Thursday, August 27, 2009

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, by Elder Kevin W. Pearson
Of the Seventy

David and Rebecca awoke fifteen minutes earlier than usual. As I was trying to keep them quiet, I took them to the front of our house to see the darkness of early morning. We lay on our backs looking at the stars and discussing constellations until the topic shifted to faith. Briefly, we had a fun Maxwellian discussion (Maxwellian: of or related to Elder Neal A. Maxwell); Recall:

How many planets are there in the universe with people on them? We don’t know, but we are not alone in the universe! God is not the God of only one planet! (Special Witnesses of Christ, text)

When we were done talking of celestial things (pun intended), we arose and chased each other around playing shadow games—David enjoyed "stapling" my shadow to the ground, rendering me stuck. In this time of free fun, I thought of Elder Pearson's words:

As parents, we have been commanded to teach our children “to understand the doctrine of ... faith in Christ the Son of the living God” (D&C 68:25). This requires more than merely recognizing faith as a gospel principle. ... True faith must be centered in Jesus Christ. ... It requires us to do, not merely to believe.

The scripture referenced states that if parents don't teach their children to understand—not just know—then the "sin be upon the heads of the parents." I take this charge seriously, but I often wonder how I'm doing.

In discussing gifts of the Spirit last Sunday, someone noted that there quite the difference between teaching knowledge and teaching wisdom. To me, this is akin to the difference between teaching children to know, and teaching children to understand.

Wondering if our children are understanding, I asked, "David, do you think that Mommy and I really believe in Jesus?" I was reassured when he answered that, yes, he did, and that the reason why is because we're all trying to be like Jesus (which happens to be one of his favorite songs, link).

As happy as his observation made me, I know that I'm not done. As with Elder Pearson:

I acknowledge my own need and desire for greater faith as a disciple and witness of Christ. There has never been a greater need for faith in my own life than now.

As I strive to have more faith, and a more faith-centered life, I hope to keep in mind his instruction:

If we desire more faith, we must be more obedient. When we teach our children by example or precept to be casual or situational in obeying God’s commandments, we prevent them from receiving this vital spiritual gift. Faith requires an attitude of exact obedience, even in the small, simple things.

I seem to be returning frequently to the concept of exact obedience; I'll take that as a not-too-subtle message. I'm reminded, also, of Elder Christofferson's comment that faith can bring about important things as we "defend the truth of Jesus Christ against moral relativism and militant atheism." I hope that I'm not being relativistic in my obedience—that I'm not being "casual or situational."

If it's true that "we get what we focus on consistently," then I need to ensure that I have a Christ-focused life. Only then will I ultimately realize my objective, like in the song I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus.

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