This path starts with the exercise of faith once we have received His Word and we make the decision to enter the waters of baptism, just as the prophet Nephi tells us:
“And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.”
Once we are in this path, this is where our life as members of the Church begins. We begin with the sacred ordinances, such as weekly participation in the Sacrament, in order to remember the covenants we have entered into and the decision we have made to follow Him and keep His commandments. We begin to serve in the Church in different assignments. We connect with other members and we begin to feel a strong presence of the Holy Ghost in our lives as we obey the commandments and live a Christian life.
In this path that leads towards eternal life, we must expect that there will be trials and challenges, many of them with the strength to put at risk the new life we have decided to live, which is why Nephi continued, saying:
“And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.”
Following Christ will give us the spiritual strength and confidence that we will need in those moments when our faith and our new way of life are threatened by the vain things of this world, by those who are closest to us or by friends who now reject our new way of life. He has promised us that even in the most difficult times, He will be there to “succor” us.
The final words in those verses from Nephi give us hope for those times when we may feel our faith waver:
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”
Many years later, another prophet in the Book of Mormon, also named Nephi, taught us the following:
“Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—
And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.”
My dear brothers and sisters, to all those who have been on this path for some time now, to those who have just entered into the path, and even to those who are now at the gate, I testify to you that the decision to follow Christ is the most important decision in our lives, and it will be the greatest source of joy for us and our families. I invite you to remain steadfast and not faint. May we be faithful in our prayers, in our scripture study, in our observance of His Sabbath day, in the holding of our Family Home Evenings, in our fasting and in the service we give in the Church. When discouragement and temptations arise, may the joy of His Spirit and of the blessings that we have received, be our greatest testimony that we are built upon the rock, who is Christ, and may we continue on in the path to the end.
I testify that He lives and that this is His Church.