Lesson 1: Jesus Christ, Our Sure Foundation

The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part B, (2000), 2–10


The purpose of this lesson is to help make Jesus Christ the foundation of our lives.

Why Do We Need Jesus Christ as Our Sure Foundation?

If we were to build a house, we would be careful to place it on a solid base, a secure foundation that would ensure its stability during the stress of daily use and storms. Building a house is similar to constructing personal character. We need a foundation that will strengthen us during life’s trials and tests.

Since the way we live—our very character—is the result of whatever motivates us and directs our actions, we need to ensure that our actions are built on honorable motives and directions.

  • Think about the foundation of your life. Is there something special that inspires you or causes you to direct your life a certain way?

The foundation of our lives could consist of ideas, a plan, a set of rules, or inspiration received from the life of a person we admire. Because we are the builders of our lives, we need to be sure our foundation is chosen wisely and that it motivates and directs us.

In the Book of Mormon, we are taught that Jesus Christ should be the foundation for our lives. Helaman said, “Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; … which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).

  • Why do we need Jesus Christ as our sure foundation? Allow the sisters some time to answer; then display a poster titled “Why do we need Jesus Christ?” that lists the following answers and scriptural references. You may choose to write the information on the chalkboard instead.

    Why do we need Jesus Christ?

    We all have sinned (see Romans 3:23).

    His blood can cleanse us from our sins (see 1 John 1:7–9).

    He has given us a perfect example to follow (see 3 Nephi 12:48).

    Only through Him can we return to our Father in Heaven (see John 14:6; Mosiah 5:7–8).

    Through Him we will be resurrected (see Mosiah 16:7–8).

    Through Him we can have eternal life (see John 11:25–26).

    We pray to the Father in His name (see Mormon 9:21).

    He teaches us only the truth (see John 18:37; Ether 3:12).

  • Discuss the reasons you have listed. You may choose to have the sisters read some of the scriptures cited.

Jesus Christ is our elder brother. He loves us and wants us to return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father. We can trust Him and know that He asks us to do those things that are best for us.

  • Have the sisters sing “I Need Thee Every Hour” (Hymns, no. 98; or Gospel Principles, 320) or have the assigned sister read the words to all the verses.

Why Do We Need to Know Jesus Christ?

In order to build our lives “upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God” (Helaman 5:12), we must come to know Him. We must learn who He is and understand His divine mission. We must learn when, how, and why He lived and died. We must seek to know His message of truth and light and learn how to implement His teachings in our daily lives.

  • Read Matthew 11:28–29. In this scripture Jesus says, “Come unto me,” and “Learn of me.” What does it mean to come unto Jesus? (We come unto Jesus by seeking to have His Spirit with us and by doing the things that will help us be worthy to live with Him again—in other words, by accepting and living the gospel.)

How Can We Know Jesus Christ?

  • Write on the chalkboard:

    How can we know Jesus Christ?

    Study the scriptures.

    Attend Church meetings.

    Listen to and read the words of living prophets.

    Pray to our Heavenly Father.

    Practice Christ’s teachings.

Study the Scriptures

We can learn of Jesus by studying the scriptures. They contain the story of the Savior’s life, His teachings, and His dealings with God’s children on earth. He said, “Search the scriptures; … they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).

  • Which scriptures contain accounts of the Savior’s life and teachings? (His life in the Holy Land is related in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John of the New Testament. His experiences with the people on the American continent are told in 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. Jesus Christ is called Jehovah in the Old Testament, which contains instructions He gave prior to His appearance on earth in mortality. His instructions are also found in the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price. His words to us through the Prophet Joseph Smith are in the Doctrine and Covenants.)

  • How has studying the scriptures helped you love and understand the Savior?

Attend Church Meetings

We can learn of Jesus by attending Church meetings, where we receive instruction about the Savior and His teachings. As we attend our meetings and worthily partake of the sacrament, we can have His Spirit to guide us. While we are partaking of the sacrament, we should ponder the life of the Savior, our relationship with Him, and the covenants we have made.

  • How has attending Church meetings helped you learn about Jesus?

