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.

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

I, the Lord, remember them no more

One final story—once again from when I was a bishop. One night, while I was in a sound sleep, the doorbell rang. I stumbled to answer it and found a young member of my priests quorum at the door. I knew him well, well enough to have gone on outings with him, to have prayed with and about him, and to have taught him. I knew him as well as a good bishop knows any active eighteen-year-old priest, which was well enough for me to ask what he was doing at my front door in the middle of the night.

He said, “I have to talk to you, bishop. I’ve just done something serious, and I can’t go home.” He was right. It was serious. I invited him in, and we talked. He talked and I listened, then I talked and he listened, until dawn. He had many questions. He had committed a terrible sin. He wanted to know if there was hope. He wanted to know how to repent. He wanted to know if repentance included telling his parents. He wanted to know if there was any chance of his going on a mission. He wanted to know many other things. I didn’t have all of the answers, but I told him there was hope. I told him the way back would be difficult, but it was possible. I explained what I knew about the process of repentance and helped him see what he must do. I told him if he really wanted to go on a mission that that decision could only be made in the future after he had repented. Then I told him to go home, and he did.

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