Seek to be challenged

Seek to be challenged in what you do. Don’t look for a safe haven where you have no risk, for you will not grow or have real satisfaction.
Richard G. Scott, “For Success in Life,” BYU Commencement Address, 14 August 2008

Never dwell on the past or attempt to protect your comfort zone against the inevitable changes required to meet the future advancements that will be needed.
Robert D. Hales, “The Journey of Lifelong Learning.” August 19, 2008, Campus Education Week Devotional

Stretching through service

…tonight I wish to encourage priesthood holders who at times feel overwhelmed with their responsibilities. That is a challenge I have spoken of before. I return to it because it returns so often in the lives of those I love and serve.
Most of you have discovered that your priesthood duties will stretch you to the point that you wonder if you can stretch that far.
…the more faithful service you give, the more the Lord asks of you….He increases our power to carry the heavier load.
The tough part of that reality, however, is that for Him to give you that increased power you must go in service and faith to your outer limits.
It is like building muscle strength. You must break down your muscles to build them up. You push muscles to the point of exhaustion. Then they repair themselves, and they develop greater strength. Increased spiritual strength is a gift from God which He can give when we push in His service to our limits. Through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our natures can be changed. Then our power to carry burdens can be increased more than enough to compensate for the increased service we will be asked to give.
That helps me understand when I see someone else who makes priesthood service look easy. I know that they have either passed hard tests or that the tests lie ahead. So rather than envying them, I stand ready to help when the going gets harder for them, because it surely will.

“O Ye That Embark,” by President Henry B. Eyring, October 2008 General Conference

Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.

Richard G. Scott, “Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 16

Life is an experience in profound trust

This life is an experience in profound trust—trust in Jesus Christ, trust in His teachings, trust in our capacity as led by the Holy Spirit to obey those teachings for happiness now and for a purposeful, supremely happy eternal existence. To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Prov. 3:5–7). To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience.

Richard G. Scott, “Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 16 (emphasis added)

Choose the right while the storms rage

The great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage. And the tragedy of life is to fail in that test and so fail to qualify to return in glory to our heavenly home.

Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady,” Ensign, Nov 2005, 37 (emphasis added)

The danger of the trendy and the popular

…as a covenant people, our behavioral loyalties are to be with the Lord, not with the Caesars of this world….

If we are meek and have the gift of the Holy Ghost, we will not be subject to the manipulation of our appetites by the trendy….

Given our contemporary context, no wonder President Thomas S. Monson recently cautioned Church members not to put “popularity over principle.”

If becoming popular requires participating in the follies and the fashions of the world, it is too big a price to pay for fleeting approval.
Neal A. Maxwell, “Popularity and Principle,” Ensign, Mar 1995, 12

We do not serve our Savior well if we fear man more than God. He rebuked some leaders in His restored Church for seeking the praise of the world and for having their minds on the things of the earth more than on the things of the Lord (see D&C 30:2; 58:39). Those chastisements remind us that we are called to establish the Lord’s standards, not to follow the world’s. Elder John A. Widtsoe declared, “We cannot walk as other men, or talk as other men, or do as other men, for we have a different destiny, obligation, and responsibility placed upon us, and we must fit ourselves [to it].” That reality has current application to every trendy action, including immodest dress. As a wise friend observed, “You can’t be a life saver if you look like all the other swimmers on the beach.”

Those who are caught up in trying to save their lives by seeking the praise of the world are actually rejecting the Savior’s teaching that the only way to save our eternal life is to love one another and lose our lives in service.

C. S. Lewis explained this teaching of the Savior: “The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first—wanting to be the centre—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake. . . . What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come . . . the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Unselfish Service,” April General Conference, 2009

The gospel invites vigorous participation

People learn obedience by being obedient. We see its fruits. Halfhearted obedience is without reward. The gospel invites vigorous participation in living its principles. God commands that we serve him with all our heart, with all our might, with all our strength, and with the very best of our intelligence.

Our Savior instructs us, “Thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times” (D&C 59:11).

If we could feel or were sensitive even in the slightest to the matchless love of our Savior and his willingness to suffer for our individual sins, we would cease procrastination and “clean the slate,” and repent of all our transgressions.

This would mean keeping God’s commandments and setting our lives in order, searching our souls, and repenting of our sins, large or small. It means loving our neighbor, living an exemplary life, and—high on the list—being good husbands and good wives. It means teaching our children, by example and precept, to walk in the ways of truth and soberness. It means being honest in our affairs, and serving others, which includes sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world, and—with love—to succor those in need.

It is my hope that we will all come to know and love our Lord through obedience to his Word sufficiently to qualify for inclusion in the blessed circle of those who have heard of and believed his precious words uttered in the Garden of Gethsemane, his last night in mortality: “And this is life eternal,” he said, “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3)….
David B. Haight, “Our Lord and Savior,” Ensign, May 1988, 21