Listen to and Read the Words of Living Prophets

We can learn about Jesus by listening to the words of the living prophets. The Lord has told us to “give heed” to the words and commandments of His prophets and to receive those words as if they are from the Lord Himself (see D&C 21:4–5). The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the mouthpiece of God on the earth. Through his sermons and printed messages he reveals God’s directions for us today.

  • What have you learned about Jesus Christ through reading or listening to the words of the living prophets?

Pray to Our Heavenly Father

We can learn about Jesus Christ by praying to our Heavenly Father. Through prayer we can gain a testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. We can know that He became our Redeemer through the Atonement, which makes it possible for us to receive forgiveness for our sins through repentance. We can know that He was resurrected after three days in the tomb and that through His Resurrection each of Heavenly Father’s children will be resurrected. We can know that Jesus Christ lives today and is the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that He directs it through His prophet, the President of the Church. Through sincere prayer we can learn that Jesus has great love and compassion for us and that He understands our needs and problems.

By combining prayer with fasting, we can seek more effectively for knowledge of the Savior and His mission.

  • What have you learned about Jesus Christ by praying to our Heavenly Father?

Through studying and pondering the scriptures, attending our Church meetings, listening to the words of the living prophets, and praying to our Heavenly Father, we will be able to make Jesus Christ our “sure foundation.”

Practice Christ’s Teachings

Jesus asks us to test the commandments of God by living them (see John 7:16–17). King Benjamin, a Book of Mormon king and prophet, taught his people the gospel and then counseled, “If you believe all these things see that ye do them” (Mosiah 4:10). As we learn the teachings of Jesus Christ, we should practice them every day.

The following story, called “Twenty-four Golden Hours,” portrays how Charlotte, once an unhappy and discontented young lady, benefited from practicing the teachings of the Savior.

“Charlotte had come to a hard time in her life. She was filled with discontent. Everything seemed wrong. Her ambitions were thwarted; her friends were commonplace; her home unattractive; her own personality unlovely, as she was well aware. The problem was too much for Charlotte. She seemed caught in a current of circumstances that was carrying her into an ugly and unsatisfying life, and she could not escape.”

To obtain help, Charlotte went to Margaret Ames, a lady who was leading the kind of life that Charlotte wanted to lead. “Charlotte poured out the story of her heartache over her frustrated, unhappy life. … Margaret after a gentle word of sympathy said, ‘You can change all that if you really have the will to do it.’ …

“[To begin the new life, Mrs. Ames suggested to Charlotte]: ‘Live for twenty-four hours as if Christ were right beside you, seeing everything that you do. Then come to me again, and we’ll talk it over. Will you do that?’

“Charlotte was a church member, but she never spoke of Christ like that—almost as if he were a neighbor that one might speak to. Somewhat constrained and doubtful, she answered, ‘Yes, Mrs. Ames.’ …

“It was late afternoon when Charlotte went home. She knew that she was expected to help get the supper onto the table. She went to the drawer and took out a wrinkled tablecloth. When she spread it on the table, she noticed several soiled spots. And here she had her first thought of change.

“‘If Christ were going to eat with us, I wouldn’t put on a soiled cloth,’ she said to herself.

“She got a fresh cloth. And with the same thought she brought in a small bowl of flowers from the yard. She put the butter on a fresh plate instead of on the soiled one. She cut the bread with care. …

“‘Company tonight?’ asked her father. …

“‘Just you, Daddy,’ smiled Charlotte. If Christ were present, of course you’d smile at your family and show them your best manners.

“Her mother, worn and hot, and still dressed in her kitchen clothes, sat down, saying, ‘I don’t know what’s got into her to fix up so for just us. I suppose she’s expecting someone to drop in before we’re done.’ …

“Charlotte kept still until she thought of the proper thing to say in the presence of the unseen Guest. ‘I don’t know of anyone I’d rather fix things up for than our own folks,’ she said.

