The glory of those “who overcome evil, in good take delight”

There is an old hymn, “Thanks for the Sabbath School,” the chorus of which ends with these words:

Great be the glory of those who do right,
Who overcome evil, in good take delight.

This morning I was reading in the 4th chapter of Ephesians, in which Paul speaks of the change that occurs when we leave

the vanity of our minds, and
our darkened understanding,
having become “alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in [us],
because of the blindness of [our] heart[s],”
which has caused us to be “past feeling”
because we have “given [ourselves] over” to uncleanness

and, through Christ,

“put off . . . the old man,
which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
and be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
And . . . put on the new man,
which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Putting on the new man is the description of being born again. It describes a change in our nature. It means we pattern our thinking, conversation and behavior after the holiness that is in Christ and in our Heavenly Father. We awaken to the deceit of the adversary and “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).

The 2nd and 3rd verses of “Thanks for the Sabbath School” describe the process of denying ourselves that which is ungodly and embracing that which good, seeking, in the end, eternal salvation through Christ’s mercy and grace:

Now in the morning of life let us try
Each virtue to cherish, all vice to decry;
Strive with the noble in deeds that exalt,
And battle with energy each childish fault.

May we endeavor through life’s devious way
To watch and be earnest, true wisdom display;
Try to o’ercome each temptation and snare,
Thereby full salvation eternally share.

This battle against childish faults, the overcoming of each temptation and snare, is possible, for “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations,” (2 Peter 2:9) and can, through our faith in Him, cause “a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). What is the result of seeking this change in our lives?

Great be the glory of those who do right,
Who overcome evil, in good take delight.

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The strength of a priesthood quorum

I have learned over the years that the strength in a quorum doesn’t come from the number of priesthood holders in it. Nor does it come automatically from the age and maturity of the members. Rather, the strength of a quorum comes in large measure from how completely its members are united in righteousness. That unity in a strong quorum of the priesthood is not like anything I have experienced in an athletic team or club or any other organization in the world.

Henry B. Eyring, “A Priesthood Quorum,” October 2006 General Conference

The holy, harmless, undefiled Messiah

I testify of him, the Redeemer of the world and Master of us all. He is the Only Begotten Son of the living God, who has exalted that son’s name over every other, and has given him principality, power, might, and dominion at his right hand in the heavenly place. We esteem this Messiah to be holy, harmless, undefiled—the bearer of unchangeable priesthood (see Heb. 7:24, 26). He is the anchor to our souls and our high priest of promise. He is our God of good things to come. In time and in eternity—and surely in striving to fulfill this new responsibility which has come to me—I shall forever be grateful for his promise: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). I thank him for that blessing upon us all. . .

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Miracles of the Restoration,” 1994 October General Conference

You are the focus of two conflicting patterns trying to influence your life

So you are the focus of two conflicting patterns trying to influence you in your life, trying to have you go this way or that way (see Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13; James 1:8). You are the one who makes the decision.

As the old man a generation ago said, “The Lord’s votin’ for me, and the devil’s votin’ against me, but it’s my vote that counts!” And that is good, solid doctrine.

You will have just what you want. On one hand, you have inspiration from the Holy Ghost, and, on the other hand, you have what President Ezra Taft Benson called “sinspiration” from the angels of the devil. They are with you all of the time.

I gave a talk once in which I likened the mind to a stage. There is always something going on in that stage. Whatever you think is going on in the stage, these ideas and promptings and temptations will move in from the side. What do you do about it? You ought to have a delete key.

I know a little about computers because my grandchildren have taught me. I know that every computer keyboard has a delete key. If there is something there you do not want, something you did that you want to get rid of, you underline it and delete it.

You can have a delete key in your mind. Your mind is in charge, and your body is the instrument of your mind. Now you will have to figure out a delete key for yourself.

One man showed me once that he used his wedding ring. He said that whenever there was an unworthy thought that tried to get into his mind—and those influences are everywhere—he just rubbed his thumb against his wedding ring. That was the delete key, “Get out of my mind! I am in charge!”

You are in command. You cannot say that you do not know any better. You do know better!

There are other ways. Music is powerful. My older brother taught me that.

When he was flying in the Eighth Air Force, it was terrible. He was shot down twice. But he said finally he got so he was not afraid. He was not afraid because when fear came, he turned on this little orchestra in his mind. He took his favorite hymn and played it over and over in his mind.

I learned something, and I have since lived that way. When some ugly thought from the nether kingdom tries to get into my mind, I move it out with good music, hymns (see D&C 25:12).

That is one of the reasons why you are very, very, very, very, very, very foolish when you like to participate in music that is dark and noisy. Worthy inspiration cannot get through to you where you are. No matter how popular it may be or how much you want to belong, just remember that there are those angels of the devil using you.

Boyd K. Packer, “The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character,” CES Fireside for Young Adults, 2 February 2003

There is not anything about your life that gets bent or broken that He cannot fix

Now, the last thing I want to talk to you about: a broken bird.

Over the years, as a diversion, I have carved wooden birds. Sometimes it would take a year to complete one. I would get specimens and measure the feathers and study the colors and then carve them. I would carve a setting for them. It was very restful. Sometimes when I would get unsettled, my wife would say, “Why don’t you go carve a bird!” It was a very calming thing in my life.

Elder A. Theodore Tuttle and I were going into town one day. I had one of the carvings. I was taking it in to show someone. We had put it on the backseat. At an intersection, he slammed on the brakes, and the carving tipped upside down on the floor and broke to pieces. He pulled over to the side and looked at it. He was devastated. I was not.

Without thinking, I said, “Forget it. I made it. I can fix it.” And I did. I made it stronger than it was. I improved it a bit.

Now, who made you? Who is your Creator? There is not anything about your life that gets bent or broken that He cannot fix and will fix. You have to decide. If some of you have made mistakes and you think you are broken and cannot be put together, you do not know the doctrine of the Church. You do not know what the Atonement was about and who the Lord is and what a power He is in your life.

This is His Church. We are His servants. We who hold the priesthood have His authority and power. We can perform miracles. We do not talk about them. Most of those miracles have to do with healing the body. The greater miracles are the miracles of spiritual growth and healing in the lives of every one of us.

So if you are on the wrong path, then you must decide. You have the agency. You have the promptings of the Holy Ghost to guide you. There is that great truth that the gospel is a gospel of repentance. Repentance is like a mathematical equation. Repentance leads to forgiveness.

Boyd K. Packer, “The Instrument of Your Mind and the Foundation of Your Character,” CES Fireside for Young Adults, 2 February 2003