“Why Is Jesus Christ Important in My Life?” New Era, Jan. 2015, 10–13
Recently I read a blog post where the author talked about how the Savior plays a vital role in her daily life. I was happy she was willing to share her feelings, but I was saddened by one reader’s response: “He is of no importance whatever in my life—never has been and never will be.”
That reader couldn’t be more wrong. Sooner or later, all of us will need the Savior. We all make mistakes we cannot fix, experience losses we cannot recover, and face pains, persecution, tragedies, burdens, and disappointments we cannot handle alone.
The good news is that we don’t have to handle them alone.
“In a moment of weakness we may cry out, ‘No one knows what it is like. No one understands.’ But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and borne our individual burdens,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “And because of His infinite and eternal sacrifice (see Alma 34:14), He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy.”1
Jesus is important to us because through His Atonement, teachings, hope, peace, and example, He helps us change our lives, face our trials, and move forward with faith as we journey back to Him and His Father.
One of the reasons Jesus is so important to those who sincerely try to follow Him is that all of us fall short and need the gift of repentance offered through the Atonement.
When we stumble and fall, Satan wants us to think we’re not good enough to get up and get back on the right path. He also wants us to forget that the gospel is “the gospel of repentance” (D&C 13:1; emphasis added). But we know that “the grace of Christ is real, affording both forgiveness and cleansing to the repentant sinner.”2
The power of Jesus Christ’s Atonement is available to each of us, but we have to choose to let it work in our lives. Imagine giving a special gift to a friend—something your friend really needs and something you prepared through personal sacrifice. Then imagine your friend responding, “Thanks, but I don’t really want your gift.” How would you feel?
When we don’t invite Jesus to help us become clean through repentance, it’s as if we’re rejecting His gift.
On one occasion, after a number of people refused to walk any longer with Him, Jesus asked the Twelve Apostles, “Will ye also go away?” Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:67–68).
You can find the Savior’s “words of eternal life” in the scriptures, the teachings of the living prophets, and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. They offer a foundation for “happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come,”3 and they guide us safely back to our Heavenly Father and our Savior.
What are some of the great truths the Savior taught? President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, listed four in a recent general conference talk:
“Our Father has given His children the great plan of happiness.”
“Through the Atonement … , we can live forever with our loved ones.”
“We will have glorious, perfect, and immortal bodies, unburdened by sickness or disability.”
“Our tears of sadness and loss will be replaced with an abundance of happiness and joy.”4
When we face serious challenges, sometimes we find it difficult to trust in the Lord. But trusting in Him brings us the hope we need in order to face our challenges.
That’s what happened with members of the Gatrell family, who live in Sister Jean A. Stevens’s ward. Sister Stevens, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, said the family held tight to the gospel and to their temple covenants after Brother Gatrell was diagnosed with cancer. Doing so gave them hope in God’s promises that they would be together again after this life.
Through the difficult days before her husband passed away, Sister Gatrell said, “I knew the Lord was watching over us. If you trust in the Lord, truly you can overcome any of life’s challenges.”5
The gift of the Atonement gives us the hope of eternal life—something we need when we suffer trials or the death of a loved one.
“Our loving Heavenly Father gave us the gift of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior,” said President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency. “That great gift and blessing of the Atonement of Jesus Christ brings a universal inheritance: the promise of the Resurrection and the possibility of eternal life to all who are born.”6
If you’ve ever faced a natural disaster, been the subject of cruel gossip, experienced a life-changing challenge, had a falling-out with a friend, or stood up for what’s right, you know you need the Lord’s peace. “The peace of the Savior,” said Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “subdues the swirling whirlwinds of the world.”7
During a recent general conference, Elder Andersen shared a story about a Laurel who was ridiculed and called names for standing up for traditional marriage. Ridicule, she learned, is sometimes the cost of “being true to God and to the teachings of His living prophets.”8
But standing up doesn’t mean standing alone. We can always turn to the Prince of Peace when we feel alone or overwhelmed, sad or worried, afraid or worthless. We do so by:
Praying to Heavenly Father for the Spirit to be with us.
Reading the Lord’s words in the scriptures and as revealed by living prophets.
Attending the temple.
Studying the Savior’s life at church and in seminary.
Applying His Atonement by repenting of our sins.
Sharing our testimonies of Him.
When we feel the Savior’s peace, our hearts need not be troubled or afraid (see John 14:26–27).
“Only the Master knows the depths of our trials, our pain, and our suffering,” said President Thomas S. Monson. “He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity. He alone touches our tortured souls with His comforting words.”9
Throughout His ministry, Jesus doesn’t just point the way to happiness—He leads the way. Through His Atonement, He leads us to love. Through His teachings, He leads us to eternal truths. Through His perfect life, He leads us to the path of obedience.
“The greatest example who ever walked the earth is our Savior, Jesus Christ. His mortal ministry was filled with teaching, serving, and loving others,” said Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The Savior, he added, “invites us to follow His perfect example.”10
When we understand that the Savior makes possible repentance and resurrection, teaches vital truths, offers hope and peace, and sets the perfect example, He becomes the center of our lives. And with Him as our friend, we have the courage to cast out fear and move forward with faith.