“The family simply stared for a minute. That wasn’t like Charlotte. Then Father said, ‘That’s right, Daughter. It’s too bad we all don’t think of that oftener.’ …

“In the living room Charlotte slipped a magazine out from the bottom of the pile and began to read. She had brought the magazine home herself, and she kept it under cover. After a few minutes she put it down. … ‘I wouldn’t be reading this if Christ were sitting where he could read with me,’ she thought. And she carried it out, and put it in the wastepaper bag. …

“[The next day Charlotte] went to work again. … She disliked her job very much. …

“‘Christ beside me,’ she thought as she walked into the store among the chattering girls. She said good morning smilingly to all she met.”

Charlotte’s friendliness to them and her concern for their problems amazed her coworkers. She was even able to solve problems with rude customers as she reminded herself of how she would act if Christ were beside her. That evening she returned to Margaret Ames’s home to discuss the experiment.

“… ‘I tried it, Mrs. Ames, just as well as I could, and—well, it made everything different. I think I can see what you mean. Of course, it didn’t change the things that are bothering me. I’m still poor, and can’t go to school, and I live in an ugly house. …’

“‘Ah, my dear! But you only started the seed-sowing twenty-four hours ago. … Can you keep on as you’ve begun, and “wait patiently” for the Lord, as the Psalmist tells us? … You have the [key] word. It is Christ. Fretting … doesn’t change things very much; but Christ does. Just remember to keep your daily walk very close to him.’

“‘I’m going to do it,’ said Charlotte” (in Lucy Gertsch Thompson, comp., Stories That Live [1956], 34–43).

  • What did Charlotte do as she tried to live as Christ would have her live? What blessings did she receive in those 24 hours?

The Lord will bless us too as we sincerely try to live by His example and His word. He advises, “Look unto me in every thought” (D&C 6:36). When we do this, we are willing to examine ourselves, asking: “Am I doing what Jesus would have me do? Would He solve this problem as I have solved it? How can I change my life today to live as Jesus lived?” If we are to heed the Savior’s invitation to come unto Him (see Matthew 11:28), we must follow His example by actually doing what He would do.

  • How can you apply the teachings of Jesus Christ in your family life? in your relationships with friends?

How Can We Become More like Jesus Christ?

If we practice the teachings of Jesus Christ in our lives, we will become more like Him. We will develop compassion for others and want to serve them. When we do our best to live the teachings of our Savior, we keep our covenants with Him and worthily bear His name (see Mosiah 5:7–15). We find joy in sacrificing earthly pleasures and possessions, when necessary, for the sake of other people. We even accept rejection, misunderstanding, persecution, and punishment, even though we may be innocent of any wrongdoing. In the Book of Mormon, Alma tells us that if we will fully live the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will receive His image in our countenances (see Alma 5:14, 19). We will become like Him.

  • What are some of the qualities Christ possesses? (List the qualities on the chalkboard as they are named.)

If our daily thoughts and actions are based on Jesus Christ as our sure foundation, we also develop these same qualities and thus become more like Him.

Conclusion

As Helaman taught his sons, we should build our lives “upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, … a sure foundation” (Helaman 5:12).

In this life we will have times of happiness and times of trial. But we are promised that if we build our lives on Jesus Christ, the sure foundation, we will not fall when the trials come (see 3 Nephi 14:24–27). Jesus said, “Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail” (D&C 6:34; italics added).

Challenge

Learn more about Jesus Christ in order to better follow His example and teachings. Begin by reading chapter 3, “Jesus Christ, Our Chosen Leader and Savior,” and chapter 11, “The Life of Christ,” in Gospel Principles; and 3 Nephi chapters 8 through 26. Choose one Christlike quality you want to develop and pray each day for help in building your life on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Display a picture of Jesus Christ in your home.

Additional Scriptures

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

    Study Gospel Principles chapter 3, “Jesus Christ, Our Chosen Leader and Savior,” and chapter 11, “The Life of Christ.”

  2. 2.

    Study 3 Nephi chapters 8 through 26.

  3. 3.

    Study The Latter-day Saint Woman, Part A lesson 1, “Faith in Jesus Christ.”

  4. 4.

    Prepare the poster suggested in the lesson or write the information on the chalkboard.

  5. 5.

    Plan to sing the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour” (Hymns, no. 98; or Gospel Principles, 320) during the lesson or assign a sister to read the words to all the verses of the hymn.

  6. 6.

    Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.