How Do I Walk?


In “Follow Jesus Christ with Footsteps of Faith“, President M. Russell Ballard discusses the legacy his ancestors left as they walked in faith. He discusses the hope that exists as we walk in faith. Reading his words, the question came to my mind “how do I walk?”.

Footprints

I believe that most of us are familiar with the poem “Footprints”. It talks about a man who dreamed one night of seeing his life as a set of footprints. He is talking with the Savior and sees that for most of his life two sets of footprints are visible. However, during his hardest times, only one set can be seen. He asks Jesus why this is and how could Christ have left him alone during those events. Jesus answers that He carried the man on His shoulders wherever only a single set of footprints were found.

The poem has been an inspiration to millions and an illustration of Christ always being there for us. However, would there have been two sets of footprints if the man did not have faith? Would he have found himself alone if it weren’t for his hope? To me, he would not have been alone as Christ is always there when we seek Him. But, if we do not seek Him, we may find that during our toughest times there are two sets of footprints as we did not take advantage of Christ’s power to help us through.

Pioneers and Pioneering

My ancestry does not contain any LDS “pioneers”. I don’t have stories of handcarts being pulled from Missouri to Utah. No tales of the hardships of eating shoe leather or walking through drifts of snow trying to find “the place” where a people could freely settle. I don’t even have the stories that led my family to Western New York from England. However, I do know based on the values and characteristics of my parents and grandparents that my ancestors carried a strong sense of family and honesty. It is a legacy I have tried to uphold.

While I don’t have any ancestry that crossed the plains, I do have a pioneer ancestor in my mother. I’ve mentioned before that she is the one who allowed the missionaries into our home and brought us the gospel. She faced opposition from friends and family about her faith. However, she did not waver and left for me a legacy of faith and hope that helps me with my trials and struggles.

What is that hope? President Ballard states, “There is hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is hope for all in this life. There is hope to overcome our mistakes our sorrows, our struggles, and our trials and our troubles. There is hope in repentance and being forgiven and in forgiving others. … there is hope and peace in Christ.”

How Do I Walk?

Looking at the past and understanding the legacies left you is inspiring. However, one must look at one’s own path and determine how one’s footsteps will influence those who surround and those who come after. A good question to ask is “How do I walk?”. Do I have faith in every footstep? Am I garnering the hope President Ballard discussed? Where can I do better so that I always have the Savior’s help and support?

I will admit that my path has been zig-zag. I haven’t always walked on the covenant path. I’ve made my share of mistakes that I’ve had to repent of. With all that has happened to me in my life, I can say this, I have faith and a sure knowledge of where the truth is. I cannot turn against the witness God has given me that Jesus is the Christ. The Atonement He made is real. Joseph Smith was called as a prophet to restore God’s church on the earth. The Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph through the power of God. It is another testament of Jesus Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been placed on this earth as part of the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:20-21).

Knowing this, I need to walk such that my faith is apparent. I walk knowing that Christ is always there and that if I seek Him, He will help me. It doesn’t matter what is happening in my life. Whether I am joyful or sorrowful, I can rely on the Savior. I think that we often only look to Him when we are struggling. However, I believe that if we look to Him in times of happiness we will feel the warmth of His love and His gratitude that we are on the covenant path.

There is one other aspect to walking with faith. That is the effect it has on others, especially our children. Just as my mother’s faith influenced me, I want my faith to influence my children. I want them to see how faith in Jesus Christ helps us through hard times. I want them to know that true happiness is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ and through obedience to the commandments. I want them to find joy in serving others and peace in knowing that God is aware of them. All of that can be found as I walk in faith and leave my “footprints” as it were, in their memories.

Teaching Tips

When teaching this topic, you might consider:

  1. Having a picture of footprints that everyone can see. Discuss how footprints are made and what stories they can tell. Ask the class to share how the footprints they make strengthen their faith and hope. Ask how their footprints might inspire others.
  2. Discuss the quote from President Ballard starting with “Brothers and sisters, I testify that we follow Jesus Christ…” and the statements of hope within.
  3. Play “Faith in Every Footstep” and discuss phrases you feel would benefit your class.
  4. Use the definitions of Pioneer and Pioneering President Ballard gives. Ask the class to reflect on who in their families has been pioneers. Discuss ways in which each of us can be pioneers today.

Conclusion

As followers of Jesus Christ, we must walk with faith. This faith brings hope in all that Christ has done for us. We look back on our ancestors and the faith they had in overcoming their struggles to inspire us on. Ask yourself, “how do I walk?” and “how can I walk with (more) faith?”. As we strive to remain firm on the covenant path, having faith in every footstep will increase our connection to the Savior and help us to reach our eternal goals.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: