- If there is one preeminent objective of general conference, it is to build faith in God the Father and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Elder Cook points out that spiritual experiences are important to build our faith but lasting faith comes through the daily acts of religious observances. Our commitment to daily demonstrations of our faith creates a foundation of faith strong enough to last through all the trials of life.
- Unfortunately, in an increasingly secular world, less emphasis is placed on the amount of spiritual growth necessary to become more Christlike and establish the foundations that lead to enduring faith. We tend to emphasize moments of sublime spiritual understanding. These are precious instances when we know the Holy Ghost has witnessed special spiritual insights to our hearts and minds. We rejoice in these events; they should not be diminished in any way. But for enduring faith and to have the constant companionship of the Spirit, there is no substitute for the individual religious observance that is comparable to physical and mental development. We should build on these experiences, which sometimes resemble initial baby steps. We do this by consecrated commitment to sacred sacrament meetings, scripture study, prayer, and serving as called. In one recent obituary tribute for the father of 13 children, it was reported his “loyalty to daily prayer and scripture study profoundly influenced his children, giving them an immovable foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
He discusses several things that impact our faith in our daily lives. He says that attending sacrament meeting and daily scripture study build our faith in great ways.
- I believe that weekly participation in sacred sacrament meetings has spiritual implications we do not fully understand. Pondering the scriptures regularly—rather than reading them occasionally—can substitute a superficial understanding for a sublime, life-changing enhancement of our faith.
He emphasizes the need for personal prayer and interactions with deity as necessary to bring blessings into our lives.
- I realize that our personal prayers and supplications to a loving Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus Christ can bring blessings into our lives beyond our ability to comprehend.
Elder Cook reminds us that even though we are doing all the things that build our faith, we are not immune to problems in our lives.
- Conversion to the gospel does not mean all our problems will be solved.
Elder Cook concludes by outlining many blessings that come to us by having faith.
- What, then, are the blessings of faith? What does faith accomplish? The list is almost endless:
- Our sins can be forgiven because of faith in Christ.
- As many as have faith have communion with the Holy Spirit.
- Salvation comes through faith on Christ’s name.
- We receive strength according to our faith in Christ.
- None enter the Lord’s rest save those who wash their garments in Christ’s blood because of their faith.
- Prayers are answered according to faith.
- Without faith among men, God can do no miracle among them.
- In the end, our faith in Jesus Christ is the essential foundation for our eternal salvation and exaltation.
I appreciate Elder Cook's emphasis that problems in our lives will not be taken away from us because we are living the gospel. But I do believe that the problems are easier to handle when we have a clear spiritual basis to view our problems through. It takes faith to live our lives in accordance with the gospel. I have found that daily observance of spiritual activities creates a strong foundation of faith. That faith will give us the endurance to keep going and never give up.