfully complete Personal Progress with her mother.
I visited a young woman in Texas whose father had passed away, leaving her widowed mother to care for the children. Her grief was overwhelming, but she found comfort in her faith, that through Christ and the power of His atoning sacrifice and His resurrection, their family will be reunited and their relationships will continue beyond the grave eternally.
Many of our youth struggle with great tests of faith, extreme hardships, health challenges, or heart-wrenching tragedies. But perhaps their biggest challenge is to be true and faithful amid the distractions of the world, the philosophies of men, the temptations of the adversary or the busyness of life.
Parents and leaders help youth understand that consistently living the basic principles of the gospel will secure their faith in Christ so that they will not be tossed about in the storms of life. We help them cherish the commandments and choose to do the small and simple things, the holy habits that strengthen faith and that bring forth the blessings of heaven.
Jesus Christ commanded His people to “pray always” (3 Nephi 18:15). As we fall on our knees in daily fervent prayer we grow in faith. We come to know with assurance that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He hears our prayers. By the power of the Holy Ghost we listen to His answers. We learn for ourselves that He loves us, He guides us and that He is the source of all wisdom.
Jesus commanded His people to “search the scriptures” (John 5:39). As we study with faith in Christ, willing to apply the counsel that is given by holy prophets, we may receive personal revelation, answers to our questions and a powerful testimony of truth.
Jesus commanded His people to partake of the ordinance of the sacrament (see 3 Nephi 18:5). As we reaffirm our commitment to bear the name of Christ, to keep His commandments and to remember the Savior, we are filled with the Spirit of the Lord. We feel cleansed from sin. Our hearts are filled with love and we are enabled to go forward in faith.
Jesus commanded His people to love and serve God by loving and serving one another (see Mosiah 4:15). In faithful service to God we may stand blameless before Him.
Jesus commanded His people to be clean and pure, prepared to enter holy temples (see Psalm 24:4; Doctrine and Covenants 97:15-17). As we faithfully choose to have clean hands, pure hearts, and let virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly then our confidence will be strong in the presence of God (see Doctrine and Covenants 121:45). We will always be worthy to enter the house of the Lord.
The condition of our faith
Let us invite our youth to pray and ponder the condition of their faith. What will they choose to do to strengthen their faith in Christ? As parents and leaders, may we always be examples of enduring faith. Let our young women see our devotion to the Lord in all things. Let our testimonies be a sure witness. Let us help our youth set a course of steadfast faith in Christ that by His purifying power, they may enjoy peace and joy in this life and receive immortality and eternal life in the world to come.