It is vital that we cling to the rock of our salvation – Christ – in order to weather the storms of life and ultimately return to live with our Father in Heaven again. We learn of this importance as Helaman counsels his sons in one of my favorite scriptures, Helaman 5:12: And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yeah, when all his hail and his mighty storms shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. 2 As a sophomore in high school, my seminary teacher had the class recite this verse daily. Each time I spoke those words, it was reaffirmed in my mind that I needed to work each day to continually build a stronger foundation for my life based around the Savior.
High school was a trying time for me because I was trying to juggle so many things – schoolwork, family time, church responsibilities, sports, friends, and so on. I tried hard to be the best I could in every area of life, and sometimes the load seemed too much to bear. It was amazing to me how much smoother my day went when I focused on putting the gospel first and building everything else around that rock, instead of trying to do everything else in life and throw in a moment dedicated to gospel-related responsibilities as a mere afterthought. I still faced trials and temptations, but like Helaman says, I did not fall because of the foundation upon which I was built.
Last year I decided to study the Book of Mormon in Spanish to help in my study of the language and to gain a different perspective of the scriptures. When I came upon this verse in Helaman, I was touched again by the power of the words. I took extra care to study the meaning of each word. The Spanish word for 'foundation' really stood out to me as I studied. In Spanish, 'fundamento' (meaning 'foundation') has a bit more meaning than the simple definition in English. It is translated to mean “razón principal o motivo con que se pretende afianzar y asegurar algo.” 3 Translated into English, this means “the main reason or motive which intends to guarantee and to assure something.” Relating this to the gospel principle of making Christ be the foundation of our lives, it is interesting to note that when we build our lives around Him, He guarantees us that trials and temptations will not have power over us.
With so much chaos going on in the world around us, it seems obvious that we need one immovable thing to cling to. The question, then, is how do we center our lives around Christ, who is our sure foundation? Elder Richard G. Scott counseled us on how to do this: “Obedience to His teachings provides a sure foundation upon which to build. That takes effort. There is no guarantee of overnight results, but there is absolute assurance that, in the Lord’s time, solutions will come, peace will prevail, and emptiness will be filled.” 4 In my own life I have noticed that when I obey the promptings of the spirit and keep the commandments, I am able to find solace in the Savior which propels me through the storms of life.
It is through doing the simple things – reading scriptures, praying, attending church meetings, doing temple work, etc. - that our testimonies grow and we, in turn, build a firmer foundation for ourselves in the gospel. It is crucial that we do not become lax in our obedience to these simple things the Lord requires of us. He has said that “from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” 5 This means that if we become comfortable in our knowledge and testimony of the gospel, our foundation will eventually be broken down. We must cling to the rock of our salvation, which is the Savior, by actively obeying the Lord's commandments and continually gaining knowledge of the gospel.
I know without a doubt that when we base our lives around the rock of our salvation, we will gain true happiness. It is through obedience to the commandments of God that we build that sure foundation and ultimately gain true happiness in this life and the life to come. As we do this we, like Nephi, will exclaim, “O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.” 6
1 Matt 7:24-27
2 Helaman 5:12
4 Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17
5 2 Nephi 28:30
6 2 Nephi 4:30