- What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation. It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends. That test is part of the purpose God had for us in the Creation.
Our journey through life is about proving that we will be obedient to God's commandments. Passing that test will bring many blessings throughout eternity. Failing that test will keep us from returning to live with God after this life.
- The great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage. And the tragedy of life is to fail in that test and so fail to qualify to return in glory to our heavenly home.
We are tested by our lack of understanding. We can't see God and we don't remember hearing about His plan before we came to earth. His plan requires that we have faith and use that faith to stay committed to something we believe.
- It will take unshakable faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to choose the way to eternal life. It is by using that faith we can know the will of God. It is by acting on that faith we build the strength to do the will of God. And it is by exercising that faith in Jesus Christ that we can resist temptation and gain forgiveness through the Atonement.
President Eyring suggests four ways that we can be obedient and grow our faith.
- Let me suggest to you four settings in which to practice quick and steady obedience. One is the command to feast upon the word of God. A second is to pray always. A third is the commandment to be a full-tithe payer. And the fourth is to escape from sin and its terrible effects. Each takes faith to start and then to persevere. And all can strengthen your capacity to know and obey the Lord’s commands.
He speaks of President Hinckley's challenge to all members of the church to read the Book of Mormon. This challenge brought many blessings to the member of the church that read the words of the prophets and put those words deep into their hearts. He speaks about pray being essential to growing our faith. As an example of faith, he speaks about paying tithing and how it is a great example of being steady in our faith.
- The principle of exercising faith early and steadily applies as well to the commandment to pay tithing. We should not wait until the annual tithing settlement to decide to be a full-tithe payer. We can decide now. It takes time to learn to control our spending with faith that what we have comes from God. It takes faith to pay our tithing promptly and without procrastination.
He shares with us some wise counsel. We need to be repenting throughout our lives and not just at the end of our lives. If we constantly have the Savior in our thoughts, we will grow our faith in Him and have the strength to stay on the straight and narrow path.
- The best time to resist temptation is early. The best time to repent is now. The enemy of our souls will place thoughts in our minds to tempt us. We can decide early to exercise faith, to cast out evil thoughts before we act on them. And we can choose quickly to repent when we do sin, before Satan can weaken our faith and bind us. Seeking forgiveness is always better now than later.
He closes with this advice on how to strengthen our faith in Christ.
- Decisions now to exercise faith and be steady in obedience will in time produce great faith and assurance. That is the spiritual preparedness we all will need. And it will qualify us in the moments of crisis to receive the Lord’s promise that “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” That will be true when we face the storms of life and the prospect of death. A loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son have given us all the help They can to pass the test of life set before us. But we must decide to obey and then do it. We build the faith to pass the tests of obedience over time and through our daily choices. We can decide now to do quickly whatever God asks of us. And we can decide to be steady in the small tests of obedience which build the faith to carry us through the great tests, which will surely come.
I like the phrase "slow and steady." That is the way that we win the race of life. I have seen in my life that quick bursts of spiritual energy give us an immediate charge of the spirit but it is not a sustained presence in our lives. Our purpose in life it to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost to help strengthen us through the trials of life. Living our lives in accordance with the spirit takes faith and effort. If we can build our faith a little at a time, we will be able to resist temptation when it arises. The ability to overcome our weaknesses will be strengthened and the need for repentance will be decreased. When we have faith strong enough to resist temptation, the Lord can do marvelous things with us. He will be able to send us to strengthen others in their times of need.