- The first principle of the gospel is not “faith.” The first principle of the gospel is “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
He teaches us that we need to have faith in something or someone.
- Faith does not exist by itself. Faith requires an object. It must be faith in something or someone.
He then compares faith to love. We need to love someone or something in order for it to be love.
- In that respect, faith is like love. Love cannot exist without an object.
- Love is meaningless unless it is directed toward something or someone. We love our parents. We love our brothers and sisters. We love the Lord.
- Faith is the same. If we think we have faith, we should ask, faith in whom or faith in what?
We know that God is our Father and His son is our Savior. We can have faith in them and be assured that they love us.
- Founded on our knowledge of those things, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is a conviction and trust that God knows us and loves us and will hear our prayers and answer them with what is best for us.
President Oaks gives two examples of faith. The first is by Elder Groberg about a lesson he learned on his mission to the Tongan Islands.
- Sometimes we pray for things that will benefit us but may hurt others. We may pray for a particular type of weather, or to preserve someone’s life, when that answer to our prayer may hurt someone else. That’s why we must always pray in faith, because we can’t have true, God-given faith in something that is not according to His will. If it’s according to His will, all parties will benefit. I learned to pray for a good wind and the ability to get there safely, not necessarily a tail wind”
The second example is of the Savior himself.
- The Savior reminds us that faith, no matter how strong it is, cannot produce a result contrary to the will of him whose power it is. The exercise of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is always subject to the order of heaven, to the goodness and will and wisdom and timing of the Lord. That is why we cannot have true faith in the Lord without also having complete trust in the Lord’s will and in the Lord’s timing. When we have that kind of faith and trust in the Lord, we have true security in our lives.
President Oaks concludes with encouragement for the young women of the church to build what he calls a reservoir of faith so we can draw from it when times get tough and we need strength.
- My beloved young sisters, each of you needs to build a reservoir of faith so you can draw upon it when someone you love or respect betrays you, when some scientific discovery seems to cast doubt on a gospel principle, or when someone makes light of sacred things, such as the name of God or the sacred ceremonies of the temple. You need to draw on your reservoir of faith when you are weak or when someone else calls on you to strengthen them. You also need to draw on your reservoir of faith when some requirement of Church membership or service interferes with your personal preferences.
- You need the strength that comes from faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ if you are to fulfill your duty “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.” In times of trial you need the comfort offered in the holy scriptures, which assure you that when you have the shield of faith you will “be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
- Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares you for whatever life brings. This kind of faith prepares you to deal with life’s opportunities—to take advantage of those that are received and to persist through the disappointments of those that are lost.
- Most importantly, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ opens the door of salvation and exaltation: “For no [one] can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name.”
I had always heard that faith was not the first principle of the gospel but that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is. I have drawn on that quote throughout my life and I have reflected about what I have faith in. I have determined that I have faith in the Savior and His perfect plan for my happiness. I have faith in a loving Father in Heaven, that He knows me, that He knows my name, and that He cares about me as a person. I have faith that just as God knew Joseph Smith by name, He cares about me by name too. This simple truth throughout my life has given me hope, light during dark times, and the desire and will to move forward during difficult times. I guess I have kind of created by own reservoir of faith and didn't necessarily know that there was a name for the truths I have come to know through having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.