“Faith to Follow Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Jan. 1996, 70
“Come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isa. 2:5).
After fasting forty days and nights, and then after being tempted by Satan, the Lord Jesus Christ began to call his Twelve Apostles. Walking by the Sea of Galilee, the Savior called to Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him” (Matt. 4:19–20). After a similar invitation from Jesus, brothers James and John “immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him” (Matt. 14:22).
These disciples changed the course of their entire lives to follow Jesus. With perhaps little knowledge of their future life’s journey with the Lord, they willingly took the first steps to follow him.
Having the faith to follow the Savior begins with small steps, often less dramatic than those required of Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Faith to follow the Lord Jesus Christ represents a movement toward the greater light he offers. It is a daily desire to be more like him. As President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor in the First Presidency, reminds us, “There is no resting place along the path called faithfulness. The trek is constant, and no lingering is allowed” (“Happiness—The Universal Quest,” Ensign, Oct. 1993, p. 4).
First steps to follow the Savior are often taken without a perfect knowledge. Nikolai Privezentsev, for example, continued to investigate the Church in the Kalininsky Branch in Moscow, Russia, long after his wife had made the decision to be baptized. When Nikolai finally decided to join the Church, he told the missionaries that he did not know with a perfect knowledge that the Church was true or understand everything about the gospel. “But,” he said, “I know that one day I will know.” He believed that if he exercised the faith to follow, he would receive for himself a fulness of truth.
To help us and followers like Brother Privezentsev, the Lord has shown the way and continues to provide direction. He has given us living prophets. He has given us the scriptures. He has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost. He has given us sacred temple covenants. As we use these gifts, pray for personal revelation, and serve in our homes and communities, we are following him.
While Jesus lived on the earth, he extended the profound invitation, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). As we follow the Savior, step by step, we begin to see the hand of God in our lives. As we live more fully his teachings, we experience the gifts and fruit of the Spirit—the blessings of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22–23). Even though our difficult circumstances may not quickly change, the Spirit allows us to know these gifts, which come, and are perhaps already ours, as a result of our choice to follow the Lord. The Prophet Joseph Smith said we would enjoy “happiness … if we pursue the path that leads to it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 255). Having the faith to follow the Savior brings the “light of life” into our lives—light that will lead us back to him.
What steps have you taken, or what steps can you take, to strengthen your commitment to follow the Savior?
What personal blessings have come to you as you have followed the Savior?