Valiant in our Testimony of Christ

Elder Cook’s beautiful talk on avoiding stumbling blocks that take us away from our focus on the savior dovetailed with my recent readings in the Book of Mormon. As I’ve read the Savior’s teachings in 3 Nephi, I’ve been struck by his emphasis that he is the source we need to look to for light and truth. He is the lawgiver, he is the one who stands in our midst. He is a vibrant, living, active leader. The Church that bears his name is his. We begin to miss the mark when we substitute something or anything else for him. Anything elevated above him will take our sights away from him:

“In addition, some members elevate causes, many of which are good, to a status superior to basic gospel doctrine. They substitute their devotion to the cause as their first commitment and relegate their commitment to the Savior and His teachings to a secondary position. If we elevate anything above our devotion to the Savior, if our conduct recognizes Him as just another teacher and not the divine Son of God, then we are looking beyond the mark. Jesus Christ is the mark!”

As Elder Cook explained, our exaltation is dependent on nothing more or less than our willingness to follow him with all of our hearts. If we look to him we live. If we look away, we begin to wither and perish. At the end of the day the message of the Gospel really is that simple:

“The 76th section of the Doctrine and Covenants makes it clear that being “valiant in the testimony of Jesus” is the simple, essential test between those who will inherit the blessings of the celestial kingdom and those in the lesser terrestrial kingdom. To be valiant, we need to focus on the power of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice to overcome death and, through our repentance, to cleanse us from sin, and we need to follow the doctrine of Christ. We also need the light and knowledge of the Savior’s life and teachings to guide us on the covenant pathway, including the sacred ordinances of the temple. We must be steadfast in Christ, feast upon His word, and endure to the end.”

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