When we understand all that the Savior does for us, He becomes the most important person in our lives.
I recently read a post on a blog in which the author talks about how the Savior plays an important role in his daily life. I am glad she was willing to share her feelings, but I was saddened by a reader’s response: “She is not important in whatever my life is — never has and never will be.”
That reader couldn’t be more wrong. Sooner or later, we will all need a Savior. We all make mistakes we cannot fix, experiences we have lost and cannot recover, and face pain, persecution, tragedy, burdens, and disappointments that we cannot handle on our own.
The good news is that we don’t have to deal with it alone.
“In a moment of weakness we may cry out, ‘No one knows what it’s like. No one understands. “But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He has felt and carried 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 stretch out His arms of mercy upon us.” 1
Jesus is important to us because through His Atonement, teachings, hope, peace, and example, He helps us change our lives, meet our challenges, and move forward in faith as we journey back to Him and the Father- His.
Jesus Makes Repentance Possible
One of the reasons Jesus is so important to those who sincerely strive to follow Him is that we are all weak and need the gift of repentance offered through the Atonement.
When we stumble and fall, Satan wants us to think we are 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 do know that “the grace of Christ is real, giving both forgiveness and cleansing to the repentant sinner.” 2
The Atonement power of Jesus Christ is available to each of us, but we must choose to allow it to work in our lives. Imagine giving a special gift to a friend –something your friend really needed and something you prepared through personal sacrifice. Imagine your friend responding, “Thanks, but I really don’t want your gift.” How do you feel?
When we don’t invite Jesus to help us become clean through repentance, it is as if we are rejecting His gift.
Jesus Teaches the Truth
On one occasion, after the crowd refused to walk any further with Him, Jesus asked the Twelve Apostles, “Will you also go away?” Peter answered, “Lord, to whom are we going? thy words are words of eternal life ”(John 6: 67–68).
You can find the Savior’s “sayings of everlasting life” in the scriptures, the teachings of the living prophets, and the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It offers the foundation for “happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come,” 3 and it guides 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 items in a recent general conference address:
“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 glorified, perfect, immortal bodies, not burdened with disease or disability.”
“Our tears of sorrow and loss will be replaced by an abundance of happiness and joy.” 4
Jesus Offers Hope
When we face serious challenges, sometimes we find it difficult to believe in God. But trusting Him gives us the hope we need to meet our challenges.
That is the case with members of the Gatrell family, who live in Sister Jean A. Stevens’ ward. Sister Stevens, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, said that the family held fast to the gospel and to their temple covenants after Brother Gatrell was diagnosed with cancer. Doing so gives them hope in God’s promises that they will be reunited after this life.
Going through the hard days before her husband died, Sister Gatrell said, “I know God is watching over us. If you believe in God, truly you can overcome any challenge in life. ”5
The gift of Atonement gives us hope of eternal life –something we need when we experience difficulties or the death of our loved ones.
“Our loving Heavenly Father gave us the gift of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior,” said President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency. “The great gifts and blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ bring a universal heritage: the promise of the Resurrection and the possibility of eternal life to all who are born.” 6
Jesus Offers Peace
If you’ve ever faced a natural disaster, been the subject of harsh gossip, experienced a life-changing challenge, had a fight with a friend, or stood up for what’s right, you know you need God’s peace. “The Savior’s peace,” said Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “won over the storms of the world.” 7
During a recent general conference, Elder Andersen shared a story about a young Laurel who was made fun of and ridiculed for defending traditional marriage. To be mocked, he learned, sometimes that is the price of “being faithful to God and to the teachings of His living prophets.” 8
But defending does not mean standing alone. We can always turn to the Prince of Peace when we feel lonely or overwhelmed, sad or anxious, afraid or worthless. We do that by:
- Pray to Heavenly Father for the Spirit to be with us.
- Read the words of the Lord in the scriptures and as revealed by the living prophets.
- Attend the temple.
- Studying the Savior’s life in church and in seminary.
- Apply His Atonement by repenting of our sins.
- Share 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 troubles, our pain, and our suffering,” said President Thomas S. Monson. “He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity. He alone touches our tormented souls with His comforting words. ”9
Jesus Set the Example
Throughout His ministry, Jesus did more than point the way to happiness — He led 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 down 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 repentance and resurrection possible, teaches important 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 remove our fears and move on in faith.