By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

On Living Right

In the January 2007 Ensign there is a talk by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It is titled "Living Right", and is from a commencement address delivered in 2004 at BYU.

An apostle is also a prophet, seer, and revelator. Elder Scott gives us much to think about in this talk--things that apply to us all, at whatever stage in life or spiritual development we are. He says:
This world is in serious trouble. The fundamental values of our society are being undermined. There is a continual crumbling of principle, virtue, integrity, and religious values—the foundation stones of civilization and definitive ingredients of peace and happiness. I will share with you as simply and as clearly as I am able a pattern for success and happiness in life despite these conditions.

God has given you the capacity to exercise faith so that you may find peace, joy, and purpose in life. However, to employ its power, faith must be rooted in something secure. There is no more solid foundation than faith in the love Heavenly Father has for you, faith in His plan of happiness, and faith in the willingness and power of Jesus Christ to fulfill all of His promises.

Some of the principles upon which faith is based are:

• Trust in God and in His desire to provide help when needed, no matter how challenging the circumstance.

• Obedience to His commandments and a commitment to living a life that demonstrates He can trust you.

• Sensitivity to the quiet promptings of the Spirit and courageous follow-through.

• Patience and understanding when God lets you struggle to grow and answers come a piece at a time over an extended period.
We do face a serious erosion in eternal values in our world. It is up to each of us to strengthen these values in our own life and set the example for others to help them along their way. Here is what Elder Scott says about character and faith:
You must understand and use the power of the interaction of faith and character. God uses your faith to mold your character. Character is woven patiently from threads of doctrine, principle, and obedience. Character is the manifestation of what you are becoming. Your character will be the yardstick that God will use to determine how well you have met your mortal probation. Strong moral character results from consistent correct choices in the trials and testing of life. Such choices are made with trust in things that are believed and, when acted upon, will be confirmed as true.

As you walk to the boundary of your understanding into the twilight of uncertainty, exercising faith, you will be led to find solutions to the challenges of life you would not obtain otherwise. No matter how strong your faith is, God will not always reward you immediately according to your desires. Rather He will respond with what in His eternal plan is best for you. Your exercise of faith will forge strength of character available to you in times of critical need. Such character is not developed in moments of great challenge or temptation. That is when it is used.

The bedrock of character is integrity. Worthy character will strengthen your capacity to recognize the direction of the Spirit and be obedient to it. It is more important than what you own, what you have learned, or what goals you have accomplished. Your consistent exercise of faith builds strong character. In turn, fortified character expands your ability to exercise faith, thereby enhancing your capacity and confidence in conquering the trials of life. And this strengthening cycle continues. The more your character is fortified, the more enabled you are to exercise the power of faith.
Those are some profound words that give us some guidance and direction. One last quote:
As an exceptional son or daughter of God, you are sorely needed. There is an urgent need for men and women who will stand for principles against the growing pressures to compromise those very principles. Men and women are required who will act nobly and courageously for what the Lord has defined as right, not for what is politically correct or socially acceptable. We need individuals who have the spiritual, righteous influence that will motivate others to enduring good. We need politicians of integrity, businesspeople who are honest and morally clean, attorneys who defend justice and the legal system, and government officials who preserve principle because it is right. Above all, we need mothers and fathers who will preserve the sanctity and safety of the home and the integrity of the family, where faith in God and obedience to His commandments are taught as the foundation of a productive life.
Even in our most everyday activities, we must obey the Lord in faith and trust. The Lord is the head of our church and guides President Hinckley and other leaders and they pass His word on to us. Take time to read Elder Scott's talk. It has been helpful and instructive to me and I believe you will find it so, as well.

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