“’Press forward’ implies something more than simply going forward. ‘Press forward’ implies something more than simply going forward. Press implies something is preventing your advancement, and you must push through it. To go forward in this life, you must press temptations aside, press through obstacles, press the doubt and the fear under your feet, and embrace the divine qualities of faith, hope, and love.”
-Elder Neil L Andersen
One of my favorite youth themes is the one chosen for this year from 2 Nephi 31:20, which reads,
“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.”
As Elder Andersen reminds us, this verse isn’t about just going forward. It’s about “pressing” our way forward through obstacles to reach a joyous and much-desired goal. It’s about holding onto Christ to overcome temptations and challenges. We hold on to Christ as we come to know Him and become more like Him. We can know Him through studying his words and learning of his actions. We can become more like Him as we “embrace the divine equalities of faith, hope and love” and keep the baptismal covenants that we have made:
– Take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ
– Always remember Him
– Keep His commandments
Pressing forward requires continuous effort and strength. Have there been times in your life when you felt that you lost the strength to press forward? Consider running in a long distance race. This past fall, I participated in a race where we ran laps around a large lake in Boston. To prepare, I stretched and took a warm-up jog. By the time we gathered around the starting line, I felt energized and ready to go in 3-2-1! Once I took off, I maintained a steady, yet upbeat, pace for a time. The longer I ran, the slower I wanted to run, until reminded myself of my goal. Then I began to press forward. After one lap, I began to tire again, until I saw the destination ahead. I began to press forward. As the end approached, my legs were tired and walking felt like the next best thing, until I heard the cheering of friends and others at the finish line. I began to press forward with more energy and strength than I had at the beginning of the race. As you press forward, don’t forget the power within us to overcome, and don’t forget the strength that comes from those that love you, even Christ.
As we “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ,” we will realize that we are not alone in this journey just like I wasn’t the only one in the race. There are others, all around the world, seeking the same goals and can help along the way. I ran part of the way with my friends Samantha and Maddie. As I ran, I saw a couple running together with their two kids in the stroller. They helped each other keep a steady pace until one of the kids wanted to run, too. I also saw a friend finish their race and returned to the path running to help their best friend finish theirs.
Post by Rhea Maynes, Teacher of Success Principles