“. . . the duty least enjoyed by us, like the doctrine least understood, may be the one we need the most. Furthermore, our reminders to do these specific duties are often a call to an unkept rendezvous, to an experience we would not want to miss. The true believer understands this; he does his duties even though they are seemingly repetitious, but he is never surprised if duty develops into a new adventure.”
Neal A. Maxwell, “True Believers In Christ,” BYU Devotional, 7 October 1980.
We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.
Richard G. Scott, “The Transforming Power of Faith and Character,” October 2010 General Conference
In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
Albert Camus, as translated in Lyrical and Critical Essays (1968), p. 169.
As the challenges around us increase, we must commit to do more to qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Casual prayer won’t be enough. Reading a few verses of the scripture won’t be enough. Doing the minimum of what the Lord asks of us won’t be enough. Hoping that we will have the Atonement work in our lives and that we will perhaps sometimes feel the influence of the Holy Ghost won’t be enough. And one great burst of effort won’t be enough.
Only a steady, ever-increasing effort will allow the Lord to take us to higher ground. I know what some of you are tempted to think: “I’ll have to be careful not to set the bar for myself too high. I wouldn’t want to fail and be disappointed.”
I did a little high-jumping over a bar in high school and in college. I know what it is like to be running toward the bar and see that it is higher than when you jumped last and that you are now looking way up at the bar. Some of you have been high-jumpers so that you know that it is very different when you come toward it so that you can look over it. I know what happens when you look up at that bar. You think, “That bar is over my head. Is it physically possible to put my whole body over a bar above my head?” As I look back, remember I was a physics student, I realized that I must have decided that some law of physics limited me. Well, the laws of physics did apply, but the limits were more in my mind than in reality. When I now see junior high school students, some of them girls, jumping higher than my best, I wish that I were young again. I’d set my expectations higher. More was possible than I thought, and more is possible spiritually for you and for me. And more is necessary. Set the bar a little higher for yourself. And then set it a little higher. In spiritual things you have a heavenly power lifting you beyond where you are now. The Lord promises that unending rise in his own voice in the Doctrine and Covenants: “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24).
You can set the bar higher for yourself to get more power of faith to pray for the gift of the Holy Ghost. You can set it higher for yourself to have the scriptures opened so that you will come to know the Savior’s voice. You can set it higher for yourself to be obedient in the things He asks of you. And you can set the bar higher in your expectation for peace in this life and your hope, even your assurance of eternal life in the world to come. You can set your expectations for yourself a little higher and then a little higher, with confidence that a loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son will send you the Holy Ghost and lift you higher and higher, toward Them.
Henry B. Eyring, “Raise the Bar,” Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional, January 25, 2005
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
President Eyring continues to teach youth of the Church about the faith they have exercised, here and before they came to earth, then with that knowledge invites them to be prepared for service far beyond what they might imagine. Lastly, he warns them of the role Satan would play in their lives. I saw this pattern in his wonderful talk “A Child of God,” given at BYU in 1997. Here is a quote from the opening of that address:
you are the survivors. By making the right choices plus the help of uncounted servants of God, you have made it through a hail of spiritual bullets. There have been tens of thousands of casualties. You know some of them because they are your friends, your spirit brothers and your sisters. You are more than simply the survivors of that spiritual war. You are the future of the Church. God knows that. And so he now asks more of you than he has asked of those who were here before you, because the kingdom will need more. And Satan knows that you are the future of the Church, which gives me a solemn obligation to warn you of the hazards ahead and to describe how to survive them as you rise to the privileges God will give you.
This idea of God asking more of us because of who we are and what He needs us to be is echoed in Continue reading
President Henry B. Eyring said this in last October’s Priesthood Conference:
“You can get assurance in your service. You can forget yourself and begin to pray for and love those you are to serve. And you can choose what to do and measure success by the degree to which it changes the hearts of the people you serve.
“But it is never going to be easy for you or for those you serve. There will always be pain in service and in the repentance necessary to bring the power of the Atonement to change hearts. That is in the nature of what you are called to do. Think of the Savior, whose service you are in. At what point in His mortal life can you see an instance when it was easy for Him? Did He ask easy things of His disciples then? Then why should it ever be easy in His service or for His disciples?”
Ensign, November 2007, p. 57, emphasis added.
President Eyring, in a 1997 BYU Devotional, made a similar remark:
“You are the future of the Church. God knows that. And so he now asks more of you than he has asked of those who were here before you, because the kingdom will need more.”